After a long and often hot summer, when the rain starts to hit the parched earth and the temps make standing still uncomfortable, the trails start to slowly become silent. I think most riders must be like bears hibernating for the winter only to reemerge the following spring. I guess in that sense I am less like a bear and more like a chef using the produce of the season to create something fresh and epic.
My winter digging is similar to making a nourishing meal, it takes time but the reward is soul satisfying. After smashing our countless laps on the trails the previous riding season I have narrowed down my appetite for what I want to dig. But good trails are not about one persons vision so I start chatting over the ideas with the boys and crystalising the concepts. And there it is, like a parasitic tape worm the concept eats at me - fuelling my hunger to get it done.
As I start those first swings of the pick the excitement of having something new to shred is palpable. I would love to say that the excitement lasts all winter, but dirt is heavy and winters are cold. There can be day's when the pile of clay I am stacking doesn't seem to get any bigger. Then when it all feels too much, one of the boys rocks up with a six pack of stout and a tall story to tell. I swear that two guys, some shit talking, and a six pack of stout can sling more dirt in an afternoon then one person can in a week.
Soon the wet becomes normal and the piles start to resemble a rough shape of what is to come. Compounding each shovel seems to make a difference and it drives me on the most basic level, I know I am getting closer to that nourishment I need. By now heading out when the rain is coming down steady and strong doesn't even seem hard; in fact I seem thrive off it. Just like the rain encourages new growth for the spring ahead it also encourages our ideas to become reality, new features growing out of the ground, ready for the sunshine to come.
And just when the stoke is peaking I enter the final stage of the build: time to mint this fucker out. I love just slapping and carving a feature to a point were even an anal retentive perfectionist would be proud. Finally, when it's just stupid to do any more work on it cause she looks so nice, I stand back and feast my eye's on what I am soon to shred.
It doesn't matter if your a well weathered trail hessian or a soft-hand spud; grab a raincoat, wrap your hands around a shovel and get stoked on what you can create.
Winter is the goods!!!