The art of airtime
I remember standing on the side of the track, jealously looking at people flying past me on the big jumps. They made it look so effortless, so easy. A whip here, a table there or just a simple bar tweak. It was hypnotising to watch; beautiful and scary at the same time. It was then and there I felt a fire light in me. For someone who had never thought about jumping, I suddenly had the biggest desire to join in; to feel my tyres leave the ground, find flow and get the adrenaline rush only airtime can give you. I didn’t know it back then, but it would take me years, many failed attempts, tears, mental ghosts and hours of kicking myself for not daring too before I could throw myself out into the big nothingness we call air. However, once I finally overcame my fears, it was worth every single minute of struggle because the feeling of airtime is one of the scariest yet most rewarding and exhilarating feelings I have experienced. Ever.
Fighting the urge
During my first few years of riding bikes, jumping was never really on my mind. I did do the odd small one here and there, but it was never anything I focused on or tried to get better at. Riding in the UK a lot of trails were techy and rooty and back in 2010 there weren’t actually that many jump trails around. Well, the ones that did exist were massive or technical. Nothing I would ever attempt or even look at.
No, the urge to learn the art of flight came later on when I moved to Sweden. For some reason, Swedes love their airtime and the bike parks and local trails were full of jumps. This was foreign territory to me. Wet tech I could do – big doubles I wouldn’t go near. Ironically I befriended the most jump-obsessed riding crew in Sweden and every time we went to ride the local bike park they’d wave me off at the top and super-train it into the biggest jump line. There I was, left alone to ride my techy trails, in complete denial of my urge to find wings.