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Like Riding a bike…

…only totally different. As with many things I love to do, I once approached cyclocross with a semi-irrational hatred based on one bad weekend. I’d gutted myself a few times on my seat, fallen over a couple barriers, and discovered how quickly my adolescent heart rate could skyrocket out of control. My (equally adolescent) conclusion: Cyclocross Is Dumb. And Hard. Yet as I’ve become older and less wise, riding around on dirt with skinny tires has begun to look less and less insane- and I love nothing more than being an absolute noob, so I figured I’d give it a try. In my first race I was vanquished handily by an eleven year old. I crossed the finish line coughing that rusty blood-taste and grinning maniacally- this was familiar. This was fun! I picked another race and asked local sensei Lisa Curry if she could make me a ‘cross rider in twenty days. Training had officially begun. If you know Lisa at all, it’s probably not difficult to imagine her sitting serenely inside a pagoda …

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Another Conversation with an Inanimate Object:

Me: Hey, bike. It’s… been a while.  Bike: … Me: Uh… I bet you heard about the other sports. Bike: … Me: Oh come on. I just needed a change- I thought about you the whole time, I promise. Even when I was climbing. You’re the best, bike. You know I love you more. Bike: … Me: You’re seriously not going to say anything? After all we’ve been through together, you have nothing to say to me? Bike: … Me: Ok. I guess it’s pretty unreasonable to expect you to talk. Bike: … Me: Look, I got you your favorite kind of trail. We’re on an epic, just like old times! Please take me back? We don’t have to talk if you don’t want… Bike: I can’t remember my last mountain bike crash, and I’m glad I finally had one. I’ve been treating myself like glass for six months while my knee heals, and getting pitched into a garden of sharky rocks felt strangely cathartic. It reopened not only old scars but the channels of …

Safety Pins

When I woke up yesterday, there was a bike race going on; not the one happening in Sun Valley but a criterium running literally around my house. This was just another in a long string of events that seem to be wafting me back towards cycling- and so far the hardest to ignore. I rolled out of bed, made a french press and some oatmeal, and then sat on the curb watching the cat5 masters race to the death. Shit, was what I thought to myself. Shit. I walked down to registration barefoot, found old friends and familiar forms, and signed up. Cat4. One-day license. I’ve only been pedaling semi-regularly for about two weeks, but how could I ignore a race happening around my house? It was like the universe was dangling it in front of my nose, and I ended up thinking about my teammate Erin Huck, who once said that for her racing off the couch is far better than racing overtrained. I could believe it even if I’d never experienced it, yet …

Somewhere in Idaho

To the City!

It seems like way more than a year ago that I was jetting around racing my bike, and I’ve begun to wonder if I’m not becoming a total homebody. Sometimes I even have dreams of building myself a really cool fort somewhere and, like, putting all my stuff in it and then staying there. Crazy, right? Is this hormonal? I don’t like it. I didn’t realize when I started to distance myself from the race scene that I was also going to distance myself so much from the lifestyle, even the parts that I cherished. I used to love that I could live out of a suitcase for months on end and sleep on practically any surface, but these days I love it just as much that my clothes smell (mostly) clean and that I sleep (mostly) in beds. Maybe I’ve begun to mellow out in my old age. Yet as some parts of the racer-me have begun to fade (rabid competitive urges, weird eating habits… and yes, finally even the tanlines) others have weathered …

Sixteen Weeks

It’s been a hell of a year, yet as I pedaled through the woods this morning, all the learning to walk, stitches, shingles, MRSA and unused pow-days faded into the past tense. My legs have finally forgiven me all the scalpels, not to mention three years of overtraining; today I was just so happy to be riding my bike.

How to Apply a Swim Cap

LOTR? read. Five pull-up goal? Accomplished. Mugbowls? Now the homes of four young cacti. True, my attempts at bread still turn out bricklike and yeasty, but I’m finally starting to creak back into motion; body mind and spirit. And I forgot to add one item to my list of things you can do when your knees are healing. No, it doesn’t have to do with alcohol or drugs stronger than Ibuprofin. I’m talking about swimming! It’s something my PT’s and PA’s and MD’s and pretty much everyone have always suggested for me and something which I have always scoffed at because I am not, and have never been, a swimmer. In fact, when I got sick of moping and finally gave it a try a few weeks ago I almost died trying to finish one length of the pool. It started out fine enough with much enthusiastic splashing and some (slow) progress, but then I found my arms had turned suddenly to lead, and I was in the deep end, and I couldn’t breathe as …

The Long Way Home

I really hate driving past oil refineries and huge swaths of salinated land- and it’s reflected in the locations of both of my speeding tickets to date. (no, I totally don’t almost cry every time I get pulled over.) Really though, despite my brushes with the law, in my mind Wyoming has always been like a dentist appointment; something to get through as quickly as possible. But then one day (last week) I happened to stray from I25, and lo and behold- there are all sorts of rad things in Wyoming that you just don’t see from the highway! With a bunch of places with cool names like Splitrock and Tensleep out there, I discovered that Wyoming is nowhere near as useless of a state as I once thought. So from now on I’m bringing a tent and taking the long way home… it’s worth it.