Monday, April 2, 2007

Cosmic Energy - Part Three: Mountain Biking To Higher Consciousness

Channel Some New Age Singletrack with Rama and Stickums in Sedona, Arizona
by Dave Rich, Bike Magazine - April 1995

After prying Burn away, we had lunch at the New Frontiers Natural Grocery Doug. recommends the Vortex Veggie Sandwich and the Astral Traveler Smoothie, while I opted for the Harmonic Convergence Veggie Burger and the Crystal Quencher. Conveniently located down the block is Mountain Bike Heaven. We were greeted at the door by Rama, who talks in a slow, stoney way, like Chong in "Up in Smoke" when he says to Cheech, "You just ate the most acid I've ever seen."

Above the door was a picture of Bagwan Shree Rashneesh, one of Rama's early spiritual teachers, flanked by posters of mountain bike gurus John Tomac and Travis Brown. Rama envisions his shop as a sort of fifth vortex. "I try and promote higher consciousness through mountain biking. It teaches lessons, principles of movement, and balance and coordination, much more than other sports.

The shop is the focal point for local riders who gather for short rides after work and weekend epics. As we rode out of the parking lot, a baker's dozen of riders moved in a pace line up over the pavement to Secret Trail, which is actually well known and appears in area guidebooks. Like most of the rides in the area, the Secret Trail is a riotous mix of Third World-class roads and singletrack.

We climbed a dirt road for a half hour until were stopped by a sinkhole wide and deep enough to swallow a mobile home. A pink jeep driver standing across the gap yelled, "Look out for the hole," much to the amusement of his passengers in the back seat. From the hole, a typically gnarly, rocky singletrack took off, snaking through a wall of scrub oak, which is essentially a tall, dry shrub. The trail careened downhill, with switchbacks and three- and four-foot drop-offs every 100 yards. As we descended, the path became smoother and faster until it became just a procession of banked turns and whoop-de-doos that led us back to the pavement just in time for sunset.

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