31 May 2016

The Happiest

WORDS & PHOTOS x Zach Faulkner

I’ve become a Weekend Warrior, an after-work-KOM-killer, a just-for-the-love-of-it rider. After racing for over a decade, work and reality dropped in to have a chat – I decided it was time to get back to basics, and just chase the dirt ribbons on my own accord.

I rediscovered my love for riding during the lung-searing climbs seeking baseline fitness, chasing the rear wheels friends through rutted singletrack, and stopping to allow the heart rate to steady after revv-limiter descents.

It took two trips to New Zealand and living back at home for this big rediscovery to firmly set. So many years were spent training, and logging time on the bike just to prepare for the weekend of practice and racing.

But now, riding whenever, on whichever bike, for whatever duration, has shown me the light: it is the smile-factor that is the real prize, not the fastest time. Granted, on some group rides, we all light up Strava and see who is really dialed on the day, but even then, a sick drift or a random trail gap will always be the bigger point of conversation than the average speed of the ride.

When a ride ends with homemade cookies and a beverage in your buddy’s driveway, it is in that moment that I am reminded, “I ride bikes because it is what makes me happiest.”