Fear and mountain biking

I do a lot of things that I find scary. I don't know if I'm an adrenaline junky or if I just like to challenge myself. Either way, I like to push my limits, and have definitely done things that weighed on the side of 'too scary'.  Somehow, across the deep pit of fear spans a narrow bridge of euphoria. So the trick is just crossing correctly.

Downhill mountain biking is a pretty pure distillation of most things I'm scared of when I mountain bike. Steep slopes, jumps, technical sections - all supposed to be taken at top speed. It's definitely great practice to feel more in control on the trails. On Sunday, Sophie, Andreas and I went to Deux Alpes, a large ski area about 60 km from Grenoble that becomes a large bike park in the summer.

Andreas is ready for a big day.

The trails at Deux Alpes have a different character than the smaller bike parks around Grenoble. They are heavily built up, with lots of graded turns, small jumps and Northshores, where many of the bike parks around Grenoble have smaller, more technical trails that allow for less speed. At Deux Alpes, you can go fast. As fast as you want.

Sophie in the turns
Deux Alpes is also nothing short of spectacular. Three thousand meter peaks soar up all around you. The landscape is so vast, the slopes so steep that it's difficult to take pictures that do it justice.

Small bikers on a vast slope
A whole day riding downhill trails is a good way to build some confidence. I found myself going faster and understanding better how to jump and land correctly. Casper can take a jump or two!

That said, I'm always surprised how tiring downhill biking is, both physically and mentally. It's much more static (less pedalling) than trail biking, and your head gets tired from trying to process all the stuff flying past you. Good thing we're in France and eclairs are readily available. In our second lunch break, we snarfed two each. Yum!

Sophie finishes her real food so she can have an eclair.
To another good day spent on the bike!

- The Wild Bazilchuk