Metaphorically Mountain Biking


I started riding Star Wars a little over 10 years ago. Although I didn't live in the area at the time, I was

riding in Santa Cruz because of a couple of locals. Star Wars is a trail that cuts through the UCSC

campus. It's a fun, curving singletrack that slices through the redwoods and florescent ferns while

meandering through the campus. This trail is one of the reasons why I fell in love with Santa Cruz.


Riding down Star Wars is like that scene in the Return of the Jedi where Luke and et al are being

chased through the Ewoks' home moon. Lush ferns, and monstrously-big moss-covered trees are

transplanted straight from that fictional place and planted here, on a well-worn, yet short trail in Santa

Cruz. It's appropriate that the trail is called Star Wars, and I know every twist, turn, and fallen log on

that trail.


I remember one specific left turn, where the trail immediately swerves right, following a well-worn

chicane. The trail veered to the right because of a big rocky outcropping. I always followed the trail

that went around the rock obstacle. By rote, I pass the preternaturally green ferns clapping their

approval, steering immediately to the right of the obstacle, continuing to follow the trail. But, today is

different, because I then immediately change direction, and head towards the rocks.


The quickest way from point A to point B is a straight line. Hence, my change in direction. I feel my

front shock dip as I hit the front of one of the rocks. Instead of stopping though, somehow I launch

over, and therefore, further, down the trail. I had aimed directly towards my obstacle and not only

overcame it, but went further than anticipated while blazing my own trail. All it took was a change in

perception, and the willingness to speed at a literal obstacle in my path.


Any time I ride Star Wars, I now hit my line, which once was an obstacle on my path. While most

folks still swerve around those rocks, I learned that pushing ones' self at high speeds straight at one's

obstacle could result in furthering one's goal with unanticipated additional benefits. I've watched this

trail get wider over the 10 years that I've ridden it, but I will always look for the most direct route

down—which is down the middle—through the roots, ruts, and rocks. Applying this lesson to my life,

metaphorically-speaking—I believe that I will further my life's goals with as-yet unseen additional

benefits. And maybe just bypass some rutty trouble in the process.


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Shine has been featured in Decline, Dirt Rag, Cycle California, the Santa Cruz Metro, and the Granby Drummer. Someday when there's more time we will have links to all of those fine things.