Exhilarating days on a mountain bike that end with a beer and bush luxury… it doesn’t get any better.
On the morning of day three, my last on the Blue Derby bike tracks in Tasmania, I find “flow”. The concept had been introduced by a T-shirt that my guide, Steve Howell, wore on the first day. “Experience the flow,” it blared across his back. I’d been looking for flow for two days, without really understanding what it meant. But I knew it was a mountain-biking thing – and something to strive for.
As we drove to the top of Blue Tier, the longest of the trails, I wondered if I’d already experienced flow. I’d been up and down some of the most beautiful mountain bike tracks I’d ever seen. I had filled my belly with delicious Tasmanian produce and knocked my day’s-end thirst with cold beer and warming whisky, also fashioned nearby.
I’d improved with every run, filled my lungs on ascents, piqued my adrenaline on descents and enjoyed exemplary company. I felt completely content. Was that flow?
It turned out flow was something else altogether. It came to me after cresting a hill of burnt-butter brown, which led to a long, steady descent and into a tight blind corner framed by eucalyptus trees. As the bend rushed towards me, I accelerated. Around the corner, I found myself on an incline – a lush, green corridor not much wider than my shoulders – then ducking into a sharp left-hand turn. I tucked myself into it and was pushed further and further up towards the lip as I went through it. But before I could be spat out, the path straightened and I was hurtling down the mountain again.