Tom looked me in the eye. “I was going to text you: ‘No Lycra’.”

We were gearing up in the parking lot of Pila Mountain Resort in Aosta, Italy, which is to say that the mountain bikers I was with were pulling on their body armor, shin guards and full-face helmets. And I was putting on my clipless shoes and road-bike helmet.

Tom Humpage, a professional photographer based in Chamonix, France, had invited me along to go downhilling with his friends for the day. He’d also lent me his 160-millimeter travel, full-suspension enduro bike, as it was decided that my hardtail 29er was probably not up to the rigors of descending 7,500 feet down Pila mountain with a bunch of really fast Chamoniards on downhill bikes. I think that also made him generally responsible for ensuring I didn’t embarrass everyone by showing up in my stretchy shorts.

Read the full essay on BIKEmag.com.

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