So I have this little story that has been brewing in the back of my head since I went down St. George for two days of dirt and beer.
Sunday, the group decided not to ride. Â I on the other hand would take any free day and opportunity to ride some new trails. Â So I loaded up the Gooseberry Mesa Trail gpx that Dave Harris sent me (THANKS! – I would have been so lost without it!) and after we all had breakfast, I drove out there by myself.
I get there, there are a few folks hanging around at the rest room, then I suit up and head out. Â Having never been out this way, I pay pretty close attention to the GPS. Â I was glad I did – I would have probably gotten pretty lost without it.
With the route finding less than easy, I ended up after the first 15 minutes releasing all expectations of “training” and left it as a mental day, a chance to just ride. Â If you don’t do that often, I <in my best ferris bueller voice> highly recommend it.
We I got to one of the outcrops, I spent about half an hour pretty much alone except the 3 Germans that rode past contemplating my life, issues, hangups and situation. Â It was excellent time and the weather and scenery couldn’t have been better.
I rode on, refreshed and happy. Â Met a nice couple from Crested Butte also there for the first time. Â I told them how trail 401 is probably in my opinion of the top 3 of all time anywhere. Â They comment on how nice it was to be able to see everywhere from anywhere on the trail. Â Ironic to me as one of the best features of trail 401 is that you are miles from home, and cannot see your destination. Â Three ridge lines and many miles of downhill single track separate you from the real world.
But back that the courtesy part.
The Germans were courteous. “Hi” and “Allo”. Â The couple from Crested Butte were courteous and chatted about their lives and mine.
My next encounter was not so courteous.
I took a wrong turn next and ended up on the double track that b-lines (where does that come from) straight to the car. Â After a bit of that, a group pops out of a side trail I hadn’t noticed. Â I stopped to get some info on what/where/how that trail connects back in as it wasn’t on the trail Dave gave me.
I pull with a “Hey, how’s it going” trail greeting. Â Get a general “Guud” from the group. Â Then the one guy in the group on a Kona singlespeed says “Hey, aren’t you from Salt Lake? Â I am on a SS at this point and think cool, someone nice who apparently knows me, but I don’t know him. Â I respond that I am in fact from SL, UT.
To which he then response “You’re a fucking asshole who almost ran me over several times in Dry Creek”.
His buddy jumps in and quasi-jokingly says, “Hey, there are seven of us, do you want us to kick his ass?”
The KonaBoy tries to quote me the IMBA rules of the trail and that downhill traffic has to yield to uphill traffic.
Which of course I know, and if you have ever ridden with me, I am very COURTEOUS. Â I have and use a bell religiously. Â I yield to uphill traffic. Â I am polite to all trail user and usually TALK to them “How’s it going?” Â “Have a nice hike.” etc. etc.
But Dry Creek is an interesting place. Â It IS in fact wide enough in most places for uphill as well as downhill traffic to continue without stopping while passing each other. Â Slowing down is in fact courteous. Â Slowing down on a trail that can be eight feet wide is in fact yielding. Â Continuing on a path that allows me to pass the uphill traffic without them having to deviate from their chosen line, to me is in fact the spirit of the IMBA’s rules of the trail.
Nowhere does it say that you have to come to a complete stop. Â The reason is, many trails are such that it is unnecessary and they clearly have enough foresight to not want all trail users come to a complete stop every time they see another user.
The point in choosing a good word like YIELD is that it allows users in the situation to use appropriate COURTEOUSY to handle all encounters.
Courtesy I feel that I have always shown while riding Dry Creek.
But what really boggles my mind about my experience on Gooseberry is this.
KonaBoy didn’t yell at me on the trail in Salt Lake. Â If I did it multiple times to him, you would think he would have said something by at least the second or third time, like maybe “Hey! Â Slow down! Â That is too fast for my comfort level!”
To which I gladly would have obliged. Â Really.
Probably apologized on the spot.
But instead, he let this notion that I was an asshat fester inside him until many moons later when he had the support of his group of friends in a far away town he addresses me and calls me names.
So he buried this animosity inside him until he came to a situation where he felt supported enough to confront it.
I know I am not always living in the present, but if the rest of the world is living this far in the past, wow.
So, if you see me out on a trail, and you feel that I am not being courteous to you in how I pass you. Â I apologize. Â And I hope that you will stop me in the moment and tell me that you were uncomfortable with my pass.
I would not be angry, I would be courteous and appreciative that you were able to tell me in the moment I made you uncomfortable.
And I promise to do the same.