Friday, September 17, 2010


I rode my Inbred SS this morning. And although infrequent and often testing (it would be less testing if I rode it more often) I do enjoy our jaunts together. The circuit has a number of single-track options available but ultimately I have an expectation of how the ride should turn out. And the last section is always a steep and technical run. As indicated in my previous posts, this last run completes the ride.

Well today I was disappointed. The wonderful wood elves that do a great job of maintaining the trails (as well as creating new ones) have decided to manicure my last run. Yes I’m aware that other people (hikers, runners, other riders, and the occasional bush fireman) use the track. It is after-all meant to be a firebreak and would benefit from a smoother profile. Nonetheless instead of picking my way around the ruts and babyheads, bouncing through what I cannot avoid, and sliding a couple of turns at the edge of my limited ability, I found myself floating and frustrated on an undulating gravel road. There were a few loose patches but the occasional skid doesn’t quite make up for it.

I was once told by an ex-girlfriend that “expectation is the mother of disappointment.” And she’s right. Disappointment arises from a failure to deliver an expected outcome. In a more educational & less emotionally-charged environment I was given a good example of this: the two biggest complaints against McDonald’s (the fast food outlet) are 1. slow service and 2. the cleanliness (or lack thereof) of their toilets. The patron of McDonald’s does not expect gourmet food (although I am partial to any slab of cooked cow between two pieces of bread) but does expect that the service will be fast and that the toilets are clean. Complaints about food quality is the burden of the fancy, well-regarded restaurant. The circuitous statement that disappointment arises from expectation explains the counter-intuitive finding that places/ people/ products with the best reputations will generate the most complaints about their reputable quality. It’s all about the expectation. And, more importantly, how that expectation is managed.

But back to cycling. There is another word for small, gravel-like stones on a steep slope. It’s called “scree”. Rain is expected this weekend and should do a good job of washing out some of the loose landfill. Add to that the daily passage of slipping, sliding hiking boots and spinning bicycle tyres attempting to cut some traction into the dirt and we should start to get some exposure of the underlying pre-manicured terrain. Over the next couple of months I expect I will get my technical run back.

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