About jwookieone

Gunnison Valley resident with a almost rabid need to be outside. Love to walk, bike, ski, backpack, camp. Addicted to easy and short or long hard adventures out in the woods, sage and snow. Feel compelled to push myself to see what I am capable of

Loopy, shortie style

I was hoping to ride the Shortie Loopy Loop with the group on September 4th, but life was so busy at that moment that I sadly sat it out. Luckily a little window of time opened up while grandma was still around and I hastily threw myself together. I got all the food, bags, and gear sorted and loaded by 4:20:AM on Monday the 20th and I headed out onto Loopy.

It was magical. The mountains, though familiar, are still amazingly beautiful and compelling. The leaves were about peak gold on the trees, while also covering the ground and dancing through the air. The moon was a bright, constant companion out there, hanging huge in the dark sky, sending white light streaking across streams and ponds. The moon had a couple of bright planets and all the stars to keep it company, except that one that came streaking down as I climbed Rocky Brook Road. The trails and roads were quiet and at times empty of other users. The weather was gorgeous, warm sunny days, hardly any smoke, no rain or snow, but it was damn cold at night. Other than being cold and the night long, it was a wonderful time to be out there.

It was also torture. The trails were rough, so much dirt has been shaken loose from the rocks by a summer of use and abuse, leaving not much more than rocks in so many places. My body was not the least bit ready for this beat down and my legs and hands were protesting from the get go and the route didn’t let up. At 160 miles I almost took the highway home, Gold Creek Trail crushed my hands, feet and knees, I couldn’t imagine what Fossil was gonna feel like. The night was looong! So much darkness, and with no bivy gear that meant a long night of riding and pushing and also falling asleep on the bike riding and pushing. I ended up taking about four 10 minute naps in attempt to keep my eyes open and rubber on the trail. The whole night was laborious, it took so long to cover any miles as I was riding sloppy and falling asleep, also my water bottles froze solid so there was no water, that meant not much food. Oh and it hurt! I swear every step and every pedal stroke hurt deep in my legs, knees, hands, and forearms. Still I kept drudging along, still I was incredibly happy.

I finished the Shortie Loopy Loop just before 8:PM Tuesday the 21st. 39.5 hours after I left. 193 miles, 27,000′. It was a battle to keep going as it hurt so much and I was worried about how late I was running.This Loop is HARD! No doubt, some of the hardest riding I have done, and yet so compelling. I am already wondering when I can get back out there for more. These experiences are so powerful for me. I go from hating life and wanting to get as far away from other humans as I can, to longing to get back to my family and thinking of ways to help others. There is something incredibly powerful about being out there alone. Letting my brain focus on that task, makes for a happy brain. All the garbage and debris that has built up over time, gets sifted, sorted, or tossed. So Good for me and my head, just wish it didn’t have to hurt so damn much, my hands are crushed, I am unable to grip with my right hand, my legs are so sore and grumpy.

I love being out there in the mountains traveling under my own power. I love pushing myself to see how far, how fast, how long I can go. Yet, throwing myself at these rides without any real training is really kicking my ass, the impact on my body is not great. I can’t seem to stop myself, I feel as though I just have to get this stuff every chance I get, cause I do love it so much. I have to admit that while I am out there I have this conundrum of thoughts. I wonder if I shouldn’t hang up this obsession and be there 100% for my family. There just isn’t much time to spend on training and prepping and that makes all these rides much harder and more painful. Yet once home, I can hardly wait to get back out there, to feel it all again as it makes me feel so alive, so purposeful. I am wavering on this seesaw and it will be interesting to see how it goes.

The Colorado Trail!

I just wrapped up my 2021 Colorado Trail ride last Thursday. It was a wonderful and painful trip from Durango to Denver that was full of memories, visions of the future, and so much emotion. I have a long relationship with this trail and with anyone who has experienced the CT it gets in your blood and to quote my friend Justin, it becomes “a ribbon through my heart”. For the CT does not touch upon you lightly, it beats you down as it shows you light you never knew existed, it tears at your mind and tortures your ego. It is anything but easy, but it is compelling beyond words, for after a 27+ year relationship with this trail and I am still somehow unable to stop thinking about, visualizing and wanting to come back to it.

High Point!

Way back in 1993 I was living in Gunnison, Colorado, working a shitty job in a kitchen, making minimum wage, and living in a trailer with 3 other guys. I was also wondering what the hell I was doing with my life, I was full of piss and vinegar and had no idea what to do with myself and all that angst and energy. I was into listening to music, drinking too much coffee, and smoking cigs. I didn’t do much other than hang out at the coffee shop doing those things, plus doodling and playing chess. A friend working at the coffee shop was planning a thru-hike of the Colorado Trail and with permission, I latched on and we began to plan. I had never hiked much, never backpacked, and I didn’t know a damn thing about being outside or traveling under my own power. I was a naive, confused, “green as hell, boy”, but I knew I wanted more and wanted to try something Big! It wasn’t an easy road to get to Waterton Canyon that summer, I almost didn’t make it there. There were so many ups and downs, very tough decisions, and some very dark personal moments along that path.

On that first trip we just made it to Monarch Pass, but I learned so much about being in the woods, myself and most importantly, that there was other ways to live than what I knew/was taught. In fact after that first trip down half of the CT, I was hooked on being outside, planning the next adventure, and scrapping by to make it happen. Since I have returned to the Colorado Trail many, many times, like an old friend I crave its company, its lessons, its solitude. Everyday life has always been a drag for me, I have a hard time doing the normal stuff and it tends to beat me down to the point of not knowing what the fuck it is all for? Before the CT experience, I would often spiral down till I hit the deep dark bottom of the well of despair. I didn’t have any holds, no steps, nothing to break up that fall. Once I had the perspective of the big, rad things I could do with my mind and body, this made dealing with that down spiral possible. Knowing there is amazing things around the corner and always planning the next one, kept me on target, gave me something to look forward to that was strong enough to pull me through the dark bullshit of life.

I can not express how important that first trip on the CT was for me. I am pretty sure it saved my life, certainly changed it profoundly, and while I am not rich or set up, I wouldn’t trade all those experiences for anything, esp money. Cause that is what I keep learning, experiences are always greater than things. Things never make you want to live another day, but the light of possibilities at the end of the tunnel, in my experience can.

Since that first trip on the CT, I have returned many times. I finished hiking the trail to Durango a few years later, hiked again, from Durango to Kenosha Pass in 2000. Started riding bikes again in 2001 and rode the CT from Durango to Gunny with my dog and Bob trailer, then in 2003(?) I rode Gunny to Denver. Finally in 2007 was the first Colorado Trail Race, and things went even deeper. After that first race on the CT, I was obsessed with what I could try with my new found mind-body connection. I returned over and over to race the CT and see how hard I could go, it was a bit of a dangerous and depleting hobby. I really wanted to give it everything I had, and while in retrospect my level of obsession seems a bit extreme, it was very important to me and helped me find more reasons to keep trying, living, reaching.

Fast forward to 2021 and I just finished my 9th Colorado Trail Race! The trail is busier than ever, so many Thru-hikers, and Bikepackers, kind of amazing to see so many folks out there getting some CT. While it isn’t always easy to share, it is empowering to see so many people out there getting to experience that magic ribbon. I had a great trip, including some great conversations with myself, some powerful realizations, and lots of self discovery, also two shooting stars, lots of moon glow, star light, amazing sunrises and sunsets, and so many flowers and mushrooms! I really thought this was going to be my last race on the CT. Have to admit right now that is probably not the case as I can feel the pull of that dirt ribbon as it threads through my heart and it is pulling me back out there!

Snacks go here Dada

2021 CTR Setup

Wanted to share my bike and gear set up for this year’s Colorado Trail Race.

Why Cycles El Jefe, size large. Singlespeed, 33×24. Pike Ultimate 130mm. SRAM Guide G2 RSC, 180mm rotors, metal pads. Revel R30 Wheels, I9 Hydra rear, SON Dynamo front. Rekon 29×2.6 EXO+ Rear with Cushcore XC, Rekon 29×2.8 Front. 125mm Fox Transfer. Answer 20/20 bars with inner bar ends, 40mm PNW stem with built in light mount. Ergon GA3 Grips. Ergon Saddle. Lots of Purple Bits.

the “machine” at sunset

Bags are a mix of homemade framebag, downtube roll, front roll, and tiny saddlebags, plus a dope ass Jpaks Footlong and Feedbag. Also will have a small hydration vest at the start with water bladder, both pack and bladder will fit in frame bag as food is consumed.

The Kit I take is a refined bit of gear that has gotten me through many an ultra, there are variations on the basic core stuff depending on my sleep needs, ambient temps, weather forecast etc. For this year’s CTR I am hoping to push pretty hard and not sleep much, weather looks possibly wet. Therefor I am bringing a good bit of clothing to handle the weather, ultralight Escape bivvy sleep set up for simple short duration sleeping. Befree filter, 2 Liter bladder, 1 bottle for Hydration. I carry a good bike repair kit, a simple first aid kit, and a simple hygiene kit.  Clothing: Wearing; Long Sleeve Sun Jersey, Patagonia Dirt Roamer Shorts, 2Under Powershift long boxers, wool socks, Shimano ME7 shoes. Carrying; Marmot Rain Shell. Salomon soft-shell knickers. Synthetic Puffy Vest. Wind Breaker. Wool Long Sleeve T. Headband. Windproof fleece gloves. Wool Knickers. Waterproof Shorts. Plastic bags for feet. Extra Socks. Bike Repair: Two Tubes,1w/sealant. EDC 100c Pump/EDC Tool. Tire Levers. Dynaplugger w/extra plugsx8. Big Air w/head. Superglue. Needle/Thread. ZipTies. Bailing Wire. Duct Tape. Spokes/Nips, 1/F, 2/RR. Masterlinksx2, extra chain links, cleat boltsx2, valve core, tubeless valve. Lube. Collar to lock out dropper if failure.

stuff. hope I only use the lube.
Handlebar insert of spokes/zipties/etc, EDC Pump, Downtube Roll with tools, tubes, EMC Kit.

Lights/Etc Klite Bikepacker Ultra and Fenix PD35/~6 18650 batteries. Etrex 20 for navigation, spot 3 for tracking, phone for pictures and post race pick up, Anker Slim 10000 cache battery to keep phone alive.

snacks go here!

Thank that is about everything. Happy to answer any questions anyone has got about my gear choices.

Arizona Trail 300, Blood Sweat and 1 Gear

Last time I rode the Arizona Trail was back in 2010. Life has changed a whole lot since then, priorities have shifted tremendously, free time/training windows are almost all eaten up by everyday life, and I am now a week away from being 48, how did that all happen?! My goodness I have reflected on all these changes and it is so wild how much life can go another direction, and as much I as sometimes miss big solo adventures, I am on the ultimate family adventure! The Arizona Trail has changed a bunch too, lots of new trail replacing older erroded trails and roads, less pavement, less resupply, and much more use. Regardless of all my worries and I had more than enough, I was excited to see it all.

Going into this ride was such a roller coaster. The past year hasn’t been easy, I pent up a good bit of stress during this time and with life being so busy it has been hard to get outside enough to deal with those energies. All that anxiety just waits for something to come along, to attach itself too, add it’s weight and complexity and general ugliness. I also hatched the idea for a AZT 300 ride only 4 weeks out from my start date, giving myself a shit ton of work to do in short time, while ramping up my riding a touch and continuing to work, dad, husband. Oh Yeah I love being busy, right, now I was running! The little extra riding was tweaking my left knee a bit. My guts have been a complete mess for months, eating has been a chore and some normally ok foods were just not possible. I was only getting in 30 mile rides as my biggest milage, and intervals seemed extra painful. So many nights I would feel all this anxious weight descend onto me, smothering my breathing and laboring my thoughts. It may sound overly dramatic, but it is crazy what stress can do to you, these past weeks have been exhaustingly full of all this worry. Still I got my stuff together and headed south!

I arrived at Picketpost the night before my start to camp, ride, and meet up for a photo shoot the next day. The sun was scorching hot, adding to my stress. Luckily being in the desert and getting things finalized, instead of just thinking about it, was much more productive in nature. That afternoon I headed into Tucson to meet up with Eddie, drop my car at his house and get a ride to Parker Canyon Lake. Got there just as the sun was setting, Julie and Bruce were there headed to sleep for Julie’s early morning start. They offered to lend me a sleeping bag and pad so I could just be dropped off and start with my streamlined, no sleeping bag kit. I got set up in the sanded tall grass among the cow pies, set my alarm for 1:20AM and tossed and turned for a five hours or so. (I will come back to this, but people can be the best and I am going to try and make more of a thing of it in the future)

I hit the Arizona Trail at 2:04AM on 3/30. My head still felt full and heavy. But there is nothing like throwing a leg over a bike to get me going in the right direction, even if that means riding the Canelos in the dark! I wasn’t trying to start off fast, as that rarely works out for me, but every time I looked at the splits I couldn’t help but notice I was crawling. Then I noticed my Etrex wasn’t auto scrolling and I kept losing the track, I paused for a few seconds too many times to try and fix it, but could not remember how to remedy! I was a bit frustrated. Then I missed a turn at SR82. I stayed on a new section of AZT for a good mile or two before realizing that I was way off. I can not describe how mad I was wasting time, energy, light, water and food! I tried so hard to calm down as I turned around to get back on track. Then a hour later I did it again, totally went the wrong way for a good bit, maybe another 1.5 miles or so, before realizing. This time I got so mad, so frustrated. I felt like totally screwed up my timing for water, food, my whole trip. I beat myself up unrelentlessly and hard for over an hour. I just couldn’t believe I did such a silly, preventable mistake. Not sure exactly what opened up, but I started processing all this wound up energy pushing me to be so upset. I started to see the roots tracing back to things, how it was tying into my own brain, my own life, my everyday actions and reactions. Holy Smokes, I was starting to really digest this stuff.

By the time I hit La Sevilla I was in a pretty damn good mood. I had come around to see how lucky I was to be right there, right then. That I was just gonna ride my bike, not stop much, not blow up, just ride and be, let go of the expectations of others and myself. When Timon rolled up I wasn’t upset that he was that much faster, or that I messed up so bad that he caught me, I was simply amazed at his riding and stoked to see what another human could do. That alone is a huge milestone for me. I have worked so hard to be able to ride these rides, that sometimes I am envious of those who seem to glide thru, feels so liberating to let go of that.

I spent the rest of the first day riding along when it felt good and hoping off to hike Anytime it didn’t feel good. Yes I walked a lot. At times it is very hard to not berate yourself over walking so much with your bike along side you, but I swear it works. I made the Rocking K with time to spare, but once getting my food reorganized I didn’t end up needing much so just some bonus gummy worms, cold drinks and rice crispy! Then Reddington, and back to the AZT. Then Lemmon. Dang what a mountain, so long of a climb, such a neat ascent with the lights of Tucson slowly getting lower and lower, the trees getting bigger, the air cooler with every turn.

After Lemmon, the gnarly little Sunset Trail takes you into Summerhaven and then up next, Oracle Ridge! For those who have ridden or hiked the AZT I will spare you the nitty gritty details of the route, but for those who have not experienced it, holy smokes there is a bit of everything out there. Smooth buttery flowing trails that are effortless even on a loaded bike, to Oracle Ridge; a chunky, loose, washed out, burned out, down tree covered mess of a trail; and of course just about everything in between. All part of the journey, all integral to the process. I started Oracle Ridge with lights and finished down in the desert back in the full heat of the desert sun, freaking amazing!

Up next is a huge chunk of Sonoran desert all the way to the end at Picketpost Trailhead, some 80+ miles later. Turns out there is a ridiculous amount of new trail out in this section, I don’t know the break down, but this section is mostly sinewy, wash crossing, ridge climbing and dropping trail. Swirling along on sweet trail under the raging hot sun for hours made me really feel disorientated as to where the actual hell I was going! Yet I let the trail roll me along like the tide, while constantly checking my GPS, and drinking water water water. It was a pretty good day and I was keeping on the pedals so miles were melting behind me. In fact I noticed I was catching up to some splits I taped on my bike to give me motivation. This made me give those pedals a bit more gas, made me stay on the bike a bit more before hopping off.

At the Gila River, I had made up a bunch of time on those splits. Somehow I was flying. I was half convinced I was doing bad math, even so I still used this to push a bit harder. It hurt deep inside my legs like never before in my life, I swear it was agony, but it also felt amazingly satisfying. On the huge climb out of there I still walked a bunch, but I forced myself to stay on as much as I could. Even with such a hard effort your own dot on the GPS barely moves, is difficult to absorb that you are crushing yourself, but the finish was still so far out! My eyes were getting blurry from 44 hours of no sleep and my head fuzzy from all day in that sun. So I stopped, laid on the trail, set my alarm for 10 minutes and closed my eyes. I fell right asleep. I swear I dreamed the whole 9 minutes, woke up right before my alarm, got up and got moving. My eyes were good, my legs a tiny slice better, my head, ah no matter, just go.

Up an up that climb goes, turn after turn, ridge after ridge, at times in the dark it felt like eternity, but when I looked at the time I was still moving good. The finish at Picketpost is great bit of trail, but you never really feel like you are on a final downhill to the finish! Instead rolling along the whole time till you suddenly you are in the parking lot and it hits you that you did it! Holy Smokes I really did it! After my terrible first morning and all the awful anxiety leading up, I ended up exceeding my own goal for the ride. I can not describe how incredible, empowering, and satisfying that feels. I really doubted I still had what it took to ride the AZT like that. Excited to see how this energy carries into other rides in the future!

>Few details for anyone interested: First Ultra without a chamois pad. Yep didn’t even take one, was great without. I usually have a lot of butt issues even when I have had lots more miles on my tush, my butt was much happier this time. My gearing was 30×21 with 29×2.6 tires, was about right. No mechanicals of note, just tightening a couple bolts. I rode a prototype Why Cycles El Jefe, the bike is so sweet, has my name on it and is fast AF!!!

>I am so grateful for the opportunity and all the support. Huge thanks to my family for the time and to Eddie, Tony, Julie and Bruce for all the help before the start and after. A massive thanks to the folks at Why Cycles and Revel Bikes, for getting behind me when no one else was interested in what I was doing, I can not thank them enough. I am blessed with great peeps in my life!

>Also Huge thanks the Arizona Trail Association for the amazing work they are doing down there. I will be sure to up my support for that organization, if you plan a trip on the AZT, please consider the same.

>Finally, I have some big plans brewing. I want to try and share more of this amazing bit of what we can do with these bodies and minds that we are gifted. My life has been changed time and time again by my experiences outside in the mountains and deserts and I am feeling compelled to share this with others, especially those that might not be able to pull it off. Much more details coming as this takes shape. If anyone out there is interested in helping out, there will be opportunities soon.

Change

Stagnation is one creepy fucker. You just don’t realize you are stuck in a place, then find that it is eating you alive and it feels like an impossible task to get out of the muck. I have been grubbing around in the mud a bit too much lately. So hard to separate the need to feed my family and feeling like I have to go to work even if I am so done with it. I was going under while kicking with both feet, only to realize I needed to get out of that current and eddy out into calmer waters.

Crazy how powerful a perspective switch can be, especially at the right moment when desperation seems to be more reasonable by the minute. It was as simple as getting another job offer out of the blue. Wasn’t like I didn’t know that there were other jobs out there, I just wasn’t seeking, or doing it with the right mindset. I only saw another job as another job, just a continuation of the same same. Somehow that text offering me a job hit me just right and I was able to share free of the suctioning mud, get to higher ground and see that I was not stuck in anything but my own shitty thoughts.

So change is coming. Taking a couple weeks off from working, going to head to AZ for a quick AZT 300, then home for some house stuff and extra family time. Next a new job starting soon after that. Another thing I am bringing with me along these next steps, is that perspective. That we do not have to fall into the roles we are assigned. We do not have to take out our frustrations on our selves or our loved ones, be aware of this energy and do something different. I am excited to see what this season brings, lets get outside!

Negativity and it’s cunning friends

One of the biggest traps in my life has been a tendency towards negativity. I get beat down and fall into these holes filled with self doubt, harsh critques, and low dead end energy. Once that happens the door to self destruction cracks open just a bit and all hell is there to experience.
What sounds so crazy dark and dreadful, is really what we all kind of deal with in life and how we deal sets us up for future success or mournful failure. I am trying, but it isn’t enough. I can see myself fairly clearly most if the time, getting deep into your brain under durress makes for some harsh self honesty, and I can see where I let my emotions take me down roads to places I do not need to return to. Why do we keep failing ourselves!?
Living gets in the way of a lot what we need to be really doing in our lives. All the everyday stuff tends to drag us down and weigh on us so much that there isn’t much left to put in an extra effort. I have been paralyzed by the big steps I want to see happen, but seem impossible. So I pulled myself together and started with small steps. I started a training diary. I am looking at my weaknesses and actually applying known techniques to make a change. I am gonna let go of the bullshit that does not deliver a damn thing, less social media and internet drooling. Just one pot of coffee instead of three, and drink some more water Jefe!
It is so easy to make bad choices, even easier to defend them, when you are down and desperate. It is so insane to me that the lower I go, the more I try to defeat myself by eating crap, drinking massive amounts of coffee, drinking no water, not stretching or even doing the bare minimum to be nice to myself. So gross how shitty I treat myself.

I am going to put myself up on the priority list a bit and take the little steps everyday to take me where I want to go. Feels good to say that, looking forward to living it. A succesful person starts today, right now, a junkie always starts tomorrow

Determination

Life has taught me much about determination. It is an amazing source of power and can push you beyond your pre-conceived notions of limits. Determination can’t always take it all the way in the real world. I have hit the limits in my own solo pusuits where the body just won’t go any further no matter how convinced that one tiny bit of the mind may be.

Being part of a new family has brought a whole new awareness to what it means to be full of determination. I am pretty good at dusting myself off after whatever spills life has thrown at me, it isn’t pretty to watch and tortorous to live through sometimes, but I am piss full of raw determination. I also have never excelled at team sports, why? It is fucking hard to work with other humans to achieve goals! Most of us do it all the time, everyday, some of us are amazng at it. My skills are sorely lacking and never has it been so evident to me as now. Trying to coordinate all of life with an almost 2 year old, a busy working wife, and myself working 40 hours a week and trying to train has been the most frustrating part of my life. At times it truly seems impossible and I almost throw in the towel, give up and start drinking again.
Determination won’t have it that way, there is some deep and powerful stuff inside this need for more than ordinary. So I am trying harder, digger deeper, getting up earlier, stayng up later to get more time on the bike, more time to stretch and repair. The other side of this is I am going to try to network more, communicate better, and try to make myself and my dreams more of a priority, that is going to be very very hard, but I am determined to chase these persistent dreams of mine.

struggling on

Life is full of struggle, holy hell some of us know that from from our everyday experience. Some of us just get hit with it hard from time to time…

I have been struggling for a while. I have a tendency to fall prey to the darkness that surrounds us. I am well aware of this and have learned to live with it, in that I seek out the things that make life sing, so that the crap doesn’t get out of hand much and is worth dealing with it when it hits. My ways of winning in this crazy world have turned out to be really challenging to access with a wife and child. When I lived alone with only a dog or two to care for, life was; working enough to keep a roof over our heads and some food around to eat, sleeping whenever it felt good, being outside as much as possible, and planning bigger adventures. This just does not work with my family.

The past few years I have been struggling to find peace, to find positivity, to find a way forward that feels good. Life got crazy busy and complicated really fast and I am still at a loss as how to find a way to still feel alive. Most days I feel like I’d be better served to have no feelings or thoughts, that my role is more robotic than human.

Working is an ends to means, I get very little satisfaction or energy from work, it is something I have to do and I do it well, but I hate it. So frustrating to give so much when others do not give anything more than what is required. Work leaves me emotionally depressed and physically drained.

I do love to spend time with my daughter, watching her learn, grow, mature is very inspiring and lovely, it is also tough after a 10 hour shift in the kitchen. I honestly beat myself up over the idea that I can’t be happy working and being a dad, that this isn’t enough for me. I sometimes wish it was, or that I could coax my brain, or sooth my soul into being ok with the situation and just be happy with this. Instead I find myself missing the pull of adventure, I catch myself staring out the window all the time, I am tortured by social media with so much fomo I could choke, I try to turn this around and get inspired. I do get inspired, I do rally and get up early and stay up late riding my bike in between all the other stuff. But it starts to grind me down and I end up so tired that I want to sleep all the time, and then I miss rides cause I can’t get up early enough and then I get grumpy.

Things are gonna get better, we are trying to get the child into some pre-school, both for her and for us. I am still some how thinking of ways to make it work. I really don’t want to give up on the dreams still burning to get out of my head, but god damn each time I get shut down, I feel like I just might throw in the towel. Pretty sure there is a limit to how much getting back up one can do.

Dirt and Rocks!

We left Gunny on Saturday to head to Grand Junction, after a long work week and some challenging family time, I wasn’t in the mood for doing anything. But despite my bad head and reservations for going, we packed up and headed to grandma’s house anyways.

I was concerned it would be too muddy, I almost didn’t bring my bike, but I got to ride some dirt, and some packed snow. It wasn’t spring in GJ, but the sun was just warm enough and there was a good bit of dry dirt and of course rocks. While I love riding here in the Gunnison Valley, the riding in GJ is different and awesome. Rock ledges, drops, pinches, hops, so much amazing natural and built rock, makes me feel like an 12 year old again. I love getting shut down on a hard move and trying it over and over, so gratifying, so challenging!

Rachel shredding on her Revel Rascal

Then we got out for another ride the next day with a couple friends. The conditions were almost exactly the same, except I have been riding by myself almost exclusively and it was such a blast to ride with some sweet, fun, good folks that love playing on trails. Damn I miss that sort of normalcy, and it is so simple, just meeting up and riding bikes with a couple friends is the good life!

loopy lucidity

This noisy world seemed to get even noisier this year. Despite that chunk of shutdown time where things were kind of eerily quiet, the humans and the World seem to be screaming loader. The World is screaming cause it is changing, change hurts. Humans are screaming cause they refuse to change, to adapt to the world they live in, even as it is changing. Crazy times and it is impossible to completely ignore, and it is more likely for one to get upset and/or invested…

Even more reason to remove oneself from any and as much of this noise, as possible. Every bike ride for me, and I believe for most, is a chance to do just that, let go of the BS and feel the feels inside yourself, your heart, and your mind. The longer the ride, the deeper the thoughts go. Going hard and pushing the limits, opens up more avenues and enters more energy into the thinking, settling of mind, the finding of peace. The 2020 Loopy Loop was just that for me, a deep look at life, the experiences and what I learned from them all, and also how it all felt, how it left me, how I left it.

I left Gunny on the Loopy looking for a challenge to push thru, but I wanted to try and go fast, see how many hours I could trim off my time from last year. I went in still something of a bike racer. Instead I found myself lost in the route, trying hard to always be moving, efficient, smart, yet less concerned with the overall hours consumed. It turned from a race, to a true personal challenge. I wasn’t racing the clock, I was seeing what I could do with my mind and body, it was a very cool feeling to experience. But also a realization that I may not be as hard a charger in these sorts of things as I was, this I am still digesting.

I have always said that doing things that are hard, makes for so much personal exploration and growth. You can strip away so many protective layers that kept some of your thoughts, feelings, and desires untouchable. It doesn’t have to be the Loopy Loop, the TD, the CTR, etc, hard is different for each of us, but we all have the capacity to overcome. Get out there everyone, I can not say it enough. Get out there and leave as much stuff behind as you can and see what you can see over the horizon, it I always worth it.