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.
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.
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.
Thank that is about everything. Happy to answer any questions anyone has got about my gear choices.
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.
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!
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
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
Last I wrote I was excited to get to Wyoming and race the Drift 100, but that was also buried under a lot of stress and worry. I was concerned about our van with 230,000 miles making the trip, I was scared about the expense of travel, dog boarding, and missing work. I was worried about my lack of fitness and the twinge of weirdness in my left knee. It was very hard to let go of all that and just be psyched about the opportunity to race bikes.
Luckily my family is amazing and the drive was smooth and gorgeous, our 12 month old daughter is so flexible and rolls with whatever seems to come. We made it with no issues, our cabin was right next to the gear check and race meeting, the sun was out and warm on our faces. Still I was a knot of worry and stress, and there was still over 100 miles of unknown waiting for me the next day….but things were lining up quite nicely.
We got to the start with plenty of time, I got the last things tucked into my bags and pockets and then we were off! I hung back for a minute or two to see what others were going to do and to get my legs spinning smoothly. There was a big winter storm forecasted for the next day that I didn’t want to tangle with if at all possible, so when the pace didn’t increase I pulled to the front and tried to find a good balance between getting it done and not blowing up my legs. I made the first aid station in good time on a firm fast bit of trail, I filled my water and headed right back out trying to keep the pace and stay ahead of the storm. A few miles later the course dropped off of the nice groomed tracks and headed off into the wind blown wilds!
I tried to keep pedaling and kept lowering my tire pressure, but alas I was forced to walk. That’s when Pete caught me. Pete was skate skiing and blew me away with his fluid form and smooth use of energy. We went back and forth many times over the next 30 or so miles. Every time I thought I would drop him and pull ahead, he would instead pull along side me and pass me! We hit and left the second aid station, Sheridan, about the same time. The trail got significantly faster and easier after and I managed to slowly pull away. By the third aid station I was a few miles ahead. I stopped, chatted with he super nice folks there, ate, drank coffee, filled my water, and pushed on. The climb up Union Pass was firm and ridable, but my tight back and empty legs forced me to get off and walk, over and over. I got super frustrated every time I had to get off and walk, but still I crested the pass and did my best to gun it down the other side.
I managed to stay hard on the pedals till the slightly downhill rolling flats near the end. On dirt this would be an easy place to drop gears and hammer, on snow, with my depleted legs and screaming back, I was forced to back off over and over. I yelled at the sky, I screamed at my legs and back, I tried to push through it and hammer, but I had to keep backing down and just pedal. None the less the miles slowly fell behind me and I arrived at the Kendal Valley Lodge to the excited cheers of Rachel and the race directors. I won, hot damn, I won! Right up to the end I thought for sure I would see Pete’s headlamp, or hear that crunch swoosh of his skate skis.
The craziest part of this ride was how underwhelmed and lack luster I feel afterwards. Not that the race wasn’t good, it was great. Good course, good conditions, well run aid stations, great people, all in all an event I recommend for next year! I just don’t feel free to celebrate with all the madness, confusion, and suffering that is going on in the world right now. I just can’t get my head out of the crappy situation the world is in. I was going to use the Drift 100 as my jump back into racing, with the AZTr 800 in a few weeks and the ITI next year. Things have changed and my plans have too. I’m out of work like so many others, traveling is no longer a good idea and in some respects not possible. So who knows what is next, other than a lot of catching up with use chores and laying low. I am grateful that I got to travel and race just before things got super crazy. I am also so thankful for my amazing wife and daughter, they are my rock in these times and they mean everything to me.
Huge thanks to Why Cycles for making such an amazing bike, my Big Iron is only 3 weeks old, yet was dialed and perfect. Also big thanks to SRAM for their great components that keep me shifting and braking smoothly. I have been blessed by the support of so many people in my life, regular folks that have gone out of their way to inspire and support me in my relentless pursuit of my dreams, you know who you are and I can not thank you enough.
Just a reminder, lets keep our heads level in these tough times and keep loving and supporting one another, there has never been a more important time for community.
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.
This Girl makes all the work worthwhile
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.
I adore you!
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.
Testing the full load for the Drift100 on the Why Big Iron!
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.
I use the whole day to get things done, often riding in the morning before the family wakes or at night after dinner
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.
I am lucky to have such an amazing backyard as well as an amazing family
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.
More gear testing for the Drift and catching the sunrise