Below is a little recap of a recent eight day excursion I had mountain biking the Colorado Trail with my good buddy Zach and his girlfriend Gretta. Pardon the biker jargon...
Well we were eight days into an adventure that should be on every bikers bucket list, the Colorado Trail. And what a burly trail it was- varied terrain throughout with various weather to boot. We packed up and went for it and were so glad we did. An adventure unlike many others, it took us from Waterton Canyon to Buena Vista, Colorado through some of the state's most challenging and epic trails. And we only got through half of it. I was torn over a number of mounting factors that were telling me not to carry on. But I tried my damnedest to go zen with it all, obtain a flow of what was fed. Pumped up jams to get swept up in. More trail to ride. It'll always be there though, and I'll keep telling myself that until I get the stars aligned enough to ride the rest. Do another week and get the next piece done with.
But for what? To say that I did it? No, to actually do it, to pull through and conquer, to be the trail, to know what the experience of such an epic adventure is like. And yeah, I did feel completely ready to take on the last half solo, but the conspired broken crank arm/pedal had other plans, so the best course of action was to bail, and at least that was doable within the confines of the conditions (those being that Zach, Gretta and Casey were still in Buena Vista, ready to pack me up and bring me back to Golden with them). But again, the trail will always be there, waiting.
Christ it was a fun ride though, destroying the singletrack day after day through pounding rain and glowing sun and the drizzling bits between. But it was also nice to have comrades along, buddies in arms against the tyranny of un-shared triumphs over rocky, rooty obstacles drenched in the sweat of rain slip sliding tires beneath with a fervent frenzy of contemptible conniving courses of action. Blended coniferous caverns cut through dense forestry wet with dew from the continual rains that battered our tent walls each night. Drenching everything we exposed with a dampness that would get stuffed into bags left to fester until we arrived at camp that evening. Perpetual rainfalls dripping dampening everything until we came upon a shred of sun, a beam of hope in dry clothes for the day ahead, or behind. Drifting days swept like the sweeping singletrack beneath our tires. Flowy, techy, turny. Repeat. Day in and day over, turning rubber over soft to hard, needles, dust, 'crete. Hikers encountered, pleasantries exchanged. Picking over descents, some better outcomes, some more wise. Pulling brake levers hard, pulling brake levers harder, letting them go, letting anxieties and frustrations and freeflowing ideas go with the copping feel of tread gripping beneath. Letting the bike take control of the laid out path before you, pulling the turns tighter to hug the sides, keeping them barely within the narrow rutted lines. Bumps, so many bumps, jostling body, jostled mind. Concentration keeping you glued to the partakings ahead, searching for that next big turn, that next big rock, lump, berm, jump, soft spot. Feeling the fundamental flow, letting it go. Climbs, upwards and upwards cranking through torn up muscles that ache for a break but press on to the crest, ever upwards to glory. Logs laid flat across the path, breaking the free flowing mojo, disrupting a never ending energy burst towards the top. But the body accepts the break from pedaling as sweet relief, relishes the chance to refresh, if only for a brief hop, a lift of the arms of the all too heavy cycle, up and over the impending obstacle, bouncing back down to the ground and swinging the leg high over and onto the pedals once more. And off again, not often ready for a restart sometimes rebellious of the fact that this is x number of days in to the trip and they're still being asked to push inwards. Watching the elevation profiles for steep inclines, knowing you shouldn't. Just go for it anyways, the downhills are always worth it, the views are always worth it, the reward is all encompassing and consuming. A bucket list of awesome. Pumping stroke after stroke of power. Feel the chain get taught beneath the cranking gears, feel the frame stiffen and flex through each pounding babyhead.