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Keeping Time

Keeping Time

Feb 9th, 2013

What is the world’s most valuable resource? There are a thousand different answers to that question, and I’m not sure that any one of them is definitive enough to be 100% correct. Some say that water is the most precious thing we have; others would argue for oil, coal or money, while an enlightened few would go so far as to classify bacon as a natural resource (no argument there). But in my humble opinion, I truly believe that time is our most treasured commodity, mostly because it’s the one thing that people need most in order to ride their dirt bikes.

There’s no doubt that a lack of finances, riding buddies or functioning mechanical components can keep us off our bikes, but time is the true equalizer when it comes to recreation. It doesn’t matter whether your bike is fully prepped or in a hundred pieces; without time, you’re never going to so much as get your gear dirty. People are fond of referring to time in possessive terms, saying things like, “I just don’t have time to load up and hit the track anymore.” Granted, the personal and professional demands of modern life can obliterate a rider’s practice schedule, yet each of us is given the same 1,440 minutes each day to spend as we choose. So if we all have the same amount of time, shouldn’t we blame ourselves if we’re not able to do what we intend to do?

Others prefer to think of time in a more constructive way, making statements like, “I need to make time to do a top end on my 250F.” I fall into this category, and routinely struggle with feeling guilty and personally responsible when I’m not able to do something that I intended to. For example, if I skip going to the gym three days in a row, it's on me because I didn't make time for it. Theoretically speaking, I had time to do it, but I simply spent that time doing other things!

Of course, the approach by those of us who think we can manufacture time is just as backwards as those who think they can possess it; there is a better, more scientifically accurate way for riders and non-riders alike to relate to time. Interestingly enough, it’s a concept created by clock makers and perpetuated by hard-core enduro racers: Timekeeping. Time is a natural resource, but it cannot be produced or owned—it can only be kept. This is why zeroing a checkpoint is such an enraptured feeling; it’s the universe’s way of telling you that you kept time responsibly enough and were rewarded by being in precisely the right place at the right time. And if time is universally available to all, who are we to claim complete ownership of eight precious minutes of it just to sculpt our ab muscles? I think that we should worry less about catching up on time or trying to have as much of it as possible; constantly stressing about assigning a task to every future second will just spin us out. Instead, make what time you can, take what time you need and keep time like an enduro rider—you'll grab more traction out of every minute and will probably never be late again!