Chasing that perfect ride

by Robb Sutton

If you have even been mountain biking for more than a week, you know what I am about to talk about. It’s the number one reason I get on the bike every chance I get…that perfect ride.

You hear golfers talk about that perfect shot that keeps them coming back for more abuse every time they hit the links. That one great shot lives in memories and stories only to be shadowed by the next great shot that the player longs for.

That perfect ride for mountain bikers will do the same thing. You will climb 7 miles feeling the worst you ever have in an attempt to get stronger for the perfect ride.

What is the perfect ride for me?

  • I never get tired…no matter how hard I push. It is what I like to call “one of those Superman days.” Your legs just seem to never give up. For some reason your entire body is just in sync and you feel like you could ride at your 100% pace for a week straight.
  • The traction is perfect. No washouts, no mud (if I can help it). Normally this happens a day after rain in GA, but NC trails tend to have a lot of this. Your tires just seem to be velcro’ed to the ground and nothing could go wrong.
  • The bike just feels flawless. The suspension is dialed, there is no creaking, I am incredibly comfortable…it is just me and the bike out in the mountains doing what we do best together.
  • The weather – the sun is out with a slight breeze, just cold enough that I don’t sweat too much but just warm enough that I am in shorts and a short sleeve jersey. It just seems to be one of those perfect clear days with just a couple of white fluffy clouds in the sky to break up the sun’s rays.
  • The trail – Big ups for big downs. NC riding at it’s best. Climb for what seems like forever to just blast down for the rest of the day.
  • On the downhills, I just get in a zone. It’s almost like blinders on a race horse or like a pitcher in baseball throwing the perfect game. You don’t even realize anyone else is out there…it seems like you know no limits when it comes to speed…every line is just hit perfectly for some odd reason and you don’t know why. Basically, everything just seems to click.
  • And last but not least…I left everything on the trail. There wasn’t one section that I would have ridden differently. Complete satisfaction with the ride.

Now…it is very rare that all of these elements come together, but when they do…it is the perfect ride. At every trail head you can hear stories about these rides and they seem to grow over the years until that next perfect ride comes along to replace the last.

Ingles Field Gap
The perfect ride is different for everyone, and that is one of the things that is so great about mountain biking. You can make the perfect ride whatever you want it to be, and sometimes you don’t even know what it is until you have experienced it for yourself. For some people it is during a race and for others it might be a trip out with the family. For me, it’s when I can’t seem to do any wrong on the bike on killer North Carolina single track. The last time I had a perfect ride was a day out at Bent Creek in Asheville, NC. I got done with a customer early and hit the trails to do my favorite loop…everything was perfect.

Share your comments below on what your perfect ride is…

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