Zen On Dirt

What if…


My motivator broke earlier this week. Coughed, sputtered, and ground to a halt. You want me to ride a bike? Really? No thanks.

This doesn’t happen very often to me, so when I come out the other end of the tunnel of irrationality, it’s always interesting to take a look back and think ‘I said that? Out loud? Wow.’ It’s almost comical, except that it’s not.


Things started going downhill on Tuesday when I woke up with the threat of a sore throat. Not overly motivated as it was, I took the day off, knowing that I had a pretty decent week of riding lined up on the training plan. I’d gone on a lovely ride with Alexis the day before, there was plenty I could do around the house.


After fessing up to LW that my motivation for racing was lacking, we’d settled on having me do some speed work during the week and then screw off and ride what I want on the weekends and non-speedy weekdays. Keep my options open in case the motivation returned. At the very least, it couldn’t hurt.


On Wednesday I went out to do some 30 second repeats on the cross bike. While that bike hasn’t seen a whole lot of use in its recent history, it has been extensively ridden and raced in the past…and I haven’t exactly taken the best care of it since then only thing I ever do on it any more is intervals. Turns out, when you haven’t replaced a chain and cassette in the better part of three years, they don’t exactly mesh well at high power. After determining that even my smoothest transition to speed wasn’t going to keep the chain engaged, I turned home. While I could have gone back out on a different bike, I didn’t.


No bikes got ridden on Wednesday or Thursday either.

And then I got my head screwed on straight again.

The only way I’ve ever been able to make ‘big’ decisions in my life is to make the decision in my head and then sit with the idea, unbeknownst to anyone else, and see how I feel about it 24, 48, 72 hours later. If after a couple of days, I still like the idea, I mention it to someone and decide if I like the way it sounds out loud. Once the decision makes it out into relative public domain, I’ve probably been sitting on it for weeks. To many, this makes me seem like I make rash decisions in many cases.

I’d been trying out a lot of ideas in my head the past few weeks: I want to be a racer. I want to not race any more and go ride in South America. I want to ride from Prudhoe Bay to Patagonia. I want to do more bikepacking races. I want to get a big bike and race enduros. I want to learn how to grow wings and float up rocks like everyone around here does. Maybe I should take up trail running.


I know pretty quickly when I’m faking a decision because I’m bad at faking anything for long. Once I realized that XC mountain bike racing involved lots of intervals and not much adventure riding, I quit that. Once I discovered that grad school would take actual commitment instead of just being a way to afford to ride my bike, I quit that. Once I discovered that road racing scared the crap out of me, I quit that.

Maybe that makes me a quitter. I like to think of it as a finely tuned system for keeping life moving in a forward direction.


As usual, I digress. The fact that the last thing I wanted to do was ride my bike all week while trying on all these images in my head was a glaring warning light. While I generally try not to place labels on things, especially myself, I was desperately searching for some sense of motivation to do the fairly non-painful workouts that LW had planned and not finding it. The beauty of bikes is that there’s always room for improvement in an infinite number of areas, and while all those areas are fun and worth improving in, (except for maybe road riding, I really don’t care to improve my road riding skills), nothing sparked the flame of ‘Ooooooh, I like that idea.’


And so on Friday I revisited an old idea. What if…

Friday I went out on a Starr Pass ride, music playing in perfect rhythm of pedaling, sun setting, land turning golden. What if…


Saturday I conned Scott into doing a tempo workout up Lemmon with a drop back down Bugs and Prison Camp.


Sunday I conned him into making the drive across town again for another tempo workout on Lemmon with a drop down Prison and Milli.

I doubled up on my core workouts to make up for my mid-week lapse.


What if I could do something really cool with my summer…


3 thoughts on “What if…

  1. Wasn’t expecting a cliffhanger! Good luck on whatever you decide (or have already decided)! I think you would enjoy a big adventure, whatever that might mean for you. Alaska to South America would be cool (though it would take way more than a summer) and so would getting a van and driving it from place to place, finding awesome riding (and adventures) along the way.

  2. “Maybe I should take up trail running.”

    Now that is crazy talk!

  3. Yeah. Trail running. Super crazy talk. Maybe you should get a water treatment system or something. It sounds like you’ve been poisoned.

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