Zen On Dirt


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A week

It’s been almost a week since I rolled up to Picket Post down in AZ.  In some aspects, it feels like an eternity, and in other ways, it seems like yesterday.  Time is funny that way.  I’m on my final day of bed-rest recovery and it’s going to feel so good to get out and ride and do some yoga tomorrow!

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Bobo’s Breakfast!  Apple pancakes, bacon, sausage, and eggs!

I spent Monday and Tuesday recovering with Scott in Tucson.  For having felt like I didn’t ride hard enough, my body completely shut down pretty quick after I finished.  I spent Monday nursing a roasted neck, chapped lips, and a raw mouth in addition to sore legs, bruised hands, and a sore rear.  Luckily, I was still able to eat brunch at Bobo’s and dinner at Mi Ranchito where I got the MadMaxMorris special, a red chili chimichanga.  Yeah, it was good.

Tuesday was more of the same.  Eating.  Napping.  Playing my GPX track against Scott’s run in 2012 on the computer…I got some good gaps on him when he was down fixing flat tires!  He also did the Oracle Ridge segment that took me 3.5 hours in 2.5 hours.  Whoops.  Then pizza with Lee and Joan, and it was time to get on a plane pre-dawn the next morning.  Back to work.  Back to reality.

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Bruised Oracle Ridge legs.  The picture doesn’t do them justice.

I kept waiting for the bottom to fall out.  LW had warned me that I’d have no energy so not to plan any weekend adventures.  Luckily, work duties kept me in town so I wasn’t even tempted.  While I did nap, the energy never crashed.  I ate lots of veggies.  I drank lots of carrot juice.  I only rode my bike to and from work.

And I feel fantastic.

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Scott added some details to my pony before I got to AZ to race.

After the ITI crash and burn, I keep wondering how it’s possible.  To be fair, I’m still wondering how my entire ride was possible.  I sort of feel like I pulled it out of my ass.  I was hoping to squeak in under three days, if I had a good run…but 2:13:10?  For real?  Six weeks after the total body beat down of ITI?  The human body is nothing short of amazing.  I think I’m going to ask it for one more biggie this spring…as soon as I finish this dull recovery business.  This is going to be fun.

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Paleo chocolate zucchini bread with coconut butter frosting.  What happens when I’m not supposed to ride.

Life is funny.  Life is unexpected.  I like it that way.


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AZT: Part II

I rolled along a smooth dirt road for a handful of feet, having made the decision to stop in Oracle 20 miles down the trail instead of Summerhaven for my final resupply. Smooth dirt!  Downhill!  Go Oracle Ridge!

I should know better.  The trail immediate split off the road, uphill.  I took a close look at the tire tracks on the uber-narrow trail to see what I could see.  There were a couple of tracks with Aaron Gully’s 2.4 Ardents the top most.  Oh no!  Aaron, what are you doing behind these people?  What happened?

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Oracle Ridge.  It’s pretty.  It should be made into wilderness.

I then proceeded to push my bike along a narrow, exposed strip of ‘trail’ wondering what Scott was talking about when he said the first two miles of the trail weren’t that bad and that it got really interesting after the saddle.  Then out of the blue, I heard a bike behind me, barreling down the hill I was barely able to walk down.  Moobs!  At the bottom of the hill he asked me what I thought of Oracle Ridge so far.  I replied that it was silly. He inquired about the whereabouts of everyone else and I just shrugged.  ‘You’re the only person I’ve seen all day.’  He then proceeded to tell me that the ridge was ‘short’ and once the descending started, the trail went from okay to really good.

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More Oracle Ridge.  It builds character.

Four hours of taking my bike for a walk later, I felt like I’d missed the memo on both the ‘short’ part and the ‘good’ part.  It was an interesting mind game, being furiously mad at Scott the Race Director for putting the section of the trail in, while knowing that I really harbored no ill-will towards him as a person.  It was definitely a time period to employ lessons from yoga: You can react with angst, or you can react with grace.  You get to choose.  There was angst.  There was grace.  And there was laughter every time I saw Moobs just a couple hundred yards ahead of me, also taking his bike for a stroll.  What am I doing riding with the great Pete Basinger?  I know someone who would be soooooo jealous.

The trail finally mellowed to the point where I wasn’t having to get off every 20 yards and I breathed in the beautiful sunset while riding around what seemed like a million circles in Oracle State Park.  Somehow, I eventually escaped the vortex and dumped out on the highway to Oracle.  Dinner!  I rolled into town at 7:55, five minutes before the Market closed.  Not wanting to be rushed, I pedaled the extra half mile to the Circle K where I placed a The Bomb burrito on the counter.  ‘I’d like to start with this.’  $46 later, I was a The Bomb plus a breakfast burrito more full, my water supplies topped off, and had what I hoped was enough food to take me to the finish.  Down the highway.  Back on the trail.  Onward towards Antelope Peak.

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Morning shadows.

The riding was challenging and after throwing a minor fit after screwing up yet another switchback, I put music on for the first time in my racing career.  Music, where have you been my whole life?  Life immediately got better, as did the trail and I flew through the miles, ripping downhills, riding switchbacks I had no business riding, absolutely euphoric, singing along to my music.  At 1 am, I started to ponder sleep and then I saw it, a light in the distance.  Moooooooobs!  I’m so going to chase him down!  I’m either going to ride until the water cache, 2 am, or I catch Moobs, I decided.  Unfortunately, 2am came the soonest and I settled down by the Beehive Well for some shut-eye.  This time I took my shorts off before I crawled into my emergency bivy.  For the record, I don’t recommend sleeping in an emergency bivy bare-assed.  Two hours later, I was wide awake.  10 minutes after that, I was moving up the sandy road and back on the trail, the first hints of the approaching sun lighting up the horizon.

At the water cache, I ran into Chip, who’d ITT’d the route a few weeks earlier.  We chatted as I did my morning chores: water, rearrange food, sunscreen.  He told me Moobs had been through at 2 am and Aaron was through at 10 pm.  ‘How about everyone else?’ I asked.  That’s it.  You’re in third, by a good margin.  Third?  Really?  Neat!  Then I guess I’d better get pedaling!

The Boulders section was nothing short of…amazeballs!  Fast, flowy, beautiful, exhilarating.  And at the end, I ran into Jen, Caroline, and Anna, a girls bikepacking trip going south that I figured I’d run into far earlier on the course.  We chatted, talked about things that girls talk about, and then they told me that it had taken them 8.5 hours to go from Picket Post to Kelvin, in the mostly downhill direction.  I did some quick mental math: I want to be at the top of the Gila at sunset!  That’s my goal!

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Few places are as special as this on at the top of Ripsey.

Down the trail.  Into the wash where I finally recognized where I was: Day 3 of Scott and I’s Gila bikepack back in December.  At the end of that trip, I’d told Scott that he’d ruined me forever because no bikepacking trip was ever going to THAT good.  Up Ripsey, I took a minute to pay homage to our saguaro and eat a whoopie pie I’d picked up special in Oracle.  A special treat for a special place.  I thanked the Universe for everything, especially the past five months, and continued on down the ridge and down the two dozen switchbacks, of which I rode exactly zero.

But the flowers, the flowers were amazing.  The yellows, reds, oranges, purples, all neon.  Splashes of color that would pop into my peripheral vision and make me gasp.  The desert was blooming, just for me!

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With the desert on fire with flowers, I took exactly one flower picture. 

With the descent into Kelvin came the onset of noontime heat.  I finished the last of my water as I rolled up to the trailer park water spigot.  While eating my final dehydrated meal, I struck up a conversation with a Kelvin resident.  ‘So what are you doing out here all by yourself?’ ‘Riding the Arizona trail.’ ‘How far are you going?’ ‘Superior.  40 miles away.’ ‘Superior is only 16 miles on the highway.  How far are you going to make it tonight?’ ‘Superior.  Or at least I’d better, because I’m not stopping until I get there.’

I rolled out under the blazing sun at 12:40 and immediately wilted in the heat.  It’s okay, I told myself.  This section was ridiculously fun during the bikepacking trip.  Mostly downhill, easy uphills, super-fun trail, an hour tops until you get to the base of the climb.

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Sweltering.  Still better than being in the snow.

Three hours later, I was still a solid mile from the base of the climb, sitting in the shade, trying to keep the nausea at bay.  ‘I must have been smoking some really good crack back in December because this is officially suckballs.’  The minutes ticked by slowly and the sun refused to move any lower in the sky.  I thought back to my commute earlier in the week in the snow.  ‘This is so much better than the snow!  I could be grading physics exams right now!’

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Climb up into the Gila.

But as I seem to have to prove to myself over and over again, as long as I keep moving, I’ll get to where I’m going.  I hit the base of the climb.  The sun moved behind the giant rock buttress, and I was immediately reborn.  This is where Scott and stopped to take pictures!  This is where we considered camping, but someone was already camped here!  This is where we camped and spent the first of many magic nights under the full moon!  This is where the trail blew my mind!  Up up up!

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Racing the sunset.

Again, I realized how good of crack new love was because I found myself completely confused when the climb still refused to end after 17 false summits.  ‘How did I not remember all this?’  But as hoped, I topped out on the high ridge at sunset.  On the top of the world to say goodbye to the sun.  The trip down memory lane continued.  This is where we ran into Jeff and Nancy.  This is where I cleaned a switchback and scared myself silly. This is where the trail continued to blow my mind.  This is the gate where we stopped to eat tangerines.  And what’s that?  A light across the valley?  Moooooooooobs!  I nearly yelled, but figured the sound wouldn’t bridge the valley.  The light flickered around until I realized that he was at the base of the Unicorn Rock, then it turned directly towards me…and disappeared.  I ate the final couple of bites of my Little Debbie Apple Pie and took off in pursuit.

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Magic places.  This is why we do what we do.

The motivation to chase lasted for approximately 20 minutes until I realized there was no chance I was going to catch Moobs on a descent, which the final dozen miles consisted mostly of.  So I sat back and enjoyed the ride.  Down down down.  Across the road where Scott and I had detoured down to Superior for ice cream and then onto the final seven mile stretch.  During our bikepack, we’d climbed up those seven miles and I’d remembered them being absolutely delightful, and generally delightful climbs make for delightful descents.

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Sunset on the high ridge.  A mixture of heaven (rocks, sun) and hell (cholla).  

If I knew how to capture and sell the crack that I was smoking in December, I’d make millions.

I struggled down the trail, walking the ups, flailing on the rocks.  ‘Get it together, Ez, get it together.  You’re mentally losing it, physically you’re fine!’  I battled the mental demons which told me the trail would never end.  I fought the impulse to stop on the side of the trail to rest even though I wasn’t tired.  Then I finally recognized the upsy-daisy where Scott and I had run into some people that he had known.  We’d stopped to chat and afterwards I gave him a hard time about being famous on the AZT.  I was getting the grand tour from someone who loved the AZT more dearly than anyone else out there, someone who I was starting to love more dearly than I ever thought possible.

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Goodbye, sun.

And then it really was all downhill.  Fast, swoopy.  I heard a holler from the parking lot, I hollered back and grunted up the final little rise to see Scott in the line of my headlamp.  Half confused, half elated, I dropped my bike to get a giant hug.  10:20 pm.

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It’s a big world out there, Charlie Brown.

Moobs was sprawled out by the sportsvan and I gave him grief about really not wanting to get chicked.  Scott immediately offered up a menu fit for kings.  Chips and salsa.  Soda.  Ice cream sandwiches.  We sat and laughed, Moobs admitted to shutting off his light when he saw me in the hope that I wouldn’t see him and try to chase him down.  We  both fessed up to not really having a post-race plan, especially since I had no desire to sleep in my emergency bivy without shorts on again.  We thanked Scott for being there.  Our bodies and minds began to shut down as exhaustion started to win out over euphoria.  Eventually Scott loaded the bikes into the van, loaded a tired Ez and Moobs in as well, and we left the moonlit parking lot, a grand adventure completed.


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AZT: Part I

Sometimes I wonder why I do the things I do.  I race my bike for days on end with minimal sleep, recovery takes absolutely forever during which I tend to be moody, sore, and not really the finest specimen of human being.  Heading into the AZT, I had a moment of reservation: Is this going to be worth it?

But afterwards, sitting in the Tucson sun and reflecting on my ride, I was reminded why I do these things.  These events, races, rides, these are my works of art.  These are my forms of self-expression.  These are my forms of love and life crack.  Sometimes things don’t quite come together as planned, like ITI (which may have been deemed a success by outside observers, but really was a poorly executed junk-show from my perspective), and then sometimes I look back at a ride and say: That was so beautifully put together, it was art.

AZT was art.

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Listening to Scott’s startline motivational speech.  ‘My ears are always burning when people get on Oracle Ridge.’

It had the potential to be a junk show, and I knew it.  The night before I’d left Tucson after Spring Break, I’d discovered a small crack in the seat tube of my frame. Not a big deal had I not been leaving in six hours, and had my seat post not been stuck in the frame.  Luckily, Scott had offered to take care of it, and with the help of Lee, cut the old seat post out, and then had Lee fix the frame.  The new seat post arrived two days before the race.  I arrived the night before, luckily being able to fly standby on an earlier flight, arriving a little after 9 pm instead of well after 11 pm.   The bike was quickly loaded and head-to-pillow touchdown was achieved before my original flight would have even landed.

Things were looking promising.  The start line was a social scene.  Faces put to Facebook profiles, eyeing of different setups, sharing of last minute snacks, bites of burrito from Chad, peanut butter cups from J-Bake.  Before I knew it, it was time to go.  It was time for one last hug from Scott and then off down Gear Check Hill and into the Canelos.

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Bellies full of food after Sonoita, starting the climb towards Kentucky camp.  

I was immediately struck by how excited I was to see different parts of the course again.  The Canelos had been the scene of a glorious Bikepackarita with Scott over Spring Break and it was scene after scene of ‘This is where we watched the moonrise!’ and ‘This is where we watched the sun set!’ and ‘This is where we camped!’ and ‘This is where we thanked the Universe for letting us be so lucky!’

I ended up riding with a handful of people through the Hills and entertained myself by trying to actually remember names and kits.  There was Eric, and Blake, and Neil from Crested Butte, and a handful of others I met as we rode the rocks and hills.  I couldn’t stop grinning.  I rolled straight through Patagonia, dreaming about the chocolate peanut butter pie that we’d had there and settled in for the 12 mile paved stretch to Sonoita, determined to chase down Ray on his single speed and green knee high socks who I could just see on the horizon.

Sonoita came quickly and I pulled in just as a group of boys were leaving.  Moobs!  Chadly!  I went into the store and found myself baffled.  How much food do I need again? 24 hours worth-ish? How much is that?  ‘I hope I have enough food,’ I mentioned to someone as I was leaving with my $36 worth of goodies, including an ice cream sandwich.  ‘Where are you trying to make it to?’ he asked.  ‘Oh, I don’t know.  Rincon store maybe (74 miles away), Summerhaven maybe (130 miles away), Oracle maybe (151 miles away).’  Commitment right there.

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MOOBS!

Kentucky Camp came next, the site of Scott and I’s day ride that we snuck in before Chad’s wedding over Spring Break.  It was a short and sweet ride where we’d parked next to a camper playing Dracula music and then after the ride hightailed it back to Tucson to get Scott all dressed up in a suit and tie and me in a dress to pretend to be presentable for an afternoon.  This time around, I found myself riding with Ross Cairns from Oz who was racing the 750. We’d met in Oz a few years back and he kindly told me that my creaking bike reminded him of Chad’s creaking bike.  A while later,  I found Moobs in front of me for a while and were gate buddies, sharing the burden of opening and closing the 1.2 million gates on route.  Darkness fell, lights came on, magic ensued.  The next many miles of trail was most fun riding I’ve ever done and with the wide open desert scape, people’s lights were visible for miles ahead and miles behind.  The trail twisted and turned, dove in and out of washes, climbed small vistas, and afforded giant views of the Tucson cityscape.  I found Chadly eating on the side of the trail.  I saw Dave Wilson futzing with a flat tire.  I soon found myself at the parking lot where Jj, Jen and I had started our ice cream ride to Colossal Caves.

Girls ride!  I giggled my way along the fun trail, thinking about all the goofy things that we’d talked about on the ride back in March.  I thought about Hagen the cat at Colossal Caves, of finishing the ride and heading straight to Mi Ranchito for tacos, and then going back for more tacos when the boys finished their ride.

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Golden hour post Kentucky Camp.  

The riding was smooth and easy and the LaSavilla campground appeared quickly.  I looked at my watch: 11:30 pm.  ‘Do you know where the water spigot is?’  It was Moobs again.  ‘Ummm…no, but I have a waypoint for it.’  I zoomed in on the GPS and we backtracked through the campground, following the GPS like a waterwand.  ‘Scott said there was a spigot coming out of a rock, and that there may be a hose by the gazebo.’  A-ha!  Water found.  ‘I couldn’t find it anywhere,’ Moobs admitted, ‘but I knew that you’d know where it was, so I just waited.’

‘There are advantages to dating the race director.’

We rolled out with Aaron Boatman, a train of three rolling through the twists and turns of the desert through the new Hope Pass singletrack section.  ‘This seems way longer,’ Aaron admitted.  ‘It adds four miles between LaSavilla and the Rincon Store,’ I confirmed.  But man, it was a fun four miles and I was sad to see the singletrack end.  I rolled by the Rincon Store at 1:30 and did the math, if I stopped, I could get my 2.5 hours of sleep, half hour of camp fiddle-farting, and they’d be almost open for breakfast. Not worth the time for a warm breakfast.  I rolled straight by the store, watching Aaron turn in and looking back to see Moobs nowhere in sight.  I pedaled the next four miles to the Saguaro State Park Visitors Center, rolling in at 2 am.  Perfect, I thought, and went down for two hours of sleep.  Scott would be proud of this sleeping spot.

I was moving again by 4:30, giddy, and highly skeptical of my sleeping setup of an emergency bivy and a car shade for a pad.  I’d woken up soaked, and while I was still warm, comfortable wasn’t exactly a way I’d describe myself.

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Sunrise from Reddington, looking back on Tucson.

Then, it was time for Reddington, Shiva Falls, and the AZT to Milagrosa, Scott and I’s second ride in December.   Date 1.b, if you will.  I was so nervous then, and so high on life crack, a fact that became abundantly clear as the never-ending steep rollers continued without relief.  ‘How did I not think this was hard four months ago?  Oh yeah, I was chasing a cute boy around, being madly in love with everything desert!’

I’d braced myself for the worst for the Molino Hike-a-bike but in all honesty, spent the entire hike up in awe that people could actually ride down it.  I then proceeded to walk my bike down the other side.  Oh, Arizona trails and rocks.

Dumping down into the campground, I smiled at the site of the final ride of Spring Break, 90 minutes of tempo riding up Mt. Lemmon, followed by a descent of Bugs and Prison Camp.  Prison Camp was the site of my downhill mojo first starting to make its reappearance after a winter of snow riding.  Scott claimed it was mostly rideable up, but Scott is a special one, I’d known that one from the start.  Still, he was mostly right, and each familiar corner made me smile and several rubbly sections left me scratching my head, ‘Rideable?  My ass.’

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First direct rays of sun at the top of Reddington.  The rest of the day was character-building.

Back on the highway, I climbed past the point where I had looked back and seen Scott gaining on me during the tempo ride after giving me a significant head start, then the place he came blowing by me, the upper Bug Springs trailhead, on to where we’d stopped for Easter candy on the way down, where my 90 interval had ended, where Scott had finally descended back down to after his, and then finally Palisade for water.   Lemmon was flying, well, as much as it could fly under a pair of 2.35 Rampages.

I continued up, laughing gleefully as the road turned downwards.  Unexpected downhills are the best!  Then the end of the road was the Oracle Ridge turn off.  It was two in the afternoon; I was six hours ahead of Lynda’s record pace.  I coasted off the pavement, knowing something special loomed.  Scott said six hours for Oracle Ridge.  How could it possibly take me six hours to ride 20 miles with a 4,000 foot net elevation loss?  Scott’s a special one, I should have remembered that.


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5 girls, 3 rides, 3 questions

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Every December, we start the chatter: What weekend is going to work for the Annual Girls Trip to Fruita?  We toss around some dates, find one that works for everyone, and then show up to Campsite 16 in the James Robb campground in Fruita to ride bikes, eat good food, and relish the sun and warmth of the desert.  The beauty of this trip (besides the riding) is that it’s a yearly event that allows us (me?) to take stock of what has happened in the past year more so than New Years, solstice, or birthdays.

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I guess this event proved to be even more significant for me since last years AGTF was in the middle of a series of events that I consider the beginning of a major life change that occurred six months later.  A year ago, I wouldn’t have even remotely predicted the events of the past twelve months.

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Life is funny that way.

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So while sitting in the sun after a glorious day of riding rocks, we found ourselves playing a game of questions: In the past year, what are you most proud of?  What did you let go of?  And what you do want to manifest more of in the next year?

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What am I most proud of?  Making the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make and making it by listening to my heart and not out of anger or frustration. It led to a period of misery for sure, but I clawed my way out of that hole, often times feeling like I was taking two steps backward for every one step forward. I’m proud of how I reacted to it. How I recovered from it.

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What did I let go of?  I let go of a lot of fear, fear that I had royally screwed my life over when I left Crested Butte.  I let go of the fear of stigma, that I would never find happiness again.

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What do I want to manifest more of in the next year?  Love.  Laughter.  Putting myself in situations to watch beautiful sunrises and sunsets.  Full moon adventures.  To create a situation that I can make my plans for 2014 a reality.  To live presently.  To see miracles in everything and remember that we are all just doing the best we can.  To act with grace and calm.  And to remember that not knowing what’s going to happen next is part of the excitement of life, and the exciting life is better than the boring one.

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Who knows what we’ll be talking about next April when we reconvene.  I’m not even going to pretend to predict.

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Time to flow

I had something amazing happen this morning.  I went out for a ride (which is wonderful and amazing and blissful all by itself) on my non-squishy bike to a fairly rocky trail.  Chundery.  I was expecting to get beat up (which was part of the plan seeing that the AZT is not a smooth trail) but the bike seemed to flow effortlessly up the climb.  Up the rocks, over the roots.  On the way down, I floated.  The awkward little moves weren’t awkward, I threaded my way through little gaps without hitting my pedals.  I hit corners at speeds that I haven’t reached in a long time.

For the first time since Christmas, I felt like a mountain biker again.

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I’d had little glimpses of feeling normal again during spring break, but much of the riding was done with a twinge of fear.   I wasn’t too worried about it as it happens to me after every big energy expenditure, but I was definitely starting to get antsy about my adrenal system coming back on-line.  I like my adrenaline.  It makes me go zoom.  It makes me not afraid of rocks.  It makes me happy.

Feeling that flow made me realize how much the ITI had cracked me.

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My body cracked.  My soul cracked.  My mind cracked. Big time.  For a while afterward, I was angry at all three.  I was frustrated by being tired.  I was frustrated with my inability to focus on the present moment.  I fought my inability to regain a grip on the concept of passing time.

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And then at some point in time, sitting in Scott’s front yard, basking in the sun, I stopped cursing my body for what it couldn’t do and started to thank it for all the things that it could do.  And that made all the difference.  I found myself fully reengaging in life, in the present moment.  Plugging back into the healing powers of the Universe and Life.  Plugging into the healing powers of the magic of the desert.  Approaching each day and each ride with gratitude for what my brain and body could do at that specific moment.   The body is an amazing thing.

Cracks always heal.  I’m excited to ride again.


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Life Recovery

I woke up today in a foul mood  Foul to the point that stupid niggling little things that normally I don’t even notice were cause for major irritation.  Cloudy skies?  I wish I were still in Tucson.  Whining dogs?  Can’t you go bother someone else?  MIA yoga mat?  Why can’t I keep my shit together?  No more Good Earth tea? The world is pretty much going to end.

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And then I saw this:

Travel is like love, mostly because it’s a heightened state of awareness, in which we are mindful, receptive, undimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed.  That is why the best trips, like the best love affairs, never really end.

-Pico Iyer

I knew why I woke up grumpy. The sky was gray, the air was cold.  I missed going out into Scott’s front yard to say hello to the Tucson sun in shorts and a teeshirt as I had for the previous nine days.  I missed my morning hug.  I was staring down doing my taxes, of catching up on emails, of returning to work.  I was entirely uninspired to do any of it.

After nine days of magic, inspiration, and being acutely aware of each passing minute and hour, sitting down to focus was proving to be a challenge.  After nine days of heightened awareness,  I felt my life vibration step down a notch.  The deteriorating weather wasn’t helping my cause.  The great let down.  It happens after every adventure.  It always catches me off guard.

I laughed.  You’re worse at life recovery than you are at physical recovery.  Maybe in the same way that I can’t ride my bike all day every day like I would so very much like to do, I can’t live at maximal awareness every minute of every day.  Maybe sitting back on occasion and watching flames in the fireplace, listening to rain, curling up in a blanket, and putting off taxes one more day, and just being, is okay.  It quite possibly is even good for me.  Maybe it’s recovery, so when it’s time to fly again, I can fly higher than ever before.

The trip isn’t over.  Far from it.