peak experience...

one thing I've learned over the years, is when to stop chasing it. when to step back, and let it soak in. whether it's trying to recreate that last singular powder turn, those superman climbing sensations, that loamy ripping bambi track carve or last week's race...learn to appreciate that moment for what it is, a singular unique moment in time. there will be others.

stop, and begin again.

been absorbing a lot over the last couple months, recognizing the weaknesses and imbalance of the body, the lack of white hot fire in the belly that gets you out the door on those days. last year was a.m.a.z.i.n.g. found the legs of my lifetime, had it dialed finally for once and had some incredible rides, incredible experiences. the trip to Breck, that solo ride thru WV, finishing with a win on the single at Teaberry. was all a long time coming, building from year to year to year for a solid decade, and also the one before that. all that learning, experience, had it somewhat figured out and applied it how I know how.

and then there was other waiting, wantings. waiting for one of those winters to finally roll around again. and it happened, Boo Yahh!, rolling all of that good vibe bicycling into an incredible WV IceBox winter for the ages. one of those once every 20 winters, finally one of those legendary seasons where we have real snow, real conditions, all. season. long.

don't wanna waste, can't waste the chance, next time it happens, I might be tickling 60. doubt I'll be able to rip it then, like I can now, so get after and take it all in, no matter what. throw a good bit of caution to the wind and chase that shit. could tell that the belly fire for on the bike exploits was diminished....what more could I do, I'd caught a good bit of what I was chasing.

So, on those days, those days of pushing limit of skillz on planks, catching an edge or tangling tips and subsequently tumbling & tweaking & torquing the connection points. hit the deck, do a quick inventory, realize there's nothing catastrophic, and fucking stand back up and get. back. after. it. yeah, sure, if I really cared about how I'd be riding next/this summer, I probably shoulda parked the planks in the corner after a couple of those incidents, after the first of how many starting back in January...but I didn't, because I wasn't fucking missing out on that cool wintery love, that season of a lifetime. fuck it, pay the bills later.

I took a lot of odd tumbles, felt a lot of goofy twinges, hit a couple trees pretty fucking hard, hitting the ground not quite as hard. and every time, there was that voice, that question, that doubt...should I sit up, soft pedal? nahhhh, fuck it, who cares about June, July, August? this is the here, this is the now...push on thru and deal with it on Monday, Tuesday, sometimes into Wednesday, it's nothing major...it'll be fine. And for the most part it was, I wouldn't trade last winter for anything.

Had loose plans formulated for this year, loose plans to help out a bit with TransPA, do a nice long tour along those sweet ridges that make the VA/WV border, maybe sneak into a 100miler towards the end of the season for shits n giggles. But the knee was still nagging when it would normally be rebounding. guess I had a few too many of those twists and tweaks, probably shouldn't have kept standing back up and pushing on thru. Well, yeah, sure, if I really cared about doing something in the saddle...but I really don't anymore. I've done a lot, enough for me, for now, time to let it all soak in. Really don't care about putting in a performance on wheels, just don't have the inspiration to get out and race, or push myself that deep into the already mapped and exhausted pain cave.

So, the knee was bothering me, my head wasn't in it anymore, couldn't find a reason to push thru the pain, the discomfort...so I didn't, so I'm not. I went fishing instead. It's a challenge, an old/new puzzle to play with, a passion reignited and another means to explore and see new sights, to explore and see old sights from a fresh viewpoint. Slowing it all down and finding new balance. Found myself stepping back from the events, not attending, period. Needing a break from the scene, how can you reboot if you never really unplug? Not willing to just 'ride' around a loop, especially after raging around the same just last year...13hrs to ride a loop you've ridden in sub-10 countless times? No. thanks. No stomach or committment to do the 10-20hrs a week it takes to be prepared. No inspiration to slum on the road in 100degree heat, when I could be chilly standing in knee deep trout water, exploring a new drainage, learning new landscapes.

And it's all good. It's the choices I've made, the path that's been followed. I do miss the lot of ya'll, hanging apres' sharing the war stories of the day, the communal slums and ripping razor's edge descents...this step back has revealed a great appreciation for the work that it takes, the work a lot of ya'll are still doing. Right now, I can't even fathom pedaling a bike around that Teaberry 40 loop, even at my chill gimp pace, nevermind raging around it solitary stem drooling focused thru that quiet place of time trial styley. I just can't. It's amazing the sacrifices you make, the focus & love of sport it takes to get there, and props to each and every one of ya'll still doing it. when you're caught up in it, participating, you just can't see it all, and boy, does it ever take a lot.....

So, that's where I'm at, how it is. Did miss you freaks at the TdB, and will be back around for more pedaling fun at some point. for now, I'm letting this gimpy hinge heal up proper, and it's coming along marginally decent enough. definitely improved since the spring, but there's no real motor to drive it right now....probably having another doctorly conversation soon, maybe investigate the power of magnets to see what can be seen....but I'm content with the wknd warrior 4hr Cupcake sessions, spinning over to the Letort & around town on the Jabberfixy and hiking up slippy streambed rocks or thru marshy meadows, reestablishing a bit of muscular balance in these one dimensional cycling specific stems of mine....it ain't exactly Yoga, but the tippy trippy sure footed balance that being a stealthy silent trout stalker requires has to be doing some good.

Will probably see ya in the finish chute if you come to Meeshow, I'll be ripping numbers, drinking beer & recording your times....good times indeed.

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