Why do we as mountain bikers yearn for epic rides in the mountains? Exposure to the elements, dehydration, suffering, risk of bodily harm, and exhaustion may seem crazy to some, unappealing to most.
So why do we do it? Is it a weekly pilgrimage?
For Tibetans, a pilgrimage refers to the journey from ignorance to enlightenment, from self-centeredness and materialistic preoccupations to a deep sense of the relativity and interconnectedness of all life.
Difficulty is considered a part of the pilgrimage and for some a form of purification. For some, the more difficult the pilgrimage, the more enlightenment one achieves.
The goal of a pilgrimage has less to do with a particular destination than the journey itself. Through mountain biking there is focus. By circumambulating mountains, we temporarily transcend our daily lives. We shed our habits and materialistic attachments of inattention that restrict awareness of a larger reality.
These are some things to think about (or not think about) on your next ride.
Author's Note: These are some thoughts I had after watching Seven Years in Tibet last night.