You’ve probably seen our tagline: Uncommon bikes. Extraordinary adventures.
I think it’s easy to see the first, not so much the second, mostly because those depend on you. We can give you the horse, but we can’t make you take it to get a drink, if you follow me.
It’s easy to get caught up in miles ridden for the week, average speeds, calories burned, Strava segments and personal records (PRs). I would suggest that’s not the point of this two-wheeled journey.
Let me put it another way. How many training rides do you remember? Yeah, you really killed that WNR, but if there was nothing out of the ordinary about it, there'll be no recall. You could look up your Strava file for a particular date and have nothing to distinguish it.
It’s important, on a fairly regular basis, to do a ride that's going to leave a mark on your soul. I’ve had two of those in the past two weeks.
A couple Saturdays ago, Steve asked me if I wanted to ride on a Sunday morning. I said yes because that's what you do when your friends ask you to ride.
He said, “Are we going to do the shop route, or are we going to @#$! off?”
Me: “@#$! off, of course.”
That Sunday it was raining, but no lightning, so we went for it. We rolled out of the alley, headed west, and wound our way to Ollie’s on the west side where we partook of the breakfast buffet, which was excellent. Even the diner coffee was pretty good. I mean, c’mon, sometimes there’s nothing better than awful diner coffee, especially when you’re dripping wet and sitting in the a/c.
Sure, the rest of our ride, which took us downtown, and then back to the shop, was on the slow side, but … bikes, rain and a pretty good diner breakfast. #winning
Last weekend, I was up in the mountains. Literally. Stayed at Estes Park, hiked Rocky Mountain National Park. Drove around where the trees stop growing. Took a lot of spectacular pictures.
While we were there, we went on a bike ride. I mean, duh.
In full disclosure, I was a bit mentally intimidated by the altitude. Sure, we’d been there for four days already, and should’ve been acclimated, but … the air at 8,000 ft, it’s thin, y’all.
We rented some bikes from a LBS, rolled out of Estes on Dry Gulch road and headed for Glen Haven. We were told there was a general store there where a Soup Nazi-esque character served up some of the best cinnamon rolls in the universe, so we figured we’d check that out.
Dry Gulch road turned into Devil’s Gulch road, which dives down toward Glen Haven with some gnarly descents and switchbacks. At that point, I was glad we’d spent the extra money for the carbon bikes with disc brakes.
Apart from not really wanting to just let the bike loose and roll 50 mph downhill, my brain started to not care about our mileage for the day. After all, this was an out-and-back. What goes down must climb up.
At the bottom, because we like to contemplate our doom, we stopped at the general store and had the cinnamon roll. It lived up to the rep, though I didn’t get any surliness from the shop keep. I mean, I didn’t poke him with a stick, either, so there’s that.
Then we climbed out. Took twice as long to go up as it did to come down. I had a hard time getting my head out of my pounding heart. Stopped a couple of times because of that, but I didn’t walk. And once I’d gotten to the top, I realized I’d psyched myself out, and probably could’ve ridden the whole thing without the breaks.
If I’d just climbed like it was my job, I would not have appreciated the scenery. I would not have taken the pictures, I probably wouldn’t be writing about it right now, and I wouldn't have it to share with my wife.
So what’s my point? Don’t forget to ride to remember. We’re on this big blue marble for such a short time, and once you get close to the end, you’re not going to think back on the stuff you bought, the training you did, or the hours you worked.
You’re going to remember the experiences that stand out, so you better be sure you have some.
I’ll leave you with a Hemingway quote:
“Good times should be orchestrated and not left to the uncertainties of chance.”