I recall witnessing the filming of a group of mountain bikers by an amateur cameraman who made up for a lack of equipment by his ability to be wherever the best shot was to be found, irrelevant of where that might be.

The location was the bottom of a rocky escarpment, strewn with rocks, gradually thinning out to grass at the bottom. They were riding from the top and down, weaving through the boulders, launching off drops, hopping up ledges. Impressive stuff indeed, but I was watching the cameraman...

Imagine an elf, or some other light, nimble creature, leaping around where you'd have difficulty walking, let alone running. He didn't slip or stumble, or fall... somehow wherever he put his feet they found grip; on a narrow rocky ledge covered in loose pebbles and slick moss he'd find the one spot that would take his weight, before leaping off to the next.

This would be impressive enough without carrying a camcorder, and looking at the screen all the time. It must have been some kind of autopilot, or Brain Number Two; he concentrated on the film and let his feet get on with the job of keeping upright. He'd follow behind a bike, jumping down the same drops the rider jumped, leaping the same gaps the rider leapt. All without looking; just relying on peripheral vision and his feet to keep upright and keep going.

It's a skill I've always thought I was quite good at, but nowhere near to that level. Find a bit of rough ground, anywhere; undergrowth, roots, rocks, bumps, branches, anything. Run. How does it feel? Trust your feet... put them down gradually, and keep the ankles flexible enough to flatten against any angle or surface but tense enough to remain in control. Bound... imagine you're trying to float above the terrain, rather than run across it. Land lightly; be ready to lift the foot again if it starts losing traction.

It's a strangely good feeling, leaping down the side of a steep hill, speeding over terrain that you'd normally have difficulty walking over. Until you fall over...

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