Pillory: Your Name Is Mud

Calling out impatient pedalers. 

Come spring, we’re all eager to get out. Even if we skied 50 days at Bridger and 15 more at CrossCut, we’re stir-crazy, yearning for green hillsides and tacky dirt. There’s a carefree nature to spring, and in our mind’s eye, the season starts in April, right after our annual Moab trip. Which may be why most of us hit the trails way too soon, as they’re not really ready for our impulsive onslaught until May, and sometimes June. The champions of champing at the bit are mountain bikers, and it’s their turn to dangle from the Pillory. 

You’ll often see wide-eyed, stoked-out cyclists pushing their sloppy steeds through snow on Sypes, way before riding there is appropriate. Or wallowing in South Cottonwood mud bogs, clogging their drivetrains and munching on mudpies. God forbid they spend that downtime on a more suitable surface—such as the interstate, on the way to Pipestone, Copper City, or the Caverns. Alas, like bloodshot junkies, they need their fix now—though we all pay later for this egocentric instant gratification. Everyone pays in ruts and puddles along the trail, and fellow, well-behaved bikers pay in sideways stares, whispered judgments, and general ridicule.

While we’d like to see these egregious offenders covered in fruit stains instead of mud smears, more likely we’ll see them in the parking lot at Stone Creek once the west side of the Bangtails looks snow-free. Restrain yourselves, bi-pedaled Bozemanites! For the season is long and rife with reward for those who are patient.

While we’re at it, that goes for the bipedal among us, too (and the quad-pedaled). Bikers get most of the flack, and understandably so; but they’re hardly the only offenders. Hikers, horsemen, and motorheads, you too must exercise self-control. If the trail is muddy, go somewhere else. If you absolutely must proceed, do so carefully. Don’t negotiate around the mud and widen the trail… or to the pillory with you!