The smell of fear, excitement, fuel and smoke fills your nostrils and clouds your fevered mind, like a drug you can’t get enough of even though you know it will cripple or kill you if given the opportunity. Your breath comes in short, hurried gasps. Your heart hammers relentlessly at your ribcage like an enraged gorilla trying to smash out of a bamboo cage. The sweat has already started to run down your forehead and into your eyes. And you haven’t even begun yet. Not yet one inch of progress.
You look back to see if the others are as ready to race full-tilt into mayhem and danger as you are. A nod. A thumbs-up. Or just that look. They’re ready. Full steam ahead!
The demon bolted together beneath you screams like it’s being skinned alive as you fly ever faster towards your certain demise. Twisting, turning, rolling, sliding. Constantly on the razor’s edge between control and chaos, winding through innumerable, immovable obstacles that never seem to decrease in number. And never seem to display any kind of mercy when you collide.
The top of the mountain is always the goal, but the reward, by far, is getting there. You fly like the wind as though the angry serpents left in your wake are chasing you out of hell. The punishment you suffer along the way doesn’t change the fact that the journey never seems to last long enough, and there are never enough mountains to climb.
Reach the top, catch your breath for a moment and set off once again like you're on fire, and the only way to put it out is to go faster. You soar through the air and slide sideways around every bend and turn. Hang on with every ounce of strength you possess as the possessed monster you never truly master tries to throw you off from the second you climb on to the moment it’s over. It makes no difference to it whether you lie in a broken heap at the end of the day or retire with a smile on your face.
It’s a battle between man and a beast that will never be tamed. And neither of you would have it any other way. But one of you will break first. Both of you are warriors and there is an understanding and respect there that nobody could ever comprehend through explanation alone.
Though you would love to live forever on the back of this dragon, flying as far into the unknown as you can imagine, all good things must end, and all too soon it's time to turn back.
The journey homeward is slower than the journey into freedom. It's kind of like taking your dog for a walk. It knows the instant you start to wander back instead of away, and now it’s your turn to pull instead of be pulled. You notice things you had missed in the frantic pace of the ride out. And it just adds to the many reasons you have to return. As if it would have taken much convincing.
Back at the staging ground now. Mission successful. Load up the demon steeds, strap them down tight, and remove your armour. The day is won. Recount your best highlights for a while before climbing in behind the wheel of a mount that contacts the ground in four places, and navigate the smooth, paved path toward a hot meal and a warm bed.
There is nothing to match the adrenaline-fueled dance-with-death in a ballroom of trees, rocks sand and soil. Riding these two-wheeled beasts is beauty, terror and mayhem. It is dreaming, flying, and falling all at once, and there is no equal.