When Push Comes to Shove. Part 1
When was the last time you did something that pushed you, I don’t mean being the out of breath, marathon running, mountain climbing, singing in public thing, or those that involve physically pushing for a few hours or so, nope, but a really big one; A difficult humbling, back too square terrifying one. Its not as though I do not occasionally scare the bejeebers out of myself, I rock climb, downhill mountain bike, snowboard in big mountains and whilst these things do pinch away at my ideas of self preservation and safety. But I know them, they are a familiar frisson, they have become part of my life and therefore are not unusual. I guess I have reached a level of comfort within the limits of these activities, they no longer require great mental effort. I have found myself am looking for the unusual, the edgy the unknown, something new.
I am lucky enough to spend some time every year living in the lovely French mountain village of Samoens. Its all very twee and saucisson on the surface, but lurking in the forest only to appear when the tourists slob back to the cities, out they come, helmeted Trials Moto Riders. The valley has a long history with the two-stoke blue smoke thumping machines. They are occasionally heard on the forest tracks or glimpsed slowly descending the out of season mountain biking trails, the stink of motor oil and Pastis mixing with aromas of the forest and wild boar poo.
For two seasons I have been one of this bunch, of bar owners, farmers and ski instructors who find fun in the forests and dusty trails. But I have a problem, I can only legally ride a 125cc bike and it labours under my 89kg bulk, I need to graduate to a 300cc thumper but have no motorcycle license. Hence the story, but this two-wheeled graduation has been and continues to be, a real test.