Last night my body was really tired. I felt slightly drunk. I found myself doing weird things like picking something up and moving it three feet to the left for no reason, or just forgetting what I was holding altogether- I went to bed, slept three hours, woke up to eat and drink some more, then passed out again. Weird.
But this story begins over two weeks ago.
I was determined not to repeat my sad February episode in some hotel in Flagstaff, so I decided to have some fun with my drive home from California. There would be lots of extra pavement to cover, but rather than making a straight shot back to Colorado, I planned a few extra days in Pleasanton, Chico, Tahoe, and Fruita to ride my bicycle and mess around- the object of this trip: surprise my brother at his high school graduation.
It was awesome traveling without any real deadlines- I got to stop at my favorite grocery store in San Luis Obisbpo, help dismantle my aunt’s porch in Pleasanton, see a stage of the Tour of California, and party with my cousins in Chico. I stopped in the bizarre faux-Danish town of Solvang, almost hydroplaned in Salt Lake city, and ate brunch at my new favorite café of all time, Elijah Bleu’s, in Truckee. (the Breakfast Bowl is amazing!) I did a little riding- the trails in Pleasanton are surprisingly good- but it wasn’t until I passed the turnoff for Moab that I started to feel like I was getting home- That’s when the number of cars with toys on the roof suddenly began to outnumber the ones without.
I googled trails in Fruita and drove to the first blue link that came up- rabbit valley. It was insanely windy that day, and my bike was making an eerie groaning noise on top of my car, so I cranked my music (Swedish cars love techno) and tried to get stoked to ride anyway. In the parking lot I found two old dudes drinking beers- after the wind blew my car door shut on my leg, we started chatting about trails and people we knew, and they gave me an awesome map, which looked like it’d been torn from a notebook and designated things like Colorado (beer) and Utah (no beer.)
I think Fruita wanted to welcome me home- I haven’t felt that good riding all year. Despite constant howling wind and only one warmish water bottle, the trails were flowy, aesthetic, and seemingly endless. I enjoyed the cool rock formations, moto-berms, and everything about bike riding for a few hours, then pointed it back to town, feeling better about this sport than I have in a long time.
I knocked off the remaining five hours to Boulder the next morning and, after six days on the road, got to strangle my brother from behind at his graduation, effectively surprising the crap out of him. The next day I promptly got sick from all the exotic locales, late nights, and car time- but it was totally worth it.
Anyway, now that I’m back in the bubble of elite athletes and crunchy hippies, my whole life seems a lot less weird. I love how the right community can enable any addiction, and in Boulder one of the big ones just so happens to be bikes. I’m home, and I’m loving it. But I’m also realizing that I’m pretty far off the “elite athlete” mark. At least by Boulder standards. Go figure.
That’s why, when I found out about the resurrection of the famous Morgul Bismark road race, I started getting myself stoked for one more day on pavement- I wanted to hurt, a lot, and I knew that five rounds with the wall would probably be adequate.
I had the unique position in this race of not caring at all about results, which was a new thing for me. With girls like Cari Higgins and Allison Powers in the lineup, I obviously didn’t make the break, but I had a great time playing roadies in the chase group. I’ve kinda missed all the weird posturing and mental games that occur over many miles of pavement, and without any real investment in the outcome I was able to mess around more than usual, which was super fun.
I also got the hurt I was looking for. Maybe more. After the first lap I was tasting blood, but I kept forcing cliff products into my mouth (thank god for margarita shot bloks) and managed to string myself along for the remainder of the race. I would like to think I even put the screws to people a little once the first-lap crazy pace subsided a little, but they were probably just letting me hang out in the wind. Damn roadies.
Anyway, we got to the final climb (of course the finish was at the top of the wall) and I ended up going a little too soon- I finished second in our group, but it was the weirdest intens-est rendition of pain I’ve ever felt. Like I said at the beginning of this post- my body’s kind of still mad at me for it. More than usual. Hopefully there’s some more of it in the future, but for now I’m going to go hippie it up at the creek fest. It’s good to be home!