It’s time to keep moving forward.
And that’s what I did Tuesday night. As the city’s post-mauling hysteria boiled, I turned to what keeps me sane: I climbed on a mountain bike and went for a ride. The first ride since Petra Davis got hurt.
I needed it. If you live in Anchorage and haven’t done it yet, you probably need it as well. Get out there and feel normal again. Ride through the woods. Make noise and be safe, like you always tried to do anyway. The ride will take over your mind and flush away the dark thoughts that have been lurking there since last weekend. They’ll remind you how you have ridden the Hillside for years with no injury worse than the usual scrapes and bruises of our sport.
Let the knee-jerk reactionaries rant about killing bears. In a few days, most of them will fade away when the next shiny distraction is waved in front of them. And they’ll still ignore the fact that dogs kill more people in Alaska than bears do. They’ll still forget that moose kill more Alaskans than bears do.
As calm slowly returns, we’ll still be riding the trails. And we’ll face no more danger than we did a week ago.
We’ll still be mountain bikers and proud of it. We’ll still know that we ride and hang out with the most fun, cool people we’ve ever known. And the bonds between us will continue to strengthen in the aftermath of the mauling.
But perhaps we’ll be prouder than ever because we’ve seen our friends meet disaster with courage. Like the bravery of Pete’s cool-headed response when he found Petra on the trail, and the thumbs-up she gave to the rescuers who were carrying her out of the woods when her body was so broken she couldn’t even speak.
What happened to Petra hit home—hard—even for those of us who don’t know her personally. It hasn’t been an easy week to be a mountain biker in this town.
But in some ways, it’s been an inspiring one.