Now my idea of the holy grail or in this case, the wholly Trail, is not based on strava attempts, how many Instagram '#shred' hashtags it's received or how many people have created one off, grainy 'sick' YouTube edits. It's a lot more simple for me. It's how much I grin (good or bad) and how it sticks in my mind. Again, good or bad.
Picture this, your're at the top of your favourite local trail called something like pants-down, you've invested hours of intimate riding with flora and fauna, a touch of passionate dirt kissing and a good chunk of your annual weekends in trail maintenance and building. It's a simple but fun grade 3 trail that you swear is the best you've ridden. EVER!!!
Great, you've cracked it already then! But have you really? By cracking it do you mean you hold the, ahem, prestigious KOM? Are you fabled at being the godfather of said trail by the locals? Or have you cracked it a little more metaphorically? By that, I mean your wants to ride it not because your fast on it, but more you're excited by the view, the under wheel loam or the reward for the gut busting climb you've just blown out massively on? Ponder that for a second....
Now, the bad. What exactly is a bad trail? Is it lack of flow (that we seemingly get overly aggressive in towards the trail builder)? Is it the fact you can't ride it from start to end without a gracious dismount? Or is it a simple fact that you just can't get it or warm to it?
picture credit: Vitalmtb
The bad doesn't always have to be a bad thing. Take for example one of my local trails. "Bluff". It's a short trail that bombs down a rutted, overgrown ridge line that often results in my arms looking a little like a bloodied and battered pin cushion. I instinctively avoid this trail regularly as I feel the reward under weighs the climb preceding it. But am I really avoiding it for more reasons? Is this basic, short mellow-technical trail actually my untouchable, holy grail that I just can't seem to crack?
Potentially, yes, finding the trail that really makes you tick may be the super technical, bumpy, unenjoyable trail you despise from previous endo's and unplanned attempts to copy the great Kelly McGarry's trick list from his record breaking red-bull rampage attempts with thankfully no live coverage?
Or it may be the complete other direction for the extremists, avoiding the super soft, smooth, 5 lane wide beginner trail that really only gives you an element of speed, a few mild g's in the unnecessary bermed corners and access to a better trail.
The fact is, there is no holy trail that really suits each rider or person. What defines the perfect trail for you is defined completely different to me in a whole sense.
So go on, ride that grade 3 you normally would steer straight past to get to the grade 4 gnar you frequent and for those who still struggle with what you think is impossible, make it possible, try, try and try again as it may be the confidence boosting, wholly trail sense you're desperately needing and could just become, your new favourite.