There is a Single Track Ahead

Beginner Lessons January 2018
By Spencer T. Smith

The brisk cold air of the eastern Tennessee winter is not quite so bone chilling or as spirit crushing as it is enough for this beginner rider to think twice before jumping on the pedals and heading off into the dark and gray forest.

I have been spending most of my off-season indoors reconnecting to myself or at least trying by doing a lot of yoga, reading, and writing. (Do I sound pretentious yet?) This inward focus has made me realize that it’s time to get out of my own head and get into something else; I don’t know maybe the woods or something. Spend too much time in one’s own head and it’s easy to start thinking abstractly. But what is abstract, really? What are we?

And with that, it’s time to go and do, get myself out, out of my tiny apartment, out of this town, and most of all out of my head; and into the open, into the wind. So to cope with my anxiety I wrote this poem.

There is a single track of rock and dirt straight ahead

There is a single track of rock and dirt straight ahead
There are no cars in the gravel behind me except mine
I stand next to a wooden sign that reads “trailhead”
Right foot on the pedal, left foot on the ground

Breathe in the pine, oak, and dirt
Feel the gentle whistle of the wind as it sways the trees
Grip the handle bars firm till my knuckles are white
Release and lean
Right leg contracts and pushes down
Back tire stiff to the ground
Left leg releases on the dirt and rock
I close my eyes I open them again

The world stops around me
As my left leg slowly moves to the pedal
My mind goes blank in pureness and focus
Left foot steadies, I blink, I breathe
I feel my cheeks redden as my breath becomes less steady
My legs are starting to harden and ache
Take the first turn
Lean hard left, back tire spins and tries not to loose grip

The single-track trail continues dirt and rock ahead
There are no clouds in the sky, just hot yellow sun
I stand on the pedals feel the air hit my face
Spring has come, I breathe, and mind goes black with pureness and focus


It might be cold outside, but just remember the spring comes soon.


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