Day Changer

Woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. The insistent bleep of the alarm roused me, yet I was feeling deep down tired, really not wanting to go to work, thinking only of how to get more sleep, please more sleep. Instead I got up, walked the dogs and went to work.

I made it through the work day. It wasn’t exactly smooth perfection, I cursed, I got pissed off and held onto my grumpiness which is never a good idea. Somehow the day turned out OK.



Came home to my excited doggies. Laid on the floor with them and stretched a bit. Pulled some energy together and got out for a hike.  A familiar spot to let them run free. It was refreshing to see the pockets of snow fading fast. Oh Spring where art thou?

they can not wait to find it, I can not wait for it to go away

they can not wait to find it, I can not wait for it to go away

Finally I got out for a ride. The wind was flapping with swift invisible gusts that slapped me around. The sky looked ominous with dark curtains of heavy clouds surfing the mad wind. Still my bike managed to keep going. Straight into the storm.

it is coming, oh yeah it is coming

it is coming, oh yeah it is coming

The foreboding sky held it’s promise and unleashed droplets of rain into the relentless wind. The warm sun of the past week was long gone, the air clogged with grey and white.

Luckily I had a loaded bike, with bags full of rain gear, warm gloves and more insulation. I layered up and kept on riding. The roads soon became shallow streams of sudsy water. My bones were soon soaked. My hands cramped up with the cold making it hard to zip up zippers and pull on gloves. My toes ached with the chill of wind driven rain.

whole lot of wet

whole lot of wet

Thing is, I was laughing. Smiling. I couldn’t have been happier. What started as a day full of exhaustion, doubt and self pity turned into a strange kind of joy that comes with realizing you really do love what you are driven to do. I am driven to ride. To be outside. To reach for experiences that make me feel small, challenged, scared and enlightened. Total day changer and all I had to do was go ride in the rain…..

cold, wet, tired, bonking...... and smiling

cold, wet, tired, bonking…… and smiling


I get obsessed over things, thoughts, ideas, dreams enter my head and I can’t let go. Sometimes this works out, like preparing for races and such, I get the details nailed down, over and over again. This side of it is exciting, heart pounding fun. Sometimes it keeps me up all night, thinking about things I could have, should have done, things I could have should have said. This side is torture, painful, heart breaking…

Lately I have become obsessed with the Tour Divide, that little race from Banff to the US/Mexican border. I almost thought I was done with the damn race after my 2011 run down the spine of the continent. Alas it has returned, it haunts me, draws me forth. Sure I could resist, deny the gravity of my desire. Yet so much of my life lacks the things I want so badly, I deal with it. But the TD is something I can happen, it isn’t dependent on the whims and desires of another. It is all about my own drive, focus and hard work.

Still I do live in the real world. I have to make a living. I have to hold a job, or two. It is inescapable, it is reality. Right now I want the Tour Divide so bad I can taste the day old french fries. Yet I need to keep eating from now till then. I need to work, so I can eat, pay rent, feed my dogs when I get back. Oh the balance of feeding my dreams and desires and keeping my head above water in the “real world”.

I do not want to say no to my dreams, what else do I truly have?

No matter my desires to go beyond limits, there are limits to everything in this life, limits I am having a hard time coming to terms with….oh what a world….


the flowers do not doubt themselves

the flowers do not doubt themselves

Ever wonder what humanity’s potential could be. It is something that I ponder on quite a lot, I just don’t think we have even glimpsed the possibilities. My heroes are the ones that push the limits of what we think is possible. Always loved reading about folks doing amazing things, but that was in books. Maybe I was naive and unexposed but ever since living here in Gunnison Colorado I have been blown away at what people can do. Run 100 miles through the mountains, I once said “No Fucking Way!” But ordinary people around here, do it all the time. Ride a bike 150+ miles a day for 16 days straight, “impossible!” Then I did it myself, so now I believe there is much more. I have surpassed my own limits and can’t help but wonder how much harder, farther I could go IF I could really focus. What if I was trained, or started earlier in life or truly stayed on target and didn’t get blindsided by life and the turmoils it brings along. What if folks were given the training and support and education from the get go, what could they become?

Instead I see humans gravitating towards comfort, convenience and constant entertainment. Sure there are a percentage of us that are pushing it, trying to exceed our limitations. But what about the species as whole? What about evolution, I want to be a better person, don’t you? Living where I do I have constant reminders that I could be better, faster, train harder and sometimes it helps me get up and out of bed. Makes me do a few extra push ups or lunges or what ever. Or that I could be reading more, writing more, sleeping more! But I also fall into the trap of drinking beer after work instead of going for a run or ride. Or staying up way too late wasting time on the internet and being so damn tired the next day and then missing a chance to train. Makes me wonder and no I don’t want to be so single-minded that all I do is push myself. Yet I know that I could be so much more, I just get distracted or think too much and forget to believe in myself.

Sometimes you just got to get out there and put the money on the table. So today I went and time trialed one of my favorite rides. Basically I raced myself from my front door and back, trying to beat my past time. It was a good day, but I fussed around, had to mess with my bags, just had to stop and take a few pictures,(the flowers were awesome!) I didn’t feel all that fast, and for the most part didn’t feel like I was pushing it that hard, although at one point my legs wanted to quit. But I managed to beat my previous time and I wasn’t so sure that I could do that, and as I rolled into town I knew I could have gone even faster. Potential, so much potential and that is what keeps me going, trying, breathing, getting up in the morning. It is so hard to keep that focus, believe me I know, but we all can try and try harder. Help me out and do your part, dream, strive, love, encourage and live your life to it’s potential, we can all inspire each other to be our best.

Fear and Loathing in Your Own Head

easy sounds kinda boring

easy sounds kinda boring

How many of us have ourselves as our worst enemy. Way too often I find myself seeing better paths ahead and still manage to not take them. Completely aware that I am doing just that, not making the change for the better, not taking the initiative, not making myself a winner. Then I berate myself with belittlements over and over, “what a wuss, why can’t you just say no, why can’t you just go to bed earlier, why can’t I get up earlier and train more” on and on.

Then there is the inability to dispel doubt from my mind, instead failing to believe in what I can do, taking it all apart, chopping down thy own tree. What if, I wonder, what if I did make those little changes and began to push myself forth with confidence and courage? What could I then achieve? I wonder if I will ever know the answers as I am damnably human and keep locating the traps below my feet. Keep making the same mistakes that have been noted to be just that. mistakes.

Not to be monotonous but my challenges almost always come back to pushing myself, mentally, physically, spiritually to be a better athlete. Sure I do want to be a better person, and better employee, a genuine positive member of society. Simply I want to kick some more ass, really. Year after year I compete in events and see my potential to be so much more, if only I could….There is the hitch. If only I could what, wish upon a star? I do try, I take the knowledge and attempt to focus and train harder, smarter, longer, shorter. I lose my grip, I fall off the wagon, the focus gets fuzzy. I do this year’s event and realize I fell short on my desires again.

Yet over time you just can’t help but learn a few things. I have learned about eating, hydration, pacing all that stuff. But most of what I have learned and been able to put into regular practice, is simply, getting it done. Being able to suffer, suck it up realize that this is nothing and I Can Do IT. Sure I am always so acutely aware of how very human I am when it hurts so much, but that doesn’t mean jack shit if you try hard enough. We weak piddly little things can do some down right amazing things, not just with our bodies and minds, but with our souls.

So today I went out to ride the 2nd Lap of the Gunnison Growler, it has a bit harder start with more techy singletrack than the first lap of the 64 miler. I started tired, sore from yesterday’s lap 1. My back locked up right away, my legs screamed with complaints. It was hard, I didn’t quite go as fast as I wanted, but I also caught a glimpse of what I could do out there. It has nothing to do with listening to my pesky nagging doubts, to instead embrace the pain as my payment for having such the wonderful luxury of racing my bike. Not to back down when it hurts, to not pay mind to when aches rise up, but look forward to the experience. Never give up, don’t stop believing in yourself, never stop trying. And of course smile and smile through all those wonderful turns and rock hopping goodness.

Motivation. Sunshine and Rain

Living in Gunnison, Colorado, we get spoiled by the pretty regular sunshine, almost everyday the sun pokes its head out and it is nice for a bit. I am very much accustomed to being able to get in an abundance of rides, lots of sunny days, plenty of pleasant pedaling windows. Normally when a nasty wet day does occur you take the day off, read that book that you’ve been ignoring, clean the house, take a nap. Sometimes when we get a few wet days in a row I tend to freak out, get grumpy wondering if it will ever end. I tend to drink even more coffee, perhaps even more beer. I don’t ride so much, I fall into chill mode and wait for the sun.

Problem is I still like bike racing and have two races in the early season and neither is a cake walk. Slacking is not training, training is not waiting. I need to motivate and ride in this crap, I did this in 2011 getting ready for the TD. By that spring’s end it used up a lot of my will to ride without the sun. I still have fun, I still enjoy the ride even if it snows, rains, my feet and fingers freeze, I really do. I can only think of a few bike rides in my whole life that were not good, or actually bad. That was only when someone got hurt, and those were fun up till that point.

It is that act of getting out the door, dressed for success, ready to face the wind, the cold the wet. Sort of like getting out of bed when all you want is more sleep, but once you get moving it ain’t so bad. Still it is a struggle when the warm golden sun doesn’t beckon me forth. I ply myself with tough love “Just get out there, damn it”  “Suck it Up, Butter Cup” Berating doesn’t always work. Sometimes it just takes a while for it to happen. Going out for a good ride at 4:30PM is just fine, but if I have the day off I feel so guilty for not being out there all day long. Today I didn’t get out for a ride till 1:pm. I was just fussing with this and that, working on my bike, stretching, putting up pictures from that mornings dog walk, doing laundry. But inside this murmur of ” you need to be riding, you should be riding….” On and on.

Finally I get layered up and plan on a road ride as the rain and snow from last night seems too much for the dirt to absorb. The sun is out and feels warm, till you step out from behind the house and the wind hits full force. In my mind this wind rolls east from the Himalayas across the world, unchecked till it ramps up for crossing the Divide. Still I head west, cause if I don’t know where, I go west. Straight into the wind, blowing me all over, making it hard to keep a good cadence. At the first dirt road I turn going south. The wind just sucks. I can laugh at it, but it also makes me curse. Maybe it makes you tougher, but it still sucks. The dirt is good, dry, driven and packed in, so what dirt roads should I ride? Gravity pulls me along blindly and there is Josie’s Trail. I know it will be dry if the road is dry and we climb up it in the upcoming Growler. Turns out to be super tacky, no mud, one puddle, perfect. Hard not to follow one trail with another, so turning onto Gateway, should know better, wet clay! Instead I head back and flow on down Josie’s again. Why not? I turn and ride back up and smile my way down again. The wind is still punishing and making riding perilous, but I am riding dry singletrack!

Sometimes, you just gotta have faith. Make the leap and get out there, it’s like Mother Nature is testing your true desire and will. I feel like she’s asking me, “do you really want to ride? how bad? It could be cold and nasty, sure you want to go out in that?”  Every damn time it is worth it. Yet today my body felt awful, legs dead, back tight and sore. Proof that I need those miles, those nasty, soul building miles in the wind and the rain.


The gravity of living. Pulling every which way, with so many ways to live, to scratch out a life. So many forms of obsession, lust, love. Blows my mind the little places, niches that folks nestle into and cling to. I think of all the turns in my own life, the choices made, how different it could have turned out. I haven’t always been able to be motivated and focused. I have spent way too much time regretting, wishing, slowly drowning myself in desperation. I have always contained so much energy and without a focus it needed to be subdued, experimenting with drugs, saturating myself, numbing out the heedless drive and closing the circle in tighter. Becoming more depressed, seeing nothing good coming out of my pathetic life that hurt to live. Instead of stepping out of the circle and trying something, you just want out, to circle even tighter and shrivel up and disappear. Not a healthy place to be.

Perhaps the two most critical forks in the road, for me were moving to Colorado and giving up everything to hike the north half of the Colorado Trail. Moving to Colorado took some time to make a change in me, I was still depressed, still didn’t see myself doing anything good. Really it was when friend of mine invited me to hike the CT with him that summer. Now I had never been camping, backpacking, didn’t know shit about the woods, but I did know I needed to do something big, something to stir up my life, shaken not stirred! I gave up having a roof over my head, most of my material possessions and dove in head first. It was quite an experience. We only made it to Monarch Pass, but it started a shift, a change in my whole view of life, goals, desires.

To be honest I didn’t hike the CT and become a happy, motivated person. But it opened my eyes to what a regular human could do. Being outside among all that open space, those massive mountains, gorgeous little streams, perfect camping spots, terrible thunder storms and baking heat, it all makes you feel so small. Not the small of being stupid and pathetic, but the small that makes you realize that the world is wide open, it doesn’t take a great job, a sweet car, or a big house to be fulfilled. All that is nonsense that society piles upon your shoulders, that is what gives you stress, makes you frustrated, mad, feeling left out. So fuck it, leave yourself out and go do something.

I would guess that most people have plenty of ups and downs. I swear that I ride a roller coaster. I can get up there so high that I can see all my stress and anguish as being tiny little ant problems. So small and insignificant. But then back down, broke and broken it feels like nothing but walls penning me in. Perspective, all about perspective. The thing is, you live through those moments, we need to keep that perspective. The more high points the easier it is to remember that you get through, you can prevail and that life isn’t and shouldn’t be all cherries and sunshine.

Life is a struggle, but make that struggle worth while. To do that it takes the courage to step out of the routine that leaves you feeling trapped and take a chance. “It is better to regret something you have done than something you haven’t done”  Follow those dreams, holding them tight doesn’t make them real, live them. I dreamed of doing the Tour Divide for 7 years, every year I put it off, I always had some excuse. I sacrificed a lot to make that dream come true. Being out there, riding my bike everyday, seeing so much of this land was an experience that lives with me everyday. I can clearly remember riding along the top of the divide at sunset heading towards Atlantic City, the road twists and turns staying right atop the spine of the continent. The sun was hitting snow covered peaks on one side and the sage hills of the Basin alternated between glow and shadow on the other. I felt amazing, it was almost like my bike was hovering off the ground, I was spinning the pedals as fast as I could, I just couldn’t wait to see what was next, what was ahead. Yet I was completely engrossed in what was going on around me. I had never felt so high, so real in my life. Visions of the many wonderful, gorgeous places I had seen in the past days, weeks, years came rolling forth. I felt so grateful, thankful to be alive, to have been able to get through the low points of my life, to be a witness, subject of such greatness. At that moment I could only wonder why anyone wouldn’t want to get out here into the world and see some of this for themselves. It just makes it all worth while.

Turning 40, all downhill from here

The Big 4-0. Yep, many things to many people. From the perspective of me as a child, I just can’t believe I made it this far. “40, man that is old!” But living here in the Gunnison Valley, forty is just another start, a stage for blossoming. For me right now it feels like the body getting older, the mind and ego staying the same. Thus I feel beat up and overused and still want to take on what ever my mind wishes without doing anything but getting out of bed. Tough luck there buster.

I have been trying to be good, doing some core work almost everyday along with some stretching. But it just isn’t enough. The back still feels tight, the legs dead, the knees get creaky after a day at work and this is without really pushing it, not really riding much. Could it be I am just making up the deficit of so many years? Sins of the past, the little promises I made at 2:AM in the middle of the night during some race, “please let me get through this and I promise I will be good to my poor body, really I promise”  Believe me I think about it a lot cause sometimes it truly does hurt. Maybe I did a deal with the devil, whoever that may be, and now have to repay my tab. I feel like saying “Fuck you Devil, I am moving on” but it just doesn’t work that way, maybe I am getting old after all, nah.Yet here I am right now, half drunk on beer, writing instead of sleeping, stretching, eating well. Aauughh.

I keep running into the wall of knowing that I am not perfect, I hate these walls! But it is only another place to start, a new beginning, right. Yet beginnings are hard, painful, messy. No one is is perfect, but we all can try a little harder, can’t we? It is just so much easier to give in to temptation and put it off. The fact is it doesn’t matter to the whole scheme of things, or does it? As individuals maybe it doesn’t matter, but as a whole maybe it does? Do the sum of all our efforts equal something more?

Bottom line is I need to try harder, stay focused because I want more, I am still unsatisfied with what I have done, I want more out of myself. I want to push my limits even harder. The problem is the gap between that feeling and everyday life, where work, desire, impulsion get in the way of the the one minded push towards that goal. It can seem so simple at one time, but get muddled so quickly. Who wants to be average? Shit I have wished for it so many times, but really it is simply not me. Never has been.

So what does this have to do with being on this earth for 40 years? Perspective, once again, my perspective now at this time is that we as humans need to push past this phase of “good enough” and strive for what is possible. It starts here, I want to push myself, see what is really inside me. Maybe it will inspire someone to seek out there own potential and that inspires yet another person, who inspires yet another. Get out there, do it, be what you want to be, no BS, live and make it real.