The sky was as blue as I had ever seen it and the dirt trail felt like heaven waiting for me. I can accept it, there’s no way to romanticize a trail like this, they’re really just dirt or plain soil, and no, you can’t just go around calling them beautiful. But does heaven need to beautiful? Isn’t what we expect just glory and eternal peace? Alright, fine, maybe there’s nothing glorious about falling off a bike and ending up covered in dirt from head to toe. And there’s also nothing peaceful about this place, dozens of loud bikes moving at full speed, their engines roaring and mud flying everywhere… But it’s the place I love! No one can take that away from me.
It’s that untamed passion what I feel lightning up my heart as I wait in line along with everybody else, staring up at a person wearing a mask, just waiting for them to give us the signal. There are almost twenty other people with me, we’re all wearing our helmets, and we have no idea who the other people are. That’s the magic of it all.
I am part of a small team of motorcyclists, and that team is related to a bigger team, which is connected to an even bigger team. That big link has pulled a few motorcyclists from all over the country to race against each other. What is the draw of the event? No one knows who these people are. Could be our neighbors and friends, could be a complete stranger, could be the current world champion or a person riding for the first time.
I fill my lungs with air, relax my shoulders and smile just in time for the green signal. All of us speed up into the trail. Our bikes roar and I can feel my engine going wild, and this feels as if we were riding on the backs of feral beasts.
However, we are not moving with the predatory hunger of a real, wild animal. As I said, I started with a smile. I can only imagine, but I could swear that everyone here is feeling some similar level of excitement. In fact, I’m sure, at least, that everyone here is having the times of their lives. We love this situation.
There aren’t many rules, we try to follow the course, we try to stay on our bikes, and we try to reach the finish line – “try” being the keyword. I’m sure there haven’t been five minutes when the first guy falls off his bike. And that’s when the idea gets to me: can I guess who these people are? I’m not only an experienced motorcyclist, but I am also really a fan of the sport – I should know most people who are involved enough with the community to be here. So I look at the guy that fell. Is it a girl? Wouldn’t it be funny if that person already on the ground was the world champion? If it was an inexperienced kid, I hope those were the best five minutes of their life.
Then I get close to another person, and we start riding side by side for a while, competing against ourselves, trying to outdo each other. What if it’s my mentor behind that helmet? This surely feels like an important encounter. It’s impossible to know, and I’m sure everyone is wearing new or borrowed helmets, bikes, clothes. I painted my bike for this event, I bought a new helmet, and all my clothes and extra protection are borrowed from a few different friends, to throw people off. Now that I think about it, I’ve also recently let my friends borrow some of my things; wouldn’t it be fun if this stranger was my best friend?
My thoughts distract me long enough for the other person to get the lead and almost throw me off balance. So that’s how we’re playing… I speed up and start doing what I love the most. I ride my bike with passion, and I try to be as creative as possible. I look around, and everyone is making as much of a mess as I do. We are like a human-made tornado. Just as the thought pop into my mind I notice two other participants in what it looks like to be a fight.
They’re swerving against each other, getting dangerously close, sweeping up unnecessary amounts of dirt in each other’s faces, it’s entertaining to watch, but I worry they’ll take it too far. Effectively, playing at being clowns has its consequences. Both of them attempt to scare off the other one, getting too close, at the same time…
Resulting in their bikes crashing and two bodies flying up in the air.
Alarmed, I stop and get off my bike as fast as possible, and I see many other participants doing the same. The emergencies team finds us soon enough, and for some miracle both drivers are alive, and well, nothing’s broken – except for the secrecy of the event. With all the commotion people started taking off their helmets and then the trail became a drama.
“Susan! I thought you were visiting your mother!” – It turns out the drivers that crashed were a middle-aged married couple.
“Dad? You said you didn’t know how to ride a bike!” – An angry teenager says.
“Yes. I also said you weren’t allowed to ride one.” – The flustered and stern father answers.
I’m disappointed in not seeing any real friends, just a few surprised familiar faces. However, I’m pleased to discover I wasn’t wrong – the person that fell on the first five minutes was the current world champion.