Art in Motion: A Short Profile of Ian Morgan
by Grace Peven

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Downhill mountain biker, Ian Morgan, believes his sport does a great job of exercising both the left and right sides of the brain. On the left side of the brain, the sport is a technical equation with the variables of slope, angle and velocity. “If I’m going at this speed, on this grade, over that jump, then how should I twist my bike and when?”  It’s about timing, and being acutely aware of what you’re headed for. Hitting an edge or a rock can send you flying in no time.

But for the 18 year-old mountain-biker, the sport is so much more than physics alone. He sees the trail as an abstract painting open to interpretation.  “I personally think you can be creative by not just following the trail but by constantly looking for imperfections or variants in the trail that you can play around with,” Ian says.

Ian catches some air at the end of Maiden Lane in Wenatchee.

Ian catches some air at the end of Maiden Lane in Wenatchee.

Ian’s passion for mountain biking has been developing since he was little. When his eight-year old self saw an empty lot with mounds of dirt across from his house, for example, a bright idea popped into his head. Ian thought, “Dirt Mounds+Bike = Wicked Air Time.” The creative and technical sides of biking started to develop at that moment for Ian.

At Duthie Hill bike park in Issaquah.

At Duthie Hill bike park in Issaquah.

Ian says that what he likes most about mountain biking is going out on the trails and ‘surprising’ himself. Not the type of surprise he had by running into a couple of bears at the Whistler bike park, but the surprise of how much creativity he can add to his rides. He finds creativity in interpreting the trail in front of him and reacting to it through jumps, tricks, or body position. The trail is permanent and unchanging, but the way he rides can always be different.

At the end of Maiden Lane.

At the end of Maiden Lane.

Ian’s interest in biking has turned into a fusion of cross-country and downhill mountain biking. In the cross-country realm, he enjoys the ride because he can slow down and appreciate his surroundings. He grew up with an affinity for the outdoors, but riding through the local forests and foothills on his bike has given his love for the outdoors an added dimension – the downhill. In the downhill mode, he enjoys the rush of speed, the artistry, and the technical challenges of simply staying upright – a feat  that’s hard to do at times.

Ian competing at the NW Cup downhill bike race at Stevens Pass in early August.

Ian competing at the NW Cup downhill bike race at Stevens Pass in early August.

Mountain biking, or any outdoor sport for that matter, can be described as art in motion. The elements of nature are always present, awaiting us, but how we mix our own character and personal palette of experience with the landscape adds depth and color to how each individual views outdoor recreation.

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