September 29, 2008

Breaker of Legs

I spent my summer in Iceland, and since I was not at all focused on this blog during that stay, my readers only got a glimpse of the riding that is to be had on that jagged rock in the North-Atlantic. Since these rides were not portrayed for the readers of this blog as soon as they happened I intend to just throw a photo and a caption from that time on this blog every once and awhile, to mix it up with whatever is happening here in Victoria. This is a shot of our last ride in Iceland before I left for Canada again. The trail is called Leggjabrjótur in Icelandic, which rougly translates to Breaker of Legs. It's an old trail, that has been in use for hundreds of years, and is one of the last legs of the old national routes to Thingvellir where Althingi (the icelandic parliament) resided from 930 ad to 1799 ad. This trail is a part of a vast network of trails all over Iceland that lead from one area to the next, and given the fact that the horse was the only mode of transportation apart from walking, these routes often take the most dircect routes possible (shortest) , no matter if a mountain or two get in the way. This is one of the reasons why mountain biking is so good in Iceland. The network of these trails that are laden with history and hundreds of years of use are there to be ridden, but have seen a very limited amount of mountain bikers, and in some cases none. Apparently the trail used to be quite rough, hence the name "Breaker of Legs". However, thanks to a renegate bulldozer operator who wanted to improve the trail, it is much better now albeit not as historically correct. The Bulldozing madman was not allowed to finish his work for environmental reasons. Evidently he did not bother to ask anyone for permission. This was a great ride, even though we got pummeled with rain for about two thirds of the ride. We were prepared for the rain and the riding was good and the scenery was stunning. My brother and I have a system on which we base the quality of the trails we ride. It's pretty simple: If we ride 70% or more and walk 30% or less, it's a good trail. This was a great trail, about 85% riding. Below you can see my brother smiling loud, even though he's soaked to the bone. We rode for just over four hours in total solitude and piece. We saw swans, geese and smaller birds, the quintessential and ever-present sheep, but no humans.
The the reward for riding in the rain for hours is scenery like this. I know it's a cliche but... This is my church.

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