Over the last four weeks I feel like I have been all over this state. Up and down passes and mountains. In sunshine and snowstorms. I’ve been collecting sleeping bag nights in many unlikely sleeping bag night locations, like ski condos and the back of my sportwagon. And although living out of a suitcase and working from so many spectacular locations is exactly the sort of life that I fantasize about, I’m also the kind of person who pines for the routine and normalcy of home.
I’m not sure I’ll ever be cut out to be someone who wanders full time. Or maybe i just haven’t yet figured out my particular brand of wandering. Maybe I need more downtime, more introvert time if I’m on the road. Or maybe it’s okay to travel when I can, and stay home when I’m burnt.
Choosing to stay home this weekend instead of camping in the desert wasn’t an easy choice until other circumstances (namely the lack of reception in the desert for working remotely) forced my hand. Laundry, cleaning, shopping, garden making became my goal for the weekend. Quickly followed by the goal of not wrecking myself.
Just because I stayed home, didn’t mean that exploration was off the table. I got on my road bike and started pedaling east in search of prairie and flat. It’s not flat, and road tires will only get you so far once the gravel and dust gets a couple inches deep. There’s very little out there once you get past the “estate houses”. Just powerlines.
After a while I couldn’t make it up the hills with those tires and I turned around to head back west. There are the rockies, 14,000 foot peaks, less than 50 miles away from the prairie. Keeping a watchful eye over the front range. Funny how when you’re in Fort Collins, you can’t see the big peaks. Only the foothills. You need to step away from the city to see the big picture.
It’s been a rough couple of weeks. Most days and nights I’ve been sequestering myself in my house, not really wanting to go out and socialize. Probably drinking too much. Definitely not riding much. I caught the cold that has been making the rounds and found myself with a rugged case of bronchitis. And a ticket to Arizona.
I tried to come up with every possible reason to not go to singlespeed arizona this year. I’m sick… My dad just died… I don’t feel like it… My travel bike case is kaput and shouldn’t travel… But none of them really stuck and in the end I couldn’t back out of plans with my travel partner. I found myself in the mexican bar of DIA’s Terminal A (where lots of great adventures begin), pregaming the weekend. There’s no easing into a weekend like this. You hit the ground running and just do your best to keep up.
We headquartered in Cave Creek at the pretty famous Flat Tire Bike Shop and Local Jonny’s coffee shop/bar/restaurant place. I didn’t bring a bike, so I borrowed a krampus from the shop and we went out for a spin from the campground back to the shop. the 29+ format was pretty cool, but the bike just wasn’t for me. Instead I borrowed a super fancy Niner from the rep for AZ. A bike that was waaaaaay too sexy for my current fitness level. But damn, it was nice.
On Saturday morning we loaded 100 bikes into a Uhaul and caught a ride in a fancy bus way up north into the desert.It quickly became clear to me that I was really out there for some time alone on my bike. I didn’t want to ride with anyone, I didn’t even care much about riding (helpful attitude on such a rugged trail), but I just wanted to be out there. All alone on some crazy trail in some remote canyon with most of the vegetation interested in causing pain. I got what I needed and then some. And in the end I got hungry and it was time to find my friends in the wash to drink beer and eat pizza.
I lost these sunglasses in Alaska. I found them again in Arizona.
Funny, I didn’t even take photos while I was out there. Too far in my head. The landscape really too big to capture.
In the end I was glad that I went. My singlespeed family has been there for me through tough times before, and they always bring the smiles and the beers and the whiskey and the hugs. Oh, and six hours into my desert experience my bronchitis had basically totally cleared up. #FTW
My dad died. All of the sudden he was gone. Not unexpectedly, just without warning. Without permission.
I needed something. A drive up the Poudre to Cameron Pass. My skis.
On this day there was sunshine. A few inches of fresh snow. And, so rare for the front range, not a hint of wind. Not even up high.
Not enough time, needed to pick up the boy from school. Just skinning up is therapy. I don’t know how to mourn, but I know how to put one ski in front of the other. The snow is forgiving, it’s safe. In those turns I’m okay. And then I’m home, and I’m not okay anymore.