Have Dirt, Will Travel


Have Dirt, Will Travel Written By Mark Sirek, Photos By Scott Haraldson

Post-Ride Gratitude

This riding vacation of yours has reached its twilight. At least the pedaling part has. The taste is bittersweet, especially given the fact that riding was the first thing that came to mind when you signed on to this endeavor. But, as you and your friends roll together down the last bits of singletrack, you are reminded that your bike was not the only ingredient in this highly addictive concoction.

From the moment it sinks in that the “end” is nigh, there begins a winding down process. In your mind, you’re rehearsing what almost kind of sounds like an acceptance speech—“What an honor it was to be here! First, I’d like to thank the dirt—sorry, I’m just really emotional right now…”

Somehow, your group here collectively finds merit in duking it out in the last 500 yards of the trail, and, with any luck, there will be a hill to sprint up. Or an optimally placed bottleneck that, if missed, will be the last thing you remember seeing before what will be referred to as “The Incident.”

But really, why wouldn’t you go for it?

Your fingers can barely pull your brake levers. Your knees could buckle forward. Or backward. At any time. You might barf if you win, but damn if it won’t be the biggest of all wins.

When you all finally get back to the car, you try to keep your composure, knowing that you’re not really sure you won’t go into permanent paralysis from simply trying to lift your leg over your saddle. It’s a happy, crushing pain—another riding holiday to validate your reason for existence, immortalize your bike, add another weld over all the things that brought everyone here together. These friends of yours are the best in the history of peoplekind, and the collective post-ride glow is proof.

You have a taste in your mouth that could only come from chewing on an old leather boot. It’s time to bring out the cooler—the second item you had on your pack list after “bike”—one last time. You grab hold of a beer like you found Excalibur, lost for centuries at the bottom of an icy pond. There are no words to describe its medicinal properties. With a little digging, you see there are still some Mike and Ikes and pickle-flavored Old Dutch potato chips left from the last gas station stop before you started this epic riding adventure.

That should give you just the amount of strength required to escape from your riding clothes…and head back again for one more final meal at what has now been established as the best burrito joint in the world.

For trips and times like these, there’s no comparison. No replacement. Each one carries weight. Each one provides complete nourishment. Each one is an excuse to start dreaming and scheming again as soon as you get home.