For a sparkling couple of years in the mid-nineties I joined a band of subterranean pilgrims exploring the caves of Southeastern Montana and surrounding environs. The title of this post was our cave team motto. The general principle was that if a human body could squeeze into a seam in the ground then somebody (usually indie-mood rocker Herman Jolly) was obligated to press as far into the crack as possible and push the sum total of explored passage- even if only another few yards. With grim and stern rebuke, Cave Leader Landon would block our exit and shake his head solemnly from side to side explaining to nervous pilgrims, “you know the rules- all leads must be checked.”
Now, I am not not known for being the fastest bull in the woods, or the big airiest waterbug on the trail. I haven’t ridden the To Hell and Back 90 miles of pain. I don’t participate in the Southern Series Points Races. I don’t ride cyclocross. I’m not much for road racing either. In fact, in cycling my singular claim to fame other than this blog is this simple observation; I have ridden more trails than many of you.
That’s right, I said it. I don’t bushwack across the forest, or establish new urban jump lines. I tend to ride on the established and known mountain biking trails of the southeastearn United States. Boring, I know.
Due to my work I end up spending much time behind the wheel of a rental vehicle (preferably a minivan)at large in the Deep South. I find gems like the Butts Park trail outside of Jackson, MS. I ride dead-end out and backs mentioned on www.mtbreview.com from 1997. The old K-mart trail in West Palm. Balm Boyette near Tampa. I am patron saint of misfit trails. Even when they suck, and they usually do, I get a thrill from knowing my tread has creased the earth in these forgotten corners.
Of course, I also hit the Varsity venues like Tsali, Oak Mountain, Dauset, and Santos with annual regularity.
I say this to illustrate that enough is enough. I have known of this for far too long to have not been there.
All leads must be checked.