Category Archives: Aikido

Mama never said not to go mountain biking alone

On a map, I can not completely say where I went yesterday, but I know what turns I took, and that I loved every second of the ride. Every moment of tasting the salt streaming onto my lips was beauty. Inhaling the air bound pollen and spores, reminded me of the first day I rolled into this town, exhausted and crusty and lost, and how I was enchanted. Feeling the adrenaline pumping, and the solitary, reflective nature of the trail was no small gift.

It didn’t start out perfect…the trail was too soft for my bike to negotiate, and I spent a lot of time pushing the dead weight of my bicycle as I contemplated the merits of continuing. Alas, at a road junction, I came by a group of three trail riders decked head to toe in spandex, “Rocking the skinny tires, I see?”

“Yeah, They don’t seem to be all that good of an idea, but that’s what I have. Don’t know if my bike can handle much of this.”

“Eh, I’ve done skinny tires in some crazy places. You’ll be alright.” One said, and we parted ways.

Oddly enough, after that, the trail evened out, and my thought that all mountain bikers must be maniacs were allayed. I fell into the groove of riding up and down the dips and turns, I stopped wondering where I was going. And as I rode there were nagging thoughts, “Don’t forget you were a beginner just an hour ago. You should not be out here alone…well my parents only told me not to go hiking alone, they never said not to go mountain biking alone…” The trail pulled me through the forest, and I am not someone to protest reveling in the sun and shade dappled paths of the mountains.

Ultimately the question of physics came, is it more dangerous to fall from 15-30 feet or be launched off of your bike at who knows what speed into the brush? (Because it eventually seemed inevitable that a crash would happen.) I have fallen on my head from 15′ in one of my old sports, and that, though most people can avoid, will happen from time to time. I feel, like possibly, the bike could have about the same amount of risk involved. And, yes, upon my return, on that loose terrain I was scared of earlier I was breaking in a narrow curvy space. Something got caught, and I found that my body was hurtled off of it’s bike. First the arm shot out, better break the arm rather than the face. Then I corrected my outstretched arm into a roll, like taking a fall in Aikido…Oddly, I  stood up, unharmed. Well, I mean, It felt one hell of a lot better than falling on my head from 15′. The ground was soft, and I rode my bike back in to civilization sporting some fresh sweat and dirt!


Muscle pose. Check out the dirt I picked up!


Winter Training

I found myself many hours before sunrise holding a bokken, shuddering. My muscles could not still from the strangeness of 5  am rhythmic slicing by the light of a single candle flame. Ich! Ni! San! Shi! Go!…each member of the dojo counting to ten ad infinitum. Slicing, disarmament, and breath work all, to put it simply, strange and challenging to someone who is unfamiliar with the way it all works.

After exiting that space, I drive to the place I can never quite find. As I walk from my car, a man huddled up under an open air shelter shouts something out at me-possibly asking if it’s 5 am yet-but I cant tell. He is rocking back and forth to restore blood to circulation, and it’s obvious my car has woken him up. Those twitchy motions…I’m surprised there aren’t others sleeping here, but it’s possibly a mile from down town, where many of the transients have taken to sleeping in front of city hall. When I noticed this a few weeks back, I had wondered if it was a get out of the rain matter or another political movement. For some, being transient is political others it is not…

Onward. The pique of morning comes in a reverse rainbow of color. First, the blue bandwidth rules the land, then purple, yellow tones and red become vibrant. Down on a watershed trail exploring the land until it bursts to light. As if if there is a question of what to do with time, the only answer, really is to be out in it. At 7:23 the first other starts singing.