Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Why I Race My Bike

Today's April blizzard shut the big D down. Looking outside, I see barely three inches of snow, but the rush-hour timing of the storm closed basically everything.  

Thus, snow days are good to get caught up on all the tedious crap that needs washed, cleaned, organized, fixed, sorted, thrown out, etc. Once in a while I come across priceless gems that even I (being a pretty extreme minimalist) just have not had the heart to get rid of just yet.

Today's finds epitomize my personal, ultimate motivation for racing a mountain bike. No feeling evoked by a sunrise, sunset, flower, tree, lake, river, waterfall or section of perfect single track can come close.

Mesmerizing, but nope.

So,without further rambling, I think my entire reason for racing can be summed up by the quest to obtain the following [insert emotional moment of self-actualization here].

Drumroll, please:

A close up of the beauty:

And to follow suit, after racing since he was 6 years old, Les said this is why he will never stop zip-tying number plates to his handle bars:

Ahhh, trophies. The ULTIMATE assurance that all the money, miles, tears, blood, mud, sweat, cholla, rocks, flats, repairs and sacrifices of bicycle racing are  worth it.

I would love to see your finest, most coveted momento from racing. There have got to be some gems out there. Send me an email with a picture of your "precious"and the race story if you want to (allthingsepic@gmail.com) and I will put together a blog post of them all.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Grindola de Gravel

I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright. 

~Henry David Thoreau

Today was a day of serene stillness . The trance-inducing humming of my skinny tires for miles and miles left my mind with an unexpected clarity. Thoreau's words echoed in my ears as I looked through the pictures tonight. There is a subtle magnetism indeed as I am only now realizing how my unconscious yielding to miles upon miles of gravel directed me aright. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought a good dose of gravel-ly anti-epic was just what I needed.

Thanks, Ben. All your hard work made for a great event.

Thursday, April 4, 2013


My mom would quickly confirm that I have never possessed an ounce of patience. I am the oldest of three and, in all reality, probably responsible for far less than a third of all child-rearing induced grey hairs (thanks to my two younger brothers). I can only imagine the challenge of having me as a daughter, however. There was nothing I didn't want to do. There was not an activity, adventure, sport, or event I wanted to miss out on.  Being very competitive by nature, I jumped in head first and feared nothing...

And I wanted everything to happen NOW.

My mom would repeatedly tell me "patience is a virtue" and I know she must have prayed for me to learn some patience rather than learn the hard way every time. Her words still ring in my ears today in many situations. Thirty years and many, many life lessons later, I can honestly say that although I did learn some patience (out of necessity) along the way, inside I am still the impatient, overzealous kid who wants to race her bike NOW.

All winter long, I thought I had myself talked out of the AZTR 750 this year. Then the sun came out in Colorado and I hit some pretty awesome power and VO2 max numbers. I began having dreams about my days and nights on my bike in AZ last year and soon the fire to bikepack raged inside again. The idea to ITT the trail from north to south took hold, the idea of racing the Triple Crown (AZTR 750, Tour Divide and CTR all in the same year) set its hooks. It is amazing how the lust for living my dreams, for wild adventure, for the feeling of freedom and distance from the angry, stressed, unmotivated masses can blind me to the fact that in no way can I afford what I want to do this year. Or more accurately, lead me to believe that the money will just miraculously appear.

So, after planning and scheming how to afford this to for the better part of the last two weeks, and ignoring the fear of most likely being unemployed when I return from Arizona, the impatient kid in me (with visions of a summer of epic adventure on two wheels) finally opened her laptop this morning to send emails to beg and plead for most of the summer off to race the Triple Crown. Just as I was ready to hit the send button, my mom's words came into my head again:

Patience is a virtue.

UGH! I don't want to hear these words. There is bike racing I want to do. NOW. Not next year, dammit. NOW. 

I pushed my computer away and began to stop ignoring the fact the timing for this goal is just not good at all and how maybe some patience is the best answer here. (See Mom, maybe I did listen to your words)

2014 is a much better year for many logical reasons, however much I don't want to acknowledge that fact. Being a human, I kind of want to whine and complain and be sad that I am going to miss the awesomeness that is to be found in Arizona starting in two weeks. Inevitably, I can't help the sadness my heart feels of having to miss it, but whining and complaining will get me nowhere. 

Instead, I will commit to finishing the AZTR 750, The Tour Divide and the Colorado Trail Race in 2014. Now I just have to decide in which direction. Ha.

So for this year, the Kenai 250 may be in the cards instead....

Monday, April 1, 2013

Triple Crown

Miles of pedaling across some of the most beautiful places on earth and living out of the contents of the bags strapped to a carbon frame attached with a medley of parts to two wheels?

Or spending a summer wondering how it would have been?

I hate (or maybe I fear) "wondering how it would have been." My bank account hates that I hate that even more. Yet my thoughts rarely wander from the idea of racing the Big 3 this year.

The easy part is the long miles, the weather, the sleep deprivation, the hunger, the thirst, the physical pain.

All these vanish with each new sunrise I experience either in self-powered motion or from a sleeping bag inches away from my bike.

The hard part is this other existence I dub "life." The one where I go through the motions for 10+ hours a day. Yeah, you know...that one that is still there when I have to unpack those bags I got to live out of for awhile and comb my hair and put on a monkey suit and smile.

All for the dollar.