This winter has been rough. I was sick over and over for almost the whole month of November, that crushed any fitness I had, and depleted the bank account as well! When I got back on the bike in December I was trying to train and prep for the Fat Pursuit in January. I didn’t have much time to ride, so I was attempting to make the most of it with short hard rides, intervals and all that jazz. I didn’t realize at the time how messed up my lungs were, maybe I had bloody Covid in November?! Cause every time I went hard it really felt like I was going to sufficate. There were a couple rides when I was out in the coldest part of the day, the wee early morning, testing my systems while also trying to improve my fitness with hill repeats and I seriously thought I was going to pass out. Thought I was going to be found a day later frozen block of exhausted lung matter.
I managed to get to Idaho for the Pursuit and keep it together enough to finish ok. It was hard tho and mostly type two fun. Lots of snow, blowing snow, low visibility, good amount of hike a bike and it kinda crushed me, again. It also made me rethink my goal of ITI, if this was hard to smile thru, Alaska might make me break down completely! After the event I was tired, the early morning rides and late nights with my child who doesn’t like to sleep, all took toll on my being. I was deep down tired. I was also a bit depressed. I was unsure about my goal of ITI and the stress of getting ready for a much shorter and less exhausting race was immediate in my head.
The training, traveling and racing was stressing out my little family. I no longer knew what I was doing with all that obsessive energy. I also started working more to get us back to making more money than we spend. All this left me with not much energy and little time to ride. I just didn’t have the motivation to get up early to get in an hour or two before breakfast, morning chores, and then work, not without a goal in mind anyways. Not riding made me more depressed, I was wallowing in my sad state. Work sucked, home life was at times stressful, I was not getting enough sleep, and I was not getting out. I started drinking more and things just got dark and glum.
Finally I had enough of my shitty head and I stopped drinking, I got sober, 100% sober. I quit my job and went back to the bike shop. Even though it is late winter, or really mud season for us at 7700′, I got out for a decent ride. Things were getting brighter. Today I got out for another mud slinging mess of a ride. The Sandhill Cranes were circling and hollering overhead. Redtail hawks were peering at me from their tall perches everywhere I looked. I stopped at the top of my out and back climb and just crouched and listened. I could hear coyotes howling a couple draws over from me. I felt more alive than I have in quite some time. While I can still feel the void of not having a goal pulling me along my path, I felt much less lost and not like I am squandering my time.
Life is sometimes really hard and now it is far more complex than it has every been for me. My life is intertwined with that of my wife and daughter and that is irreversible. As much as I love them at times I do reminisce about how easy it was to pick a goal and chase it and how fullfilled that would make me feel. I often wish it was easier to combine the love of my family and the pursuit of my individual dreams. I really didn’t think it would be this hard when we decided to have a family, and I do not regret that choice, just sometimes wonder if it could be different. Regardless of all that thinking, wondering and wishing, getting out there and pedaling my bike was the best therapy I could ask for and makes all the hard things easier, and I do like hard things!