so, as you know, with that knee thing last year, I found some welcome reallocated time to get back out on the trout stream. also recognized some tendencies that are, well, just how I am. I find it pretty easy to focus on something, and then pursue just that...college/racing bikes, move to Carlisletown, then it was fishing, riding/racing again, then flying RC sailplanes, a broken collarbone and back into bike adventures for the last decade w/ lots of skiing for 'balance' over the last 6ish yrs.
Then this tendinitis thing in the spring was either that physically serious, or I had finally pulled the plug on always just 'riding thru it.' Just didn't/don't have the motivation or desire to constantly tell myself those bullshit lines about 'pain is temporary, weakness.' There's only so much fire in belly to keep turning yourself inside out, just so you can see how much further you really can push yourself, it's a rule of halves I think. You'll never quite get there.
I'm quite happy with the level I took it to. I've never reeally written about my fourth ever fixed gear ride before. That first ride around the W101 loop...I recall cramping and wanting to cry like a baby, then finally reaching the CP at the bottom of Sassafras after walking up the entirety of both of those previous two fireroads, you know which two... Then I remember sitting in a chair at that CP having that cliche-esque internal debate...
"well, you didn't come here to not finish this on a fixed gear.
if I press on, I will probably have to walk every climb.
and will cramp into potentially permanent
disfigurement at the bottom of every descent.
and IF I continue, I really am not normal.
I apparently really do have issues, cuz this
hmmm, may as well see where
this rabbit hole leads...."
Here's where I popped out:
And, God damn!!! That was one hell of
a ride! So glad Mr Photog was there to
capture that moment. That moment,
that week, the journey to get there, this
fucking blog, le Tour!!!, all started fresh
by standing up from that chair at the base
Sassafras, and doing it one foot in front
of the other.
How else you gonna get there?
So, yeah, peak bike experience, then reap Ullr's rewards with a season for the books, peaking out an off the charts ski-o-meter. Do it all with a slim to none preventive maintenance program, stretching?, and you end up with lots of 40yr old imbalances, outside of the head. Yeah, sure, I could've listened to Dr. Evil from the gun, dude knows his shit....but I know part of me was like, cool..an excuse, err, valid reason, to 'step back'....
"my knee is wrecked"
Other than admitting that I'd had enough and just couldn't keep pushing, because I just didn't have the desire to take it to another level. Because I just couldn't, can't, wouldn't, couldn't, can't, just don't fucking want to anymore....for now, or something...Jesus it's hard to let go...I just don't have the stomach to commit to that workload, what it takes to be 'fast', or simply survive at times when you toe the line...not when I could be standing knee deep in 52deg crystal clean trout water conditioned air while everyone else battles triple digit heat out along painted white lines. Do all that work for what? sorry, been there done that, don't need to go back, admit that I can't reach the next level....run the body into the ground and reboot and find other challenges that satisfy this enginerd's minutiae analyticalness.
Mix in a physical challenge with way cool gear and shit, I'm more than happy. Bikes are a mechanical love affair. Racing, a physical quiz relying as much on Jedi mind tricks as raw power to weight ratios and how to achieve all of that balance in the punk d.i.y. fashion, always a first love....then when I was flying/building/designing gliders, how I loved the handlaunch events! Throwing your toy glider, this marvel of basement craft. Molded kevlar, carbon & foam launched into the wafty updrafts you can just feel...the higher you throw, the further your range, the longer your search for 'good air.' yeah, finally some rocket science and a day's worth of running around a field throwing gliders against your typical American fare all day long....that's my kind of game....until they introduced discus launch for those old lazy fucks...
And Fishing, yeah, fishing, fly fishing, harassing the trouts....been fishing as long as I've been pedaling, and, ha, yeah, just recalled that an early girlfriend had Trout for a last name...go figure. Anyways....fishing, casting a fly, fishing, casting, fishing, casting, fly fishing, flycasting. Casting a fly rod....man, how do you describe it? Like everything, you gotta work from a solid center, and from there it's about rhythm and feel, acceleration and flow. But, all you're doing is waving a line thru the air, with a fancy stick, a way fancy stick. But there's also all the hippy shit, being in touch with the environs, having a sense for what's happening, about to happen, and then dropping that specially selected fly into that seam of current just so, with just the right follow thru to get those silky slack loops in the line, all the better to deal with those eddies and whatnot.
All to put those goofily arranged feathers convincingly into Mr. Trout's line of sight.
And if that happens once every ten, 40, 100 or who knows how many casts for me, I'm a happy fella. Mtn brookie fishing is as much about walking thru beautiful places and making challenging casts, as it is about the actual fish caught. Like tele skiing, there's always that 'perfect turn' that brings you back. Oh, and yeah, I've at times considered fishing w/ a hookless fly...I mean, if you fool that poor fish enough that he actually strikes at your fly due to your perfect presentation, do you really need to drag him out of his environment, torturing him thru battle along the way? Beyond 'pics or it didn't happen,' if you're already practicing catch & release, then why not snip off your hooks at the bend? But then again, they're 'just fish,' right? right?
"that's where it's at,
that's how it is,
check it out."
and uhmmmmmm, I guess the short of it, is that yeah, I'm pretty much 'retired' from bike gaming if you haven't figured that out yet. Still making cogs and riding for sure; grassroots get togethers, will be behind the scenes at the local Meeshow events, lending Mumbles a hand with his race day needs (new camera!!) and taking a shot at the ever elusive Mutant 100 here in the backyard of Meeshow. That would be my self supported, local mega trail loop dream...and looking at the route sketch from '08ish vs newly discovered trail = an even longer day into the night, but worth it I'm sure. Ands there's still that week long bike tour dream of somewhere to somewhere, maybe with a laid back fishing rod tag along approach in PA, or maybe big miles and big mountains along semi-familiar border country terrain...see how the Spring plays out.
And still wanna make time to chase hatches in the spring, mid-late May? I do now have a full quiver of fine cane from 2 thru 6wt to abuse the fishes with. Yeah, I'm a gear junkie, sue me. Right tool for the job, why deprive yourself of enjoyment? Make sacrifices elsewhere and find balance..there's probably something to that Jedi shit, don'tchayathink?
With that, with alllll that, I'll see you on the slopes or whooping it up in the woods for now, possibly on the trail when the weather suits or maybe on the water when it's more in balance with the air temps, by spring creek standards.....I sure hate fishing in gloves.