Flow, Failure, Redemption

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by neduro, Jun 10, 2007.

  1. neduro

    neduro Addict

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2003
    Oddometer:
    12,277
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, CO
    [​IMG]

    The trail is a stream of lessened entropy pouring through the landscape, sometimes fast, sometimes slow, sometimes smooth, sometimes rough. To follow it is not hard, but is reactive and slow. To lead it is impossible- it defines what can be done, not you. To flow with it is the trick, going fast where it allows, slow where it does not, anticipating the turns and bumps along the way and planning for them, instead of recovering from them.

    The flow never really pauses. Always, there is possibility ahead of your tires, always, it is your job to anticipate and execute. If you take time to think, you've lost- information takes too long to process consciously, and the trail keeps winding while your head goes straight. An 8" wide trail doesn't take long to cross when your paths diverge, and to either side lies chaos. We all venture here from time to time, sometimes we escape unharmed, sometimes with disastrous effect. We learn to fear chaos, and we learn that thinking about it takes us there. By forcing us to remain in the flow, acting without thinking, the trail physically enforces a mental discipline, a near zen state of presence yet detachment. Achieving this state makes it compelling, staying in it is almost religious.

    This is a story about a quest for flow. Or, depending on your viewpoint, it's a story about a slobbering zen addict who can't get enough and can't quit trying for more. It's also about a search for understanding, but we'll get to that in due time.
    #1
  2. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    66,982
    Bring it on Ned :thumb

    :lurk:lurk
    #2
  3. Jeff620RXC

    Jeff620RXC Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2004
    Oddometer:
    567
    Location:
    Hutchinson, KS USA
    :lurk
    #3
  4. Teeds

    Teeds Don Quixote

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,572
    Location:
    427 miles ENE of Orla Texas
    OMG, great intro!!!

    :clap :clap :clap

    :lurk
    #4
  5. GalacticGS

    GalacticGS Motorcyclist Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2006
    Oddometer:
    4,818
    Location:
    Camas, WA
    Sounds like we'll be getting the zen of dirt !

    Looking forward to it...
    #5
  6. dirtrider

    dirtrider Dusty Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2003
    Oddometer:
    3,365
    Location:
    Kalispell, Montana
    Wish I was in that exact spot right now. :bluduh
    #6
  7. MaddBrit

    MaddBrit Now officially a Yank.

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2004
    Oddometer:
    28,024
    Location:
    Allen, Tejas. Blissful state...
    :lurk
    #7
  8. flyingbeard

    flyingbeard Long timer

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,135
    Location:
    Ann Arbor, MI
    OK, I'm Hooked:lurk
    #8
  9. GnarlyKarle

    GnarlyKarle aka: ici_moto

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,265
    Location:
    Colorado
    :lurk

    ahh yeah.

    -dk
    #9
  10. Hair

    Hair Talking Head

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2003
    Oddometer:
    17,071
    Location:
    Northern New Mexico
    That looks like a fast section. I'm guessing a very fast section. :thumb
    #10
  11. Walker Sky Ranch

    Walker Sky Ranch Riderdown.org

    Joined:
    May 30, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,346
    Location:
    Socialist Republic of Idyllwild
    Nedingo
    I cant wait to hear about your last few weeks, Soon we will get together to find flow once again! or brown nipples, which ever comes first!
    #11
  12. FEJ

    FEJ Durka Durka

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2006
    Oddometer:
    131
    Location:
    Encinitas, CA
    If I am not in that flow I am not having fun:evil!



    :ear:lurk
    #12
  13. MountainMan

    MountainMan accelerating

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2002
    Oddometer:
    4,437
    Location:
    Athens, Greece
    :lurk

    Bring it.


    :D
    #13
  14. neduro

    neduro Addict

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2003
    Oddometer:
    12,277
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, CO
    There are a lot of places this story could logically begin, but I'll go back to the beginning, to give a sense of perspective. I first rode a dirtbike in late summer, 2000.

    From the very beginning, it felt exactly right. I loved everything about it- the people, the machine, the exploration, the act of riding, the combination of risk and reward, everything about riding off-road was EXACTLY what I'd been waiting to find, without knowing I was looking for it, without knowing it was missing from my life.

    I like to joke that I lead a balanced life- I enjoy both dualsports AND dirtbikes. My mom never laughs at that joke. :bluduh But discovering this passion has driven most decisions I've made since, and I can't think of a better way to experience the world than by being terminal scooter trash.

    As the addiction gets deeper, the rides get longer, the pace gets faster, a question begins to form. We all have the question somewhere inside us, some of us choose to try to answer it, some do not. Both approaches are equally valid. For me, I had to know- when I think something is hard, is it actually hard, or do I just have more to learn? When I think I rode something well, did I really or did I just not know what is possible? When I think I'm going fast, am I really going fast, or merely less slow than usual?

    The question is self-apparently unanswerable in any absolute sense. Instead, the approach I take is to notice that most of the top guys at a national are pretty close to one another, relative to the range of speeds possible, and seem to have some consensus on whether a race was hard or easy. So, the front of a national pack is a fairly unbiased measure of what is fast, what is hard, what is good. To me, that's the line in the sand.

    Racers talk about the drive to win. I'm missing that component. I have no real desire to beat anyone, but I do want to understand what the top guys are doing, to scale my own judgment against a larger yardstick, to gain some perspective on what is possible and where I stand in the mix. And it's impossible to get this understanding from anywhere but behind the handlebars- you've got to get out there, give it your best, and take the feedback racing provides, which however brutal it may be, is guaranteed to be honest.

    So for me, racing is internal, it's about seeing where I stand relative to that arbitrary line in the sand, when I can even see it... racing is not about where I stand relative to others, at least I try not to let it be that. Although, being dead last is never particularly enjoyable, and it's nice to beat your friends.

    The real key, the races that feel the best to me, are those where I exceed my own expectations. Sometimes it's a merely a finish (like a first attempt at long-distance desert racing), sometimes it's a time (like getting into the 14's at the Pikes Peak Hillclimb), sometimes it's a position (I wonder if I can ever win one of these damn things) and sometimes it's standing close enough to the line in the sand to feel like you understand, for a moment in time, what the guys at the front are doing, even if you can't do it quite as well as they can.
    #14
  15. chain

    chain Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2002
    Oddometer:
    4,794
    Location:
    Central IL
    :wave Hiya ned, Sounds like a great trip was had.
    #15
  16. Walker Sky Ranch

    Walker Sky Ranch Riderdown.org

    Joined:
    May 30, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,346
    Location:
    Socialist Republic of Idyllwild
    I have come to really enjoy it!! It is an aquired taste, I prefer it over not finishing!
    Great read Ned! Keep it coming!
    #16
  17. Hayduke

    Hayduke ///SAFETY THIRD/// Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2004
    Oddometer:
    46,643
    Location:
    Salida, coloRADo
    Excellent, Ned. Keep it coming....

    :lurk
    #17
  18. workerant

    workerant SpaƟ im Dreck

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,918
    Location:
    10 Miles North of Deal's Gap
    :ear

    As a former club-level roadracer, your perspective on why you race is very interesting to me. For me, there was also a large component of living up to other peoples' expectations of me.

    I'm looking forward to reading more. :lurk
    #18
  19. Gasdoctor

    Gasdoctor .......

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,459
    Location:
    Lone Rock, WI
    Cool, keep it coming!!
    #19
  20. C-Dub

    C-Dub Clean Air Hog

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2005
    Oddometer:
    795
    Location:
    Littleton, Colorado
    I like the way you write Ned, I too, live for the flow. Gary Semics (famous old school motocrosser and trainer of many MX stars)calls it "total flow concentration", I call it getting to the point where you feel like two eyeballs and a brain floating above the terrain effortlessly. Damn I love that feeling, too bad being old and outta shape seems to take it away so quickly. It used to last for two long motos every week! Getting old sucks (in some respects, anyway), but aint life great when you got a scooter under you? Are we lucky humans or what!?

    Looking forward to more sheer profundity!:lurk
    #20