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PMBAR 2013

I believe there can be something said about trouping through an almost but not quite rain, pushing and riding a bicycle over terrain for a near twelve hours and covering something in the range of seventy miles all of which taking place below fifty degrees. One of the things that can be said about that, is this. All of the ingredients for a pretty miserable day are there, but baking that cake is a choice. Another thing that can be said, is enduring those conditions for long enough presents quite the platform for reflection. And it was reflection that allowed enough separation of mind and body to forge on.

We all know the feeling of hanging out with one person a bit too much, you know to the point where their subtleties begin to annoy you. Well that is not what happened with my partner. In PMBAR you relish your partners company. Your partner becomes your only reference point of sanity. They become your sole example of normal and acceptable human behavior. “let’s climb four thousand feet over that mountain to find a gravel road to nowhere” “Sure”, you tell yourself. If my only reference of human behavior thinks it’s a good idea that must just be what humans do in this situation “let’s go over that mountain.”

The person I spent so much time with that I no longer cared for their company was my-self. A long hard day of arguing with one’s self is as mentally fatiguing as the elements are to the externals. The coping mechanism I created was sort of a mental turtle shell method. Out of the shell there is cold and physical pain, knees hurt, hands are tired. Back in the shell, where I’m left to deal with my-self. “ Self, go faster, lugs work now, legs turn over those pedals”. “No self I can’t”. In the shell you are operating a machine from a distance. When I would become so frustrated with the inoperability of the machine I would come back out of the shell into the elements. Back into the sting of the wind, back to the pounding terrain. This cyclic onslaught was how I managed until I was able to locate a more lucid state. The reflection state.

In this state you find yourself dwelling on questions like , what is the significance of bark? It is so significant. In this state you become water. You and your bike are a river and the terrain is nothing but a thousand waterfalls you must crash over on your way to the ocean. It was in this state that I decided I honestly and whole heartedly love PMBAR. It is the true game of mountain biking and we were playing it to its satisfaction.

A closed course is no longer mountain biking. Mountain biking is navigation. It is a thinking person’s game. It is managing your food and liquids. Mounting biking is freedom, it is finding routes and executing them. And as you execute them you are constantly making deals with your terrain. Terrain I will muster effort for elevation, intern you will give me speed. You negotiate your way through rocks and roots so you might charge the creek crossing they guard with enough umph to make it through. Mountain biking is being able to locate that turtle shell so you have it on reserve next time. The reason I love PMBAR is because PMBAR is mountain biking.

I’m not one to get too sappy about sponsors or one to overly geek over product. I would rather ride than count grams. Having said that I’ve had failed PMBARs in the past and this year was a success. All seven checkpoints were completed. I believe a large part of that is because I now have access to the right combination of equipment. Thank you to Back Country Research, all of the things I needed to keep close to my bike stayed close to my bike, and all of the things I needed to get to were easily gotten to. I don’t know if I had any punctures and I didn’t need to know, Thank you Stan’s No Tubes. I began with air in my tires and finished with air in my tires. I would also like to attribute my positive inflation to Maxxis. Not only were the tires I used rugged and voluptuous enough for Pisagh but the tread design of the Ardent, Crossmark combo well suited the mixed conditions we encountered. Don’t feel left out Dick Bruceman. ProGold’s Prolink X-treme lube kept my 1x10 setup nearly squeak free for the entire, near twleve hours of trial.


Some shots of Aaron and Nico from PMBAR:

photo by Brad O Allen

photo by Eric Weaver

Somewhere in the middle of our 12 hours on a bike, I did proclaim, "PMBAR is my favorite race!" It was shit sloppy and painful, but this is what we came here for. Good job on all 7 checkpoints Zac and Dicky!