Back Page: Sweet Release

By Rob Story
Photo by Chris Christie

“Hey, it’s awesome to to take this bike tour with you guys. For some reason, I usually find myself riding alone. My name's Uri, Uri Golden. Oh, and my middle name's Nate. People chuckle at that sometimes. I don't know why.

What are your names, guys? Cool.

"So, maybe this is kind of a weird question, but do you guys likie riding in water? I don't know about you, but I'm always thinking of riding down
streambeds. I love that feeling of moving seamlessly between land and water, like I'm some kind of saturated amphibian.

"I guess stream crossings are my favorite part of mountain biking. When I approach one, I shift to a lower gear and spin madly. I dip my tire into the swirling water and close my eyes, feeling a million droplets fan against my legs. As an old riding partner used to say, 'Hey, skin is waterproof.'

He was kind of weird, though. He was always borrowing my laptop and Googling the oddest things. I mean, am I supposed to know what a 'squirter' is? I got the strangest spam messages after he searched that.

"You ever ride in a rainforest? The way I see it, rainforests are the kidneys of the planet. The lush mountainsides they occupy snag weather systems, and then drink up all of the vapor from the clouds. Then the rainforests filter all that liquid into the system. Isn't it cool to pedal up to a rainforest puddle
and watch as water drip, drip, drips into it?

"How about Hawaii? You guys ever ride there? Did you know Hawaii's alphabet only has 12 letters? It's true. The vowels, plus H, K, L, M, N, W…and what's the other one? Oh, yeah, P.

"I once pedaled to this secret 50-foot waterfall on Maui, where the water was clear and sparkling and fell musically into a supernaturally round pool. And Kauai is crazy! I rode a trail there a few years ago that was only a few sodden ridges away from the wettest place on earth—Kaawako Heiau, where the annual rainfall measures 451 inches. Think about all that moisture! The precipitation splashed down constantly. It cascaded into rivulets, which formed babbling brooks, which formed gurgling steams, which coursed down to the coast. I love the Hawaiian coast. The way the ocean holds back its urges forever before finally releasing waves and waves of liquid. It's so Freudian, don't you think?

"What about you? What terrain do you like to ri…what? You want the van to pull over again? Really? Dang, I like you dudes, but you got some seriously small bladders."