Zen On Dirt

Silly goals, photos, movement, and 2016


Back, many many years ago, or at least seemingly many, many years ago, I had a streak going of 20+ months of skiing at least one day each month. It basically started from a massive winter with 150+ days of skiing (the key was only taking classes that were on Tuesday and Thursday and well, prioritizing skiing over studying) and having lots of friends stoked on sliding on white stuff as much as possible.


Early October found us on a little permanent snow patch above Nederland. It was maybe 15 turns long, if you made tight turns, sun cupped, and all in all, silly. But, we were determined to ski in the midst of summer, so we took the dogs up there, hiked in, skied a few laps, and called it good. Well, Huck caught his foot on a ski edge and ended up at the vet, so we called it mostly good.


Of all the skiing experiences I’ve had over the years, this is one of the most memorable ones.


I bring this story up because I read a post by Joe Grant over at iRunFar.com recently. Joe seems like one of those really cool people I’d like to meet someday, a well-known and super-fast ultra runner based out of Boulder who also lined up for the CTR this year with a rigid bike with drop bars, and finished pretty quickly, IIRC. He wrote about how after many years of ultra running, this opened his eyes to a new way to see the world, the same way that, coming from a bikepacking background, running has opened up my eyes to new ways to explore the world.

His post was mostly about his project of taking one photo a day and posting it on the Instagram, as a way of documenting daily life. But he also talks about his previous year’s resolution of running a mile every day, regardless of the speed, conditions, locations, or circumstances. It’s worth a click, I promise.

Putting yourself in these arbitrary situations that come with keeping a streak alive, or trying to thru-hike a long-distance trail, or just trying to achieve some arbitrary goal that only you care about, one that can seem completely absurd to the outside observer, you start having some pretty unique and memorable experiences that you wouldn’t have otherwise. And these funny ones are the ones that stick in the memory banks.

Like skiing the Caribou snow patch in October. Or sleeping in grizzly country during Tour Divide with a group of guys who pissed around the perimeter of our camp to deter the bears. Or hanging out in a hotel in Babb, MT, for three nights while an early snowstorm raged so that we could cross into Canada and hike to the terminus of the CDT the next day.

The experiences that matter.

Joe goes on to talk about that when you make a tradition of something, be it taking a photo a day (we all take photos everyday, but how often do we think hard about that photo) or running every day, it elevates it above the random things we do in every day life, a sentiment that I really appreciate. It turns it into ritual. Art, maybe. It gives it a certain level of importance.

Anyhow, I’ve enjoyed his photos.

And I like the idea of daily movement.

And I like the idea of sharing daily movement.

But I have no desire to run every day.

But, I also have a bike.

And imitation is the highest form of flattery?


Anyhow, I’m going to put forward a streak goal for 2016. A mile of movement and a photo of what I saw. Every. Damn. Day. I’m going to go post it over on the Insty (follow along at ezthenomad) because even after querying everyone from high-school kids to my brothers to my social-media intelligent friends, I still don’t fully understand the point of The Instagram versus The Facebook. And this seems like a good use of the Insty. I think. Anyhow.

I’m hoping that I’m going to get myself into all sorts of cool places that I wouldn’t go necessarily motivate to go otherwise. And hopefully, next December 31, I’ll have a pretty cool set of pictures of all the places I’ve been.

A collection of photos and set of experiences that I might not have if I don’t make some silly and arbitrary goal. So here’s to 2016 and the big, wide world there is to explore.


3 thoughts on “Silly goals, photos, movement, and 2016

  1. Thank you for the kind words. Best of luck with your project and Happy New Year!

  2. Awesome idea. You had such a rad summer. I enjoyed watching and reading online. I am ready for 2015 to be over. 2016 will bring a lot more bikey fun now that my back injury has healed.

  3. Meaningless goals seem to be the ones that hold me most tightly in their grip. Looking forward to following along on yours this year!

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