down (adj.; n.; adv.; v.; prep.)

Down is one of those words with about a thousand different uses and meanings. You can be knocked down, brought down, shot down. You can get down on the dance floor. You can double down on a bet, or get a down — or a touchdown — in football. You can down a drink, or lie down beneath a duvet made of the finest goose down. To be down for something is to be willing to do it (interestingly, to be up for something means virtually the same thing). To feel down is to be sad. Life has its ups and downs.

Of up and down, the latter is (hands down) the more negative of the two (see: “Our WiFi’s down”). Not so in mountain biking — a pastime that is the talk of the Kaldor studio at this time of year. In mountain biking, you endure grueling ups in order to enjoy exhilarating downs, again and again and again. A couple of weekends ago, Paul and Tristan competed in an Enduro mountain-biking race in Pemberton, where they repeatedly spent two hours or more climbing punishing trails. The payoff: less than 15 minutes in descent. To me, that ratio sounds thoroughly unappealing. But to Paul and Tristan and Conor, those downs are worth all the ups in the world.