Well folks, back in the saddle again and commenting on a unifying item called the cowbell. In World Cup ski races, you can hear the cowbells clanging and ringing on he sides of the race trail as the racers scream by at top speeds. The Swiss have a habit of bringing monster cowbells that sound more like a clanging gong than a ring of a standard bell found on the necks of the bovine community in Switzerland.
I came prepared this past weekend with my official Swiss cowbell that I bought on my honeymoon some 31 years ago in Zermatt. This tradition of cheering on the competitors is also used in World Cup Mountain Bike racing and last weekend the alpine sound greeted the downhill competitors as well as the cross country competitors as they made their way down rock strewn and root infested Snowshoe, West Virginia. I rang my bell for reigning World Champion Nino Schurter as he climbed the summit of a grinder right before a treacherous rock garden. I rang for the rest of the field and was joined in a chorus of bells of all shapes and sizes. I rang for all American competitors as I hoped that the home squad would make a good showing on American soil. This is the World Cup Finals after all in Wild, Wonderful, West Virginia. How much more American can you get than that? Kate Courtney- our former World Champion for Cross Country, dug deep and finished 5th in the XC race which guaranteed her a victory in the overall season title. ” USA, USA, USA,” went the massive crowd chant along with an assembled thousands of ringing cowbells.
As I thought about the event on the way home which included some great riding at places like Tea Creek and Silver Creek Backcountry trails nearby with my band of traveling mountain bikers, I thought of what the cowbell meant in the melee of the excited fanfare. I thought about how I had not been to a World Class event in some time but looking at the athletes, soigneurs, photographers, team mechanics, nothing much had changed. The gathering of the mountain bike tribe was still pretty much in tact even though some of us had aged and many new youthful faces had emerged. The vibe that Snowshoe created was energetic and supportive of cross country races and downhill alike. But the thing that really struck me was the unity of the crowd, cheering on their favorites and taking in the brilliant sunshine ringing their cowbells enthusiastically regardless of age, faith, race, creed, color, Democrat, Republican, whatever. We are all mountain bikers and we love our heroes as well as the tribe we ride with. All joined together as one unified throng of thousands, ringing our cowbells and smiling. Everybody should take a lesson from the mountain bike tribe. We have a lot more in common that we think. Thanks for reading. Click on the follow button and join in the fun as I continue to muse about things in later life. Thanks.
Welcome back Patrick!
Thanks for the post! I’m eagerly looking forward to the first report of snow in the Rockies, though I must admit that I have gotten so desperate that I checked out the Mount Washington Observatory WebCam and lo and behold there were traces of snow!
Take care, say hi to Janet and I look forward to reading more
All the best
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So glad we kept the bell all these years 😊
He’s back!! Great to hear your adventures again! You missed your calling, writing!
Call me, we’ll have lunch!
Welcome back! You haven’t missed a beat! Great topic and insight. Your passion continues to ooze out with every post!
Thanks Dan. I will keep trying
I knew that you would be back! So exciting to be at an event like that, awesome post!
Thanks Art- this is about all of us.
Well written and glad you’re ‘back in the saddle’
Definitely enjoy reading chronicles of McCloskey
Glad to have you back remind me to tell you the story of me and Dave Panza buying cow bells in Chamonix ! be safe out there!
Love to hear it Bill. See you on the slopes soon
Great words Pat, The “Tribe” that is what keeps us together. It is really about a group of people coming together skiing Mt biking being outside together. I still hear the clanging!!
We are the Tribe Shark