Zen On Dirt

Unexpected visitors

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After sending Cat off on Thursday morning, I sat down in front of the computer to put in a solid stretch of work, something that I hadn’t done in a while. It’d been a good stretch of riding from Scott and I’s ride around the Santa Ritas, to Death Valley, bikepacking in the Gila with Alexis, and then Camp Cat, and with three days of Camp Tucson starting on Friday, I thought it might be a good idea to take a day off the bike. Something about recovery.

I was $25.20 into my daily earnings when I get a text from Bama: ‘Are you in Tucson? We’re in town.’

I hadn’t heard from Bama and Tanesha since they showed up to Crested Butte with their Santa Cruz demo van two years ago and I watched Bama pedal off into a snowstorm to try to ride over Pearl Pass to Aspen.


Hungry already after a big breakfast, I suggested lunch. As it turned out, they’d just eaten.

‘Can we come heckle?’

15 minutes later, the Sprinter and trailer pulled up in front of the house. Thus ended my productivity for the day.


I half expected to drink a beer or two while sitting in the sun before sending them on their way, but Bama had other plans. ‘We’re going riding. I wouldn’t have shown up here if I wasn’t planning on getting killed on a ride.’

Apparently he still remembers the many years where we’d drag him up and down the mountains of Colorado riding a 40 lb Surly Instigator. He had a lighter bike, he was just too much of a stubborn ass to ride it. Not my fault.

We talked about things of the past as we got bikes ready to ride.


It’s funny how things change. Bama now rides a light-ish bike with suspension on both ends. He no longer lives in a dingy apartment in Boulder, nor the basement of the Hamilton House. He no longer has to push his bike every time the trail turns up.

We headed out to Robles and started out on the loop. Out of nowhere, Bama comes screaming by me on the inside of a loose, downhill switchback. Some things don’t change: he still rides like an ass hat.


We tooled around in the late afternoon sun talking about all the various life changes that had happened since we last rode. Some of them good, some of them yucky. It’s always good to give the yucky ones the benefit of time before revisiting them.

The ride brought back all sorts of memories. Of first learning how to ride. How to race. Of learning how to not take myself to seriously as  a bike rider, and even as a person. The stories that they had of driving the Santa Cruz demo van across the  country were endlessly entertaining and continued on over dinner at Mi Ranchito and over whiskey back at the house.

Sometimes, some friends will drive you absolutely bat-shit crazy with their antics. but in the end, it’s always good to see them. And I didn’t really feel like working anyhow. And a wise person once said: Recovery is for people who can’t think of anything fun to do.


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