Author: lydiatanner

Road Lessons

Emma Light Photo Since my first day as a gypsy two weeks ago, I’ve slept in tents, on couches, and occasionally in beds– in nine different places. I’ve biked seven new trails, climbed two bucket-list mountains, and gone cragging topless…and I’m only halfway through this trip. These are some things I’ve learned so far: 1. You’ll probably send if you’re cragging topless. Because cheese-gratering back to that last bolt just isn’t an option. 2. If the couch you’re crashing on is occupied by people drinking tequila, you should drink tequila with them.  Because why the hell not? 3. Multi-day trips in the mountains are a great way to avoid begging people to sleep in their homes.  Even better if they want to come with you. Stars > ceilings. Forever. 4. Sometimes trails live up to the hype.  Cases in point: Bobsled in SLC, Phillips Ridge in Jackson, Elbow in Big Sky. 5. Say Yes. It’s an unwritten law of the road that you must be open to whatever comes your way. Even when you’ve spent …

Packing it all up

My apartment smelled like cat pee the day I moved in. The blinds were broken, the carpet was stained, and the peeling, chipped bathroom looked like it had never been cleaned. But it was mine and I loved it. I spent months filling my place up. I needed silverware and furniture and rugs and lamps- and I spent an incredible amount of time choosing each one. I got a really, really nice kitchen knife- these were things I would keep. Yet even as I began to settle in I started to notice that I was doing something kind of weird. Every time I had a down moment- like when I was waiting for something to cook or working on an email- I’d mentally begin packing. These weren’t just little daydreams; we’re talking detailed, specific plans on how and where I would store every item I’d brought into my home. I guess you could say that having “stuff” for the first time in my life made me anxious. I should have known right then that I …

Gear Review: Wound Vac

So a few weeks ago I crashed my bike. I clipped my bars on a tree, sailed gracefully through the air, and landed mostly on my leg, mostly on a tree stump, which became detached from the ground. Then I went into shock. I’ve always said the first crash of the season is a good thing because it’s cathartic. A nice rowdy crash can clear all your bad energy and fear, and when you get back on you’re usually a better rider. This crash was definitely a good thing, because it did all that AND introduced me to a really cool new piece of gear; the wound vacuum. I didn’t know wound vacs existed, but apparently that’s what they give you when the recurrent baby-head hematoma you’ve had for two weeks gets infected. My wound vac comes in a handy (and stylish) black purse, and only needs to be plugged in at night. The hose is situated to discreetly come out the waistband of my pants, and the machine makes periodic, soothing sucking noises. It’s …

Colorado Trail Goodness

I wonder why sometimes. Why wake up at the crack of dawn, get cold, get hot, get tired, get scared? Beyond maintaining some basic level of health and fitness, it’s hard to argue the necessity of a bike or skis or sports in general- especially when they gobble your paychecks and break your body, as mine tend to do. It’s even harder when you’re out of shape- like last week, which found me mashing desperately on the pedals of a very nice but very unfamiliar bike. Inching my way up the trail at 11 weeks post-op, I had more than enough time to consider the dumbness of sports. In 77 days I’d meditated, a lot. I’d taken my life down a notch (or three) and believe it or not I was content. I was never hungry, I slept regularly, and I’d watched what little strength I had leave me with a kind of amused detachment. This injury really taught me that being strong is truly not the most important way to be- and as I willed …

What Happened to Wise Women?

Yesterday I brought a dessert to a table of ladies celebrating a birthday. They were a couple of older gals, and I wished the birthday girl a happy 25th, because that’s just what you do. She gave a little laugh and said “oh, honey- I’m 76!” She barely looked 50, and I wasn’t sucking up when I told her so. Yet instead of hearing my compliment her expression turned hopeless, and she gave an inexplicably apologetic look to her friend. “I’m almost 80. It’s crazy.” She said quietly. We both reassured her it was an accomplishment to be proud of, but she clearly wasn’t buying it. I left the table a little shocked.  * I was at dinner with a group of women a few weeks ago and, as an adult (but the youngest there by 25 years or so) I found myself suddenly in a different role than when I was the daughter or niece at the table. “That waiter only started giving us any attention when you sat down!” One of my friends …

The Sedentary Life

I spent the last year or so pretending I didn’t have a bum shoulder. I figured I could just be more conservative, stronger or more mindful, but eventually I was getting super injured doing daredevil things like lifting up my duffel bag or sleeping. I began to worry about my ability to take care of myself and my partners in the backcountry- it was time to do some more body maintenance- my seventh major orthopedic surgery in the last decade. The cool thing about having a bunch of bad luck over the last few years is that I’m really good at keeping myself sane on the recovery end. Hint: it involves more than just whiskey. I’ve learned how to be ruthlessly cheerful with myself, and I get exercise in every way I possibly can- which for now just means walking. A lot of walking. I got one of those pedometers (it has a tres chic rubber butterfly on it, ensuring its ability to clash with everything) and on good days it tells me that I’ve …

Breck

Six months ago, my hands were calloused and I had belongings scattered across three states. This week, the majority of my material possessions reside under one roof (an unexpected relief) and my hands are soft and pink. I’ve watched the signs of my time as (what? a nomad? a “climber”? a non-contributing member of society?) fade with mixed feelings. They’ve been good times, and I know other seasons will be dedicated to struggling once more in high places. Just not this season. This is the season I got back in the saddle. I think there was something weirdly personal for me about coming back to cycling; a kind of grudge I felt I had to work through, and the only way I could figure was to throw myself at the sport, flat out, as hard as I could. For a couple months there I was a simple kind of girl, who wanted nothing more from life than to get as tired as I could as often as I could. The hope (I suppose) being that somewhere …