i owe my well being to the quality (maybe luck) of the components on my bike. brakes are like a light switch, i don't think about whats happening they just work, they work every time, and i take them for granted. i don't know how many times my brakes helped me overt disaster on the roads and in the woods.
i can think of one time in particular when my brakes saved my @ss. i was on a trail i was unfamiliar with, which was a terrible idea. the trail was seldom traveled and illegally built by fellow enthusiasts in the center of the state loop trails. they were pretty gnarly, unconcerned with liability, there were jumps, banks, rock gardens. most of the trail was carved along the sides of super steep hills. it was a very curvy, complex and fun. i ventured off the nearly featureless DNR sanctioned trails to a place not made for a XC bike.
there could have been downed trees or parts could have been washed out. i didn't know. (hey atleast i had a brain bucket on and a cell phone, i was alone though) i was going about 20 mph on my FS cross country bike. i hit a pretty big jump, it was executed with near perfection, however little did i know the guys who built the trail thought the landing area should be a hairpin turn. i abused the crap out of my bike on this trail that day, but with less than two feet to stop before i careened off an 8 foot drop into a mess of trees, both of the juicy sevens brought me to a semi controlled stop. half of my rear wheel was hanging off the trail as i skidded and turned. i literally drifted. i made it around the corner still alive. and dismounted the bike.. looking at the near vertical drop; i realized if my brakes had failed that could have been the end of me, or at least the end of my favorite hobby.
i learned a valuable lesson that day
let us give thanks to our metal steeds. the ones that work when it counts.