Living…

DSCF2002

Living is a funny thing sometimes. Figuring out what makes you happy. Making time for all the things that count. Not going crazy trying to make ends meet. Balancing the exertion of energy, time, patience.

DSCF1974 Happiness does not just roll out the red carpet. You have to want it, live it and breath it    everyday.

DSCF1961

It helps to have some wild crazy fun friends to share the ride with.

DSCF1963 Creatures full of adventure, love, positive energy.

DSCF1943

Reminding us that life is to be lived, not dwelled upon, brooded over or critiqued to death.

DSCF2037

Breath the open air. Walk Run Ride Ski. Go, Just Go. The universe speaks so clearly out under that big sky.

DSCF2028So easy to forget the everyday glories. Thankfully, one only has to listen to find them again.

 

Lacking Motivation…

Winter has arrived here in he Gunnison Valley. A bit snow has fallen and the temps have dropped as well. The long dry fall I was enjoying so much, is gone and replaced by a frozen ice box.

DSCF1850

Normally I roll with the punches pretty well. I wear more layers, bigger boots and fluffier gloves, hand warmers tucked in my pockets, frozen snot flung far and wide. Skis, Fat Bikes and Snow Shoes become my vehicles for getting out there. The dreaded Trainer is always there waiting as well.

DSCF1660

Last winter I was amazed at my own dedication to riding in all temps, all weather, all the time. I limped home frozen, wet and worked more times than I can remember. I was driven, focused and motivated.

So far this winter I am lacking. I don’t want to drive to go ski or fat bike. I don’t want to get up early, walk the dogs, lift weights, ride in the cold and then go to work.

DSCF1772

I am wondering if there is something wrong with me? Do I really want to race again? Much less the TD? Am I getting soft, bored, burnt out? The thought of months spent riding a trainer, driving to go ride, riding in the dark and cold, all sounds terrible?! I have become frozen, along with everything else, with my lack of motivation!

DSCF1782

So do I fake it and just do it? Will my mojo come back to me, maybe tomorrow? Will the desire to suffer make me get up and suffer for months to come? Maybe a I have rounded a corner in my life and it is time to simply have fun…and move to the desert for the winter…..

Meditation

Spinning the legs in little circles while the wheels roll slowly along. The naked late fall aspens and cottonwoods slide by on the edges of my vision as the pavement stretches out in a ribbon before me.

DSCF1711

A veil of calm slides over my spastic mind. I breath, pedal, roll. The brain is still firing, still seeking, wondering, questioning. Today the frantic pace of thought is lost, there is a sweet solace to this forward movement.

DSCF1724

The cracked white line painted across the chip seal fades into dirt, snow, mud and ice. The sun is making the shadows long and dark as it begins to slink over the horizon. The descending cold and gloom makes the woods seem lonely and abandoned. Up the pass chasing the last light of the sun these wheels continue to roll. More snow and mud, more effort to keep the pedals turning.

DSCF1728

With legs burning and feet beginning to freeze the view explodes before me. Mountains glowing in the sunset, valleys filled with dark timber and deepening shadows roll forth, pulling me. This little slice of the world seems endlessly vast, cold and alone. Ignoring the coming darkness and the miles of snowy roads, the rolling peace inside wants to just go, roll and live out this state of meditation.

DSCF1742

DSCF1732

Rolling on home, struggling to keep my feet and hands warm, I find myself filled with a special kind of happiness. The adventure of life is still alive and well, my desire to feel it, love it, live it as strong as ever. Thank you Universe, thank you.

DSCF1740

DSCF1745

SingleMindedNess

The past couple days found me worked over by a cold. I am not a pleasant sick person, I’m grumpy, cranky and sleep all damn day long. I just hate being ill. There are so many things to do and now I’m taking a few days to do essentially nothing. One thing is it does slow things down and make my thoughts grow quietly longer, softer.

The TD is always somewhere in my thoughts, something so encompassing just doesn’t fade away. Recently it has come back up to the surface, risen right on up there, bringing me to make plans, write down lists, face the reality of training soon. In some ways it like a task left undone or a test that could be aced instead of simply passed. There are some nagging elements to the desire to return. Today out walking the dogs, my head stuffed full of congestion I was struck with a feeling of joy. Pure joy rose out of my core making me feel a radiant flow of energy. I Want This!

every sunrise, every sunset and every moonrise....

every sunrise, every sunset and every moonrise….

No ifs, ands or butts about it. A SingleMindedNess has sunk into place. Something close to obsession is taking root inside my being. Maps, lists, gear, bike parts, lights will all bounce about endlessly in the pursuit of perfection. I am going forth with a focus that will be beyond any other preparation I’ve done before.

oh Tranny how I love thee...

oh Tranny how I love thee…

Even so, this year’s race has taught me much. The real lesson I’m taking from 2014 and moving forward with is to let it happen, to be in the moment, to relax and love every second of the experience. I was tight with fight and not able to chill out this year, I was so focused on winning, on records, on times, minutes, hours, days and they all became advesaries. I am seeking flow and to love it all. That is a SingleMindedNess I am excited to live.

DSCF1229

Back to Basics

Funny how things come around.

Not that long ago, yet seemingly in a galaxy far away I was a die hard singlespeeder. I did not own a bike with more than one gear, I wouldn’t buy a new bike unless it could and would be able to tension a slackened chain.

DSCF0837

I rode everywhere spinning like mad or grinding away with every muscle in my body straining to push those pedals. I raced those singing single gears any where from 45 minutes, to 24 hours and eventually a whole 16 days. I wasn’t trying to be more hard core, or garner more attention, I just loved the wonderful simplicity.

DSCF1019

It has been a few years since I did much riding on a “oney”. I came back to riding gears and ended up loving it. I have to admit there have been a few rides that I couldn’t imagine doing again on a single speed. There are races that I went back to with gears and I laughed at all the singlespeeders, please do forgive me! I was faster, I was riding more, I did well and even won a race or two. The modern mountain bike drive train had evolved, far more reliable, smooth and durable. My mind had switched and I wondered why ride a bike that is less capable, harder on the body and potentially slower?

DSCF0970

Well things do come around and I recently built my trusty Tranny up with no shifters or derailleurs. Just that brutally simple one gear. The switch has been thrown, the mind set has changed, the perspective altered and tainted. I can’t get enough. Despite the burning in my arms and back, I just want more. There really is a quiet that descends upon the mind in that special space that is mine every time I go for a ride. I can hardly wait to see what adventures are lurking around the next bend.

DSCF0822

long and winding road

Life is a funny thing. I am dumbfounded oh so often by the twists and turns that appear before me.

DSCF0986

The road to recovery has been an interesting thing to experience. For the immediate few weeks following the Divide, I was a wreck. So tired, sore and beat down that the only option was eat, sleep, eat sleep…and eat and sleep some more. Then I got back on the bike and felt pretty good, or so I thought. It is interesting how thought, feeling and left over adrenaline can cloud the reality of what really lies deep. That was exhaustion.

Thing is I got back on the bike too soon, or too much too soon. I should have ridden easy, on the road bike; flat and spinning. Thing is I wanted single track. I wanted high country. I wanted more adventure and fun, lots of fun. So I indulged. Also drank too much beer, ate too much food I shouldn’t eat. There was so much desire for what I did not have out there for those 16 days. Food, Beer, Singletrack…and to be honest…FUN!

DSCF0962

I was so pain cave right off the bat, for that was my vision. Head down,go fast, go hard, go long. Only thing is I discluded having fun, smiling, loving the moment. I dug so deep into that cave that I wanted so much of the opposite once it was done. Thus my recovery was kicked in the ass right from the get go. And I paid for that too.

DSCF0990

Just recently I have begun to feel something like myself. I can feel the desire in my bones to race, race big, far and fast. I am riding with some amount of gusto. I can actually imagine getting back to intervals, easy road spins, and riding long after the sun goes down. The past few weeks, or has it been months….I have been in a weird funk of the unknown where I just didn’t identify with any drive that once occupied my bones. I wasn’t riding much at all. Every effort felt like riding through molasses, the thought of hard efforts, racing, recovering was a nightmare come to life.

The thing is that it all comes around. Just this past week I feel some spring in my legs, some jump in the climbs and some serious drive in my thoughts. It has been almost three months since I completed the Divide. It seems like a small price of time to pay, but living through it was another thing entirely. Every moment in that time my mind/brain/thoughts constantly pecked away at the gnawing weirdness of of not knowing what was next? Doubt can take you apart and I am not immune to it’s effects.

DSCF0950

Time flies and life is fun. So now looking back, it seems like a small price to pay. Riding yesterday and today in the golden magic of fall colors the world seems wonderfully small, simple, perfect. The choice of the future seems simple, obvious, real. It really all boils down to perspective, yet so hard to keep it all in line. Smile. Live. Breathe. Love. If that is possible, then what the hell isn’t?

10373052_10203403819790457_809085730119950646_o

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