Sunday, April 24, 2016

Quitting, I tried it, it wasn't for me.

Honestly, society has gone soft. About a week ago, I quit. I gave up on a dream. I wasn't strong enough or prepared enough to complete the goal I set out for, the Arizona Trail 750. Granted, the decision may have been an act of self preservation, but I still quit. All I keep hearing is "But you raced the 300 so well," "you rode so fast," "you did good."

STOP. I don't need a sugar coat. We don't all get the glory just for showing up. Had I signed up for the 300 I would be ok with how I did, but that wasn't my race. It was an easy place to quit, with a ride out, and a car to food when I was hungry and weakly making poor decisions. My training regimen led to quitting being the easiest thing to do at the time. I set out for a goal, and I failed. I hate living with that looming over me, but it is a decision I must live with until I get a chance at redemption. Our society is used to quitters still wanting trophies, praising a job "well done" just for an attempt. A man I shared a few miles and many emails with, Neil Beltchenko, is the man who deserves a "good job" and a beer and a bowl of ice cream, not me. He smashed a long standing record by a long shot. Also everyone else who completed the course they set out for. Congratulations!

Not everyone gets a prize, or pride. That's okay. I'm pissed and disappointed with myself and my performance. I stand by my decision and I know it was right at the time, but it doesn't make me successful. It makes me motivated to work harder and be more dedicated, to whatever it is I set out for next. Maybe it won't even be a bike oriented adventure next, but whatever it is, this feeling, of being a quitter, will be on my mind.

Smarter, I'll get stronger, and go forward.

Ride report and pictures soon. (I really enjoyed about 270 miles of the ~300 I rode)

Monday, April 18, 2016

AZTR 750. A Dream Deferred, Craisins in the sun.

It's easy to feel like a failure, because, yes, I failed to complete the goal I set, the Arizona Trail Race 750. That said, these words are not intended as excuses, or justifications.

There is a long list of things that I could pass as reasons for my early termination. My knees hurt. My wrists ached, my hands were going numb. I underestimated the pace of the next mileage at my last resupply and tried to ride all day on 3 chicken nuggets, a couple potato chips and a few handfuls of craisins. Even with a high water capacity, I was unbelievably lucky to have found surprise water caches. It was hot. It was dry. At the top of one of the climbs the Trix rabbit tried to sell me cold yogurt, but he just laughed, and said "Silly Calvin, Trix are for kids" and scampered away as a regular rabbit to it's hole.

My training was sub par. My research was insufficient.

I had all the moral support one could ask for.

All my equipment was the best. While I will always be making changes, the important stuff was spot on. The bike was amazing, my lighting was perfect. My shoes were the most comfortable I've ever owned. My bags kicked ass.

I ride my bike for fun. The first 2 days were rad, and I know there's always rough days on longer trips.

It all boils down to:
I just didn't want it enough

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Trails Closed, Opportunity Open!

Dear Mountain bike, hike, and outdoor friends,

Recently I’ve been hearing a lot of talk about how “none of the trails are open.” While I share the current  disappointment in missing out of beautifully crafted singletrack, Ive been riding all year, and know one has a right to complain about where I’ve been. So, yeah, most of the typical, easy to find, singletrack is closed, but this is Vermont! There are a bazillion times more trails (double track, logging roads, dirt roads, and a bit of single if you’re crafty) that never “open” or “close.” Most of these were built with a bulldozer, skidder, or other power equipment. Now, I’m not saying as long as there is no “closed” sign, you’re good to go, but a small mix of common sense to not leave giant ruts, and an open mind of Vermont’s extensive dirt road system, and the riding options are far from limited.

Locally, there are a few places where bikes are asked not to go, AT, LT, and official side trails. These are technically off limits, and for just cause. In, general, they are not bike friendly, and see a high volume of hiker traffic in prime season. These trails are steep, have many bridges with narrower than handlebar handrails, derailleur eating rock squeezes, and have next to no flow as they cut through our wonderful landscape. From mud season until frozen ground, leave them for the hikers, everyone will be happier.

I don’t want to promote poor activity, and just a little common sense goes a long way here. On frozen ground, you will have little chance damaging any trail with a mountain bike. If you leave a rut, that trail is not for today, find a VAST with four wheeler ruts already. Mid winter, the more popular trails may provide exciting fatbike single track.

Chances are, if you’re complaining, you aren’t the one spending tireless hours (see what I did there) all summer, benching, raking, scouting, digging, and crafting the great trails we have. I must admit, I’m not either. I wish I built more great trails, but I’m more likely to be in the middle of the woods, lost, with a stick in my derailleur, and a pricker bush stuck on my face. But for crying out loud, give our fantastic trail builders a break! They’ve built the trail once, don’t make it so they need to again. Trails with “closed” signs drain better than anything else, so once the ground water/ freeze thaw cycles are finished, they’ll have them open. I know you’re mad at the weather, but don’t take it out on the McCloud swinging, chainsaw carrying, work boot wearing trail angels who keep our awesome sport alive!

Respect gets respect! If you can’t wait, don’t, just go somewhere else! you might just be amazed at what you find!

Happy trails!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Arizona Trail Race LOI

The Arizona Trail Race is a 750 mile singletrack race from Mexico to Utah. The route will test my mental and physical limits, as will the preparation. I will being too ramp into training as fall progresses, and once again attempt to find the fine line between maximum gain and burnout.  It is my intent to complete the route as fast as possible in compliance with the unofficial rules.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

This blog is not dead!

I realize my blog has been looking a bit bleak. I'm still writing and riding, I've just been publishing elsewhere.

Here's a few big rides from this year:

Trans North Georgia

Monaro Cloudride

XVT Bikepacking Route

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Green Patagonia Jacket

If there is one piece of gear,
On every adventure Ill pack it,
It’s got to be my Green Patagonia Jacket.

Twice across my nation
East to  the West, Canada to Mexico
I bring it everywhere I go.

To the top of Mt Washington
Skiing Tuckerman’s Ravine
The places its been are quite obscene.
 I brought it to Australia,
 For the Monaro Cloudride,
Together through the rain, we won with pride.

I even wore it.
When I fixed an old lady’s roof.
Here’s a picture for the proof.

There’s not much to it
Its just a simple shell
But it fits and moves so well!

The pit zips vent
The cuffs fit just right
Hood over helmet, nice and tight.

Its waterproof,
Its breathable,
Its really unbelievable.

I’ve worn it so much,
It was time for another
I hope this one works, just like it’s brother.

Just don't mess with perfection.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Spandex Sandwich Shop Stop

"What do you think about when you ride?"
Poetry, I'm constantly rhyming and scheming. Sometimes I write it down, other times it withers away before the ride is over, never to be remembered again. Enjoy my partially delusional state of mind...

Spandex Sandwich Shop Stop

As I stand in line to order,
I chug a chocolate milk
I know you're not from here, wearing tie-dye silk.

I stand there all sweaty,
In skin tight clothes,
I don't like the vibe your hippie yuppie boyfriend throws.

It's only just noon,
But I've already ridden farther today,
Than you've in your lifetime I'd say.

You chat while you stare.
Your look of disgust at my choice,
As strong as my opposition to your voice.

My jersey is smelly, and far from new
Unlike your state,
Please let me get my plate

I eat in a hurry
I'm out in a dash
Unlike your large pile of cash.

Yuppies go home.