When I announced my retirement on February 3rd, 2020, I had no idea what was waiting just a few weeks into the future. Like many of you, my dreams of traveling far and wide evaporated as the true seriousness of the global situation came into focus.
That was only the start of the year’s troubles. The past 12 months have been weird and difficult, and although gravel riders are known for their love of weird and difficult things, this was different.
Hearing stories of misfortune and not being able to see our bike friends across the world made all of us—even this crusty old couch—realize the true importance of a strong community and the connections it fosters.
When I heard that my friends at District Bicycles were putting on The Incredibly Socially Distanced Mid South for 2021, I got in touch with them to offer up my support. They were into it so I decided to come out of retirement and hustle down to Stillwater, Oklahoma right away. I haven’t even changed out of my new retirement shirt—it was supposed to be for lounging on the beach and sipping umbrella drinks, but it might as well brighten up the late-winter landscape in Oklahoma.
We’re all excited to connect with you in an incredibly socially distanced way for The Mid South! I’ll miss seeing you in person. I’ll miss your sighs of relief and shouts of joy as you near the end of a tough ride. And, in some strange way, I'll miss your sweaty chamois on my well-worn cushions and creaky springs. But like everyone else participating, I’ll be with you in spirit, cheering you on all the way.
As I said in that fateful retirement post just over a year ago:
“‘If you can make it to The Chaise, you can make it to the finish!’ That is a metaphor for life, you know.”
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I’m a jack-of-all, master-of-none sort when it comes to the outdoors. Riding, climbing, paddling, skiing or hiking—everything has its own appeal. All that matters are the effort and the solitude. I’m not competitive but I enjoy a good challenge, and I’ll say “yes” to anything that puts me in over my head or involves type 2 fun, as that’s where life’s spicier moments seem to live.