The Sun sets in the distance, glinting through the trees. It creates a warm glow in the forest. Adrenaline pumps through me, hardly noticed as I rip down the trail. As I breath in I can feel the enjoyment in the air. It has seeped off us and into the forest itself. The forest is looking down on us, jealous of our freedom. It makes me feel like the forest is alive somehow. It has its own faint heart beat. Hectic clusters of roots keeping me on my toes. I keep pushing my suspension and body to its limit. I can hear laughter further down the trail. I thrash my bike round the corner like a hurricane through the streets. My friend lies on the side of the track. Dirt streaked up his body after a collision with a tree stump. I spray him in dust wiping the stupid grin off his face. He charges after me both of us in hysterics. Our laughter echoes through the forest. It resonates off of everything. He is so close behind me I can feel his tire scraping mine in the air. Wind whips past me as I race like a crazed animal down a straight part of the trail. I slam on the brakes and come to a stop. I stare and the land around me. The countless numbers of people carving different paths into this landscape. The hours of time poured into creating this masterpiece begins to sink in. I see the souls of the trail builders etched deep into their designs.

After nine long months and a steep one-sided battle with recovery I return. The jump and trail hasn’t changed in the slightest, but the forest has. Its dark and gloomy. Every shadow’s gaze pierce my skin.  My mind is flooded by an uncontrollable surge of memories.  Flashes of that day, in hysterics with my friends, riding until the sun dropped behind the mountains on the horizon. I stand, bike patiently waiting for me to drop, but it haunts me. I remember the pain as it hit me. The sun and happiness from before has gone, replaced by darkness and misery. The jump sits there and taunts me. The whole forest surrounds me, deadly silent. It’s almost as if the trees are waiting in anticipation. My mind hyper-focuses, noticing every small detail. The tire mark imprinted in the dirt, the moss hanging from a branch. The tiny imperfections of the trail laid out before me. I can feel my heart beating, deep within my chest. Adrenaline once coursed through me, replaced now by nerves. Ba doom. My heart thunders within my chest, making my ribs shake. A cool bead of sweat drips down my forehead. My hands are white from gripping the bars so tensely. I feel an ache. My sub-conscious becoming bored with this stagnant activity, craving the rush that is soon to come. I refuse to listen, fearing the consequences of one singular mistake. It’s like a jenga tower. One wrong move and it all comes crashing down.

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