I recently embarked on a trip of a lifetime. At least of my lifetime up to this point. Along with seven good friends, I pedaled from Durango, CO to Moab, UT. One day I will get around to writing up what I can remember of that trip for an entry (or entries) here, but I can tell you now that it was the most challenging and amazing things I have ever done.
Back home, a combination of work, vacation, unexpected travel, and other day-to-day life things kept me off the bike. In fact, it was 30 days before I even pulled the bike out of the shipping box to re-assemble. I finally got a few rides in over Labor Day weekend.
On one ride downtown as we took in the view of downtown atop the Manchester wall, JB asked me how I was doing? He wasn’t just asking in some generic small-talk kind of way. He meant, how was I doing mentally since the trip? How was I adjusting to work and life since returning? As part of my response, I referenced a text exchange between my dad and me.
Dad: How is life back in the real world?
Me: Aside from missing Lo & T terribly, I think I prefer riding (and even pushing) my bike through mountains, valleys, deserts, rain, mud, hot and cold and sleeping in a hut in the middle of nowhere. Does that seem weird?
Dad: Depends who is looking at it.
Aside from the text conversation with my Dad, I hadn’t really thought a lot about it, but there was something there. There was something in addition to vacations, work, travel, etc. that was eating away at the motivation to ride. Heck, I’ve always had life going on, but I still found time to ride…a lot.
The ride out West was huge by all accounts. The elevation, terrain, and landscapes were unlike anything I have ever experienced before. I believe now I was suffering from an overstimulation of sorts, and in the back of my mind I think it was a high that I wasn’t going to fulfill once I got back home.
I think I am over it though. Well, kind of. I mean, I’ve been on several rides in September including an awesome solo ride last night at my old stomping grounds Pocahontas State Park. I also attended the monthly Friends of Pocahontas meeting last week and look forward to getting back into trail work. There’s going to be lots to do over the next year to make the Richmond Regional Ride Center a reality.
But seriously, how do you top this when you live on the east coast?
For me, it means continuing to explore and having new experiences on singletrack, double-track, dirt/gravel road, and even pavement (gasp!) when necessary.
For me, it means sacrificing some local riding during the week and over a weekend in order to venture out to the GWNF (and beyond) and hopefully seeing or doing something new.
For me, it means getting in as many miles as I can without worrying too much about how many miles I have gone or have to go. Every now and then, I may just want to sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space.*
For me, it means day trips, overnight trips, multiple night trips, leaving late on Friday nights, or really early on a Saturday, cabin camping, base camping, car camping and bikepacking in order to accomplish the next stage of the adventure.
For me, it’s just about getting out there.
*One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am – a reluctant enthusiast….a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.