Special

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There are many things coming to mind for me right now.

One thing is that I am so unbelievably thankful. I am so very grateful that I find myself living in the mountains, there is something wonderful and powerful about being here surrounded by such amazing beauty and the raw energy that comes out of these special places. I am so thankful that I discovered hiking, biking and camping and the wealth of experiences that have come out of this. I am grateful for having found a special person that I want to share these places, these experiences with. I am profoundly thankful for a relative sense of health and tenacity that has guided me and helped me carve out a reality for myself that is beyond some of my wildest dreams. All of this did not happen so much as it grew out of many choices, forks in the roads that lead me to here, so happy to be Here!

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I am amazed at the breadth and depth of my own thoughts, feelings and ramblings. I have been in such a deep and twisted funk for way too long. All because of a singlemindedness that clouded over my normal vision. I wanted something that was not gonna happen and instead of stepping back to see the options that did exist, I pondered and clung to the dead end and made myself quite miserable in the process. Then with a puff of smoke and some action, this is replaced with a new love of life and a realization that there are many twists, turns and speed bumps and That Really Is Part of the Ride!!!

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I love mountain bikes! I really truly love all that gets you out there, makes the blood pump and silences the noise. Yet there is something about riding bikes way on up and out there. Something about quiet, self powered motion that delivers you way up atop of mountains, with skinny ribbons of trail to pedal, pump and giggle back down. Such a simple joy that infuses every cell and makes me fall in love with the world all over again, and that is a powerful thing.

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That nothing is perfect. Perfection is a destination never arrived upon, it truly is the journey, the mishaps, the unexpected that are real and important. Soak in them, feel them between your toes, live and love that feeling of chaos, of being not in control. All else is an illusion of self importance.

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Moral of my ramblings; Live, Love and Forgive.

Don’t cling too tight, life is big, gO live it with all your heart.

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Some Rides

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There is a ride I am compelled to do every so often. It isn’t one that you will find on a “Ten Best Rides” list or even on most folk’s radar. There are very good reasons for this. This ride kicks your ass and then it kicks your ass some more.

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Sure it is pretty, lots of wildflowers, mountain vistas, creaks bubbling everywhere, aspens and dark timber, but that all can be found on a lot of trails. A lot easier and perhaps more fun trails?!

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It does have rock gardens and it has Rock Gardens! Challenges galore, many bits are rough, unridable, washed out, eroded, it makes you walk, it makes your tires spin and your pedals smack. It teaches patience, it shows perspective, it provides place.

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There are perfect sections that make you giggle, even laugh at the blood burning in your lungs, cause it is so perfect. You have to be looking for it. It is sometimes disguised as rock strewn switchbacks that have “B” lines that flow so well.

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Then again there are the “Jedi Trees”, a tiny line of flowing dark loamy soil, barely visible through greenery that is almost handlebar height, swooping here and there, through a massive aspen grove. So fast and relatively smooth, yet lurker rocks hide in the deep dark grass and surprise rock gardens pop into view just when you get to flying.

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It traverses places that touch my heart. That feed my soul. Everytime. Riding Fossil, makes me really come to terms with what ever Bull Shit that might plague me. For this ride slams down on me like a reality of rocks, millions of rocks that have become, in many places, all that remains of a trail, that I am compelled to follow. No. Matter. What. Thank goodness it is still fun!

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Still Thinking

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Have to admit that I tend to think too much. I worry, stress and fidget constantly. Often I wish and sometimes I try to make that energy go somewhere positive, instead of the dark hole of procrastination.

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the Pack

Sitting back and watching this years Tour Divide go down has been a real test for me. I wanted to race it this year, I really did, but I didn’t do enough homework, i.e. training, I didn’t save enough money, I simply didn’t keep it in the front of my mind enough to keep it in front of a long list of priorities. Even for a seasoned veteran, one can not just show up and have things fall into place

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Also have to say that this year’s pace is just scorching. It is the pace I wanted to roll with last year and failed to so with after the first 5 days. I can not help but think, over and over again, that maybe I’m done. I’m not sure I could hold that sort of pace, sitting back and watching those dots fly through some very familiar terrain, I just don’t know if I could sustain that punishment.

contemplative beauty

contemplative beauty

With these thoughts I fly off onto many tangents. Why do I need to be out there, have I not gone out and accomplished what I wanted to? What do I still need to prove to myself or the rest of the world? Is my ego so fragile and un-fullfilled that I feel the need to keep proving myself, to keep jumping into the “Dot-Spotlight”? I keep thinking and thinking about what is important to me, what do I want from this life and why does this damn race not leave me be???

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I keep hearing peeps tell me, “Next Year”. I keep thinking, Next Year! Yet again I wonder, do I want to dedicate myself, so much energy, hours and hours of training, every spare dollar I don’t really have and stress out myself and my loved ones all over again, just to be out there again? Why is the pull of this ride so damn strong? Why can’t I simply move on and live life in another direction?

Grandfather

Grandfather

The beauty of this all is that, it really doesn’t matter. I have come to realize that life is big and beautiful and there are so many paths to take and some of them seem really fun and bad ass. I have such a wonderful set of possibilities surrounding me. Out walking tonight with Rachel and the Dog Pack, the setting sun lighting up the sky, it is hard to not see endless positive choices. Living, Loving, Growing, Playing. Good solid stuff to think about for sure……then again, there is always Next Year!!!

sunset dreams

sunset dreams

Not Yet

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This blog is not dead yet!!

I have not gone completely crazy or abducted by aliens. I have a story to tell ya though….

Since I backed down from racing the Divide a couple months back I have been in a slump, a grumpy-not-so-sure what the hell I am doing state of being. Training, working and even racing all seemed like the worst things ever imagined and documenting this, my low state here with words, was even harder to convince myself to do. So there has been a long pause to say the least.

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So here and now what do I have to share?

Life is good, yep it is kinda freaking great. Thing is, as usual, it is my attitude that suffers. I am often very stuck in the now, as in I need to do what makes me tick now, tomorrow, not next week, next year, etc. So when I let go of my dream to race the Divide, I sort of crumpled inside. In that time I was convinced that all I have to offer the world is racing bikes long long distances. Without that very concrete set of ideals and goals, I flounder and get overly obsessed with why’s and if’s and but’s and in turn make myself kinda miserable.

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What changed you may ask? Well I thought about it all, a lot, like a super incredible lot. Which just made me crazier and grumpier, till I began to really look back at myself through this experience. I could see how imperfect I am, how I need that pain and suffering to feel like I am doing something worthwhile. That I want the attention that comes with crushing yourself putting in the miles. Damn it, I really am not a perfect person. Damn Damn Damn I really want to be perfect! Yet sometimes I get a glimmer of the reality that perfection isn’t a destination, so much as the gut wrenching attempt at the journey. It isn’t about standing tall atop the mountain sun on your face and wind in your hair, but instead a constant process of trying, failing, growing, learning and trying harder next time. Damn it hurts and hurts and sometimes sucks, but that experience makes you better, kinder, more connected.

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Instead of thinking about the next race every time I ride, I simply gO ride and take it for what it is, a simple and amazing luxury of cruising about riding a bike through mountains filled with magic, history and soooo many flowers!!! I have been inspired by his years Tour Divide and I think I will be back next year, but that is a tiny detail really. For my focus is not just on training and training, but about smiling and accepting, loving and receiving, being kind and giving, life is just too precious, short and fragile to not LIVE. Fitness will come, but it is more about living in balance and keeping that in perspective. I am excited to start my planning and training for next years TD, but really I am excited about all the wonderful adventures that will happen along the way. Live, Love and gORide!

ride on!

ride on!

Ride and Repeat

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!!!

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Backing Down

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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.

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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.

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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.

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No Easy Ride

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

remember it is what you make it