From my house near Ball Lane I can be climbing on single track in exactly 3 minutes. Techy, twisty, fun single track that climbs up to Raider's Ridge or Powerline, then to the top of Telegraph, Cowboy, South Rim, Big Canyon, Sale Barn, back to Horse Gulch to Powerline and descend to Ball Lane and I am at my front door again.
Tuesday evening, I grabbed the Minifly 100, left so graciously behind by Les for me to ride over the next few weeks while mine awaits a rebuild upon the arrival of box of expensive parts in the mail, and rode this trail system until after dark. I thought of really nothing but riding in and getting to Canmore and 24 Hour Worlds. My legs had all kinds of climbing in them as they were fresh, strong and quick. I flew effortlessly to the top of Telegraph, tore downhill like I was being chased and found myself praying the sun would get stuck just above the horizon, time would stop and the lingering glow of the Durango sunset would give me a few more hours with my pedal-induced thoughts.
My thoughts ranged from trip planning to race strategy, to ideas for an upcoming fundraiser proposed by Carver's Brewery which was looking like a local group ride on a September Sunday and then beer on the patio with partial proceeds to help offset trip expenses. Wow. I really do work for and with amazing and supportive people. As everyone who plays this bike racer game knows, a thriving money tree in the backyard would sure make many things easier and more races possible. I chose not to race any of the paid entry races this year except for two and focused on the dirt bag bikepacker thing (which is so me anyway) in order to work, save and train for Worlds. I poured beer and packed plates full of food to tourists, sometimes for 16 hours a day, all summer.
Save every dime... Save. Save.....and save more.
The fundraiser offer was a huge boost and I was excited at the fact I could return to Durango and be ok, not starving like when I came back from Arizona this spring.....
And then I got the text when I turned on my phone after I got back from riding.
WHAT? 24 Hour Worlds are cancelled? Seriously? Why? What?
I read the letter posted on the website. Words like "not economically or administratively feasible" "cannot do without proper funding" and "lack of sponsorship support" made my stomach tighten and my heart drop to my toes. My initial reaction was complete disbelief. Really? Now what? The first thing that came to mind was a CTR ITT in early September, then the Coconino 250 and then some CX racing....
For the last couple of days, the words in the letter have been swirling around in my mind. Frustration, sadness and general letdown are the emotions I have when I think that in one month from today I won't be racing around in circles in Canmore. But that's life and that's bike racing. Somedays when my legs and my body feel like complete and total shit, I wonder if I will ever be any good. Somedays when I watch people racing the races that cost an entire month's mortgage to enter, I have to force myself to ignore the intense longing in my heart to be out there so I don't break into tears in front of everyone. Somedays I wonder how the hell I am going to afford the sweet little hardtail I dream of buying...... But everyday I come back to the fact that I am doing something---pursuing a dream---that is far from "economically or administratively feasible" is not "properly funded" and is severely "lacking sponsorship support."
But I find a way. Because I want it. The setbacks, the mechanicals, the mistakes, the cancellations just fuel the fire to push on, live hard, go big, cherish the moment and embrace the challenges.
And, as always. do what I know so well: