It’s only March and already I am beginning to long for the twists and turns of singletrack once again. You may be thinking this is typical day-dream behavior for March, but not for me. I’m not the typical kind of guy. I’m the kind of guy who is rarely ever unsatisfied, but never settles. I’m never bored. I always make the most of every one of the four seasons. I do whatever it takes to enjoy every day that the good Lord gives me on this beautiful earth. But I do have cravings. And right now I am craving singletrack.

It has been a great winter. I have kept extremely active in hopes that it will boost my endurance once I mount my mountain bike for the first time this spring. I do not believe in exercising for just looks or even physical health or strength. Exercise should be the byproduct of having fun. And the best place to have fun is outside. The great thing about being an ex-employee of an outdoor recreation store is that I have all the gear to go and play outside no matter what the weather is. And this winter the weather was snowy!

We got dumped on in western North Dakota. And since it is usually breezy, I had many kiteboarding sessions getting tugged around on my red, white and blue Slingshot T2 seven meter kite. Blazing new trails across the snowy and rolling hills of the North Dakota prairie. The feeling of freedom that is experienced while carving lines through untouched powder, broken only by gaps where my kite has boosted me and my board skyward for a quick thrill is hard to beat. But at the end of a session I gaze back at my tracks through the snow and think to myself how I will never get to ride those exact same lines in the exact same way again. Then I cut a hard tack back into the wind digging my edge in hard as I can until I feel my leg muscles burning. I smile as I crave singletrack.

On the non windy days I strap my snowboard to my back and my snowshoes to my feet and head out into the backcountry of the Badlands. I crunch through the deep snow observing animal tracks and frost covered trees. I keep a steady cadence with my feet as I purposefully pick the longest path to the highest point I can find. Looking down the steep and untouched valleys of the Badlands I remove my snowshoes and trade them for my snowboard. I ride untouched and most likely unseen powder as far as I can go into the bottom of the valley. Then I hike out through the waist deep powder and steep hills. Breathing hard and wiping sweat from my brow, as I think about singletrack.

Today the sun is shining and there is no breeze and not nearly enough snow left on the ground to snowshoe. I am not sad to see it go. I enjoy each season for what unique and divine adventures it brings with it. But I am craving singletrack. What is different about today’s cravings is that it’s not just a craving for the buzz of my tires and the sound of my rear hub as my pedals go neutral and the wind brushes my face as my momentum carries me down into a cool valley. I am craving a specific valley on a specific trail. I am craving Maah Daah Hey singletrack.

– Nick Ybarra