There is a path through the forest that leads to the Surly headquarters. It is a path that runs along the Minnesota River and it's my favorite route to take when I come to work. The only bad thing about it is that in the summer it takes me about two hours to get from my house to The Wheel so I don't take that route too often because I actually think I'm allergic to the mornings. I don't know why else I'd thow up so often when I wake up.... It's the answer that makes the most sense to me. Anyway, I'm taking to the Blog on this boring ass Friday-before-labor-day-and-no-one-is-in-the-office-including-our-customers because this ride taught me a lesson and gave me something to think about that I think bears repeating to the 3 people that read this blog.
I think the saddest thing I ever saw riding a mountain bike probably took place about ten or twelve years ago for me. In the grand scheme of things it probably wasn't all that terrible but it was one of those strange situations you can find yourself in where your path arbitrarily crosses the path of another living thing and your mere presence causes the loss of life. Ultimately it's just the inexorable march of time and we're all just trying to ring the bell and get a nut so there's no point spending too much time pondering the greater implications of these occurances but mindfulness never hurt anyone.
So there I was, training for a 100 mile mountain bike race on my favorite trail. I was with a few other friends of mine that had signed up for the same race and we were giving it some stick, trying to whip ourselves into shape and were probably about 50 miles into our ride when we decided to stop and have some refreshments. We had barely been stopped for ten seconds when all of a sudden there was this strangely loud thud on the forest floor, like someone dropping a rock of significant size from a considerable height. I looked over towards said thud and saw that a porcupine had fallen out of a tree. I didn't even know porcupines could climb trees. Now, I've had a lot of wilderness encounters in my time because I was raised by wolves, but let me tell you, this shit sucked. I'll skip the gory details because those gory details are why I still remember something so relatively trivial a dozen years later, but I'll say it again, this shit sucked. Total bummer when your happy fun times intrude on something going about its daily business and cost it its life in a mildly horrific manner, which brings me to the gentle reminder I want to give the 3 of you.
Fast forward twelve years and not much has changed. I'm riding my bike like I always do when I have to get somewhere, and I'm on this lovely trail that takes me to the Surly Mothership and what do I see? Baby Snapping Turtles. A shit load of them. I thought back to what a drag it was when that a-hole porcupine fell out of that tree and totally harshed my mellow and thought, "I certainly don't want to have this blood on my hands too" so I just hopped off the bike and found all the turtles I could and moved them off the trail towards the river. I didn't manage to hit any sweet jumps or get much sideways action while I was doing this, but I think it ended up being a worthwhile pursuit all the same. When you get on your bike it's really, really easy to get lost in the ride and lose yourself to the fun you are having but it's also worth remembering that even though the trails might be man-made, the forest is not; so pay attention, jackass. It could mean the difference between having fun at someone else's expense or simply having fun, which I think is a better way to go personally. All in all I managed to find 8 of the little buggers and put them near the river so hopefully that will even out my Karma.