Zen On Dirt

Summer scheming, winter routines

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LW sent me this the other day:


It made me laugh. Mostly because it’s (mostly) true.

I’m someone who settled into routine very easily. Adaptable. I think people would call it adaptable. But I’m also a person who gets bored of that routine extremely quickly. In most cases. I could eat two eggs with veggies for breakfast every day for the rest of my life and never get bored of it (as long as they were different veggies every morning).

Routines have served me well in the past. Routines are great if you’re training to be a racer. Routines are great if you need to make money. Routines are great when you need to get stuff done. But as of a week ago, I took my hat out of the racer ring, at least for now. And really, that was the real reason I was trying to settle into any sort of routine because making money and being responsible have always seemed secondary to living life how I wanted to.

Scott and I started planning the summer high atop of Ripsey during bikepacking. Scott had suggested riding the Continental Divide Trail sometime last fall, but I’d shrugged it off as a) I’m too sick and b) If I’m not too sick to ride the CDT, then I’m going to want to race. I brought the idea up over a slice of cake. A fine combination of new trails for both of us, fine eating (Pie Town!), map-figuring, route planning, dirt-baggery of living off bikes for an extended period of time (also a new challenge), more eating (Rise and Shine cafe in Winter Park, the lodge in Platoro), some of our favorite sections of trail in CO (Sargent’s Mesa!), and a huge element of the unknown (lots of hike-a-bike).


We immediately started scheming. We’d need some sort of internet connectivity so that Scott could work occasionally and that I could have the possibility of making a few dollars along the route. We’d need a route that passed through all of our favorite places so that we could see friends throughout the country, that stuck as close to the ‘official’ trail as possible without leaving us walking with bikes for days on end or encroaching on Wilderness areas, we’d need to figure out when to start, what sort of shelter to take, do we need a new stove?

My immediate reaction to this has been: Let’s go now. I want to go now. May is waaaay too far off. Think Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I’ve been trying to quell this urge to hit the road immediately. Rationally, it’s easy. There’s tons of good riding around here. There’s a ton of snow and cold up north. There’s currently a fridge full of food in the next room that would go bad if I left tomorrow morning. But man, my feet are itchin’.

So the riding I’ve been doing to try to alleviate the urge to pack up sleepingbags and hit the road in a semi-irresponsible manner:

Starr Pass with J-Bake and Scott. Scott put a hole in his tire at the bead. Stans wasn’t cutting it. Neither of us had a tube. Luckily, J-Bake had a 26-inch one that saved the day.


More Starr Pass with Alexis. We rode the main loop backwards with the new wash reroute. Totally blew my mind. I love how trails seem completely new ridden in the opposite direction.

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Rain tomorrow? Let’s do a big ride on the AZT. Reddington, Chiva, AZT, Milligrosa. Divine.

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What? No rain? What a surprise. I should probably go make sure that the Starr Pass trails are still okay. They were.


Whew. I’m tired. But it’s 70 degrees out, so the least I can do is go ride to dirt and take pictures of a cactus. Yeah, that seems like a perfectly valid use of an afternoon.


I’m working hard to be okay with staying stationary in Tucson for the winter. I feel like I haven’t really been in a single place without extended travel for solid 18 + months, so this is sort of new to me. I’d love to say that I like having all my clothes in drawers (i.e. organized), but really, they end up in a pile on the floor in the same manner that they end up in a pile in my duffle bag when I’m traveling. Home is where the heart is, and right now the heart is in Tucson, but there’s definitely a little part of it longing for the open road.

Soon. I hear Terlingua is beautiful this time of year.


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