My life is so busy it makes my head spin and often keeps me from sleeping. So much to do and time is like precious quick silver slipping between my fingers. I have to say I have gotten much better at getting things done in tiny rushed increments of time, sometimes just a few minutes here and few there, but it does not leave one with a rested soul. I often feel on the verge of exhaustion and frustrated with all the ideas in my head unrealized. I keep trying to keep things in perspective, taking in those deep breaths, letting go of the stress, but it keeps building.
Yet life is also full, rich, and often enough, amazing. My body and mind may be tired, but my heart sings with a whole new found level of love and commitment that I truly didn’t know existed before Lillian was born. I spend a great deal of time with my daughter, watching her grow into a little girl full of wonder, curiosity, laughter, of course tears and fits too. Despite life being harder and my own goals more difficult to pursue, this new life is rewarding beyond words.
Even with all that, I am still questing after some long time bucket list experiences that burn inside me. The biggest of the two being the AZTr 800 and the Iditarod Trail Invitational/ITI. The ITI has captured my imagination for over decade. Something about the vastness, harshness and difficulty makes it imposible to let go and forget about. I get excited every year watching the race unfold, only to get intimidated by the magnitude of the ride, and the rather incredible expense of the gear, travel, and 1400$ entry fee. So year after year I try to put it out of my head and carry on. The good news is I have some incredible friends that are helping me with some of the costs and that has made it possible to give it a try. Around the first of the year I saw that a there was a new ITI qualifier that would speed up my timeline for getting to AK. So now I am signed up to race the Drift 100 in Wyoming this coming March 13th. 100 miles of wild Wyoming on a fat bike, oh yeah! So next week the whole family is headed up north for the event.
The AZTr800 has been on my radar since I learned about it and raced the 300 in 2009 and 2010 gave me a taste of some of the trail. The April timing was never great with my old bike shop job as that was very busy time when trails dried out and everybody and their brother brought in neglected bikes needing love. Plus I have to admit, I have been intimidated by that ride, especially the Canyon hike. Yet fear must be faced head on, and I don’t work in a bike shop, the Firebrand is closed for a week, and my amazing wife said I should do it, so no more excuses! So here we go again, the whole family is headed to Arizona in early April so I can do an Individual Time Trail/ITT, of the whole dang trail.
While it is very exciting to get the gears turning on these dreams, it is also a heavy load for myself to carry. I don’t do things lightly, I tend to go all out, sparing no quarter in pursuit of pushing myself. Training has been very difficult to keep on track, in fact my training is a train wreck. Our busy life makes getting out not so easy, and I often miss my ride window for a whole lot of reasons. Over the past year I haven’t slept enough, between work, taking care of our baby, keeping up with chores and being filled with anxiety, means I often get only 5-6 hours of sleep. I am overtired and undertrained, not the best combination for a 100 miler on snow and three weeks later, an 800 mile self supported ride thru the desert, prairies, and forests of Arizona.
Right now I feel excited and so very blessed, also terrified that I didn’t train enough, prepare enough, sleep enough, or save enough money. I may not get more chances to do these things so I want to make the most of what I am able to do. My wife and child are making sacrifices in order to help me realize these dreams and I want to shine like a crazy diamond out there and make them proud. But the reality is a bit daunting, so many hard miles in the near future and I just haven’t put in anywhere near the saddle time I would have liked to. It really will be an interesting month, hope I can rise above my fears and doubts and follow these dreams with joy and reverence.