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By Martin Hackworth

Arbon Valley

     It has been said that something lost leads to something gained. It’s true too. Recently it has dawned on me that over time I’ve come to neglect one of the best parts of any adventure – those you share the adventure with. In years of single-minded focus on records, accomplishments and content I’ve forgotten that the best part of any fun-hog activity isn’t necessarily the scenery, the adrenaline, the fear or the massive endorphin buzz. It’s other people.

     I am normally a pretty focused individual and about as easily distracted from the task at hand as a ball-peen hammer. So when it’s time to load up and take off I am all about business. It is a well known fact that I am basically the worst person in the world to be around 90 minutes before an event – at least if human interaction is important to you. Right before a race or a ride I’m compiling my checklist of what needs to be done and have little time for distractions. As a professional I would award myself an “F” in warm and fuzzy in pre-event decorum and that only because a “Z”, though richly merited, wouldn’t make any sense.
Chinese Peak
October Lemhi Valley      The high-water mark of all this was probably the period in which I road raced motorcycles with a team and actual sponsors. My bike was kept in a trackside garage and all I had to do each race weekend was hop on an airplane and meet my ride to the track at LAX. But when you are fortunate enough to score some success, even very meager success, in an activity with about a million people who’d love take your place there are expectations. Sponsors want success; magazines want their editors to not look like schmucks. If aversion to embarrassment is an instinct you happen to possess you’d better get your game on. After a while even the most fun, the most absurd, the least important activity in the grand scheme of things begins to adopt the feel of serious business. Fun isn’t really part of the mix.

     As my son JR has developed his own interest in fun-hog adventures he has  demonstrated some parallel curiosity about his old man’s career. We’ve gone through all of the photos and old magazines and as we’ve perused professional shots, magazine articles and the rest it’s occurred to me how distant a lot of it appears. Even though

it's me in those photos I don't have a strong visceral connection with a lot of what is going on. It's almost as if I am looking at photographs in a magazine - admiring the quality of the image and imagining how cool it all must be to be there. Go Figure.

     One day we  found a box of old Kodachrome climbing slides from way back and in those images I found something that is often lacking in their glossy descendants – a genuine sense of unbridled fun. These were shot at a time when my friends and I were in absolutely no danger of impressing anyone with an overabundance of professional skill. Any great success occurred in spite of rather than because of skill, dedication or any other impressive personal attributes. I remembered that the best part of all these adventures was not the accomplishment, but the laughter, the mayhem, the jokes, the smackdowns and the unpretentious fun.

     A little later I was talking with my friend Chris Hymas (a motorcyclist of 
Sunset over Pocatello
Grouse Peak
considerable skill who, along with his wife Sarah, is raising three sons who are not only impossibly well-mannered but ride like the future professionals they are probably destined to be). Chris and his boys have been very helpful in getting JR going in his own fledgling riding career and JR thinks that they are the last word. I asked Chris what had kept him and his boys going for well over a decade of racing – which is time consuming and expensive - and he told me “The ride home. The time I spend talking with my boys about what we just did.” I think now that I get it.     

     These days with the help of JR and my long-suffering friends I’m learning how to relax and get back to the time when fun-hog activities were all about fun and actually accomplishing anything came a distant second. After having come full circle it’s now more about the ride home. I like now better.
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