For me, the month of May is my forced break from riding. Thirty-one days off from riding the smooth singletrack near my house or the quiet, paved roads leading to mountain heights. My work consumes my spring time in the Rockies with the first nine days of the month spent on a desert river trip with our student staff, followed by more river time as I teach a whitewater kayak instructor course. The final 19 days of the month are dedicated to training the future student leaders of our collegiate outdoor program.
Last year this training took me to the beautiful and mysterious canyon country of Utah, as we ventured down into the depths of tight slot canyons and backpacked among the ruins of the ancient Puebloans. This year I found myself kicking steps up steep snow couloirs to lofty high summits and traversing the high alpine meadows of the Weminuche Wilderness.
Some of our objectives in American Basin…
Taking in the sunrise from the summit of White Dome…
Needless to say, being off of the bike for a month can be difficult on one’s training (as it was for me last year since I was getting ready to ride the Tour Divide Route), let alone one’s emotional well-being. As I know it is for most bicycle aficionados, the bike is my fitness coach, my therapist, my travel agent, and my teacher. The bike has kept me fit. It helps me clear my mind to make important life decisions—to continue the current winding road or adventure into unknown singletrack? It is a source of inspiration to travel to and explore distant lands. It continually teaches me how to deal with both physical and emotional pain, as well as how to find balance when life and the terrain dictate it.
As I have learned though, time away from obsessions can be good. Perspectives can be sharpened. Clarity can be discovered. Dreams can be conceived. Pathways can be revealed.
While utilizing my own two feet to carry a heavy backpack the length of one of the world’s most beautiful mountain ranges, I found my mind wandering to the bikes in my ever-full garage…to scheming about what types of adventures I was going to go on once my summer began in June? How about putting a suspension fork on the Fargo and bikepacking on technical mountain singletrack? Or, what about retrofitting a rear rack on the Mukluk to carry trail-building tools or a fly rod or two?
Though I have yet to see Reveal the Path, Salsa’s post card contest inspired by the film is an amazing vehicle to jumpstart one’s mind wandering to what can be.
My month of May produced a whole slew of mental post cards. I can’t wait to set off to accomplish them and turn them into reality.
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I grew up in a military family where we moved 13 times before I left for college. Consequently, I have the continual urge to explore and travel having climbed, kayaked, and biked all over our amazing planet. My passion for the outdoors drives me to seek out adventures which often times combine multiple modes of travel or activities (i.e. biking to a wilderness area and then backpacking in to climb a high peak). "Keeping life simple" is a guiding motto of my life and for me, bike travel epitomizes simplicity.