Follow Through

"all boys dream, few men live"

“all boys dream, few men live”

Excitement can overwhelm and often displace good judgement. It is so easy to become intoxicated by the idea of something, the romantic visions of peacefully cruising through the landscape. Sunshine and rainbows around each corner, the glory of miles and miles behind you.

Then comes the reality check. The hours and hours of hard work, getting up out of a warm soft bed to ride the trainer. Doing intervals that make your guts turn inside out. Riding long long days in the rain and snow. Doing your homework is never that romantic, instead it is a quiet purposeful daily grind that can sometimes suck.

trainer time....

trainer time….

Big dreams do not arrive on your door step wrapped up in a pretty package. It is easy to forget. I get so wrapped up in the adventure and the vision of fresh clean air, the details of getting there slip into the fog. That is the challenge, not the easy wanting, but the everyday work for the next few months.

Keep your head down. Work hard. Suck it up. It will all pay off in June!

Letter of Intent

Everyday I confront the question of riding the Divide again.

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Some wonder, why do it again? There are countless other challenges and adventures out there. The TD doesn’t just leave you once you’ve rolled through Antelope Wells. It is there, for me, with all it’s glory and misery every time I close my eyes. I can see the seemingly endless misty rolling mountainsides of Northern Montana, feel the mighty winds of the Great Basin and taste the stale crack of dried lips deep in the washboards of the Gila.

getting pummeled

Good and evil, I want to be out there again. Miles and miles from home, nothing to do but ride my bike as far as I can. Everyday pushing myself to the limit, deep in the pain cave, all the while soaking up every minute from sunrise to sunset, smiling the smile of true love. For all the pain, discomfort and bad food there is no other place I would rather be than out there on my bike living the dream.

chasing my shadow

So here it is. My Letter of Intent. I announce to the world that I intend to race down the spine of this mighty continent once again. My thirst is simply not yet quenched, my limits not quite reached. I look forward to throwing every ounce of myself and everything I have learned into trying to go faster, smarter, better. I Can Hardly Wait!

dreaming of what lies in these 7 maps...and the 2700 miles that lay ahead....

Sometimes the thought of creating my own reality crosses my mind and gets mingled up with everything else bouncing around in there.

the long, long road

the long, long road

This world, so big, so grand and just waiting to be explored. That is if you get off your ass, out of your comfort zone and gO forth seeking that adventure.

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desert sunset

The cost can be tough to accept. Change is turbulent, rough and dirty.

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sunlit bike love

The rewards are simply amazing. Words can not equal the feeling inside that living and breathing your dreams can.

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sweet sweet surrender

Helps to have someone supportive, loving and understanding to explore the paths ahead and help you get back up when you fall.

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sun chasing nomads

What is possible, what new dreams can be chased? What courage and determination will it take?

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Meanwhile back in the mountains…..

From Winter to Desert Spring and back to Winter again. Transitions are everywhere, change is powerful and liberating.

read the warning!

read the warning!

Life is now. Living in the present is fantastic. Dreaming of the Future is Inspiring. More limits to be pushed, more love to give, sunsets to share and camp fires to seek out. Can hardly wait. Live, Love and Give!

 

 

Reset

 

 

Bike racing, much like life, brings so many ups and downs. Soaring highs and crashing lows and everything in between. Sometimes it kicks my ass enough that I begin to wonder if maybe I’m ready to be done. Retire from racing, well big races that I take seriously anyway…

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sunset over 24 Hour Town

 

 

The thought still bounces around in my head in those moments when it hurts so much that you can’t help but wonder if it is worth it? Why not stop and chill, hang out, do some touring.

The Westie loaded and ready to go south...

The Westie loaded and ready to go south…

Or maybe, just maybe get it figured out and do both? Race my brains out here and there, as well as take time to live in between. I’m trying to get that balance figured out right now. The juggle isn’t easy. I still put in a bit of structure and some hard specific work outs. But mostly I’m doing what I do, sometimes riding and riding and sometimes sleeping in and making kickass breakfast!

 

That’s one thing I completely forget sometimes. That being fit and fast is a great goal to pursue, but really it is about being happy. Sleeping in here and there, spending time not riding, is good, solid stuff.

Unicorn Love

Unicorn Love

Another thing is rest is always been a thing I have struggled with. Working, dogs, training, sleeping in there somewhere? The funny thing is I feel like my races so far have been great, they hurt as much or more, but my results keep surprising me and I’m really stoked. Maybe chilling out is working for me after all.

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Love That Desert Love

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loving living

 

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desert, bikes, friends and beer

Headed down to the 24 Hours in Old Pueblo this past weekend with Rachel, two bikes, two coolers and about a hundred cookies. It has been 10 years since I raced 24HiOP solo. For a few of those years I have been kinda curious if I learned anything since that might make it possible to crank out more laps?

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no matter what it was gonna be a great weekend

 

The desert is such an amazing place and it pulls at me almost as much as the mountains do. The sun was warm, the wind was fierce, the air filled with fun and adventure. Oh and bikes, lots of bikes and the chance to ride as much as you want to…

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there is no end to learning…

So it would seem that I have learned some things, but I don’t always follow my own advice. My plan, if any, was to run slow then ride easy and consistent. Ended up running slow, getting excited and riding too hard for too long burning a few too many matches. Eventually the body got tired, sore and I slowed down. Even had a few mishaps that tested my shaky bit of calm. I teetered on the edge of implosion, slowly falling apart night lap after night lap. Somehow I managed to rally along with the rising sun and push my pace a bit harder for the final laps.

I rallied, but man did it hurt...

I rallied, but man did it hurt…

It was an awesome week, weekend, and a fantastic and successful race. The desert was warm, sunny and full of love. The race was a wild crazy fantastic ride leaving me to wonder about a next year? Mostly the whole week makes me grateful to be happy, healthy and still learning, dreaming and scheming.

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Podium!

 

All pictures by Rachel Alter.

Lapping it up

I have a tendency to get a little excited. SeemsĀ there is a clock ticking away somewhere in my head and there is still so much left to get done. So when the opportunity arrises to get out there and live it up, I struggle to say no.

bike happy

bike happy

Many months ago I signed up for a single speed solo spot at the 24 Hours in Old Pueblo. After being down there last year I knew I wanted to come back to the Sonoran desert and suffer through as many circles as possible. Even with this big monster on the horizon I wanted more, now, sooner, more more more!

photo by Xavier Fane

photo by Xavier Fane

Well luckily for the insatiable bike racer there are fat bike races everywhere, one only has to chose which ones and where. I was set to race the local race, the Alley Loop, Friday night. I couldn’t miss this one, only 30 minutes away, local turf, 3rd year in a row. Easy choice. The thing is there was this little 10 hour race going on in Silverton, Colorado the very next day, that caught my eye and pulled my excited mind. I wanted to do both. The household sat down and discussed the idea. The dogs did not like the idea one bit, if they weren’t going so it was dumb. When Rachel realized I was serious about attempting this, I think she began to see how crazy I really am, but in the end supported and participated as well.

The Alley Loop was a hoot, it is Crested Butte after all. Warm, sunny, great snow, fun people, costumes, Dave Ochs and some fast bike racing. Great Times. After the award and raffle we packed up the Westie and drove home, ate, walked the dogs, set the alarm and went to bed. Of course neither of us could sleep before that 3:15AM alarm. Up, Dogs, Breakfast and on the road before 5:AM.

photo by Criss Furman

photo by Criss Furman

Silverton is gorgeous little town tucked into the San Juans. This Saturday it was packed with fat bikes, families and fun peeps. The Silverton Whiteout was a total blast. Cool course threading through town, out along the Animas River, up a steep hill and down a steeper hill and back through town. My tummy was a mess the whole day and I never felt all that good and mostly felt like I was gonna hurl. None the less the wonderful people, the incredible views and the need for more miles kept my head down and rolling till the 6:pm cut off.

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We both finished well and stuck around for dinner and the awards. So much fun hanging out in the Grand Imperial with a bunch of happy, buzzed, sun burnt folks. Saw people haven’t seen in years, met some new friends and soaked up the communal feeling of joy that everybody seemed to exude. Then we packed wet clothes, our dirty bikes and our weary souls back into the Westie and drove on home back to Gunny. Finally home after a long 20+ hour day. We did it! What a fantastically weekend!

photo by Criss Furman

photo by Criss Furman

Don’t wait to see what is out there, don’t wait to live your dreams, gO Ride, gO Run, gO Ski, gO Live!

Turbulance

Life is full of twists, turns and surprises. I get pretty micro focused sometimes on my tiny little world of bikes, bike racing, dogs and being outside, that things blind side me.

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Last winter I was in “train” mode. I woke up thinking about my work outs, when I could squeeze them in, how my body felt, what was my waking heart rate and am I really getting any stronger? When I wasn’t working out, stretching or working, I was sewing, planning, studying maps and wrenching on my bike. Pretty close to total immersion.

Although it was what I wanted, I didn’t always like it. I craved hanging out with folks who didn’t talk about intervals and bike racing. I wanted to sleep in, go to bed early, drink more beer and not ride the damn trainer again! Still I was pretty good boy and did my job.

 

This fall and winter have been a different beast altogether. I’m not as razor focused on what my life is going to entail. Seems things have changed. Life has gone and surprised me. In many ways it is a dream come true, yet change is difficult, turbulent, frustrating.

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There are times, when I’m sleeping in, staying up late, drinking too much beer, that I feel like a such a slacker and I wonder if I am truly blowing it by not slaving away as much as I once did in search of fitness?

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Thing is, life is good. While out riding some snow packed urban singletrack this morning, carving tight turns, the snow crunching under my tires, there can be no other sensation than joy. I am still dreaming. I am still seeking adventure. Maybe I just might learn to relax, stop worrying and enjoy it all. I sure hope so.DSCF2917