TD Love

Another Tour Divide starts tomorrow morning. Sometimes I act like I don’t know, like I haven’t been paying attention to my Facebook feed or the date for that matter. Fact is, for many of us the 2nd Friday in June will always carry some significance. A shining beacon in the night, good or bad, like it or not, it can not be ignored.

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People ask me all the time what big races am I going to do this year? Usually I have some sort of answer that makes me crack a smile. Right now, I cringe while trying to keep the smile on my lips from fading and tell them not this year. If they seem interested, I tell them about surgery on my hand/wrist and that I am not really riding much. In fact I can barely ride 15 miles without catching myself riding one handed. At least I can ride and for that I am grateful, not riding was not fun. I try to be positive yet I have to admit I fucking hate it. I miss riding and racing with almost the same demand of thirst.

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As many of us know quite well, once the TD gets in your blood, it never really leaves you alone. My 2011 ride was such a dream that I wanted to go back so bad. Every year I wanted to be out there, it just takes too much freaking time, energy and money. So yeah, life sure does get in the way and it took me till 2014 to get out there. That year was a mess, the weather sucked and I had fallen down a wormhole of believing that I had to win, set a record, and prove myself a contender. I counted every second and minute that year and I simply didn’t have as much fun.

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Ever since I have wanted to be out there. Again, life does not always say yes. Since 2014 I’ve gotten to ride a decent amount and race a bit with even a couple CTR’s thrown in there. Still no matter what, to some degree the TD haunts me. I feel so connected and powerfully drawn to it, yet it seems to drift farther and farther away. Sometimes I fear that life will complicate itself too much to ever get back out there again.

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Why all these words? The easy answer is why not, right? The better answer is that we are so damn lucky to get the opportunities that we get. I mean, here I am complaining about only getting to race the Divide twice. What an amazing privilege, what an opportunity for an experience like no other. To be ABLE to take time off work/quit job, to save up the money to pay billsx2 and while not working, to ride down the spine of the US+ on a bike! Trust me it is a life experience and not the same twice. I really do wish I could be out there right now shitting bricks about tomorrow morning and the many to follow!

My words are here to both temper and to encourage. Be Smart, Kind, Great, Humble. Have FUN! Leave No Trace! Be TRUE to the spirit of the event. Remember that there are countless others who can not, for many reasons, take on this amazing adventure. Ride on in their spirit, feel their dreams pushing you in the cold darkness. So many want to be there and can not, take that as a reminder to be smart, swift and simple and get to the “wells”.

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don’t stop believing

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Get Out

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All My Own Bags!

Mid week we started planning a quick overnight close to town, door to door style, about 30 hours of “gone”. With the warmer temps things are really melting out and there is much more access in all directions of town. The flowers are really booming and the hillsides are ripening into a lovely early summer green. A great time to get out and get lost.

This morning as I began my multi-tasking of getting ready for the day, I checked out my Facebook. Lots of Trans Am action, last minute TD freaking out and of course the usual stuff. There was also an eery little reminder that today is Mike Hall’s Birthday. Right next to a picture of him and a message to wish him a happy birthday. Weird, it really struck me. Tears filled my eyes, all the energy that slowly dissipated weeks ago came rushing back in. Damn it still hurts pretty deep that he is gone.

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I Heart Mike Hall

In some ways I am shocked by my emotional response, I mean I never actually met Mike. We overlapped once on the trail, but never talked in person only via email thousands of miles away. Yet we seemed to travel down similar paths at times, we shared experiences that reach deep. Fragility has much to do with my reaction, so much of the time I can feel how delicate and tenuous everything is. Our reality is only seconds away from a possible shift that we might not have ever foreseen, or expected.

In an hour or so Rach and I are going to roll out of town under a warm spring sun and pedal up into the hills surrounding this place we call home.  The simplest of things make us so happy, sleeping under the stars, breathing in the fresh air, and finding special little places to call home for the night and spending hours getting to know them. It gives much perspective and a dose of humility as well. We are so small inside this massive universe, yet we are also capable of great things. As we can see with the incredibly wide ripple effect people like Mike have on so many.

Here’s to great things, both big and small.  Get Out! Get Out There and Ride A Bike, Run Up A Hill, Carve A Turn, Climb A Crag, Sleep Under The Stars! Don’t wait to live, don’t wait to chase your dreams.

Best Birthday Ever

There hasn’t been much going on around here lately. This winter kicked my ass, I was unable to ride and despite filling my days and nights with other activities, I got grumpy not doing what I love to do. The recovery from surgery has been slow, not an unknown going in, but still seems like forever since I was pedaling. As the days have gotten more and more gorgeous and with dry dirt escaping from the masses of snow we had, the need has gotten stronger and harder to ignore. I needed to ride!

Despite the aches and pains from PT, gardening, and some very short rides, I planned a Birthday trip. Just Rach and I, no dogs, just bikes, bags and a short trip to get away and sleep under the stars. I really wasn’t sure I could pull this off, but you don’t live by staying home.

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Riding away from the van, on dirt with the bike loaded and my best friend next to me, I couldn’t put that smile away. Even if all we could ride was a couple miles, I knew this was going to be awesome. Instead we managed to cruise up dirt roads with the wind at our backs, the sun shining and songs on our lips. We climbed up easy grades on a good road for about 7 miles, turing off the main road onto some steeper, rougher secondary roads.

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Just then out of the wind came the voice of none other than DaveMOE! Who was following our tracks, found some gloves we dropped and chased us down. We chatted a bit and rode on for a mile or so, till Moe went off searching for old routes and we began looking for a campsite. We forked onto even more vague two tracks, some cow trails, more lost old roads and eventually found our nook for the night. Nestled up in an amazing set of granite formations, hidden from view, sheltered from the wind, all while supplying views of snow covered mountains, wild rocks, and so many rolling hills.

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We ate, napped, hiked, drank whiskey, ate more, made a fire and soaked up the wonder and quiet of this tiny little place in the this big world. There is something to this, to being out here, detached just enough, surrounded by raw natural beauty and the powerful forces that go along with it. It is humbling, it is refreshing, it puts things in perspective so quickly and evenly. Being out here makes me appreciate these wild places even more, makes me realize how there are special places like this all over the world. How important and empowering it is to have this peace and quiet.

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The night was quiet and cool, and we slept well. We woke up with a campfire, a sweet sunrise, coffee, and bacon. After breakfast we went for a long hike around the rocks, down into the main drainage and out across two smaller valleys. Despite having to pick hungry ticks off of ourselves, it was such a lovely walk. Warm sunshine, old forgotten roads and twisty leg scraping game trails, no agenda, no time constraints, just “let’s see what’s over there?” kind of roaming.

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After exhausting ourselves hiking drainage after drainage back to camp, we napped for a bit before breaking down camp and packing up the bikes. We said our thanks to this little spot for hosting us and reversed our route back to the van. The wind was in our faces, but the hills were in our favor and the miles slipped behind us as we giggled and smiled. Soon we were loading the bikes into the van and the trip was done. We were gone just 30 hours or so, but I feel like a new man. I feel refreshed, connected, inspired, and in love with this amazing earth and what we are able to do without causing any harm.

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Get out there and soak up the wonder, it is always worth it!

Dream On

Feel like I write so often about the importance and joy of following your dreams. There have been no better times in my life, than when I was chasing my own. There are many reasons why I can’t stop promoting the fine art of living your life while still going after what makes you tick. Life is about living, not just working.

I almost didn’t hike the Colorado Trail way back in 1993. I was a total rookie and fear attempted to keep me home, working all summer. Instead I walked from Denver to Monarch Pass. I walked the rest to Durango a few years later. Then in 2001, I walked the whole thing. I learned so much on these adventures. I learned about myself, I learned about Trails, Mountains, Storms, Water, mostly I learned that it is always worth it.

I almost didn’t make it to the 2011 Tour Divide. First off, I almost never signed up to do it. Fear was keeping me from getting out there and riding down the spine of this continent. I lost a job and a dog leading up to the 2nd Friday of June 2011. So many things went wrong leading up to it. Still I did make it to Banff. I did race the Divide and it was brutally hard, but it was perhaps the most amazing experience of my life. The reason, I was chasing a dream that I almost let go, a dream I had to fight and work so hard for. All that work and stress and pain, made the release of that ride so powerful, it still makes me shake.

That is why I write this blog. Cause if there is even a chance that someone reads it and gets the energy and inspiration to get out there, I have achieved greatness. There is no greater gift to give, than giving someone the legs to get up and run. There are so many others out there that in turn, inspire me and countless others to get up, squash the fear, and chase our dreams.  I am indebted to these amazing humans for every tiny glint of inspiration, it has saved my life many times over.

Yesterday we lost a great man. Someone who lived, who chased his dreams and never gave up making them a reality.  There is no way to repay the debt of all the energy that has been given to us, the only way is live out our dreams, to chase them down no matter how hard it is. To never give up or become bitter in our pursuit and to share the stoke with as many as we can. I am forever grateful.

Dream on Brother, Dream On,

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Sub 24

A couple weeks ago I managed to grow leg over a bike and ride around the block. At first my brain was convinced that it was ON, time to start riding again! The reality is I can ride for 15 minutes before my hand gets tired and stops hanging on. Ok baby steps, baby steps…Thing is that all these baby steps have been diving me crazy. I need to do something! Luckily Rach saw the need for action and suggested we go camping. Somehow I transformed that idea into a quick sub 24 backpacking trip.

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We drove till we found some mixed snow and dirt and then walked back into the woods just far enough to be out of sight of the road. After setting up camp we did a couple walks around the neighborhood, exploring this new spot, enjoying the spring air.

The day was wonderful. Warm sun and a slight breeze, plenty of dry ground to walk on as well as significant snow for the dogs to party in. We walked till the dogs got tired. Then we cooked, made sweet little fire and shared a bit of whiskey watching the sun go down and stars begin to pop.

 

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We slept well, got up, made breakfast and coffee, feed the dogs and slowly broke camp. After sweeping camp clean, we strolled on back to the little blue van and made our way home. Quick, Simple and Easy!

What a difference a little trip to the woods and some time under the stars can do. No objectives, no goals, no destinations. Just to be outside with the sun, moon, stars, the grass, trees and mountains was a very powerful reminder of what is important.

Wookies Don’t Quit

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Wanted to shout out to everyone in my life. Near and far, familiar and maybe never have met. People can do awful things and we all see and feel the effects of that everyday. People are also full of energy, light, ideas, beauty, love and encouragement. It is easy forget the latter when it feels like we are against the wall.

My perspective shifted big time this weekend. I felt pressed hard against a wall. I felt alone and overwhelmed by the task of getting healthy and getting out of debt. In that moment of desperation I thought I’d just sell the only things I own that are worth a damn, my bikes. Well seems the people in my life heard this, did not agree and responded. Within 24 hours enough money was raised to cover a good bit of my current medical bills. This generosity was enough to make me tear up, but the comments people left made me openly sob.

I am so touched, so awakened, and so empowered by this. No joking, no BS, I am taking this outpouring of energy and going forward with it. This has proven to me that what I do, does matter, that the extra mile is worth doing, that being nice, generous and forgiving is noticed. I’m looking forward to helping more and more in the future in bigger and bigger ways. This is real, this is going to happen.

Once again, I feel blessed and grateful beyond words. So much love to all!

This morning as I wondered about making coffee, getting the laundry started, I found an old picture of my Wiley dog. I had written some encouragement on the back to take along on my 2011 Tour Divide.  Funny how we can come full circle and find our own words to be such pointed statements.

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If anyone needs some advice, a bit of love or some inspiration, please let me know, I’d like to be here for you…

walking home

Tonight walking home from work I passed two liquor stores, both beckoned me with bright lights and sale signs. Still the buildings were simple wood and stone to me, no one inside really knew or cared for me or needed my $ to get by.

I found myself wanting to go to them. To get a 6’er or maybe some whiskey…something to take my mind off of my mind. Something to pass the time….

Life is a sum of all that time. Funny thing with time, when you have it and can’t use it, minutes become hours. When you are running/stressing to get, minutes flash with every heartbeat. Crazy is how much of our time is spent here, where we don’t want to be, waiting or rushing, working or commuting.

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my brain is charging, dashing, crashing…bloodied and beat

What is life about anyway? My life for the past 20 years has been about adventure, dogs, mountains, bikes, friends, racing…and of course the drudgery of what comes with; work, bills, chores, kissing ass. I hate the later, but it gets me to the former, which is some powerful stuff.

Yet taking a forced step back, I am wondering what is it all for? Is my life really just a big roller coaster endorphin ride? If so, why not? Pay your bills, mow your lawn and keep chasing that dream in your spare time.

thinking…there’s going to be more…