Cycling

Joe Martin < Me

Today is the first stage of the Joe Martin Stage Race, a 4.84 kilometer uphill time trial. Then we have two road races and a crit over the following three days. Stage racing is great! Supermint is great! Bikes are great!

Last time I was at this race in 2014, I had a massive meltdown.

Things were bad that year. For reasons I’m still trying to understand, I fell apart completely and lost half a season to panic attacks, performance anxiety, and endless crying spells. It took months to climb out of the dark hole and stop hating racing and myself, and sometimes I still worry that shadow is going to come back.

Joe Martin was one of the worst periods in that time. Things were going to pieces before I even made it to Fayetteville and on the night before the first stage, I took the team van, drove to a local bar, and inhaled alcohol and cheesy dip. Then I melted down at the TT start and tried to ride 40+ miles back to the host house with my backpack so I could escape. Then (I am embarrassed to be typing this now) I had a hysterical sobbing fit when I wasn’t happy with my TT result and hid in the team van to cry on the phone to my mother. And finally I quit the race a few meters before the finish line on the second day to be prevented from starting the next two stages.

It was ugly and messy and humiliating and defeating. Thanks to the wonders of modern medicine and some life changes, it’s also in the past. But being here now feels like running into that ex you totally stalked by calling a million times and showing up at his work all weepy and sloppy and crazy-eyed. [Note: I have not actually done THAT.] I know that was long ago and I’m healthier and happier now, but I still feel fragile being in these same places taking on this same race that defeated me before.

That’s okay. Sometimes it feels good to remember how crappy things were and how that passed and things are okay now. That’s life. I’d rather poke my eye out than say “it’s the journey, not the destination” because that’s completely opposite the point of professional athletics (“it’s the fun of the race, not who got there first!” = do a charity century), but there is something to be said for the process. I got better. I came back here by choice. I want to be racing my bike. My backpack is going to stay in the team van until after the race.

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The Magic of Mint

When Jono and I brought Andrey on to be the HB Supermint creative director, we had a vision in mind: somebody with a unique eye for brilliant photos who was able to tell a compelling story about a new team of professional cyclists coming together to take on a race season. There would be elation! Heartbreak! Suspense! An underdog tale, a phoenix rising from the ashes to conquer the elite racing circuit!

Then as with all things in life, reality intervened. Andrey has done a wonderful job of making us look fantastic, despite repeated efforts on my part to thwart him. Exhibits A and B:

Bokanev-Supermint-02605 Bokanev-Supermint-02812
But the storytelling part has taken a backseat to keeping up with the rapid pace of the season. We went from camp to racing Tucson, Chico, San Dimas, Redlands. Days of racing with associated roster announcements, stage reports, photos, sponsor announcements – all normal parts of running and promoting a cycling team but more demanding than I had anticipated. I’ve promised to write a half dozen reports and blog posts and then can’t even be summoned to pen a 1-2 sentence quote because it’s tiring being a racer, team owner, and corporate employee. Nevermind my overflowing Hulu queue and my obsessive need to vacuum hourly.

I want to be better about this, though, because this Supermint story is amazing and I’m not just saying that the same way a mother says her ugly baby is the cutest thing ever. When I think about how far we’ve come since last November and what this team has amounted to already, it seems surreal. It’s only mid-April and we’ve already been on the podium over a dozen times and won a handful of jerseys. Every time Jono and I muse excitedly about our good fortune, the team goes out and one-ups itself in the next event. I’m pretty sure we’re going to win the Tour de France this year, and that is why I now permanently live in this:

Photo on 4-20-16 at 12.00 PM #5 12.06.28 PM
To most people, it’s a sweatshirt (and one badly in need of laundering). To me, it’s a physical embodiment of everything we have done so far and are striving to do going forward. I am so happy to see how our riders have risen to the occasion of each race, pushing out massive efforts on behalf of the team and far exceeding anything they’ve done previously. It feels like we’ve tapped into some magic formula that is getting everybody to unleash their inner rock star.

On a personal level, I’m pretty happy with how things have been going with my riding. I don’t know if it’s the accumulated effort of multiple seasons in my legs, the experience that comes from being a few years into racing at this level, or the excitement of racing for my own team, but this year has started off strong. I feel more confident in races and things that used to scare me – technical courses, sketchy downhills – are now places where I believe I’ll have an edge. There is still not a mountaintop finish on this planet that I love, but I’ve reached a point where I can respect the kind of rider I am versus begrudge everything I’m not.

The final day of Redlands on the challenging, hilly Sunset stage was one of the best moments of my career thus far: I went into the day not sure if I’d even be able to finish and instead worked a break off the front for nearly half the race and set my teammate up to get on the podium. Nobody was more surprised than me to see it shake out that way; I’d all but requested a mimosa waiting for when the inevitable mid-race “drop and get pulled” occurred. Instead, I raced my bike all day and finally got to finish the Sunset stage in downtown Redlands for the first time in my career. It was exhilarating and a reminder that there is no room for “I can’t” anymore.

Bokanev Lindsay Bayer Sunset Redlands
I suppose that is the story of this team so far. A lot of things we thought could not be done have been done already and are continually being done. Create a team. Build the infrastructure. Find a great mix of riders. Kick off the season. Race together well. Win stuff. It’s hard to take the time to document the underlying story when everybody is caught up with actually living it, but it’s there and it’s as compelling of a narrative as I could have ever hoped.

Bokanev Lechuga RedlandsBokanev Supermint

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And We Were All Happy Campers

When I think of childbirth, I imagine it’s a massive undertaking of pain and exhaustion, followed by the moment when you first look at the baby and feel a massive rush of joy and love. And probably some panic as well because WHAT HAVE I DONE, I OWN A HUMAN.

This was also how I felt at the Hagens Berman | Supermint Pro Cycling Team camp this past week.

After so much preparation and planning all fall and winter, we gathered the riders and staff at a house in Southern California to officially kick off our season. Seeing the whole team roll out together in matching kits on matching equipment followed by a matching car made me nearly fall off my bike with happiness and pride. We did this. Jono and I made this from scratch. Then I realized I’d forgotten to put the bananas and bars in the team car and now that mattered a lot more because I was no longer just responsible for me.

It’s a weird feeling. Not a bad one, but odd. In many ways, I’m still green on the road. I defer to more experienced riders about when to chase and how to execute a plan and what to do when the plan falls apart. But now I’m surrounded by people that need to know things like which helmet to wear for the day’s ride and which races they’re going to attend and did I talk to that sponsor about that one thing. There were moments where the shoes felt far too big to fill and others where it all seemed thoroughly manageable.

It helps to have an amazing staff keeping everything flowing seamlessly. I could weep and hug them all. The times where I got to be “just” a rider enjoying camp were thanks to their hard work.

I feel like everybody goes to team camp and has mostly the same experience: I am so excited to be here! All of my things are new and shiny! This is the best team ever! Social media explodes with adorable team selfies and everybody is suuuuuuuuper excited about the season ahead. And then reality and time intervene and the season is tough and the team runs out of money and you don’t get picked for that one race and so on. I’m hyper attuned to predicting what could go wrong this year and figuring out how to prevent it but honestly have to conclude that I’m stumped now: this team is wonderful. There are no duds. I may have had a slight meltdown when the riders declared a pee stop less than an hour into the first ride, but then spent the rest of the day eating my words as they all blew me away with their tenacity, skill, and cohesiveness. Jono and I met in the garage after that first ride to whisper excitedly about how promising it all seemed.

There will probably be times this season that are hard. Cycling is a tough sport that demands so much of everybody, and there are bound to be difficult moments when everybody is tired and stuffed in a team van together for the fiftieth time. (WHO LEFT THE OLD SANDWICH UNDER THE SEAT?!? WTF OMG GUYS.) But if this camp is an indication of what lies ahead, this team is absolutely mint. Each of the women brings a unique personality and skillset – Allison hates the sound of spoons scraping plastic containers and does more intervals than everybody combined! Liza wears legwarmers when it’s hot enough that I’d prefer to be riding naked! Shoshauna raises pigs! – but when you put us together on bikes or around a dinner table, it clicks perfectly.

The girls start racing today at Chico Stage Race while I’m back in Tucson missing them all. My stomach thinks I’m racing today because I’m that nervous; when it’s not just your teammates but your team, it all matters that much more. My personal performance is no longer my only concern; now I care so deeply about the team and each of the riders that sometimes it feels like my own baby rolling around on two wheels. But like any mother, there comes a point where you have to launch your kid into the world, trust that they have everything they need to succeed in life, and then sit back and be proud of where they go.

Hagens Berman Supermint Bokanev 11 Hagens Berman Supermint Bokanev 10 Hagens Berman Supermint Bokanev 9 Hagens Berman Supermint Bokanev 8Lindsay Bayer SupermintHagens Berman Supermint Bokanev 6 Hagens Berman Supermint Bokanev 4 Hagens Berman Supermint Bokanev 3 Hagens Berman Supermint Bokanev 2 Hagens Berman Supermint Bokanev 1Hagens Berman Supermint Bokanev 7

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The Amazing Technicolor Dreamkit

Today was my first ride in the official Hagens Berman | Supermint Pro Cycling Team kit.

Team camp isn’t for another week, but my teammate and I are racing Valley of the Sun this weekend, so Vie13 made certain we had our kits in time for the event. The box arrived at my apartment today, I opened it quickly while doing fifteen other things, tried on the items and sent Jono some photos, and then went back to the fifteen things.

[I did take a moment to initial everything “LB”, an annual rite of passage for small children heading to summer camp and every professional cyclist.]

When it came time to do the day’s ride, I grabbed one of the new kits, suited up, and headed out. I started rolling through the parking lot towards the road and then suddenly, out of nowhere, there was this overwhelming feeling of pride and joy.

For months, Jono and I have been building this thing; a women’s cycling team, a complicated conglomeration of riders, staff, sponsors, equipment, clothing, paperwork, logistics, ideas, and feelings. It’s been months of hard work and constant thinking and planning. I’ve gotten excited, gotten my hopes dashed, felt terrified, felt relieved – each a dozen times over. There have been moments where it all seemed too overwhelming and then moments like today, when I look down and literally see the results of every ounce of hard work. Our team, our brand, our design, our sponsors.

No matter what podiums lie ahead this season, the very existence of this kit has made it all worthwhile.
Lindsay Bayer Supermint Kit

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Oh Holy Night

Back in early November, I got my nose pierced. I’d thought about doing it for a while but suddenly found the motivation to try it. My body had never adapted well to piercings, but research indicated that might be a slight allergy to certain metals and a titanium stud could circumvent problems. I found a reputable piercer and got it done one afternoon with minimal fanfare.

When I called my mother and mentioned it, there was a long pause followed by, “Please tell me you are kidding.” I knew she wouldn’t be thrilled but her level of horror surpassed my wildest expectations; I’ve told her about multiple tattoos and several divorces and gotten warmer responses from those announcements. Her barely-concealed disgust as she said, “I thought we felt the same way about facial piercings and besides, aren’t those out of style?” nearly made me weep. THANKS, MOM. (She is reading this now. If I wasn’t already written out of the will, she’s sharpening her pencil.)

We agreed to disagree on the matter and my nose piercing lived happily ever after for two months. The healing process was relatively painless and most people didn’t even notice the tiny stud (or did but were too polite to ask or point out that I might have something stuck to my face). There came a point, however, where I started to realize training and a fresh nose piercing were not working out. The site was regularly red from the irritation of sweat and snot rockets and life as a passenger on my face. While I liked the look of the tiny fake diamond, I did not like the red halo that perpetually surrounded it. I could baby the area and reduce the redness, but that started to feel like an unnecessary inconvenience: life is complicated enough so why spend time each day addressing my nose?

The final straw came here in Tucson, when I started getting sunburned around the site because I was wary of getting sunscreen in the somewhat unhealed piercing. It had to go.

The stud was a press-fit piercing, which meant the straight pin of the actual jewelry was slightly bent to create resistance inside the backing that sat in my nose. Removing it required holding the backing in place and then pulling on the stud until it popped free. Easy!

NOT EASY.

I started with tweezers and my fingers but couldn’t get a good enough grip on either side. Then I added miniature scissors, using them to hold the backing while adding a fun element of WILL I STAB MY INNER NOSE?? The more I yanked and readjusted and yanked, the more red and swollen my nose became while the stud refused to budge. There came a point – several, in fact – where I thought I should really just go see a piercer to get professional help, but instead stubbornly kept trying.

By that time, I was sweating and shaking and dizzy, because something about fidgeting with piercings makes me want to pass out or vomit.

[Jesus, as I type this there is NOTHING rational about this entire story and I want to retroactively slap myself. But alas, the tale continues.]

I decided to give one more attempt, this time with two fingers gripping the backing and two fingers pulling on the stud. Do you know how hard it is to fit two fingers in one nostril? (I hope the answer is no.) Then there was a something – pain? a popping? the ripping of the universe? – and I glanced at my nose to see the stud was no longer visible. For a queasy, spinning, hopeful moment, I searched the bathroom floor for the fallen jewelry, but it was not there.

That’s when the internal shrieking started. I realized the backing was still in place and the actual stud was lodged inside my nostril. Are you uncomfortable reading this? TRY LIVING IT.

I wanted to die. I wanted to climb into the toilet and flush myself to death, I wanted to vomit and weep and wail, such was my shock and horror. Instead I hyperventilated and tried to imagine a world ten minutes earlier in which I was smarter and more patient and still had a nose piercing located appropriately.

There are no instructions in life for what to do when you get yourself in such a pickle; I didn’t know whether I should go to the hospital or a piercing studio or just leap off the roof of my apartment building. It was after 9pm and I didn’t know what would even be open, so I started calling around to tattoo places asking if they did piercings and explaining what had happened. There is nothing so poetic as trying to accurately describe what you mean when you say your nose piercing is IN your nostril, like literally imbedded, yes, you are an idiot, please please please help.

While I did a fair bit of crying before making it to the kind piercer that ultimately bailed me out, I managed to keep it together (and only lightly kick him once reflexively from the pain) while in the parlor. Five minutes after walking in the door, I walked out with my nose stud in a tiny baggie.

Ironically, my nose has never been as red as it is today.

Moron

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Once More Across The Continental Divide

In other news, I have relocated from Virginia to Tucson, AZ. It was so enjoyable to drive across America last year that I decided to do it again, only faster and this time with a dog. On December 28, I packed up the Chevy, put some bikes on the roof, stuffed Tanner in the back, and got on the highway. This trip, unlike the last fun, adventurous one, was all about efficiency. I had to be in Tucson by 1:30pm on December 31 to sign my lease before the office closed for the holiday, so I skipped luxuries like sightseeing, regular meals, and peeing in favor of driving as much as possible.

The highlights were few and far between:

  1. Tanner threw up only once. However, he waited until the moment we pulled up to a New Mexico border checkpoint to do so. Turns out he’d eaten a rock that didn’t agree with his stomach. There was a moment where I considered saving the rock as a souvenir before remembering that I am not a freak who collects fingernail clippings.
  2. I launched the new team from the road. Thank god I have four hands, two cell phones, and a laptop.
  3. I rode my bike alongside a highway in rural Texas and did not die. While that sounds ill-advised in theory, I knew it was safe because nobody is unfortunate enough to be killed somewhere that depressing.
  4. There was a dental floss pick on the bedside table at my Airbnb in Nashville, so I slept with the blissful reassurance that the previous occupant practiced good oral hygiene.
  5. I  learned that leaving a box of picked onions from the Whole Foods taco bar in your car for 12 hours is the perfect way to make sure you hate food.

It was close, but I arrived at the leasing office last Thursday with 20 minutes to spare. By 3pm on New Year’s Eve, I was settled snugly in my new studio, which is like an apartment where everything spent too long in the dryer on high. I bought a standard baking pan that is 3″ too wide for the oven and if I stretch out fully, my feet hang off the bed. But it’s home until March 14, or until my neighbors complain about my riding the trainer on the balcony or Tanner doing 4-meter sprints around the house at midnight.

Tanner Pees In Rural Virginia

This lovely, scenic spot was one of many options for places we could be murdered on the side of the road.

Late Night Fun On The Trainer

Tanner cannot understand why the hell I’m riding the trainer at 9pm on the front porch of an Airbnb in Nashville. Neither can I.

Apple Mishap

Make sure your window is open before throwing an apple core out onto the highway.

We Mess With Texas - Lindsay Bayer and Tanner

Not pictured: the snow on the ground in Texas.

Texas Sunset

Texas looked best after the sun went down.

Arizona Train

Outrunning a train on the final stretch of highway.

Home Sweet Home-ish

At long last, we’re “home” in Tucson.

Posted on in Cycling, Life, The Pets, Travel 2 Comments

The story behind the Hagens Berman | Supermint Pro Cycling Team

The news is officially out: I’m riding for the Hagens Berman | Supermint Pro Cycling Team for 2016, a new women’s UCI professional cycling team I co-own with Jono Coulter.

A team I co-own.

Those are words I never aspired to say. No part of me ever wanted to own a business, especially not one where profitability is irrelevant and breaking even is the goal. I’ve spoken to people in the past who were all, “I’d love to have my own team!” and I’d laugh and reply, “I’d love to slam my hand in a door repeatedly!” The idea of coordinating sponsors and riders and travel and logistics made my brain melt, especially when I watched teams struggle and fold year after year.

As the 2015 season wrapped up, though, Jono and I started talking about plans for 2016. We each had options on the table but also ideas of how we wanted to change the experiences we’d already had working for other teams. Those ideas turned into casual conversations that turned into more serious talks that turned into….wait. What? We’re starting our own team?

We had concepts, some connections, and balls the size of cantalopes, but no money. It didn’t matter at that point; our enthusiasm was enough to get the planning started for real and we each maintained the foolhardy belief that everything would work out. Alcohol and constant pep talks helped. We talked so many times a day that we may be legally wed in several states.

Our plans became more official as the weeks progressed – we started branding the team, brought on a great group of riders, and lined up initial details for a schedule. We were all in and excitement was building. The only minor hiccup was a complete lack of outside funding. Financial agreements we made were backed by our own money, an ill-advised, frightening concept but also the only way we could move forward and ensure that we fulfilled our promises. We refused to take on obligations we couldn’t already afford, but in the absence of a major sponsor, that meant we were agreeing to personally cover salaries and expenses.

I didn’t sleep in October.

My parents and friends expressed some concern over this plan. This is not wise, they’d say. Are you sure you want to back this plan with your own money? I knew it was a gamble, but a time-honored one taken by entrepreneurs everywhere. I believed in what we were building, believed in Jono, and believed that it was better to go all in on our dream than play it safe and sign up for another dissatisfying year. When it came time to submit the initial fees to the UCI and USA Cycling, we paid unhesitatingly out of our own pockets.

Meanwhile, I spent every free moment networking with, chatting up, and emailing potential title sponsor companies. Our sponsorship proposition was something new and different in the business – we had riders with professional careers off the bike and wanted to leverage those backgrounds to deliver better benefits to our sponsors. Instead of promising “clicks” and jersey space and “mentions” – frankly useless and hard-to-measure propositions for companies – we offered networking, access to riders for company initiatives, and our ability to engage effectively with customers and partners.

The proposal was strong but finding the right partner was a challenge unlike anything I’ve faced before. I’ve worked in business development for a long time, but never on the sales side. Making cold calls, pushing for meetings, and taking rejection repeatedly were all new, harrowing experiences. I was constantly bracing to take on the next target, send the next email, and explain the concept to yet another CEO. Getting shot down multiple times stung and it took a while to build up a shell; sometimes I would hang up the phone and just cry. Fatigue, frustration, and anxiety were overwhelming at times and I was perpetually on edge wondering what if it doesn’t come together? 

Our big break came in November. Steve Berman of the Hagens Berman law firm read the team proposal and wanted to come on board as our title sponsor. I hyperventilated, wept, and laughed all at once; it sounded like somebody was shaking an emotional hyena, but all I could hear was the sound of our dreams coming true. I love lawyers! I even went to law school for a bit! HAGENS BERMAN 4EVER!!1!11!!

I’d love to say it was painless and easy from that moment forward, but that would be a lie: building a team is hard. Just when you think you’re on top of things, another issue arises or the next item on the list needs to be sorted out. I’ll be falling asleep and suddenly jolt awake thinking something like WATERBOTTLES! The official team launch occurred while I was on a highway in New Mexico moving cross-country; I awoke on the first day of 2016 to remember OMG, payroll.

But this has also been one of the best experiences of my life. Jono and I had a dream and we refused to let it go, even when the obstacles seemed insurmountable. We have built a team with great riders and a cool brand and a talented creative director. We have sponsors that believe in what we are building and are giving us the support we need to represent them well. I’ve learned to take rejection in stride, to keep going even when the odds are not looking good, and to manage a million details at once without cracking.

Okay, I have cracked a few times. There is significantly less scotch in my pantry than there was in September.

While I can’t predict how all of this will turn out, there are a few things I already know for sure. HB Supermint’s riders will be treated like professionals on and off the bike. Each rider is paid the same salary, because every team member is valuable, whether they’re sprinting for results or finishing dead last after the leadout. We will not make promises we can’t keep, not to riders, staff, or sponsors. Our sponsors are the key to our success and will be treated as such. These are the principles on which we built this team and no matter where the season takes us, there will be no compromises. The scariest but best thing about being the boss is that you call the shots.

That’s the story of how I came to co-own a cycling team. It’s been a wild ride, but I suppose the fun is just getting started.

HB Supermint
You can read more about the team on the Supermint website or the Supermint Facebook page.

 

Posted on in Cycling, Employment, Life 7 Comments

Joy to the World or Something Like That

Merry Christmas. It doesn’t feel like Christmas; it’s in the 70s outside, I didn’t decorate the house, I’m moving west on Monday morning. What makes it Christmas for you? Cold weather? The promise that you might get an Apple watch? Eggnog and fruitcake?

For me, I don’t know anymore. There are no gifts that I want and my only wishes this holiday are intangible. I want Andrew to be happy. I want my parents to enjoy their lives. I want Kobe to know that I love him more than anything even though he’s staying behind when I go. I want Tanner to trust me enough to be calm as we head out into the world together. I want people to not ask questions I’m unprepared to answer in the coming weeks. I want everything to be okay.

Most of all, I want the handful of people around me today to know that I would be nothing without them. My family and friends are the best. The assortment of people that have made it to this point in my life are wonderful and funny and kind and awesome. I already have everything a person could want in them.

Whatever Christmas means to you and whatever you’ve wished for, I hope it all works out.

L

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An Update With No Actual News

Hello there! I haven’t written anything of substance here in a long time because I have been busy not giving a crap about maintaining a blog. Funny, that. I typically wait until there is something meaningful to say before breaking long periods of silence here but at this juncture, I don’t have anything I’m ready to share just yet. There IS news, it’s just not fit for public consumption at the moment.

There was this one thing I was going to write a full post about, but never made it past the first paragraph so this will have to suffice: Andrew accidentally lost the dog in the middle of the night last week and I got to spend an hour running through the woods in the darkness wearing pajamas and fuzzy slippers screaming “TANNNNNNNER!” (Weird how that hysteria didn’t entice him to come closer.) The slippers came to a soggy death right around the time they sloshed through the third ice cold, sludgy stream. Tanner nearly came to his death when I finally tearfully herded him back into the house and contemplated strangling his perky little self with my freezing bare hands.

Then last Friday I had him neutered. WHO’S PERKY NOW, BITCH?

I also read this interesting column about “Keeping on track during the festive season” on Ella CyclingTips. Festive season! Doesn’t that sound positively lovely? I feel festive just thinking about it. Unfortunately, there was nothing remotely festive about this advice, unless your idea of joy is discipline and deprivation capped off by forcing your loved ones to bend their plans to your training needs. Here is my advice for the festive season, carefully cultivated over several years of racing professionally and obsessively: GET DRUNK. EAT ALL OF THE COOKIES. Alcohol is a carb, chunky riders get down hills faster, and life is way too short to miss out on festivities because of cycling. Balance is worth pursuing.

(All of my exes are laughing laughing laughing at the irony of me saying that.)

On the subject of cycling, I have big news that will be shared in the coming days. There will be bike racing, that much I can say now, and there will be travel and laughter and tears and sweat and probably some more tears because crying is how I cope with being alive. Winter training has been hard because it’s long and isolating and the weather often feels like it’s sent here to make me reconsider just how badly I really want any of this. Sometimes I think about quitting. I had a leg workout yesterday that I put off for hours, dawdling and dreading everything as the morning slithered into afternoon and the excuses stacked up like the reps I refused to initiate. At one point, it occurred to me that I could just not do it. Nobody would have to know. In the grand scheme of training or life, it wouldn’t actually matter. But I got it done, banged it out and threw in some extra reps as punishment for the theatrics, and then today’s ride was lovely. The crisp air, early morning sunshine, decent legs, intervals that felt challenging but successful. The winter makes you tougher and hungrier and forces you to realize that you’re choosing all of this and it’s a privilege to have that choice and love something enough to keep making it over and over.

I’m relocating to the west coast for a few months right after Christmas because my hair looks better in low-humidity climates and I need a break from my flatiron.

The end for now. But as we will soon see, also the beginning.
unnamed

Posted on in Cycling, Life, The Pets Comments Off on An Update With No Actual News

In The Wild

It’s my off season from cycling and because rest is challenging, I’ve been running for fun. Other than the constant joint aches and slight limp, it’s great! Highly recommend.

I flew out to Colorado last night for a friend’s wedding and decided to start today with a nice brisk jog. It went really well for the first minute and then the shooting pains started in my back and I had to revert to an aggressive power walk. It was discouraging – who wants to walk for exercise?! – but then the road turned from pavement to gravel to dirt and my interest was piqued. When I hit a NO TRESPASSING – GOVERNMENT PROPERTY sign, I knew shit was about to get real. My best moments in life have involved prohibitive signage.

A little over an hour of hiking and climbing later, I was at the summit. It was incredible. So much beauty and solitude…so many sweeping vistas…so much poor planning. I had no food or water, had neglected to apply sunscreen to anywhere except my face, and had abandoned my sweatshirt somewhere around the base of the mountain. #someregrets

I was slightly concerned about the situation and figured the quickest way down the mountain was over the side. That sounds stupid here but it’s not like I did a tuck and roll over a vertical face; I just sort of bypassed all the switchbacks and implemented an efficient slithering technique. After only a few missteps and some spilled blood, I was off the mountain and headed home.

Finding the sweatshirt again required using the car.

In conclusion, it would appear that I am less Daniel Boone and more Cheryl Strayed, but it was a worthwhile and wonderful adventure. What was supposed to have been a 30-minute run turned into a 2.25-hour hike and, despite being hungry, cold, and sunburned by the time I made it home, my first thought was that I couldn’t wait to do it again tomorrow. With water.

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These elk were sitting so casually that I couldn’t help but inch closer and closer for a better photo. By the time I was 15 feet away from the one with the huge antlers, something clicked and I finally understood how those “Tourist Gored By Bison At Yellowstone” headlines happen.

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The wildlife is friendly around here!

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Okay, um, HELLO. Typically I expect somebody to at least buy me a drink first.

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Now he’s just being overly forward.

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This tree doesn’t miss a thing.

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Obligatory scenic vista. I climbed forever to get this shot and it’s not even that impressive in the photo.

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More trees. Trying to pretend I’m the next Ansel Adams, only less gifted and with impractical footwear.

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This moment – reaching the top of the mountain and standing amidst the clouds – was a worthwhile reward. Well, that and not getting eaten by a bear or collapsing from dehydration.

Posted on in Life, Travel Comments Off on In The Wild
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