Realm of Possibilities

Have you ever watched a situation unfold and realized that it’s something that would never happen to you? Or could happen to you? What’s your Realm of Possibilities?

For example- at my gym, there was a laser tag night. I joked that one of the coaches has probably been kicked out of laser tag before for being too rowdy. He laughed and said that wasn’t outside of the realm of possibilities.
Example two- I see a couple unloading three children from a van. One is screaming, one is pestering the screaming one, and the other is drawing on the side of the van with a marker. That situation is so far outside my realm of possibilities that it will literally never occur in my lifetime.
Example three- It’s 11:30 pm and you and your friends decide you want to go to Taco Bell. Everyone hops in the car, windows down, music up. Along the way, you change lanes without signaling. Suddenly, the police officer you just drove by (not speeding) dives behind you and pulls you over. He wants you and your friends to get out of the car for no specific reason. He calls for backup because you have no idea what you did wrong and you’re questioning his authority because of it. Things escalate, and you and your friends end up drug out of the car on the ground in handcuffs because you didn’t think you were doing anything wrong and didn’t comply with an officer acting as if you did. Oh yeah- I forgot to mention- You and your friends are black.

How far outside of your realm of possibilities is that third one? I’m going to go ahead and assume that most of my readers are white, and therefore, that situation is 100% outside of your realm. All the way. Just like me and a heard of children in a van. You will never be stopped and questioned by police because you “look suspicious.”

When things are outside your realm of possibilities, you tend to ignore them- especially if they’re unpleasant. I’m white and was raised in a middle-to-upper-class suburb by two parents. It’s easy for someone like me to deny that racial profiling by police even exists because it’s something that is so far outside of where I exist.

I can ignore it.

Last night, Black Lives Matter protesters shut down the “M” bridge in Memphis. If you’re unfamiliar with the Memphis landscape, that’s one of the two major arteries across the Mississippi River in to Arkansas from the city. As a cyclist, I can tell you, people feel ownership to roads. When you slow their forward progress by even a handful of seconds, they lose their shit. My social media feed was full of white people screaming about how that’s not the answer. It was also full of white people saying they’d like to take bulldozers, guns, grenades, etc. to the protesters.

Suddenly, the plight of Black People became something they couldn’t ignore. It was suddenly within their realm of possibilities that the profiling of a race could effect their lives in some way, shape, or form, and there was nothing that they could do about it.

And, that’s where I’m going with this. A lot of people ask, “what good is it doing to shut down an interstate?” That’s what it’s doing- it’s making the lifetimes of anger and frustration caused by racial profiling everyone’s un-ignorable problem. It’s bringing attention to someone else’s realm of possibilities. For most people reading this, being profiled by a police officer because of your race is far outside of your realm of possibilities. So, you don’t pay much attention to it. It doesn’t matter to you. You may have even decided that racial profiling doesn’t exist because you don’t do it yourself. Being stopped/questioned by a police officer because you’re “black and in the wrong place” or, in more politically correct terminology, “looking suspicious” is something that has not and will never happen to you.

People wouldn’t be shutting down interstates if a problem didn’t exist. I don’t have a solution, but I know that empathy and admitting that the problem exists makes a hell of a first step. I still claim Memphis as my home town, and I’m proud of Memphis for a peaceful protest on both the protester and the police side.

Tournament of Champions 18

I’m currently in a spot where I’ve got way less time for the internet because of general life goings-on. When I’ve got free time, it’s mostly not being used to tell all 100 or so of you who still visit here on occasion what I’ve been up to. However, I’ve got a rare 3 days off, and I’m killing a small amount of time before I go out on the road bike and enjoy the awesome weather.

Last weekend was the first time I’ve ever competed in a Jiu Jitsu tournament. It’s also the most nervous I’ve been about a competition since racing in Masters Worlds CX a few years ago. I think my heart rate was over 100 for a large part of the morning beforehand.

The competition started with the No Gi category. When I was signing up, the options were 0-2 Years experience, 2-4 years experience, and 4+, with a note of “NO SANDBAGGING!” So, naturally, I signed up for the 2-4 category because I’ve probably had a few days more than 2 years of consistent training (I found out later that 2-4 is considered the “blue belt” division for No Gi).

When the first match started, I was immediately caught a little off guard by how fast and aggressive the fighting was. Matches are 5 minutes long, and it took me the first few minutes to fight my way out of non-dominant positions. I think this was about the point that I started to turn it around when I shimmied my way out of her guard…

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…and eventually took her back

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And (no picture of it), got a submission with a short choke.

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Then, in the winner’s bracket, I proceeded to lose my next two matches… one on points, and one to a last-minute armbar. The armbar chick fought a tiny bit dirty. The 3rd time she sawed her forearm across my face, the ref warned her to stop. It didn’t bother me. Even though I was losing the match, I kinda took pride in blatantly ignoring her elbows to the eye and forearms to the face in the process.

Then, it was time for the Gi division. That entry was a little more straightforward… white belt. I got off to a rocky start, losing my first match on points.

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(it only went downhill from that pic)

However, I won my next two matches- including a 20 second guillotine choke. As for that one- when the ref said “fight,” the woman immediately stuck her head out. I immediately started looking for my opportunity to wrap it up.

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The other win was by armbar. I was stoked. Then, I lost my last match on points. I was disappointed.

No medals, though not a bad day overall. I’m really excited that there are so many excellent competitors who want to go all out and kick ass. I’m excited to go back and improve.

I’ve got way more to blog about with huge changes at my workplace, but now I’ve got to eat some breakfast and tinker on my road bike. Maybe tomorrow.

Help People

It started back in October when I was working at the Elevation Cycles location in Boulder- a man came in the shop asking to use our phone because his friend outside needed an ambulance. Outside, there was a man laying in the grass by the main entrance of the shopping center. I have some first responder training, so, as the guy inside was finishing his conversation with 911, I grabbed a pair of rubber gloves and went outside to help. The guy in need of help was under the influence of god-only-knows what and could barely hold himself upright. I put a hand on his shoulder and asked if he was OK and he eventually sat up on the ground, and his friend sat down next to him and put his arm around him. The guy who had used the phone explained to me how they were homeless, and all they had was each other, and that they watched out for each other. I brought them a cup of water and sat on the ground with them until the police and ambulance showed up, and the really high/drunk dude told me I was the most beautiful angel that he’d ever seen, and his friend (who was not quite as drunk/high) agreed. I laughed and took it as a drunk/high expression of general appreciation.
The part of this story that really hit me hard was the statement the guy made about how he and his friend watched out for each other, and how no one else cared about them.

Yesterday I was leaving Whole Foods, and a man was standing outside, asking random shoppers for help. As I put my cart back in the cart area, I watched someone blow him off and someone else ignore him completely. He approached me and said, “I need help. I’m having a really hard time, and I just need a couple of bucks.” I paused and told him, “Yeah man, I’ll help you out.” I gave him two dollars, and he seemed a little overwhelmed, then held out an arm like he wanted a hug. I gave him a (somewhat tentative) side hug, and he thanked me profusely and walked off down the sidewalk towards the main road. I have no idea where he went or what he had planned for the $2, but I don’t think it really matters. There’s a chance he went straight in to the liquor store that’s next to Whole Foods. He could have used it to get on the bus. No clue.

Since I moved down in to Denver from Blackhawk, I’ve given a few other handouts- either a few bucks or whatever food I had with me- to people obviously in need.

I’m writing about this because it seems like there are so many people who don’t want to help anyone but themselves. There are people who won’t hand out a couple of bucks because they think the person they’re giving it to will spend it on booze or drugs or whatever. My thought is this- no one stands outside a Whole Foods asking for help if their life is totally effing peachy. What they spend the money on doesn’t matter… what matters is that they asked for help, and someone thought they were worth helping. If you strip down the rough appearance and addictions of anyone, they’re human, flesh-and-bone, just like you.

There was a man passed out on the bike path a couple of weeks ago. He was laying motionless in the middle of the path. It’s a well-traveled area, so I’m assuming people had been just riding around him like an inconveniently placed speed bump. I stopped and asked if he was OK. He gave me a thumbs up. There was a big plastic bottle of vodka next to his bag leaned up in the bushes on the side of the path. A couple of days earlier, a customer had tipped me $10, and I had it in my jersey pocket. I handed it to the dude and told him, “next one’s on me, man.” He was really happy and wished me a merry Christmas. That’s the only Christmas present I gave anyone this year. I’m sure he went and bought booze with it. It doesn’t matter.
Empathy- imagine if you screwed up, made bad life decisions, and were homeless and alcoholic. You probably don’t like yourself, don’t care about your well being, and don’t feel like you’re worthy of anyone else caring about your well-being. In my optimistic brain, if enough people show you that you’re worth caring about, maybe you’ll eventually think of yourself as worthy of getting help. Or, you’ll go buy another cheap bottle of vodka. It doesn’t matter, because, at least for a few seconds, that guy felt like someone gave a damn that he looked dead instead of just dodging him like an inanimate object.

When you’re warm and well-fed, empathy can be an uncomfortable feeling to deal with. It’s way easier to ignore someone and/or assume that they have ill intentions and go on about your comfortable life.

I’m not trying to pat myself on the back. Don’t give me any “atta girl” comments or anything like that. I don’t even want you to acknowledge to me that you read this. I just want to take advantage of the fact that I have an audience to motivate/encourage people to help other people however you can. Just read this and go do good for other humans who need help.

Bike Race/Human Race

I raced my third Winter Park Cross Country race yesterday and secured my 3rd win in the Singlespeed category. For as awesome as the previous race was for someone on a singlespeed, this one was bad. I rode the same gear- 32×21, and, while I usually expect gear choice to be one of compromise (gear so that you’ve got the “right” gear for a majority of the race and gut through the rest), this time I felt like I had the wrong gear- on either end- for a majority of the time. It started on a five mile climb with the last mile or so being steep, rocky forest road. There were a lot of similar sections where I was either standing on my gear at 30 RPMs or hike-a-biking. There were what seemed like an equal number of slightly downhill gravel road sections where I was totally spun out for minutes at a time.

I probably wouldn’t have had as hard of a time with the steep spots if my legs weren’t loaded up with Breck Epic training. My average power numbers were definitely a little on the low side. Unfortunately, I forgot my garmin at the previous race where I was feeling awesome, so I can’t compare between the two with anything other than knowing I felt way better last time and finished 4th overall for the women rather than 16th like yesterday (the course had a little to do with that for sure, but I’d still expect better).

So, now I rest. Of course, I’ve suddenly got all sorts of ideas for crazy rides, but I’m forcing myself to take a hiatus from them until after the Epic.

I feel like I need to take this chance of having some spare Sunday afternoon time to write a rebuttal to my own blog post from a couple of days ago where I stated that everyone needs to be humbled by the mountains so that they learn another level of respect for nature. One thing I’ve also learned from being in Colorado is that everyone also needs to live for a given period of time in a place where you see, on a day-to-day basis, the products of a large minority population living at or below the poverty line. In Memphis, you can’t get away from it. You don’t have to watch the news- it’s visible any time you drive/walk/bike in the inner part of the city. No matter how high you build your fences and how much you gerrymander school and voting districts, the crime and difficulties that result from a population of individuals oppressed by generations of lives of poverty are visible all over. There are zip codes in Memphis that have 3rd world infant mortality rates.

I’ll never personally know what it’s like to be a poor black person, but you’d better believe that living in Memphis made me realize just how privileged of a life I’ve had as a middle class white person. There are a lot of people here, living in their unique mountain bubble, who haven’t and won’t ever see, first-hand, the struggle that some people face just to exist in everyday life. It’s not their fault, and I’m also not saying there aren’t people struggling and poor in Denver. I’m saying that the crime and problems that exist as a result of a huge population of people in need are far more invisible here than they are in Memphis. The end result is a noticeable undercurrent of attitude and behavior that lack both gratitude for one’s good quality of life and empathy for those who don’t share that same quality of life. Not that people like that don’t exist in Memphis, it just seems like there’s way more of them here.

So, Colorado people (or maybe I could say anyone lucky enough to have a house, computer, and internet), some of you need to realize just how lucky you are to be in such an awesome place. Don’t take your mountains, nice weather, and generally high quality of life for granted, because there are sooo many people who will never get a chance to experience what you’ve got.

Respect the Mountain

If everyone on earth had to live in the mountains for a few months, they’d learn first hand that nature is something that you respect, because it’s way bigger and more powerful than any of us. It’s not just predators like mountain lions and bears, either. The mountains, in general, don’t play around. You have to know what’s out there and prepare for it, and you still may get caught off-guard on occasion.

The other day, I went out for a ride up Rollins Pass. It was my 3rd attempt at getting to the top, and, I’m happy to say, I made it up…

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…and over

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Something wasn’t right, though. I usually love being over treeline on top of mountains. It’s a very special place for me. Instead, I felt anxious. I wanted to get down… for no obvious reason that I could see (there was that one grey cloud that skirted by in the first photo, but it was otherwise nice), hear, or think up. I just didn’t want to be there, which is way out of the ordinary for me.

So, rather than explore around up there, I started back down the way I’d came. Just as I crossed back over the tunnel you see in the pics, a huge, black storm cloud appeared from around the mountain in front of me. On top of a mountain, lightning is both extremely dangerous and absolutely terrifying. It was at least two miles to get solidly back below treeline where there was less chance of getting struck. I saw some people hiking away from their truck with Missouri plates, and told them, very firmly, to get back in their truck until the bad weather passed. Then, I put my jacket on (you always carry a jacket up here because it’s possible to go from 70 and sunny to 45 and raining/sleeting/hailing in two minutes flat) and pedaled my ass off to get down the mountain.

Luckily, I was into the trees when the storm was overhead. Not totally safe, but way better than being exposed. It’s a good thing, too, because the thunder was deafening. There was hail… lots of hail. I didn’t want to stop because I didn’t want to get hypothermic (my pocket windbreaker is great, but it has its limits). It was incredibly painful, but at that point, I was just really glad that I wasn’t being struck by lightning. I didn’t get a picture then, but here are a couple of pics from a nearly identical storm I drove through the other day. The hail was so blinding and thick on the road that traffic stopped for a few minutes-

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When I arrived back at my car (parked at the nearby Moffat Tunnel), My upper thighs and back were welted from the hail. That was scarier than a bear outside your RV at 4am.

Also on the list of “non-predatory things that could kill you” are moose. They don’t have natural predators in this part of the world, so they aren’t afraid of much, and occasionally get territorial towards humans. I was riding with a teammate the other day when we rounded a fast corner and startled this guy off the trail. He went right back to what he’d been doing, I snapped the photo, and we GTFO of there.

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Yesterday, I went out for another adventurous ride into the backcountry. The same thing happened- I started a large moose as I descended into a small clearing. It moved so fast, I only saw the back end of it as it jumped into some thick foliage. It was as if someone was driving a brown minivan into the bushes. I kept going without trying to get a good look at it. I definitely heard it snort at me.

I respected nature and everything in it before I got here, but in the last few months, that sense has been elevated to another level. While the risks are still relatively low, it’s still humbling and awe-inspiring and so many other things all rolled in to such an amazing place.

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Jet9 RDO for Sale

This bike was purchased back in 2011 soon after the Jet9 RDO was first released. In 2013, I broke the front triangle while racing Trans-Sylvania, and it was replaced under warranty. So, this is a 2013 bike with a newer Fox Shock, carbon links, and 142×12 rear triangle.

I’m selling the frame (it’s a size Small), SID RCT3 fork (120mm), Chris King headset, Zipp stem, Niner carbon handlebar, Hope seatpost collar, spare derailleur hanger, and a nearly new GXP bottom bracket in a PF30 adapter.

This bike has been used. It is in good condition, but the frame and fork do come with some cosmetic scratches and chips. When Niner warrantied the front triangle, they sent to protective tape uninstalled. I suck at installing those things, so the edges peeled, and now it looks less than perfect. Everything still works great, though.

I’m asking $1600 plus shipping (if you’re in the Front Range, we can work out a delivery). Email me andrea at brickhouseracing dot com if you’re interested.

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Moving Forward

Over the last week I’ve slowly become more functioning. It was somewhere around Thursday before I felt like I was finally not crying for more of the day than I was crying. I really appreciate all of the kind and supportive comments, messages, texts, and emails.
Basically what happened was, sometime probably Friday after I left for Land Run 100, Turbo ate something in the back yard that made her sick on Saturday. She had bad vomiting/diarrhea, and Ryan ended up taking her to the dog ER Saturday night, where they kept her and gave her all of her heart meds and fluids intravenously. The diagnosis was gastroenteritis, which a normal dog would usually bounce back from with supportive care. However, given her heart disease and pneumonia, she didn’t bounce back, and by Monday morning, she was hardly able to walk.

There’s a big brown, furry empty space in every corner of my house.

Alright, enough about the really sad stuff.

I’m heading to Colorado today. My Subaru is packed floor to ceiling, and I spent all night excitedly tossing and turning, waiting for it to be late enough to get out of bed (4:15am, in case you’re wondering). Once I’m there, I’ll unpack and repack to leave for Moab for Team Camp. It’s about to get freakin’ rowdy.

If you don’t already, I’d suggest following along on Instagram and/or Twitter. Facebook is kind of a joke with their “pages.” They tend to not show posts to everyone in order to make you pay to “boost” a post. I basically only put blog links on there. Day-to-day random stuff goes elsewhere.

So, everything that’s happened in the last week puts this song in my head-

No matter how much you feel like your world is falling down and collapsing in around you, life still progresses. The Earth still turns, time still chugs forward. It will either drag you along through the dirt as it goes, or you can hop on and ride it like the misbehaving pony it is.

 

Hiatus

Sorry, the posting here is going to be even more scarce than what it already was. I went to Land Run 100 over the weekend, and I’ll post a link on social media to my audio race report once we record one for Mountain Bike Radio.

While I was in Oklahoma, Turbo, my 13-year-old Malinois with heart disease and chronic pneumonia took a very sudden and drastic turn for the worse, and I ended up having to put her to sleep yesterday morning. I don’t really know what else to say…

If we all strived to be the people that our dogs think we are, the world would be a totally different place.

Indoor Training

First off, I’m trying out a new WordPress theme. Comment here, on twitter, or on the Facebook page and let me know what you think.

Now, back to the weekend’s shenanigans.

Continuing my quest to maintain a healthy level of physical activity in the ongoing crap weather, I filled my weekend with various sorts of indoor activities. Riding was, again, an hour trainer ride with some intervals. That strategy seems to be doing a good job of maintaining my lactate threshold-related fitness level, and keeping to short and focused sessions makes them mentally bearable. Saturday afternoon, I went to an afternoon inversion workshop at Pike Yoga

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Though I haven’t practiced inversions in at least a year, the core strength I’ve gained from MMA/Jiu Jitsu made it much easier to balance upside down compared to the last time I was practicing inversions regularly.

Afterwards, I went home and made some dinner and watched the UFC 184 PPV- Rousey vs. Zingano. If you haven’t read about/heard/watched, I’d suggest a quick google search… The fight was 14 seconds long. I have to admit, in my bike racing “career” of going-on 9 years, on more than one occasion, I’ve felt the same way as Cat Zingano at the end of her fight… there’s a big difference between doing your best but still getting beaten and outright losing via your own mistake(s). That’s when experience is more of a motherf$#!^r than a teacher.

P.S. If you’re a fight fan, I’d suggest finding a replay of Friday night’s Invicta FC11 Strawweight bout between Alexa Grasso (6-0) vs. Mizuki Inoue (8-3). It’s one of my favorite fights I’ve watched since the upset/title fight between Dillashaw & Barao.

Sunday morning, I woke up early and carpooled over to LDMA in Sherwood, Arkansas for an awesome Jiu Jitsu training day. It was a ton of fun to train with some other women who were similar in size and ability to myself. Highlight of the day… being told by a guy that my guard was “ridiculous.” (in an “I can’t get out of this” sort of way)

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Quick lesson- if you have no idea what I’m talking about, look at these pictures. If you’re holding someone “in your guard,” you’re the person on your back, and the person between your legs is trying to get out, or “pass” your guard.

Between the yoga and the Jiu Jitsu, I felt wonderfully sore all over Monday morning. It’s been a long time since I felt that way, and I’ve missed the hell out of it. Today, I get to continue the cross-training with John and Matt. It’s been winter monsooning here, and the first local race of the season is scheduled for March 28th, so we’re going to go to the trail with shovels and drain any standing water so that it’s got a fighting chance of being dry enough for racing.

Up next? We’re under a winter storm warning tomorrow. Again.

Santos Vacation 2015

Oh gawd, it’s been forever since I posted something. Partially because of the trip I’m about to write up, and partially because I’ve been busy doing all sorts of random things with dogs and my car, which are both in various states of sickness.

If you’ve been reading along, you saw that I recently had to deal with Turbo, my 13 year old Belgian Malinois, nearly dying from side effects of the onset of heart failure. She’s stable and happy now, but the cost of emergency and follow-up care vaporized the budget I’d set aside in my mind for taking a foul weather-escaping trip to the Santos Trails in Florida. Then, Wednesday night last week, I was at my parents’ house when I mentioned how bad the weather was going to be (again) and, while I was glad Turbo was doing ok, I really needed some long training hours that I just wasn’t going to gut out in the slush here in Memphis.

My mom said she’d like to go to Florida. I took her up on it, and, early Friday morning, we were literally outrunning a sleet storm to get ourselves down to Ocala.

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Saturday, I had to make morning trip to Target to cheaply replace the hydration pack I’d left at home (again).

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Once I hit the trail, I rode out and back along some of the OMBA Epic Ride route. The best maps I’ve been able to find are on this page, though none of them show 100% of what’s there. I stopped along the way to visit folks racing the Santos 12 hour. I was slightly tempted to race, but glad decided to just go out and have fun instead. I found Dicky immediately following his discovery that he and his teammate were in a podium spot and actually had to concentrate on racing.

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I also saw some old school components

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I quickly discovered that the trail was covered in a much-thicker-than-last-year layer of fallen live oak leaves.

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They’re super slick, so the turns were occasionally treacherous. Live oak trees are some of the most beautiful living things on the planet, though, so they’re totally worth the leaf surfing. I sort of hate posting pictures of them, because a camera phone doesn’t come close to capturing their enormity.

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By the time I made it back through the race course area, I was out of water. I stopped and wanted to beg for some in the pits, but everyone was somehow distracted by racing or partying, so I just took this picture and left.

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I made it a point to reserve a nice room with a kitchen so that I could cook healthy meals for my mom and myself. Meal #1 was steak and broccoli (I added some bread toasted with olive oil for a few extra carbs).

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Sunday’s adventure started with a little sightseeing. We drove west a ways and checked out the Gulf of Mexico.

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Since I didn’t want to ride as long that day, I had my mom drop me off at the far west end of the trail system at the Pruitt trailhead. I found out from this scenic spot where the trailhead gets its name:

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I had calculated that my ride would take around 3 hours, so I drew directions on a map for my mom and told her I’d be at the east end of the trail around 3:30. My plan was to have her pick me up at the Greenway Bikes shop. When I arrived, it was exactly 3:30, and I went inside to purchase a beer and sat around enjoying the sun and waiting on my mom.

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My mom proceeded to get very lost while she tried to find the shop. The shop closed at 4, though one of the shop guys stuck around until 4:30 because he was trying to be nice. I shooed him off and found a shady spot. Around 5:something, the shop owner, Dano, pulled up. We chatted some, and he was nice, though, he asked me where I was from and where I was staying and why I was waiting around at least three different times. He offered to split a Victory V12 with me, so I didn’t stress his apparent lack of sobriety too hard.

My mom eventually found the shop. Dano was still there, and, in the course of his repeated asking of where are you from/where are you staying/where are you going to dinner tonight, my mom, being the proper Southern woman that she is, though obviously a little uncomfortable dealing with someone who was less than sober, asked him, “where are you from?” He replied back with a crude answer about his mother’s anatomy… to my sweet, proper, Southern, 70ish year-old mom.

Given the absolute absurdity of the situation, I found it to be pretty hilarious at the time, though, looking back, I somewhat regret not losing my shit with the dude and telling him to apologize for being an ass.

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Needless to say, if you’re at Santos, keep your moms away from Greenway Bikes.

At least the beer was good.

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That night, we had chicken thighs and green beans with a spicy mustard & yogurt sauce (the sauce was my mom’s idea).

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I was stoked that I’d picked up a little vitamin D while I was out.

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My third and final day was the long one. Since I’d stopped for photos and navigation on the previous days, I decided that I’d only stop once an hour for a food break (the Target pack didn’t have hip pockets, so I had to take it off of my back to get to my food). I rode to the far end of the trail system and back- approximately 32 miles out and 23 miles back. I did stop to take a look at this guy along the way:

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I also stopped when I wrecked at mile 52.5 of 54.5. Leaf surfing is only one mph away from leaf teleporting. Back at the trailhead, I ate a snack and cooled off a bit. I still had a good bit of daylight, so I wanted to go back out and ride a lap of the Vortex Loop- the tech loop a couple of miles from the main trailhead.

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While I was trying to figure out where the loop started, I met Tim, the owner of Spokes mobile bike shop. We chatted a bunch and he showed me a lap of the trail. I like the bermy fast stuff that makes up 98% of the trails at Santos, but the Vortex loop feels a little like Arkansas. Tim and I made a hot lap and headed back to the main trailhead. I ended up with nearly 6 hours of riding for the day… a great way to finish off the 3-day vacation.

Outside of Florida, the South wasn’t doing so well.

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I wished that we could have stayed there way longer. The sun and opportinity to train hard on fun trails temporarily hoisted me up from my baseline of mild depression, so it was a mental vacation as much as it was a physical one.

The weather in Memphis is still pretty terrible (as it is most places that aren’t Florida). I’ve only ridden once since I came back, though I’ll probably hit the trainer this morning before going to an inversion workshop at Pike Yoga.

The light at the end of my cold, dark tunnel?

moab

We’d originally discussed my Colorado sabbatical beginning the first week of April. However, Jon Davis (owner of 92Fifty), scheduled the 92Fifty Moab camp for March 26th-29th, and he wants me there A)because they need a mechanic to work on participant bikes, and B)it will give me a chance to meet and bond with the people who come to the shop most often.

That’s not to say it won’t be cold when we return to the mountains after camp, but the sun is bright there, so I don’t think it will be too bad.