We’re holed up in Babb. It’s blizzarding out, as in accumulation, minimal visibility, snow going sideways, snow falling off roofs, and bitterly cold temperatures. Ok, the last one’s an exaggeration, but it is cold out.
We rode 5.9 miles yesterday after waking up in our cabin in the middle of nowhere, and without any food, were forced to ride in the snow up to Babb, population 50, on a good day, where we checked into another motel room, but not before getting breakfast at the Glacier’s Edge Cafe.
We ride paved roads to get our bikes muddy.
It’s been a chill two days, it would have been perfect for reflecting on the trip as a whole, as we only have 39 paved miles left to pedal and a short hike south to the border. Instead, we’ve watched bad movies for hours on end, including: She’s the Man, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Big Daddy, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Star Trek, and Montana Sky. I think A Beautiful Mind is on tap for tonight.
But this forced stop has been interesting. Mid-trip, I would have welcomed the rest. We came into here with 12 days of continuous riding with the only reasonable day being from Lincoln to Ovando. We initially sat in the cafe wondering if we should just suck it up and pedal the last miles (it wasn’t snowing at the time), but when the sleepies started to hit, we decided: We’re tired. We want to see Waterton in its full glory, not just in a white out, and we didn’t want to turn the end of this trip into a death march. That was the goal from the beginning – minimize death marching.
But it was hard to accept that rest was good so close to the end. I keep feeling like I’m ready to get the trip done with and move on to what’s next.
That’s a loaded question. I don’t know. I know the immediate plan of getting back to civilization, renting a car, driving south via Bozeman to visit friends, making it to Boulder in time for my dad’s birthday, picking up my car in Boulder, head to Salt Lake to visit Scott’s family and new niece, and then slowly make our way back to Tucson for the winter.
That I know.
We’ve talked a good bit about What next. It seems to be a question that I want answered immediately. I change my mind every hour. What I have discovered with my What next circles is that my default is always “I’ll train for something and race it.” It’s a safe option. I know I can bikepack real-fast-like. Training gives structure. Training gives purpose. Racing well brings positive feedback.
But racing also shuts down a lot of other possibilities. it would have shut down my Death Valley tour this spring, as well as our AZT tour, and my hilarious Coconino 250-ish trip, Camp Tucson probably would have been out as well as drinking margaritas during our Girls Trip to Moab.
This trip wouldn’t have happened. This trip was a direct result of my “I don’t want to race anymore” crisis over New Years, and the result I wouldn’t trade it for any number of bikepacking race wins.
I don’t know what’s next, but the goal is forward, not backwards. Touring South America? Van life? Get a real job and buy a house? (Ok, that last one was a joke.)
I think for now I’m going to sit with not knowing and do my best to be okay with it. I’m going to let this amazing string of bike trips (seriously, I’ve been going pretty non-stop since March 1) sink in a little bit and allow the experiences to settle.
And then when I get bored in three weeks, I’ll start pestering Scott about buying a Sprinter van for next summer. Anyone selling one?