Of which dave realises some truths about his true love:

I've come to the conclusion that my sacrament to mountain biking is not a love as pure as i once believed. There is a third partner. One whom i'd always been subconsciously aware of, yet not realised just how passionately deep it ran as an affair alongside my seemingly integral relationship with mountain biking.

The identity of this third consort? Exploration.

It is with sadness i have to admit, i don't think i truly enjoy mountain biking if it isn't married with some sense of exploration or adventure. The more i think about it though, i realise that this has always been the case, and the reason why i never followed other kids into dirt jumping and the likes. Where i first started mountain biking; dirt jumping, dual and 4x meant i stayed in a small corner of the forest. I wanted to explore it all, find my own jumps and singletrack. Stuff that would change with nature, not because someone with a shovel decided 'this jump needs to be bigger'. And thats exactly how it is today - nothing has changed eight years later.

It can be as simple as the intense green of the bracken in Snidley Moor woods in the summer, or majestic as the towering crags of the Cullins on Skye. Mountain biking just wouldn't inspire me in the same way without that humble admiration and the sense i was exploring somewhere special. Its the reason why natural trails are so much more enjoyable than their man-made counterparts yet i still love some of the trail centres. The Marin trail is a brilliant example; each corner exposes a stunning vista of endless mountains or once managed forest, now claimed back by the wilds. Views i doubt i could ever grow weary of.

Therefore, while out biking the other day, it was with regret that i had to tear my gaze from Howden Moors and Cut Gate beyond, back to the overcrowded peak district. To contemplate how overshadowed the rest of my ride would be, surpassed by that single thrilling glimpse of wilderness. I do recall that one bit of singletrack on the way home though... the one with the marshmallow loam, latticed with glacé roots, that flows effortlessly between toadstool-topped tree stumps. Im also pretty sure it put a massive smile on my face. DW

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