Zen On Dirt

Learning the definition of ‘Enough’

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My life follows very predictable cycles, especially on the week to week scale. I gogogogogogo, and then I crash. I recover, and then gogogogogo, and then crash again. My crashes generally involve being in a completely foul mood, picking fights with whoever is unfortunate enough to be around me, view my life as a complete failure, etc. The worst part of the crashes is that I’m too tired to ride, which leaves me plenty of time to be the reigning Queen Bitch of the Amazon. I’ve accepted the crashes as part of living at full-speed the rest of the time.

But I don’t learn. Ever. I always think that my energy levels will last forever, that if I wasn’t thinking about bike racing, then I could ride for eight hours a day, every day, and that rest is for the weak. I always think that I’ll be able to control my Amazonian tendencies, smile and nod, and keep my ‘I’m tired’ torment to myself when I do find my irrational side taking over.

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We’re at the pink dot. What could possibly go wrong?

I knew my crash was coming, it was like watching a train coming at you when you’re trespassing and trying to duck through a train tunnel to access trail that you really shouldn’t be accessing. After the CTR spectating mini-adventure, I got tired. Maybe a bit grumpy. Then I rebounded, put together a set of intervals for LW’s viewing pleasure that left me scratching my head at where I pulled them out of, and the continued to add ‘extra curricular’ activities to my ‘training’, such as calling the Animas Mountain climb the perfect 1.5 hour ‘Work on your tech skills and easy pedal the rest’ workout, because it really is a solid hour of technical climbing…just not a whole lot of easy pedaling in between. The devil is in the details.

With our house sitting gig up, we aimed to go bikepacking over the weekend. A loop from Silverton to Telluride and back on some classic trails that we’d been itching to explore. Weather forecast looked…classic Colorado monsoon, but there was no way I was going to give up two bikepacking days on the schedule (staring down the barrel of a rest week and a pre-race week) on account of a little rain.

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We drove to Silverton crossing through a downpour, sitting in the Visitor’s Center parking lot, looking at the radar with BlueDot, watching the rain come down the valley we wanted to go up.  Eventually I declared, ‘We’re not getting any younger sitting here!’ and we took off up the valley. For the record, it wasn’t actively raining when we first left…it only started about five minutes later.

It rained. And rained. And rained. We’d planned on only riding for two hours, sleeping and then spending the next two days riding. As darkness fell, we found a questionable place to put the GoLite poncho tarp up (I’d bought the tarp for my first CTR, and then figured I’d never use it again…but life has a funny way of cycling things) and settled in to watch the rain.

It’ll clear by morning.

We woke up to the sound of increasing rain on the tarp, finding ourselves deep in a cloud. We ate breakfast, munched on chocolate, trying to decide what to do based on our limited viewing ability. We still weren’t getting any younger sitting there, so nearly 90 minutes after deciding that we should continue up on the off chance that it might clear, we started moving.

It rained. Our road turned steep and chunky. Treeline loomed. It kept raining. My jacket that ceased to be waterproof about the middle of Montana during Tour Divide provided no protection. I soldiered on.

C’mon weather, work with me here.

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Here’s your hat! 

I knew I didn’t forget it! It’s just unfortunate that sopping wet hats don’t really do much good. 

Scott was the first to make a rational statement. ‘We’re going to ride through all this beautiful country and not see any of it. We’re not going to be able to take the trail down to T-ride and we’re just going to be cold and miserable for most of it. Is it really worth going all the way over if we’re going to have to get a room and sit and watch the world go by?’

I felt my core temperature drop rapidly as the rational arguments were presented.

Ok. Down.

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Within an hour, we were dry and sitting at the Brown Bear Cafe in Silverton, watching the rain pour down, Scott drinking hot chocolate while I enjoyed my cup of bottomless diner coffee, dreaming of what could have been, while also imagining hanging out at 13,000 feet in a rain cloud.

Max asked me how I’d finished my first CTR (which was filled with torrential rain). I told him I was too stupid to quit. I’m glad that Scott’s around to counteract my stupidity sometimes.

And then I cratered. A ‘make-up’ ride for the failed bikepack ended in a compete breakdown and a return to the car covered in mud. Enough was enough.

I’m always amused when the Universe gives me exactly what I need, just not in the form I was expecting. With a complete shut down on a huge loop, I’ll just have to go check it out this fall when the colors are changing, the sky is bluebird, and the trails are tacky.

And maybe I needed a little extra recovery anyhow.

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One thought on “Learning the definition of ‘Enough’

  1. Occasionally, wisdom can be the better part of valor…..

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