Superando la tormenta
Superando la tormenta
Quizás el Valle de las Arenas es un lugar poco probable para ponerse al día con dos canadienses inteligentes y duros, pero a medida que conocimos a Mark Taylor y Will Cadham, comenzamos a notar similitudes sorprendentes entre ellos y nuestro entorno dinámico.
< br>El valle está situado en los Andes pero a la vista de la bulliciosa capital de Chile, Santiago. Se siente tanto accesible como remoto. Los dos ciclistas están desconectados de la sociedad, pero profundamente conectados con su comunidad de ciclistas. En medio de las aguas termales naturales, las impresionantes vistas de los glaciares y los descensos blancos parecían un lugar perfecto para hablar sobre cómo la tensión y la contradicción mantienen unidas las cosas.
Tomamos un descanso por un momento. Gotas de lluvia en la chaqueta impermeable de Mark de una llovizna anterior. Nos sentamos, nos hidratamos y hablamos sobre pedalear y la vida.
¿Cómo ha sido este otoño en Chile?
Recorrer más de 4.000 kilómetros no es tarea fácil. Cuando estás ocupado, concentrado y sientes que cada golpe del pedal podría ser el último, no hay tiempo para preocuparse por el equipamiento.
Si tienes más condiciones para pedalear, más lo haces. ¿Cuál es el valor de estar preparado para lo que venga?
No hay nada peor que terminar un pedaleo antes de tiempo porque no estás preparado o tu equipamiento no resistirá las condiciones. Por otro lado, comenzar una salida en condiciones adversas es una sensación poderosa y algo que hará que cualquier día sea una experiencia potencialmente inolvidable. Ahí es donde la chaqueta impermeable plegable resulta útil.
Describe your perfect conditions for a ride.
Two days after some rain. The planet is increasingly warming, and the PNW climate isn’t as wet as it used to be. Our summers are becoming hot and dry, and when it rains, it seems to pour. A couple of days after a heavy rain storm, the trails are incredibly tacky, and the dust subsides, allowing you to train with the homies.
Trailblazing gets used as a cliche, but what’s it really like to lay down a path for others to use later?
Imitation is the greatest form of flattery, right? If what we are doing is considered some type of pioneering, then we are okay with that. The truth is that there is no magic formula for anything we are doing. We are just having the time of our lives riding bikes and trying to share the sport of mountain biking with anyone who wants to come aboard.
Seeing people either get into mountain biking for the first time, achieve some new level they didn’t think they were capable of, or simply just continue to love the ride is honestly the best litmus of our success.
While we’re on the subject of paths, how has mountain biking changed the course of your lives?
Without mountain biking, we would probably have 9-5 type careers looking at bacteria in a petri dish through a microscope or something. The places we have been able to travel to, the people we’ve met, and the friends we keep are almost solely a result of mountain biking, and we wouldn’t change that for anything. This industry has made us better people through and through and keeps us wanting to excel.
Where do you see it taking you?
I believe it will take us wherever we want to go. That’s the really original aspect of the sport. For the most part, everyone with the power to say yes to our out-of-the-box ideas and way of thinking normally gives us permission and, more importantly, the tools to make it happen and turn these ideas into unreal experiences.
What have y’all been up to lately off the bike?
Will has been tinkering with the old 1995 Ford Veggiestroke F-250 to make it the ultimate road trip vehicle. Mark has been trying to figure out how best to fit six bikes into a condo. It’s the ultimate game of Tetris.
The name free radicals implies this unpaired unstable thing, but you two are linked together and deeply connected to this sport. Any thoughts on that tension?
Without tension, stuff caves in right? We are very different people but yet very good friends. There aren’t too many people you can live in a vehicle with for over five years and not want to kill at the end of it. I think the Free Rads is still a thing because of our differences. Will is a dreamer, and Mark pulls him back to reality. We spend countless hours going over stuff we’ve done rather than what we have to do because you learn from your mistakes.
As Mark and Will geared up to ride more, a gust ripped through the pass. I was thankfully reminded that my cycling jacket was windproof. Above us, a single condor was banking off the updrafts, seeming to embody the freedom these guys are tapped into. Honestly, anyone who visits El Valle de las Arenas—and sees the way the mountains placidly share the horizon with the open sky—can’t help but tap into it too.
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