So Expensive…

I’ll admit that I live in a bubble, but when did everything get so damn expensive!? I know cause I got it all; health insurance, life insurance, auto insurance, home owners insurance. We pay the gas, internet, and electric, We pay the mortgage and the grocery bills and all the taxes that go with it all. So much money goes out of our wallets and bank accounts and into the world every month, month after month. Sometimes its seems impossible, but we pay our way and on time, every month.

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Thing is I’m not a robot and I enjoy doing things besides working, and recovering so I can go back to working. I love riding and racing bicycles, oh my I really do get so much joy from pedaling! Bikes are not cheap, and after all the money goes out every month, there really isn’t much left. I can scratch together a bit here and there to keep the bike rolling, but have you seen the price of entry into bike races these days? Holy smokes, there’s barely any races and rides that are under 100$. I used to have a $1 to mile ratio that I tried to keep, basically I wanted more than a mile for every dollar I spent. Not possible anymore, 50 milers cost 100+$!!! And an ultra entry is 325$ and doesn’t include tracking!

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Hate to say it, but cycling and racing has gone from elitist to untouchable. No wonder so many race events and formats are going away, no one can afford it! I’ve never expected to race every weekend, or even once a month, but I’m gonna have to pass on all of it. Truly a bummer as I love to travel to these events, see the endurance tribe, push myself and get inspired. Its hard to see all the things happening and realizing that I simply don’t have the resources to participate. Damn shame as there are many of us, true working class folks that would love to race bikes, but guess you got to have a great job with lots of flexibility, a trust fund, or be sponsored to even sign up. In the grand scheme of things, really not a big deal, but my heart and soul are missing it greatly!

 

 

No Sleep Till…

I used to think life was crazy, trying to balance all the things seemed almost impossible. No matter what I tried, if I was hell bent on a goal, some other things got left out, cast aside, or neglected. I tried so hard to check all the boxes, sometimes getting only tiny slivers of sleep in order to try and get it all done.

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Then I fell in love, big time and next thing ya know, Rachel was moving in. Things changed, I was priority #1 no longer. Household happiness was no longer achieved by seeking out a singular experience of my choosing. It was a tough transition. It really is difficult to let go of ones personal goals when that was everything for so long. I built my life around that, I found things that challenged me, then I set out to try and do it. I had no social life, I worked jobs that gave me flexibility, I had no savings, no health insurance, I lived a fairly bare bones life that put almost everything in the goal box. The other side is Rachel helped me get my shit together which is a really good thing considering what happened next…

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Then we had a baby, got married, and bought a house all in less than 5 months! This is a level of responsibility was never on my radar, and its deeply life changing. Its not like life ended, but a whole new life is birthed along with a baby. I don’t regret my decisions at all, everyday I am so grateful for this choice along life’s path, no matter how difficult. I love my wife and baby daughter so much it hurts sometimes. I want everything for them both, and I try so hard to make their dreams come true. But I still feel that pull of adventure and challenge, and now I sleep even less than ever trying to make it all happen.

 

 

Everything is all well and good, life is full, bills are getting paid, my girls are flourishing, and then I get excited. It might seem like I’m a fairly un-exciting, stoic kind of guy, but I get ideas in my head and they burn like hell in there till I bring them out. While I never stopped racing bikes, I’m burning to do it more. The past few weeks have seen a little break in my work hours, combined with an incredibly warm late Fall, have allowed more miles to go rolling under my wheels and it has felt quite amazing. Sunday I was out on a rebuilt 29er that is now a gravel bike. The bike felt so fast, the wheels flashing under me, the rush of air, feeling that bit of burning in my lungs and legs. The feeling goes deep into my soul and awakes my inner adventurer. I begin to dream of bigger things, lots of bigger things, then I look at the time and turn my wheels around and I head home. I am always so happy to get home to my lovely girls, but part of me always wants to be still spinning those pedals, feeling that air, seeing the world around me change.

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Its hard to know that there is something inside of you that is thirsting for more and is always wanting to be set free, while at the same time knowing the most important people in my life are depending upon me for so much. Its a wild ride to feel these powerful things inside me, often pulling me in different directions, both seeking fulfillment. Finding balance these days seems more impossible than ever before, in fact I reflect upon what I thought was so hard and almost laugh at myself, there was so much less to take care of. Now it is far more complicated, the reasons far more precious and important, but the rewards are also Huge! That is where I am at, trying to find more time to ride and pursue those dreams, while also taking care of my family and working enough to keep the roof over our heads and moving life forward. I am trying so hard to make it work and make everyone happy that it takes my head spin!

Luckily…

“I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live”

George Bernard Shaw

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blue square or black diamond?

I’m not taking the easy path, I’m taking this shit head on and seeing what I can make out of the rest of this life.

 

 

Lots

So Much stuff is happening, (and yet there’s not much(glamour) to report….

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I will say it out loud, on the internet, and proclaim it hi and low, having a baby and raising a child are way freaking harder than I had ever imagined. I’ve been around kids, parents, etc, and I have a pretty good imagination, but there is nothing like the reality shift of a brand new human arriving and coming to live with you. Its amazing, love beyond words aches from my heart. I have never loved someone like I love my daughter. It is truly special and amazing. Yet it is also so hard. I cook food all day from 3:AM to 1:AM some days, then I come home and be a dad all afternoon and cook dinner for 8:pm sit down. Its a lot. I get up at all hours of the night, almost everynight, it never stops, that is why it is so hard, any endurance event you can stop, turn it off, come back to neutral. With a child, its non stop. It is often a long, long day, and without any recreation. Go to bed, Work, Be A Dad, Go To Bed and do it again, and again….and thats the thing thats so crazy about this adventure, it never stops, it never ends. Kinda like a perpetual 24 hour race….

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Yet I am not satisfied with that! No, working non stop, raising a little girl, being a husband, taking care of two dogs, and taking care of a 140 year old house was not enough! I Want More!!!

So for a start, I’m gonna take on the whole AZT. Yes, finally I’m gonna ride the complete bike-able Arizona Trail in April of 2020. The race has moved to October, but April works much better for me. The elusive AZT 800 is in my sights, oh I am so excited, so scared, so invigorated, and overwhelmed. There is no time, I can barely get out for 5 hours a week of riding. I can barely escape to the garage to maintain the family’s bikes, much less make new gear, yet here we go.

I have to admit that everyday life is so much load that I almost crumble once a week and fold under the pressure. I’m not kidding. It really is hard to manage all the things and still see straight. There are times when I get frustrated and feel like maybe it is all too much and I should just focus on being a dad and providing for my family, you know making money. I hit this very wall all the time. It hurts inside, as you see your own dreams getting chewed up and eaten, there is only so much time and energy. Yet I just dig a bit deeper and find more juice to keep doing the mandatory thing and still push for tomorrow’s dreams.

I have no idea how I will train sufficiently, or buy the parts and gear I need, or find time to sew new bags, but I’m in!!! It will happen as it will, at this point if The Family says Yes! Then I’m gonna do it even if I’m not ready, trained or prepared. Cause life’s clock is still ticking, it never stops and theres still so much I want to do. For one: my spirit commands that I live life thru these experiences, and two; I want to show my daughter that life isn’t easy, but you can always find a way to live your dreams.

There’s more to come on the fuck-it-why-not-add-this-too list, but thats it for now.

Keep getting out there, keep loving, living and finding your own way!!!

Loopy, Life, and All the Rest

That Loopy Loop! Yep, just two weekends ago?!?! I have to say it was amazing. Maybe that proves I’m crazy and love suffering…or the Biggie Loop was as close to exactly what I wanted to create, that it felt like magic to be out there. The first day and a half I was stoked beyond words and totally focused on being efficient, smart and relatively fast. I stayed stoked, but it spread into my thoughts as I thought more and more about life and all that has come to be, all the changes, the amazing life that is now mine! Its a powerful to feel love of the life you are living.

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I got so stoked on my life. I thought so much about Rachel and Lillian and how lucky I am, that I got super homesick around the end of day two. Nothing like pushing your mind and body almost to the limit, all the while the brain churns and chews, digests, regurgitates. All strung out from pushing 110 miles a day, dehydrated, sunburnt, depleted, it leaves your heart and mind open to stimulus, thought and it all comes back to those girls. I think about the adventure I am on, possible races and adventures to come, work, the future, the world, etc…and everything comes back to those girls. I crave being out there, I love pushing my brain and body to go and go, it feels amazing to be outside for almost 3 days, yet I motivate to keep moving, so I can get home to my loves.

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No here I am back to reality. Back to work, although I am retiring from Rock N Roll at the end of September. Its a big change, but I’ve needed to take a break from being that involved in someone else’s business. I stepped back big time this summer, and now I’m almost done. Its a relief and a a bit of a let down. Still, between two jobs I’m working 6 days a week thru the end of September, its not always easy to motivate for that many alarms, but its worth it. My life is worth it. Its a whole lot of new and takes it lots of deep breaths, its draining to the marrow sometimes, and yet, its amazing.

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Loopy Loop Report

The 2019 Gunny Loopy Loop is complete!

Huge Congrats To All Riders, thanks so much for coming to ride!

Shortie Loop Finishers:  Tom Runcie, 2d:04h:57m (not tracked)
Todd Schweitzer, 2d:06h:37m
Kristen/Joe Tonsager, 2d:13h:24m

Biggie Loop Finishers:    Jefe Branham, 2d:20h:30m
Justin Dubois, 3d:12h:0m

Artec Durham, 5d:5h:51m (ITT)***

What A Freaking Route! Riders have chimed in and there is no doubt that these two Loops are special beyond words. These are not Tour Divide cruising, in fact mile for mile The Loopy’s are harder than the CTR and AZT.  But that difficulty comes with some serious bennies. These rides are jammed pack with wild n crazy single track that keeps your mind focused, your hands pummeled, and your smile beaming. Every turn delivers more endless mountain views, fields of flowers, and more single track! Think less touring, more ultra enduro trail riding. So many Rocks and More Rocks!

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Top of Hike a Bike to Timberline Trail

There might be a couple small tweaks to the routes for 2020, but nothing big. These beautiful babies are almost exactly what I wanted to create, the Ultimate Trail Rider Loops. If you are looking for an amazing and hard weekend adventure, Don’t wait to commit!!! Plan on making it to the 2020 Gunny Loopy Loop!

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Paradise Divide

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Flower Friends

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401, yep that too

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So many Mountains….

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Raw Trails Galore

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Magical Places

***Artec did an ITT on the route about 3 weeks after the Grand Depart. While not that much later, the temps dropped a good bit and the daylight hours were significantly shorter. Much respect for his skills at staying warm and motivated out there all by himself!!!

 

So Close

The 2019 Gunny Loopy Loop is almost upon us.

The weather looks amazing, hot days, cool nights, chilly mornings, very little rain in the forecast. In fact be careful with fire out there, no fire restrictions that I’m aware of, but its dry.

A couple notes I want to bring up:

I didn’t mention in the cues that we will be taking “Death Pass/Trl409.1a” a tiny bypass along Brush Creek Rd. Same as Last Year! I updated the cues to reflect this. The road is acceptable! But the trail is a bit shorter and less climbing. Again either is fine. I also updated the Shortie Map/GPX to reflect this as well. I apologize if this is confusing or a pain. The Biggie Map is correct for this section, but the Biggie cues have also been corrected. This is only a mile or so and not significant of a change. I will also go over this Friday night is anyone has any questions. This bypass happens at ~mile 83 for the Shortie and ~mile 112 for the Biggie.

I also want to reiterate that this is a self supported, DIY style ride. No Outside Support! If you know the person, just say no.

Again, super casual get together at the Dive in Gunny, Friday the 30, from 5-7. The Dive is right on HWY 50, next to Safeway. I’ll have a map and a laptop with the latest GPX files. I will also be there to answer any questions or concerns.

Start is downtown Gunny, IOOF Park on the second block of North Main St, 4:AM. This is also the finish, please take a selfie in front of the water fountain and send me this with a text the time and day that you finished. I’ll be sure you all have my number before we start.

Any last questions please feel free to hit me up, or ask Friday/Tomorrow Night!

 

Go Time

Less than a week till go time.

The sky is so blue, the sun is still scorching hot, the mornings are quite a bit cooler, there’s a tiny turn in the aspen leaves, Labor Day is almost upon us.

Maps are finalized, Trackleaders is up and looking so good.

http://trackleaders.com/loopyloop19

Shit is getting real.

Get together Friday night, thinking 5-7PM, still not sure where…but I can show it on a real map, answer any questions, etc.