Better Than Any Drug
By Jason Harrod
Saturday morning. Dark AM. French press coffee. Slippers. I check the clock; 6:45 AM. Time to kit up. Pablo will be here shortly for our 7:00 AM depart. Two minutes late, he is always two minutes late. The garage is cold, shiver cold. The thermometer says 38 degrees. Layer, baby, layer. The Fisher SuperFly 100 is ready. I am ready.
The sky shifts from black to bruise blue. The sun is coming but neither its light nor its warmth has arrived yet. That’s okay. The first climb is only a short half mile away – that usually does the trick. Pablo arrives and without a word we are on our way, on our way to the Mother of mountain biking – Mount Tamalpais.
Pablo and I have known each other for thirty years. Yes, we are that old. We have ridden together for thirty years but over the years the opportunity to ride together has dwindled with our growing responsibilities as adults and that is OK; it simply allows us to relish our rides together all that much more.
Our smiles grow wide as we ride over hill and dale to the entrance of the playground that is Mount Tam. Up we go. We spin at a good clip and chat and catch up and warm up on the nine mile ascent to East Peak. The sun is arching higher in the sky and the air seems to warm the higher we ride. The visible washes from the recent rains have cleared out a decent line in certain portions of the trail, though that by no means makes the rocky trail any easier – just different. Outside of one stop to remove my vest, my outer layer, before we know it we are at the top – of the dirt – and then we begin the road ascent to the peak. Then the road bends lower here and takes us down. We plunge toward the true descent – Rock Springs Fire Road. We know the tack will be there, Hero Dirt will soon be had. At the crest that marks the beginning of the dirty drop we water up. Pablo takes the lead. He is a man on a mission and it takes all I have to keep his wheel. We eat water-bars like candy bars, rail turns like slot cars, hop ditches and rain washes like we are cutting in line. At the branch to Rocky Ridge, the next leg of our stellar outing, we hang a left turn and it’s like we were on the moon. In a mere thirty feet we have traveled from Redwood and Manzanita groves to miniature frothy green forests and trails inlaid with shiny, rainbow serpentine rock. We roll across the moonscape then continue to drop at a rapid speed to the dam. Damn! Here the sun is high and the already stellar day looks even more promising. And believe me when I tell you there is not a lot of talking as we make our way down the next two legs of dirt floating and flying and back to civilization, traffic, families and hanging up the sleds.
Back at my house, our meeting ground, three hours later, muddy and wearing ear to ear grins Pablo looks at me, shakes his head and says, “Dude, that shit is better than any drug.” I nod and try to think of something to say but there is nothing that hasn’t already been said. I think to myself, ‘Indeed, my friend. I couldn’t agree more, brother, I couldn’t agree more’.
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