Zen On Dirt


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About a week ago, I emailed my withdrawal from the Iditarod for this year.

It was a decision that I’d made with 99.9% certainty about a month ago, but had a hard time of really letting go of the idea. I’d listed out the pros and cons: It’d be a big adventure, but it would be extremely hard on my body, I don’t know if I’d ever be able to justify the entry fee again and I’d be giving up my free entry to this years race, but the entry fee is just a fraction of what the race as a whole costs, snow riding can be fun, but riding on rocks is even more fun, you regret the things you don’t do more than the things you do, but if my body cratered and I could never ride again, that’d be a major bummer.

It’s cold and would involve cold weather training, and I wanted to be warm this winter.


Getting to Tucson and going on a ride out at Starr Pass was the motivation I needed to finally make the decision final. It felt like a huge weight was lifted, not in the sense that I wouldn’t have to plan the logistics of a ride in AK and planning two months in CO preparing for it, but in the sense that the decision was final and I didn’t have to agonize over it any more.


Sometimes hard decisions leave me feeling a little funny, wondering if I made the right choice. And then I go outside to feed the chickens some table scraps, smile at the sun, and think about what rock move I’m determined to conquer that day, and I feel pretty good about it all.


I’ve spent the past several years always having a big goal on the horizon, big as in logistically big, financially big, life big.

While I have every intention of returning to racing next summer, there’s something to be said for having this extended of a period of time for dinking around, for riding where I want, what I want, and with who I want. And if all I want to do is sit in the sun and talk to the chickens, well, that’s okay too.


It’s been neat to watch my body come around after the shitshow that it turned into after last spring. It’s like I can finally listen to it, loud and clear, and hear what it needs from me. It can tell me: Go ahead, ride hard today, or Go play on some rocks, your balance is dead on, or Let’s not take the sandhill from home day, the less hard way gets us to the same place.



Come to think of it, it tells me the last thing every time I go ride.


Maybe I’m giving up all my tough-girl points by living in the desert for the winter, but there’s something to be said for being soft for at least part of the year.


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