Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I wonder...

Today, two years ago, January 10, 2010, was the first time I rode a mountain bike on a trail. I borrowed a bike and showed up at Three Sisters just outside Evergreen, Colorado. As I unloaded the bike and put my road bike shoes and pedals (because that's what I had) on to ride, I noticed something was up with the rear derailleur. It was a spring, or something. Before I could ride I had to take it to the bike shop. Crap.

It was cold and I wasn't thrilled with the idea of driving into town and getting it fixed and driving back to the trailhead. I was, however, very intrigued with the idea of pedaling a bike up a snowy mountain. I debated for a few minutes and ALMOST bagged the ride and called it a day due to the hassle and the time it would take. But when  I am intrigued by something, I must experience it. So I delayed the ride for a couple of hours, got the derailleur fixed and the rest is, well, history. Two years and thousands of miles later, I cannot help but wonder where I would be and what my life would be like had I made a different choice two years ago....

Would I have won my first race (Cat 3) in August 2010 at Keystone?

And then won it again (Cat 1) in August 2011?

Would I have met this guy (and his pack goats) on the Arizona Trail?

Would I have spent hours researching and putting together a bikepacking setup in my little Morrison apartment?

Would I have blown up and cried my eyes out in frustration over slashed sidewalls and hours of lost time repairing/buying new tires in Tucson on the AZT 300? 

Would I have gotten the honor to race and stand on the podium with my friend, Erick, at 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo? 

Would I have rattled my teeth out for 60 miles on an ugly $400 singlespeed at Pueblo Reservoir?

Or scraped a bunch of junk together to build another $400 bike so I can roll snowy trails again and feel the snow crunch beneath 6 lbs of tire pressure?

Would Gus have become the old love of my life?

And Carl become my new man?

Would I have climbed this?

Or this?

Or this?

Awoke to this?

Drifted off on the trail to this?

Would I have had the honor to line up at the start line and finish an all girls mountain bike race 10 minutes behind the fastest women (Georgia and Katie) in the sport?

Would I have toured the Colorado Trail with a Black Sheep?

And a goat?

Would I have been at the start of one of the greatest races on the planet?

Carrying a $200 sleeping bag inside a $20 SeaLine Dry Bag for 477 miles?

Would I have stood here?

Or here?

Or here?

Would I know the meaning of this so clearly?

Would this inner light glow so radiantly?

OR...had the bike shop been closed, would I be still fighting this everyday to make the man a buck and pay for things I don't care about?

Highly unlikely.

Two wheels and high peaks are my passion. What is yours? If you were unable to define yourself by what you do to earn money what would you say? Have you ever thought about that? But, most importantly, are you happy? If so, why? If not, why not?

As I sit here tonight in Durango and I look out the window into my back yard. I see a hammock, a clothesline and a small garden. I hear no horns or motors from steel coffins rushing to get somewhere. Life moves at a slower pace yet a healthy, vibrant and contagious energy constantly flows through.

Conversation is much more than a glance or two up from the smartphone. People smile genuinely. Eye contact is the norm. I miss things about Denver and part of my heart stayed with the people, the trails and the mountains I love.

But my true heart yearns to see what is ahead and cherishes the lessons, people and experiences that have helped build the singletrack that will take me there...


  1. Jill, this is an awesome post. I didn't realize you've only been riding for a few years... pretty kickass track record for such a short time. You pretty much summed up a lot of what makes this endeavor amazing.
    -Joey @ Velorution Cycles

  2. Thanks for reading, Joey! Stoked to see your shop on Friday!