Zen On Dirt

Embracing ‘I Can’


I got restless the other night. I started on my standard list of activities when I get The Itch. I pulled out maps. I perused the interwebs for cool trip reports. I started looking at calendars and at Airstreamclassifieds.com.

“Everyone is doing cool things right now except for me,” I whined.

“Like who?” Scott can be incredibly patient with me when I get into my moods.

“Like, everyone.”


But I think what was getting me, more than the fact that I wasn’t out bikepacking or doing something higher on the Way-Cool scale was the fact that for the first time in three years, I have nothing ‘big’ on the horizon. The realization came that all I can do is to see what my body does in the next few months before I can plan big adventures. And I suck at patience.


Good thing Scott has a dropper post. Demonstrating proper descending form. 


On recovery rides, be sure to go say Hi to the ducks. This guy knew he was sexy. 

On one hand it’s nice. I can just hang out and ride when I feel good rather than worrying about how I feel, how I’m climbing, how I’m descending, etc. It’s been a while since I’ve forced myself to take this giant of a step back from racing, though I’ll be the first to admit that I have plans brewing in my head that might be slightly nicer to my body that my original plan of some massively long rides next year. The fact that I’m even thinking about riding a bike fast again seems to be a sure sign of recovery.


Somehow I coerced Scott into giving me a ride to the Crest and letting me meet him back at home. He’s the best-est ever.

As it turns out, endurance athletes are found to have elevated homocycsteine levels as compared to the general population, at least according to one peer-reviewed paper. What hasn’t really been determined is whether the elevated level is a training adaptation or an indication that what we’re doing could be damaging to our hearts. There’s also a genetic component to these levels with something like 20-30% of the population having at least one copy of the high-homocysteine gene. So my current issues may have absolutely nothing to do with my adventuring.

I digress. I think where I was heading was that this wake-up call has made me question the long-term health benefits of my escapades. I love racing, and I love ultra-endurance racing, but if it’s going to come with the price of a weak heart and the inability to ride a few years down the road, it turns out my priorities are in riding long-term much more so that racing.


Dry Crest


Not-so-dry Crest

After my little hissy-fit, I made a determination to change my attitude. Instead of ‘I can’t do this or that long ride’, I started thinking in terms of ‘If I cut this part of the ride off and am will to drive a little more than I normally would, I could totally pull this ride off.’


Greens Creek!


Tailwind home!

It’s been a strange shift in attitude, instead of always choosing the ‘Ride more’ option, occasionally choosing the ‘Ride less so I can go ride again tomorrow.’


A little bit of CT loving. It rained and we had to hike our bikes up some of the hills. I love the CT. 

With the high country boasting some pretty good snow drifts already, we’ve embraced the low-down loops, and every once in a while, choosing the ‘Ride more’ option, or at least the ‘Ride trail instead of road’ option.


4 thoughts on “Embracing ‘I Can’

  1. I think these setbacks, whether large or small, helps us better understand and respect our bodies. As we age, our inner 12 year old has a harder time with our aging bodies. Our head says faster, longer and harder. While our bodies are going WTF? It’s hard to mitigate expectations. The brain just keeps pumping BS if you let it. Like you, I was a competitive college athlete. Like you, I found the bike later in life. Like you, I have had health concerns that have threatened my inner 12 year old. Unlike you, I was never that fast on my bike.LOL. But like you, it is a love for me.
    As my health woes now are a constant companion, I have had to adjust my thinking. I mix in lot more “Be nice to me days” these days. My point is don’t let your condition become chronic. Does that mean no more endurance fun? Hell No! Who the hell would I follow on trackleaders?
    We all know eventually we are going to have to back-off our pedal to the medal tendencies. I use to laugh at myself as my hardest rides were almost always alone as I rode myself into the ground. The type AAA personality sometimes doesn’t know how dial it down gracefully. I want this ride to last as long as it can. In other words, I would prefer to be following your exploits on this blog for decades to come. Now go out and tell your Pony to be nice to it’s rider! Happy Trails, the soap box is hard on my feet. Uncle J

  2. Here here Uncle J! Very nice words and thoughts.

    Not sure if this is pertinent but I was watching that wonderful movie about the aging dilemma ” The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” and the young man said something like, “……don’t worry Mrs. so and so it will be all right in the end and if it’s not alright then you aren’t at the end”.

    something like that.


    Keep on Ez.


  3. Love reading your blog but I have never posted. Thanks for opening up and sharing true feelings. How one deals with adversity is a demonstration of true character.

    On a side note, my wife and I purchased our first Airstream this Spring and it has been awesome. Only one bike trip thus far to Pisgah but many great experiences with the family. We never had a RV before but there is some great info in the interwebs on what to do if you are a newbie. I read AirForum just about every day and always seem to pick up some nugget of information. If you are looking at a used one, see if you can find a knowledgeable owner who can help with an inspection wherever you find a trailer.

    Good luck!

  4. Ideal RV for the bikaholic. Check out Keystone Outback 230RS Toyhauler. Loads of storage for da chit! Bikes can be safely stored inside.

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