Life takes effort. Sometimes it seems that every bit of forward movement in life is like pushing your bike up a steep mountainside. And just when you think it can’t get any more difficult, the trail turns so steep, so narrow, so treacherous, that you’re forced to throw your bike across your shoulders, adding an extra 30 pounds of awkward metal tubing and mud-covered rubber onto your shoulders.

In that moment, it can feel like the weight of the world has been made manifest and laid across your scrawny human back.

Whenever I reach this point in life, both literally and metaphorically, I have to ask myself how I move forward from here. Is the weight of the world really on my shoulders? How do I deal with what is at least a constant feeling of pressure?

Seneca has some wisdom to impart on this topic:
“. . .memory brings back the agony of fear while foresight brings it on prematurely. No one confines his unhappiness to the present.”
More here.

Photo: Marcel Slootheer
Colorado really needs no introduction to anyone who might utter the phrase, “I am a mountain biker.” The mountains in Colorado are some of the biggest and most majestic you’ll find anywhere, and the singletrack is similarly some of the most lust-worthy and enjoyable. But what makes Colorado so unique isn’t the huge mountains and isn’t the fact that it has great trails–you can find those factors in dozens of places around the globe. Rather, it’s the absolutely massive amount of singletrack riding available in this state.

I personally didn’t grasp the scope of the mountain bike opportunities in Colorado until I moved here. Now almost four years into my Colorado citizenship, I only now know how little I actually know.

Coming from out of state and figuring out how to best utilize a week of vacation to ride the very best trails in Colorado is a fool’s errand. You’d have more fun just picking one of a dozen epic destinations and just hanging out and riding around that one town for an entire week… or month. Yet still, still I get asked for a list of the best Colorado bike trails all the time.

Trying to limit the vast expanse of Colorado trails to just five selections is unquestionably a fool’s errand. Yet I’ve done my best, both utilizing highly-rated recommendations from our database and also eliminating trail systems that may be highly-rated, but for poor reasons. While this list can be debated ad infinitum, here are 5 must-ride mountain bike trails in Colorado.

More here: "Five2Ride: 5 of the Best Mountain Bike Trails in Colorado"

Rider: Marcel Slootheer. Photo: Greg Heil
If I had my way, I’d personally love to see the Slayer specced with a climb switch on both the rear shock and the fork. While I cannot deny the plushness and near perfection of the suspension components chosen, after riding climb switch-enabled Fox suspension on Pivot’s Firebird, I also can’t say that I personally noticed massive losses in the descending performance

Aside from that one point of preference, the Slayer was hands-down one of the most aggressive, most confidence-inspiring, and downright fun mountain bikes for tackling the gnarliest of trails that I’ve ever ridden. From shuttle laps, to hoofing it up to the top of black diamond descents the hard way, to chairlift runs in the bike park, the Slayer can kill it all.

The cherry on top? This brutal trail destroyer weighed in at 29.1lbs (without pedals). That, my friends, is an accomplishment.

More here: Rocky Mountain Slayer 790 MSL Review

Photo: Zach White
"I found Sea to Summit’s award-winning UltraLight Mat to be easy to inflate, extremely comfortable, and truly UltraLight. If you’re currently hauling a bulky or heavy mat in your bikepacking kit (and what mat isn’t compared to the UltraLight?), the UltraLight could be a massive upgrade, taking your kit to the next level."

More here: Review: Take Your Bikepacking Kit to the Next Level with the Sea to Summit UltraLight Mat

"I went on to crash repeatedly during my stint in Europe, and thankfully I was diligent about using my pads for big, rowdy descents, with all of the endless shuttle routes and lift rides we explored. Despite all the lift rides and shuttles, there were still plenty of climbs to pedal and transition zones in between lift rides, which gave me plenty of occasion to test the pedal-ability of the pads."

More here: Review: G-Form Pro-X Knee Pads Crash Tested

Photo: Zach White
I think there’s something deep within the human soul that yearns for something outside of itself, a sense of grandeur, of magic, of mission and purpose, of fulfillment–whether that purpose is exploring the stars or defeating Voldemort.

I think that too often in our culture, sci-fi and fantasy are only embraced on the surface level, but when someone really connects with this theme of the great and the unknowable, the magical on a deep level, the criticism begins to reign down. Terms like “nerd,” “geek,” and a general derision are employed, because it seems that these sci-fi and fantasy nerds like myself cannot cope with real life. When in reality, when people avoid these themes and don’t ask ourselves what our souls are really longing for, what we really need to feel complete, we’re simply avoiding the existential void and putting off dealing with that terrible abyss for another time.

More here: "In Pursuit of the Magical"

"Those who appear inactive are, believe me, engaged in far more important activity; they're dealing with matters divine and human at the same moment." -Seneca
This may be true for some people at some times, but not for all inactive-seeming people at all times.

Rather, I take Seneca's meaning to be that just because you appear to be active it doesn't mean that you are getting anything important done and in fact, oftentimes, sitting, thinking, reading, praying, meditating--these are the truly important activities that really matter, the things that make a difference in your personal life and in the world around you.

I'm all about action. But many times appearances are exceedingly deceiving.