With my stomach growling from hunger I nursed the dregs of my nearly empty Camelbak and scanned the trail ahead. Rocks. Endless rocks. The slight uphill of the trail told me I had yet to reach the top but just how much further before the final descent, I couldn’t recall. Twelve hours on the bike had taken its toll both physically and mentally. My mind was clouded, buzzing with that blurry feeling that happens right before it all starts shutting down. And with the exhaustion and pain, the doubt started to creep in. What the heck was I thinking? Didn’t I swear I’d never do this again? Once was enough. It’s too long. Too hard. It had been nearly a year since I’d ridden this stretch of Short Mountain and all I could focus on was getting to the long descent down to the trailhead. Just a bit further and it’s all downhill. All downhill to dinner and a break from the rocks. And with the thought of food and water on my mind, I pushed ahead. Just a bit further.
I believe Adventure does not have to have a logical purpose.
I believe Adventure for adventure’s sake is reason enough. A reason to try a little harder. To dig a little deeper. To find out what one is truly capable of. And often times, reflection on our most memorable Adventures starts along the lines of “I don’t know what I was thinking, but…”
I would not classify myself as an “adventurist” by any means—I have a half-dozen kids, a demanding job, and other adult responsibilities. But the lure of an Adventure is enough to keep me going thought the minutia of long meetings and tiresome commutes during my daily grind. About a year ago I wrote a note to my buddy G. He and I had spent several rides together on the rocky, technical trails along Massanutten Ridge in George Washington National Forest, Northern Virgina. I had a fleeting vision of something completely irrational and illogical. In short, an Adventure.
“It’s just a recovery ride”
These are probably the most mis-used words in cycling, they are around here with the Denver Rodeo crew anyway. Yesterday’s ride was supposed to be a pleasant spin to see if “the sensations are good”, but it didn’t take long for Peder and myself to get bored and start looking for silly things to do. Every time we passed a dirt offshoot of the road we’d yell “singletrack!” and see if the trail went anywhere. Most didn’t but some did, and we hit the derping payload when we took a turn onto the North Table mountain trail system. Yes, we were on our road bikes, but more and more that makes our dirt rides more fun and we were up for the challenge of seeing where our wheels would take us.
This is a repost from 2013 while we get 2014 up and running.
By my own measuring stick I’ve been training a lot this year. It is funny because each year I can look back at whatever I accomplished on the bike and hopefully feel pretty good about it, but then I think about the next upcoming season and think “how can I top or even match that?”. I ride for fun, and training isn’t always fun, so when one season ends and the next one starts I’m left looking for ways to keep the pursuit of speed on two wheels enjoyable.