Rattlesnakes. Nothing like the eerie skittering of a rattlesnake tail to freeze one’s blood and focus attention while running a trail. Luckily, I’d been warned: about a minute earlier a mountain biker pulled over to let me pass and give me the reptilian news (thanks again, random bearded tattooed mountain biker guy).
I’m the fast-looking one on the left.
As a trail runner, most of my encounters with mountain bikers on trail in JeffCo are really positive: respecting each other’s right-of-way, mutual warning of obstacles or wildlife ahead, and friendly vocal or perky bell-ringing notices of approach. Occasionally I even get a “badass!” or a “you’re killing it!” to support my pace. (Those are awesome, keep ‘em up.)
But memory is a funny thing, and the days when riders come in hot without warning are far easier to recall than the dozens of easy interactions with two-wheeled travelers. For every ten riders that thoughtfully yield or wait for me to notice them, there’s one rider who plows into my space assuming I’m going to be able to move in time. And the thing is: given half a second to react, I always step aside and stop. I know it’s way easier for me to move than for a rider on a technical descent to slow their roll halfway through a rowdy run. But the assumption I’ll clear the way isn’t a feel-good moment, or a very safe one.
That’s my message for today’s Laws of the Trail: we build trust in droplets and lose it in buckets, so let’s keep our buckets full of trust and work hard to avoid — as the great Al Laws says — harshing anyone else’s mellow.
Having a great time at someone else’s expense just isn’t worth it, and I’m sure doesn’t measure up to the stoke that comes from a clean run with only positive interactions with others out there enjoying the ride (or the run, as the case may be).
See you on the trail,
Golden Giddyup Digital Media Manager and frequent Jeffco trail runner
If you’ve got a good story about sharing the trails in Jeffco, we’d love to hear it: