Photo // Sven Martin

Anka Martin – Perspective


1) A particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.

2) True understanding of the relative importance of things; a sense of proportion.

I’m currently in Whistler, Canada, ready to tackle the mammoth round six of the Enduro World Series. It’s pouring outside, the tracks are riddled with roots, rocks & massive holes and I have to say, that I’m scared shitless. Last year “Crankzilla” was massive & hot with long tight liaisons and super technical tracks, but they were bone dry and you could just point and shoot and ride down everything. Tomorrow, that will not be the case. I presume there will be many scary moments, lots of slipping and sliding, tri-podding and many other not so pretty manoeuvres to get myself and my trusty steed down the bloody mountain in one piece. Yes, one piece. That is my goal for this round.

It’s only been eight days since the tragic accident that happened last week in Crested Butte Colorado, at around five, where Will, one of the competitors passed away during the race after a big crash. It was, and still is, a massive shock to the biking community and it really hit home hard amongst all of us who travel and race together all summer. We all know that mountain biking has its risks; injuries and broken bones are part of the job description, but somehow we always seem to put that word – death – out of our minds. We know the possibilities are there every time we synch down those number plates onto our handlebars, or scribble down our emergency contact details, but we keep those thoughts tucked far away to focus on the task ahead. So tomorrow is race day, and I don’t quite know what or how I am going to react during my race runs. Will this affect me more than I think it will? I don’t know, we’re all so good at compartmentalizing things instead of dealing with them. The tears that keep streaming down my cheeks when I think about Will, may be an indicator that it has had a huge effect on me. This week, I’ve been trying to enjoy every single moment during practice, whether struggling or railing a section, trying my best not to get stressed about sections, trails or liaison times. I’m hoping to just get out there and enjoy the ride tomorrow and to make it through the day and of course share all the war stories over a few beers at the end of the day.

I guess the silver lining to this tragedy, has to be the great sense of pride I feel to belong to and be a part of such a wonderful community. We’re a small traveling family who loves riding and racing our bikes in really beautiful places. We look out for each other, we encourage each other, we laugh and cry together, we celebrate the highs and the low’s and this weekend was a great reminder of how lucky I, we are, to be a part of this wonderful community. When something like this happens, it hits home hard. It puts everything into perspective, it throws the results and the points right out the window, and nothing else matters other than riding bikes and sharing moments with loved ones.

It is a reminder for us to slow down, appreciate the views, stop to smell the wildflowers, take a picture, savor the moment…

I know we don’t always have time to do this during the races, but make time before, after and during if you can. Life is too short not to. Be nice to people, smile, be passionate, look at the stars, laugh, skinny dip, share, make love & appreciate everything. Life works in a funny old way and we never know when our turn will come around, but lucky for us, we’re living a life that we love, we’re following our dreams and we get to share this with our mates. How freaking cool is that.

I race to travel, to experience new places and new cultures. I’m not a true “racer”, that part of my life just somehow happened, I am an explorer, and adventurer and I use racing as a means to do this, to follow my dream of traveling to many faraway places. Of course I still want to do my best, otherwise I wouldn’t bother to race, but it’s just a reminder for me, not to get too obsessed with overall standings and that ever elusive drive to reach the top 10 again, because at the end of the day, who really cares if I was 10th or 11th. What matters is that you were the best person that you could be, and that you represented yourself to the best of your ability, had a good time (and a smile) while doing so & shared all of these experiences with friends.

Thank you, Will for putting my life into perspective again & I know you’ll be ripping up the never-ending singletrack wherever you may be.