What I call fun often gets referred to as crazy. I ride my mountain bike hundreds of miles into remote areas with all of the supplies that I need to survive sometimes for multiple days without resupply. These self supported missions take me deep into remote places it would take weeks to navigate by foot but by bike I can cover 200 miles in 24hrs. Sometimes I ride into the night and if the moon is right I ride through to the sunrise. It isn't always blue sky's, sunny and warm with a slight tailwind. The fact is sometimes when i'm fully immersed into an adventure it becomes very uncomfortable. Pain is real but it is of the body not the mind. At some point I know that my butt will be screaming from the long hours in the saddle. It could be freezing or a heatwave and there is no way to travel light and still be %100 comfortable in extreme circumstances. The pictures often tell the story of the reward but not the work that was put in for the pay off of watching the sun rise from a cliff deep in the forest.
I feel like my life's mission is to help anyone who is willing to get a little uncomfortable. Getting out of our comfort zone is our body's way of letting us know that we are taking it to a new place. The first time I hit a new bench mark it means that I have given my body a stimulus that is greater that it has ever experienced and it will become stronger to adapt to the stress. The first time I road my bike for 100 miles I was destroyed. I remember how sore my triceps were from standing up and cranking as I climbed. The thing that often isn't realized is how these adaptations translate into making the adventures more enjoyable. Last weekend I raced the Allegheny Mountain Loop(AML) a 400 mile mountain bike adventure race tracing the border of VA and WV starting and ending in Blacksburg.
The Thursday before the race was non stop from 5am to 5pm. I finally rolled out of AVL around 8pm headed to Blacksburg. The route became very foggy can caused the drive to take an hour longer that it should have so I rolled into the Kent Square Parking Garage in Blacksburg close to midnight. I have the Thai Mat rolled out in the back in the mini along with the sleeping bag that i'll be leaving to save space and weight. Time for a quick nap before waking up at 4:30am to pack up the bike and head to breakfast.
I slept sound but with the anticipation of the grand depart I was more awake and alert than I would normally be at 4:30am. The packing didn't take long before I headed off to Waffle House. I waved to a few other racers that I crossed paths with as I roll through. The Waffle House hit the spot with pre race pancakes, eggs, hash browns and coffee. Its so nice to start a race with a big breakfast. This type of race doesn't route through many areas that offer warm meals. These races are remote. The few gas stations and markets that do exist can be void of anything that fresh so often I have to resort to living off of frozen burritos and snacks until I make it somewhere with more services.
This was the AML was a race I hadn't put in my schedule for the summer but after recovering from AZ I wanted to get some miles in while exploring new areas in the Appalachian Mountains. With no expectation or goals I was just getting to have an adventure. My pace was steady, no redlining on hills or taking any risk on the downhills. I linked up with another rider, Joe. He and I had many a conversation over the 400+ mile race. The common thread to the convos was our stoke level for going on adventures. We exchanged stories for hours as we climbed gravel, push up mountain sides and camped under church awnings.
I found my happy place again and the reason for my madness. I love living life with adventure which drives my passion for helping others increase their fitness. Increasing your capacity for work loads mean that yes you will have to push yourself and become uncomfortable but the pay off is worth the discomfort.