When I grow up, I just want to ride bikes. Sure there are other things that I like to do, but nothing makes me as happy as going for a bike ride. It really just works everytime. If I could have a super power I think it would being able to ride all day, everyday and live happily ever after.
flow like water
It sounds so simple and perfect, yet it is kinda funny how this love of pedaling can make me get pretty crazy. Seems that simply going riding is fantastic and wonderful, but never quite enough. It does not take long at all before I start getting crazy ideas bouncing around in my head and those ideas become dreamlike quests, that in turn become obsessions.
Maybe it is true, that I need these huge challenges to keep me focused, moving forward and keep my head in a positive place. I do have a lot of intensity that needs to go somewhere or think too much about this fucked up world and get really grumpy. But I also have this nagging desire to push myself, to get out there and experience things in a very vulnerable and absolute black and white sort of way. Riding bikes in the mountains has a way of doing just that, making you feel triumphant for surviving near death and tiny for getting your arse so very much kicked.
The bottom line is that the Divide is out for me this year, it just ain’t gonna happen. There is much to do, things to get in line and life to live. I think the CTR will be a gO in July and there are some ideas popping inside my head that have me feeling very excited, scared and stoked to be alive. Cause it is all about riding bikes, soaking up the sunsets and making good on the life we have to live. So get out there and gO ride, it really is always worth it!!!
Getting to the start of the Tour Divide is never an easy thing. Despite my willful and stubborn nature, it has been kicking my ass. I’m broke, a little beat up and struggling to get in as much training as I want to. I’ve risen up to the challenge the best I can. I’m trying to work more, spend less and ride, recover and balance the body. I like challenges, I really do thrive on them. But for many reasons this spring I am just a big bundle of stress. Things are just not lining up, determination can do wonders, but it has limits. The load is just weighing me down and truly making life and me, not that much fun.
The past few days I’ve done a lot of thinking, pondering and being blunt and honest with myself. I’ve decided to back down from my plan to race the TD. It is not easy or simple for me to do so. It kinda hurts for me to let go of such a dream once it is firmly inside my head. The fact is that the stress is not worth it. I want and need to be happy, not show to myself and the world that I can do it.
When it dawned on me that putting everything into going to Banff was Not the best thing for me and my life, I cried. After a few days of walking out in the sage with the dogs, gazing at the sunset, finding magical little carved rocks in the sand, I’ve really come to terms with this decision and I feel great about it. A huge burden has lifted from my shoulders, off of my soul. I will be sad on the fateful Friday in June, but right now I am happy and that matters more than anything else.
Funny how we can fool ourselves sometimes. I really thought that getting ready to ride the Divide again would be easier. The training would be familiar and my fitness would carry over. I was pretty sure that after winning the damn thing that finding the cash would be easier and I wouldn’t have to stress so much. The whole process seemed like it would flow so much better.
when in doubt gORide under the setting sun
The truth is that I have been slacking on the training. I really did want to go into this years race a bit more rested and relaxed, but instead I’ve neglected some key elements. I am tight as can be and have really exasperated some serious muscle imbalances that have my knee freaking the rest of me out. I simply have not done my homework and I know better.
never hurts to have some great company along
I also haven’t made the TD enough of a priority. I traveled around to race in Idaho and Arizona instead of saving my money for June. There has been a little too much beer drinking and that stuff ain’t cheap. I blew a bunch of dough on a new fatbike this winter. I didn’t get out there and work for more sponsorships. Lots of little things can really add up and it really is funny how time flies and suddenly you realize your bank account is empty.
flow like water
Sometimes it all stresses me out so much that I think maybe it is best to stay home this June. It sure would be easier in so many ways. Easy is what it is and it just isn’t me. I freaking hate getting up early to stretch and do leg lifts, squats, lunges and such, but it really does keep me moving forward, focused and true to my dreams. Not drinking a beer or two or three, after a long day at work or an awesome ride is hard, but it also feels good to dedicate myself on a whole new level. It is crunch time, make it happen with everyday efforts, fill those minutes to the brim. There’s lots of hard work to do in the next couple months and that’s alright cause hard can also be a lot of fun. gORide!
remember it is what you make it
I want more. More time for riding, walking the dogs, sleeping in, tinkering with my bike and gear and of course spending time chilling with my sweets. What is crazy is how hard it is to find that time and how easily it gets eaten up. Between working, cooking, doing chores, going to meetings, writing this blog and trying to get some decent sleep the days just fly on by.
Sometimes the rush of so much to do makes my head spin with the stress of too many things undone. I find it hard to rest with such a long to do list. Then again, deep down I am thankful that I have a life full of passion and dreams. There was a time, not that long ago, when I did not fill the days to the brim, those were some dark and dismal times.
Right now I am trying to balance making a living, building a loving, giving relationship, taking care of three crazy ass dogs and training to race down the Divide. Sometimes I feel like I am pulling it off, other times I wonder if I am trying to do too much? Therefor watering it all down and I can’t help but think that maybe it isn’t the best time to take on 2700 miles?
Getting out on the bike this weekend under a gloriously warm spring sun, gazing up at the snow covered mountains, I was filled with a thirst for more. Spinning along, it felt like my full plate wasn’t enough, that despite my stress I wanted more dog time, more thinkering and more love. Damn it and I want to ride that Divide again so bad that it almost hurts. Somehow, someway I need to work more, ride more and all the while keeping that balance in check.
Note to self: The best path is not the easy path, so suck it up buttercup!
sunsets help everything make sense
There are some that don’t believe in luck. That what happens to us, good or bad, is a result of our actions and behavior “not apparently brought on by chance”. Perhaps that is true, it is simply our attitude and way of life that sheds light on either the sunshine or the rain.
I can buy into that to some degree, yet it still seems like some folks are just plain lucky. They don’t work as much, they go on fantastic vacations, or maybe they get to travel around and race bikes as much as they want. Have to admit that I sometimes wish I was as “Lucky”. Then again maybe I’m simply ignorant of the choices they have made that makes it all possible.
I’m not a perfect person. I get grumpy with envy. I want more than I have. I am sometimes very impatient. I want to race and race and race my bike. Sometimes I feel really unlucky as I can not pull it all off. I have no money, not enough time and my body does break down.
the distant and mighty San Juans
Then sometimes things come back into perspective and it all that negative energy seems so silly. Call it Luck, or being Blessed or just plain Happy. Life is good, there is much work to do, more focusing to accomplish, but I am feeling it, whether it is luck or not, I am grateful.
Thank You, Universe, Thank You!
Life is funny sometimes and not always in way that leaves me laughing. That is usually my own fault. I get too serious, too self absorbed and acutely focused that I lose my sense of humor, my ability to roll with the punches and still come out smiling. The good thing is that it doesn’t take too much to kick my ass back onto the right track of loving life and the gifts it brings.
This morning I got up a bit earlier and took the dogs for a little hike. Nothing long or hard, just a little stroll through the sage. The dogs were stoked and charged about for no reason other than to feel the air flow, the dirt between their paws and to feel that irreplaceable feeling of freedom that being alive, happy and doing what you love can bring. Their simple joy was contagious.
We also got to see the sun rise up over the hills, and cast it’s glowing light upon the snow covered mountains. I am so grateful that a simple sunrise can make me feel so wonderfully small and make my inflated problems fall into place with a sense of enlightened perspective.
Afterwork I was tired, my tummy was a bit of a mess and my motivation level was not where I wanted it to be. Still, Rachel and I headed out for a spin in the waning hours of the day. Up a slow steady climb into the hills, farther and farther from town a huge sense of quiet engulfed me. All the accumulated stress of the day and past few weeks slowly melted away with the rush of pumping blood and pedals spinning.
Cranking out a good effort we crested a small climb on a random dirt road. The hills slipped behind us and the view opened up with a gorgeous sunset lighting up the magnificent sky. Words and pictures can not truly express the perfection of that moment. I just wanted to hug the sky, shit, I wanted to hug the whole world and let them feel this amazing feeling. There is nothing to me as pure, real and empowering as a sunset. It makes me so happy be alive, to be in love and to have made that critical step of getting out the door and going for a ride.
Life is too short to be grumpy, life is too precious to not get out there and live.
Live Love and gO Ride, it really really is always worth it!
the path is not always clear
Getting to the starting line of the TD is almost as hard as the race itself. The past two times it was a struggle of balancing training, working multiple jobs and finding the time for the dog(s). Not to mention, finding time to do something other than working on bikes, riding bikes, building bags for bikes and dreaming eating and shitting bikes, training, maps and gear.
Now life is even more full. Sharing everyday life with someone really brings to life how obsessive and overpowering the TD can be. I never realized how stressful the TD prep was on a relationship, and now I do. Time is an even more rare commodity than ever.
Yet that damn ride is in my head. I want to be out there, I want to dig deep into myself and seek the limits of my abilities, skills and endurance. I want to see all those sunrises and sunsets from the saddle, cruising down the spine of the continent with everything I need strapped to my bicycle. That vision is a very strong one indeed.
Yet right now I am wondering how important that ride really is. Is it more important that the rest of my life? Once upon a time, I thought it was. Now I am in doubt. Life is a series of struggles. Reaching, striving, trying to do more, be a better person, a more complete human. Is the Divide the only route for me to take to push myself? I know it isn’t, I know life will go on if I don’t make it up to Banff. But I also know I will beat myself up all summer if I don’t try harder to make it happen.
There is no easy answer, there is no right answer. There is simply life and how we chose to live it. Damn it is hard sometimes….