25 August 2009

Coming Home

As I hurriedly threw all(we'll be back on this point..) my things in my bag for this past weekend, I really became giddy with excitement. I was going home. With bikes. To ride my favourite roads, and my favourite trails. All is well with the world. Well, mostly. The point that I said we'd get back to, has to do with my packing abilities. For anyone that has ever taken a trip with me, watched me pack, or seen my Jeep when I pull up to races, they know how much crap I always have. I pack clothes for every possible weather condition, wheels and tyres for every possible combination, and enough spare (insert bike part here) to outfit a PROTour team. But, it wouldn't work out as usual this time. I left home without shorts. Yes, I realise how absurd that is. I, the eternal overpacker, forgot shorts. I had visions of pounding the gravel roads near my home, and laps at my trail in town; all go running out the door as I realised that my shorts forgot to come along.

Frustrated text messages ensued, and those were followed up with a frantic phone call to Mary to see if she could find a Dick's for me to stop at. Knowing that I live at least 40 minutes from one at home, and that its already 9 at night, and they close in thirty minutes. The nearest one turns out to be on the south side of Indy, and I make it there with two minutes to spare. I run in, find something half-ways suitable, and sprint to the register. Here I was, the first time ever paying full pop for a pair of PI baggy shorts. Now, I'm used to paying near the same money for shorts; granted at EP, frankly I was a little scared of these. I've never had bad shorts, but I don't know that I could ever sell these shorts to a customer, unless they signed a waiver that they would use once and toss them.

So, shorts in hand, I continued my travels further north to where my trails await. I got home a little after midnight, and immediately crashed. Waking up the next morning to a nice cool breeze, and the silence of being in the middle of the woods was about as refreshing as ice cold water on a 110 degree day. It had been so long since I'd actually slept, and not had a train, or a car alarm, or a dog, or just plain traffic wake me up. I've never adapted well to living in town, but this time its been rough.

So, I make a quick egg burrito, and its time to hit the trails. I live just five miles out of town, but the in between space is some of my most memorable. I know every tiny backroad, every possible detour, every combination to get anywhere between home and the town. I kitted up, loaded up all the water and goodies I needed, and I was off.

Arriving at the trail, I was greeted by a small grizzled man, riding an ancient yellow Stumpy. He was kitted out in a button down flannel shirt, and some equally ancient PI shorts. Breathing hard, he asked to tag along for a lap, and I kindly obliged. He would be the first person that I’d ever ridden the trail with besides my brother and Mary. We started down the trail with the random chit-chat that accompanies a proper trail ride, but soon evolved into me rolling down the trail at a clip that made him work. We did a lap together, and it felt great to share the trail with someone who was just learning it. He’s been a MTB’er for a long time, and hasn’t kept up with the times and technology, but he loved riding more than anyone that I’ve come across lately.

That joy brought back memories of my first mtb rides, and the thrill each time my tires hit the dirt. Cycling is such a beautiful sport, passion, habit, addiction, and cure, but sometimes the beauty gets lost amongst the stress of training, or the monotony of day to day life.

All it takes is Coming Home to find it again.

18 August 2009

Back in the Saddle... Almost

New music. Speakers on.

I apologize for my temporary leave of absence from the blog. I had a little surgery almost a month ago now, and will hopefully be back on the bike in about two weeks - just in time for 'cross! In the meantime, I've cranked up my literary intake, expanding onto a whole new shelf, and I even picked up a first edition of Faulkner's Pylon! Pretty exciting stuff! I've also been experimenting with some whole grain baking, thanks to Matt at Bob's Red Mill. Going whole grain definitely takes a bit more practice, but that's why I have the Bob's Red Mill Baking Bible. It's absolutely worth it; the food tastes sooo much better, and it's obviously a whole lot better for you, too. Check out their blog for some recipes!

My other projects have included the creation of a new CX squad via the shop, through our partnerships with Bob's Red Mill and Rocky Mountain Bicycles. We've got six riders, and it's going to be totally awesome! And the development of the new shop website: http://www.mountainbikedepot.net. The new site definitely wouldn't have been possible without some help from Joe; he knows all the cool codes. We've got it set up with a blog as the front, so content will stay fresh, and then we have links at the top with info about the shop, services we offer, trail maps galore, local rides, our events, and shop specials. Right now we've got six '08 bikes that are priced to make room for the new.

I also got the okay to pick up running about a week ago. I'm slow. Very slow. Much slower than I remembered. But, it feels good to be doing something active, and the timing is right heading into CX.

Since I might be starting the season a bit slower, I bought some bling new wheels and tyres, so at least I'll look super PRO, since folks will likely have a longer chance to scope my setup!