Motivation is a fickle beast. When it's present, anything's possible. Dawn patrols, mid-day jaunts, night rides, all-day weekend missions—time on the bike seems to somehow fit perfectly into our complicated, over-committed schedules and the days fly by in a blissful blur of dirt.
But when inspiration fades, even suiting up for the simplest of rides can seem like an insurmountable task, leading to a spiral of inactivity that can take weeks, or months, of mental anguish to break. In fact, many of the letters we get from you, our readers, recount gratitude in finally riding again after years of being off the bike due to lapses that started inadvertently with an injury, family commitments or work demands.
Maybe that's why we're all so drawn to stories of people who succeed when everything is stacked against them—if it's difficult to find motivation even when there's no reason not to, is that why it feels so much more meaningful when someone or somewhere pushes beyond the limits, and finds a way around every obstacle that blocks a smooth road to success?
Take Rajesh 'RJ' Magar, the Nepalese downhill national champion who, for many reasons, should never have been a national champion once, let alone four times, or ever even experienced a mountain bike as a recreational tool. But once he did, RJ's determination dwarfed the many reasons he shouldn't succeed, and he eventually rose the ranks despite a lack of adequate equipment, financial freedom or familial support. Now RJ is facing the next big hurdle in his racing career, and if the past is any indication, it's one he will surely tackle with grit and moxie. Joey Schusler and Ben Page tell RJ's fascinating story in words and photos in the July issue of the magazine, which accompany Schusler's already-award-winning film "RJ Ripper," also out this month.
The ability to rise above the odds isn't limited to people; places can too surpass expectations. One such location is New Brunswick, Canada. While British Columbia is practically synonymous with limitless amazing trail, the Great White North's eastern provinces tend to slide into singletrack obscurity. But, as told by writer Matt Coté and senior photographer Bruno Long in "Acadian Driftwood,” the dedication of the local club in Fredericton has mobilized a mountain bike movement, with dozens of miles of newly built trail in Fundy National Park and lift-served, Gravity Logic-manicured jump lines at Sugarloaf Bike Park.
No one is claiming New Brunswick as the next Whistler Valley, but aspirations are high, and with the right motivation, anything can happen.
Also in this issue, read a full review on the Yeti SB100, a bike at the forefront of a new era in short-travel 29ers, and find out why dropper posts, not dopers, are saving XC as Travis Engel writes about the changing face of elite racing. And senior editor Ryan Palmer (AKA ‘Mavic Boy’) reflects on the legacy of Mavic’s Crossmax wheel system in the latest “Matter.”