Editorial: Knowledge is fine, but it takes more

by Andru McCracken, Editor


Sometimes in mountain biking, there is a split second, just before ass goes over teakettle, when you can take control. You can grit your teeth and commit to the challenge or you can bail.

I find myself in this situation frequently.

The last time was on my first ride of the year on Valemount’s epic black diamond trail called Coaster.

If I had chosen to commit I would have walked away fine.

But I chose to bail, and like always I came away worse for wear.

Here’s what happened.

I rounded a corner, I saw a very steep drop and decided I didn’t want to do it.

Choosing to slow down, to apply all the back brake there is and idiotically, but somehow automatically, begin squeezing the front brake too…. well, you can see the problem. I didn’t want to do it, but it was no longer my decision to make, I was too far along.

The resulting action is a celebration of geometry. A slightly overweight rider leaning precariously over the front tire of the bike on a steep hill.

It’s not a secret what happened next.

As a rider I knew what would happen. That’s the curious bit: knowledge doesn’t cause my hands to unclench the brake.

If my front tire is moving I have options: I can steer, and use my skills as a rider to navigate the terrain.

But alas, just knowing that what I am attempting to do is not going to end well does not cause the required correction.

In general, just knowing the options isn’t the solution.

The situation requires something completely different: commitment.

On that note, I’m really pleased to see McBride Secondary School’s plan for the future.

When other schools talk of declining enrolment, sadness, gloom and fear rule the day. A declining enrolment can mean bad things; it causes us consternation and fear, because, like the steep trail after the sharp corner on Coaster, it’s scary terrain.

But the right move for the school is the same right move on the trail.

Ride through.

Don’t freeze up, don’t let your ass overtake your teakettle. Ride through so you can continue to make choices, steer your bike down, use the skills you know you have to endure.

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