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The kids are alright

 You know when you start a streak? Maybe you start clearing a section without any flaw. Maybe each time you ride the park you do one new thing you haven't done before. My friend Matt will bang out six, ten, twelve days in a row at Left Hand. Streaks are fun. I'm on a streak, it started in Arkansas and followed me home. Each time I ride I meet someone cool. I'm engaging just as many people as I normally do.  I just keep meeting more bangers than duds. It's totally random, sometimes I just fall into pace with someone on the climb, other times it's waiting to drop-in on slopestyle. Interactions can go lots of ways, but it's nice when it results in some positive back and forth for a quick moment in time. Like Tyler Durden describes it, a "Single Serving Friend" for a few laps.

Experts tell me today's young people are in distress. I hear they are afraid to face challenges, they don't know how to interact socially and they have no drive. I think the experts should interview more 20-35 year-old mountain bikers, they seem to be doing fine. With each new young person I meet on the trail, I have more faith in the future of humanity. Do cool people go mountain biking? Or does mountain biking make people cool?

Social media tells us young people are addicted to social media. Last weekend I asked the  25ish  guy if he was on Strava. He grinned under his mustache and said, "No man, I just ride."


Today I noticed a couple young guys hitting I jump I still hadn't tried on slope. I asked if I could follow them in and the jump felt perfect. Then I led them over to the trick jump and got both of them to try it for the first time. One guy went for it quick, but the other took a long time to work up the nerve. I pointed out that he was feeling anxiety over clearing the jump, I was feeling anxiety over whether or not I could do a tire grab. Biking always gives you something to be scared of. No matter what level you are at. Both of us pushed through our fear.


Cycling kinda breaks down age barriers. I ride with a twelve year-old who gives me grief if I don't extend my legs on no-footers. Division in cycling has more to do with what style of bike we ride than who we do it with. Once you know what tribe you belong to it's easy to find your people. 


If someone wants to learn a trick and I know how to do that trick. It only makes sense that we would share some common ground regardless of an age gap. Or maybe it's my appearance that makes me approachable. It's the Santa Claus effect. A really old guy shredding dirt jumps seem trustworthy.



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