GrandPa and Grandfather

DSCF0631

There are those people in your life that never leave your thoughts, your heart. Always present, always there in the back of your mind trying to steer you in the right direction. A stalwart of wisdom, love and resilience. So powerful an influence that even years later, with very little contact at all, they are still there in your thoughts, in your decisions.

For me, Grandpa Branham was that person. He was always so calm, deliberant and present even when seemingly aloof. There isn’t a certain moment or experience that makes his long life of experiences stick with me. Yet the time I spent with him, years and years worth of fishing, cooking, playing cards, fixing things, working in the wood shop and hanging out with the family, it all sunk in so deep. Almost like a tiny slice of his wisdom was deposited in the back of my skull.

DSCF0686

DSCF0677

Ever since I moved to Colorado I have seen less and less of this great man. I have become so obsessed with the things I love to do that I have found it hard to leave the wonderful enchantment of my home in the mountains. There is no excuse for not visiting more often. It is that simple, there is no reason big enough in the world to skip out on seeing such wonderful people. Still I have found a special place that moves me, calms me, inspires me and I swear whispers wisdom into my ears.

DSCF0642

This quiet, serene and majestic mountain stands tall and distant above Gunnison. It simply stands tall as the world turns, explodes, fights, bickers and carries on. Looking south to the huge rolling flanks casting long shadows in the setting sun, reminds me that life is both big and small. That being pure in my thoughts and actions is the way to be big. That being humble, forgiving and kind is the way to be lovingly small. Sawtooth Mountain has become Grandfather to me. It is in no way a replacement or surrogate for the real thing, thus there is Grandfather and Grandpa. One is the human that taught me so much about life and living, and one is a mountain that reminds me to keep loving, believing and trying.

DSCF0610

DSCF0649

This past week my Grandpa passed away. He was an amazing 97 years old. Today many people gathered to remember him, his life and the impact he had on so many of us. I did not make it back to join my family and friends in the celebration of his life. It leaves me filled with sadness that I didn’t get to see him one last time and did not see him off on another journey. I did hike up to Grandfather and while there on top of the world, I said goodbye to a great and wonderful person. Everytime I look up at that mountain, or tread my feet on its soil, I will think of you Grandpa, with love and the desire to be a better person. I will always carry some bit of your voice and wisdom inside me and for that I am eternally grateful.

DSCF0721

Struggle

I tend to get overwhelmed by thought. It takes me out of the now and puts me into the place of wanting things to be settled out, decided, done. Only life just doesn’t work like that, thus I struggle. It is kind of funny when I can take a step back and realize how silly it is to get so upset with not knowing the answer, when the answer comes forth in time. I have a tough time with patience, that is for sure….

Somewhere in Montana, I believe, I got bulldozed by a string of thoughts. Suddenly there was a blank slate, an empty canvas before me. It hit me that my life doesn’t have to continue as an obsessive series of races, objectives, limits to be pushed, records to be sought after and chased. At that elevated place, far from everyday reality, amongst the mountains, getting my ass kicked by the rain, it was so clear, so obvious that there was another path for me to follow.  I saw a trail of creativity, of love, of exploring myself and the world not just racing through it.

It is strange how far away that seems. Life has resumed much as it was before. I go to work, I walk the dogs, I ride my bike. The difference is that I am without that drive for the next thing, I catch glimpses of it, thinking I have a grasp of what to do. Yet it slips away and I am left lost again. I am trying to be more creative, a bit of drawing, now getting back to writing a bit. Funny though how the time flies by plugging away at the everyday, life can just plain kick your ass sometimes. Now with a touch less energy it is difficult to rise up and make something, write something, often I am lucky if I get around to making dinner. 

I wonder too if I am still driven to push myself as I have for so long? It is so hard to think that it could be a phase of my life that is about to close. The past 10+ years have been such a powerful, reality changing part of my life. Racing bikes, pushing myself out there in the wilderness, learning who I am and what lurks deep in the dark shadows inside. Hard to put into words how much I have learned, grown, matured and come out a better more balanced person. It is not going to be easy to walk away and leave this behind. Perhaps in the end I won’t. 

That is the struggle that drains me, beats me, and occupies my mind. The empty canvas is a scary, almost threatening thing without the vision of what will come to life upon it.

DSCF0073

 

Patience young grasshopper, patience….

 

 

Silly World

Been a while. Sure has. There are things on my mind, thoughts that have inched around in my head. Many should have become blog posts, but didn’t. I miss writing, sharing, getting my random thoughts and experiences out there. In this silly world of technology it is difficult to keep up with everything. My third hand lap top started to lose full keyboard function. My shared internet connection is wildly inconsistent and has dropped lots of writing, pictures and my patience. Frustrating isn’t strong enough a word to describe how it irks me. 

Then there is my taxed out energy levels. Somedays I just don’t have any thing left in the tank after a day of work, or a bike ride. It has been a challenge to say the least. Dealing with the lack of spark and spunk that I can usually con jour up to get out the door, or burn bright to stay up late and write it all down. Instead I am whupped, tired, drained and wondering if that high level of energy will ever come back. Not only am I feeling exhausted a good bit of the time, but my dreams of the next thing are just not there and with it the drive to keep getting after it. Without my wild dreams of the next big adventure and the energy to pursue it, I feel lost.

Life is still good. I have a few lingering issues from the TD, but overall I am quite healthy. Work is good. My friends are amazing. I’m on the best team in the world. I get to ride super incredible bikes. I still live in one of the best places on earth. I get out for short rides and dog walks several times a week. I am grateful for these things, they really do make me proud and happy. Still I am unsettled. I am confused. I linger in bed on perfect sunny mornings. I go to sleep while full moons rise. I am not training, stretching, working out and I am sore, stiff and beat up. It feels weird, unnatural, so not me.

All leaves me wondering where I will settle in. Will the drive for ultra racing return? Will I simply close this chapter of my life and move on? I am trying to let the balance find itself and yet I want to tip it one way or the other and rekindle my passion. For now I console myself with being normal and lucky….but that just isn’t quite enough. Silly World Indeed.   

DSCF0070

Nuts

Step back and take it in, see it in a different scale or light. Perspective is everything and perceptions can shift…

Nuts. I sometimes step back and see myself, my actions, my lifestyle and it occurs to me that I am nuts. Stupid mad crazy nuts! The feet, knees and butt are just starting to accept normal everyday use and I am suddenly set to train on the bike 19 hours this week. I can finally handle a whole day at work without taking off my shoes and elevating my feet and what do I do, I go out and get another job. OMG, What Am I Doing?

Really not so sure I know what I’m doing, I’m just doing it. That is the thing, there is so much to do. I just can not say NO to any of it. It is a problem that I admit fully. There is just not enough time, not even close. The days are only getting shorter, my heart rate is sky rocketing and I may never sleep again. Still it is exciting and I am not gonna say no, to more living, breathing, working and trying to do something good.

I’ll sleep when it snows, or when I’m dead, at least then I’ll be all used up…..Just wish I would say yes once in a while to cleaning my house…..

Summertime….

Summertime in the mountains is a precious thing. So perfect, yet so busycrazyhectic that it just flies by and slips between the fingers. Before you know it, evening storms leave traces of snow upon the high peaks, the chill of morning lingers longer and longer and the days suddenly seem too short.

dog hike 7-19-14 038dog hike 7-19-14 022

Most of us living up here try to cram as much fun into these warm, sunny, flower filled months as we can, in between working our tails off! Thing is it catches up with you and sooner or later you hit the wall and find there is no energy to pull off the big or little adventure for the day. Tough to admit you need the down time when the to do list is still pages long.

evening ride 7-18-14 006dog hike 7-19-14 018

I am so very guilty of burning my candle at both ends. I just can’t get enough, no matter how much pedaling, hiking and camping I do, I always thirst for more. It is so hard to except the reality of being human (I know I talk about this a lot) I tend to run face first into this wall a bit too often. My body is still very much recovering, the right foot still stings and resists the confines of closed toe shoes. My knees are still a bit swollen and stiff, it doesn’t take many miles to force me to admit I am still tired.

dog hike 7-19-14 061

I want more, I want to ride singletrack through the high country wild flower wonderland. I think hiking the dogs and then going for a ride is perfectly acceptable. I want to race and race and race. Ah what a world, what a life, what a brain to have stuck inside my head! Sometimes I do get frustrated with how difficult it is to follow the driving force behind my dreams, the reality of time, money and energy can just crush me sometimes. It gets to me, it pops my bubble of positive progression, even makes me wish for some sort of regular life.

dog hike 7-19-14 012dog hike 7-19-14 033

All it takes is a hike with the dogs, a ride on singletrack, a lovely big sky sunset and perspective comes back around. Life is good. I am so happy that I have these dreams, this endless desire for more and the drive to attempt getting it all done. There have been times when none of this was present in my life. I am so very grateful to have found inspiration, love and the driving thirst for more. Dream big, live large, be thankful.

Thank You Universe, Thank You

Thank You Universe, Thank You

 

 

Sometimes….

Sometimes, sometimes I would trade it all to be superhuman. Able to follow my plan every time. Not getting carried away and drinking too much, not hitting snooze and missing the chance to get out there, not staring at the computer screen half asleep instead of riding my bike. I hate being tired. I hate being lazy. I can hear my bike whispering about the hero like dirt waiting out there….I can also hear the softness of my bed lulling me to sleep some more. Ahh Fudge I did it again…

For the rest of the day thoughts of being soft and lazy beat against the inside of my brow. Why didn’t I just go for a ride, even an hour, it would have been so good. The other side of thinking insists that I needed the morning off, for fuck sake you’ve got enough freaking miles in! I know, I really do know that rest is important, soooo important. Thing is I don’t want rest, I want action, I want fresh air, I want to pop both wheels off the ground and giggle about how good it feels. I want to see the sunrise, the sunset, I want to see it all. Damn it, I don’t want to even need rest!

reach for the sky

reach for the sky

Just can’t let go of this dream of finding some path to superhuman powers. All too often I catch myself thinking, “What did I miss in my training? What if I stopped drinking beer? What if I ate good All of the time? Stopped drinking coffee? Didn’t work so damn much?” Then would I find the secret, the magic ticket? Or would I just keep finding more What If’s?

I don’t want to say no to more adventure. I’m sitting out the CTR for the only the second time since it began and is kinda killing me. I want to go ride Fossil Ridge, Doctor’s Park, Teo Ridge, Cataract on the CT, I want to race the CTR damn it! I don’t want to recover, I don’t want to be smart! I want to ride, I want to race, I want to shed this human skin and do it all.

high country magic

high country magic

Have to admit that I am so very human. I am tired, my legs are swollen and stiff, one of my feet still hurts. I am so far from perfect, so far from superhuman, I am always hungry, I didn’t eat enough veggies today, I just love drinking beer, I want love and company and honestly I’m a little tired of training. Still in my mind I want to rise up and be as strong as I wish to be. To follow my ideals, my dreams, my visions with 100% of my heart.

Why can’t the amazing visions found in sometime, be present all the time?

 

 

Like Falling in Love…..

I throw a leg over the top tube and click into my pedals and something magical happens. Not sure what it is, how it happens or why exactly, but the rush of blood, joy and giggle filled wonder hits me like an avalanche. Kinda like falling in love…..
tech tranny 7-13 002
Thing is it happens so often, not quite every time, but damn close to every time I ride my bike. Have to say that there are those interval days, the long road rides that wear me down, make me see colors, make me wonder why I do it. The rides that leave me wondering why at 41 I still have dreams of being fast, of chasing records, of even bothering to train anymore. Even those thoughts only last so long, the movement of legs, the travel across distances, the change of sight sound smell, the merging of a myriad of ideas, dreams and visions brings the loop full circle, leaving me tired happy satisfied.

Much like feeling that wonderfully weird special contact with another person. Your heart beats harder, your defenses soften up and an undeniable smile strike across your face. Pure optimistic joy, there is no tomorrow, no what if, only now. For the now is that good.

tiger in the grass

tiger in the grass

Rail the corners, hit that hip, climb the rock, smile that smile. Tomorrow will be what it will be, worry will change not a thing. Throw the leg over and go for a ride, there is nothing wrong with feeling the love…..