Thursday, November 8, 2012

Its snowing where I am

I am watching it snow and I’ve got a cold. It must be November. I haven’t ridden my bike in 3 days, and do not intend to before next week. The only thing I'm planning to do is drink tea, sit next to the fire and nap. Then I'll make a whiskey soda, dinner with my friends and resume sitting next to the fire. Tuesday I left my house for a total of 45min to get groceries. I might go to some hot springs tonight… that’s assuming I don’t start the napping thing at 3pm on my couch and just migrate to my bed for the night when I wake up. It must be my off-season. I’m savoring this right now, I only get a handful of days off every year.
After Marathon Nationals in September I continued to train, anticipating a trip to Michigan for Iceman Cometh. It was looking good until about 10 days before the race, I still had good fitness, and after a month at home I had begun repairing my shattered head. But some logistical walls came up and I didn’t end up making the trip, which was certainly a disappointment. Instead, I rode in a silent Yellowstone Park Saturday with Marshall Opel and the rest of the Montana peloton (meaning a buffalo herd), and Sunday I went out with Sophie (Pete’s sister…) to ride the Continental Divide Trail. Which is absolutely one of the most enjoyable trails I’ve ever ridden... Good company helps. It was hardly a compromise, but instead another incredible weekend in what seems like a brilliant series of weekends I’ve had since getting back to Bozeman.
The best part about training for Iceman was that it was an excuse for me to go do awesome stuff in the mountains of Montana. I spent 4 breathtaking days in the Beartooth Mountains backpacking with the ‘rents. I can’t really say anything other than that. Words and photos just don’t do those mountains justice. The riding has been phenomenal, and I’ve made a serious point of checking out some places I haven’t explored before. Some of those rides have been with friends, old and new, and the memories of others will stay between myself and the grizzly bears I found myself sharing the mountains with. Before November 1st I was already skinning up Bridger Bowl and getting snow in my face on the way down. And I’ve been running a lot too… usually with Sophie, who’s short legs always put my much longer ones to shame, in cool places around Bozeman. We tried to climb Cowen, but with the peak completely shrouded in clouds, ice and snow, our day just turned into an epic 6hr wintery run (one that started way too early in the morning, especially after spending the night trying to sleep in the back of a Subaru). We ran the Bridger Ridge a couple weeks ago now too, in a windstorm… and on that day not only did I get beaten up by Soph, but Oli, her neighbors Corgi, also beat me to the parking lot. His legs are probably 3 inches long. Humbling.
There’s been a lot of that happening in my life really… the whole humility thing. Everywhere I turn, I run into friends I haven’t seen in months, all of whom are still the intelligent, good, honest, exciting, comic, adventurous, loving folks I remember them to be. I find myself surrounded by brilliant people and things to do. Many are new and all of whom I appreciate so so much. This is stuff that makes a life. 
And I feel like that’s what I’ve been trying to get good at again… Life. I’ve had to reestablish myself here after a season away. I’ve had to find a meaningful routine, and reciprocate to the people who give me so much. I think I’m finding various degrees of success with the thing as a whole. Its kind of been a grand jump into the ocean, some of the waves I’ve ridden pretty well, and others with a little less grace and triumph. I am happy here in Bozeman again, I can’t really see myself being anywhere else… and although my heartstrings are being pulled, it’s not by the allure of something or somewhere else as they have in the past. Probably what’s most telling is that the snow falling outside my window is my signal that its time to start training again soon, and I’m smiling.