I’m not really sure if it’s a tradition. On one Thanksgiving Eve a couple of years ago, the parking lot beering was epic in that a cold front blew through and enveloped us in a snow squall. Prepared for the change in temperature, we huddled through the blow in our camp chairs and Carhartts. Ten minutes later the skies were severe clear and the moon was brilliant. That was so memorable that it’s in my head we always ride on Thanksgiving Eve.
Last year, I was out due to my ACL replacement. Maybe the guys rode and maybe they didn’t. Maybe that was the night they invited me to meet them for beers after they rode. But this year, I very much wanted to continue the tradition, and at the Pond, the site of my memory.
Ride we did. I cleaned the first hill on Pink String and got most of the second one. I rode as well, or nearly so, as I’d been riding at my peak two years ago. It bothered me some that I’d lost all that time in the woods, that one lapse in judgement had set me back so far physically and mentally.
But there’s satisfaction in not quitting. Riding the brutal trails at the Pond is by definition not quitting. And it feels now like I’m at the bottom of the second rise of a Dunning-Kruger graph, the moment past despair when long-term growth begins.
Those parking lot beers sure were good last night.