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Ice cream is gonna save the day

Today I fell in love with an inanimate object. Again. I could make some vaguely sexual innuendo about how good the ride was or how hot a carbon frame can look, but the truth is that today I just felt like a little kid riding in the woods for the first time. There was nothing dirty about it- I just love my new bike.

Unfortunately there still seems to be something wrong with my motor. I went to the Teva games last weekend hoping for some signs of life from my legs, but was again disappointed. I discovered that I had about fifteen minutes of race-effort in me before basically riding backwards for the rest of the day and barely finishing. It could have been the altitude, dehydration, or the hard week of training I’d just finished- maybe I’m just a wimp- but the bottom line is that I had another bad day.

On the bright side, it was the sort of course I’ve been craving for the last few months. It was a true Colorado-style ride with lots of up, lots of down, and not much else in between.  It was beautiful and, at least for me, just pedaling through a good aspen grove can make even the most dismal race sting a little less.

I spent Sunday ignoring my bike and rolling around in the dirt at the slopestyle. I flashed my media pass, ducked the rope and proceeded to take about a million pictures, using only my phone, which will never ever be published in any type of media. My teammates slayed the time trial, so I also got to take pics of them on the podium, which was cool. Overall it was a nice sunny weekend full of swag, lots of athletic folks and free granola- not a total loss.

Then at the beginning of this week my dog ate my helmet and I had a guy with a stethoscope use the word “overtrained” and tell me to take time off. It sounds a little dire but it was actually a huge relief- the past three years of my life have centered increasingly on my training and racing schedule as opposed to  finding aspen groves to ride through. The destruction of the coolest helmet I’ve ever owned was just the cherry on the top- a final slap in the face, courtesy of the universe. I realized that there are lots of ways to be on a bike, and sometimes fast just isn’t one of them. What matters is that you keep pedaling, and finding ways to always enjoy it.

Which is how I ended up in the Boulder reservoir mid-ride on Monday.

On Wednesday I scrapped training again and went with Nick, Ed, and Jill to go investigate some of the Colorado trail running around the Buffalo Creek/Hayman burn area. It was a nice long, rolling ride through all sorts of terrain, and the Colorado trail definitely lived up to all the hype.

My goal for the day (as per doctor’s orders) was to never pedal hard enough to feel tired. At this point I feel tired just standing up, so it was actually a weirdly difficult goal. I started off feeling mostly just lazy and stupid, (in addition to tired) but after a little while it became kind of a zen thing. I had to force myself to calm down, to refrain from attacking every lump in the geography, and to wrench my mind out of its semi-masochistic racing tendencies. I think it was good for me. Though, admittedly, it’s hard to be bummed while riding a rad trail with friends on a beautiful day. My bike arrived that afternoon.

Yesterday I went out with my mom and little brother into what looked like a huge thunderstorm over Heil Ranch. The sky was super low and dark, but a little rain had made the track super tacky and the air smelled amazing. The storm grumbled a bit but ended up passing us to the East and we had a perfectly dry, cool ride. My little bro totally rips and looks like a miniature version of a pro on his bike- I was giving him tips, but I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to for long. Riding with him reminded me of when I started riding, and that combined with the wagon wheels gave the whole day an oddly new and surreal feel. This sport is fun.

Next up: a few weeks in Winter Park to find some form (I know it’s in there somewhere) and off to Germany!

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