Wednesday, December 8

Looking back, around, down, and sideways

I guess before I come up to periscope depth to take a look at what's on the horizon, it's time to reflect and be thankful.  

Give me a ping, Vasili. One ping only, please.

Holy poop in a bucket. What a year 2021 was (or is thus far).  I started out with the Winter Shart Tarck Series.  I wasn't sure if I was gonna give the whole series a go in 2021, and even though the venue change was a bit disappointing, it was the closest thing to normal that I had available to me.  Such a sweet distraction it provided for a few weeks.  Although the rest of the world seemed to be insane, spending a Sunday outside with frans and bikes and beers was refreshing... even if it was cold and muddy most of the time.

It was a short respite before I was back to "racing" at The Triple Dip in March... as long as you want to call that "racing."  It was such a great time, and once again, at least for a day, the world made sense again.

But then there was a short drought that was kinda moistened with the 6 Hours of Warrior Creek followed by a return to normalcy that may have been equal parts blissful ignorance and guarded optimism at the Trans-Sylvania Epic in late May.

With the announcement that I'd be going back to work like normal (as opposed to every other week) in July, I did what I could to suck the marrow from those last moments of pandemic free time, filling my day with bike rides and organizing my sock drawers.  A couple weeks after being a normal worker bee again, I was on a plane headed west with my new squishy/shifty bike that I didn't know I was going to buy until I did... only to bust the rear rim on day one... and then bust so many parts of my body on day two.  Regrettably (at least now that I'm looking in the rear view mirror), I went ahead and showed up for the Breck Epic nowhere near physically or mentally healed.  I found myself piled up in a heap at the side of the trail on day two hurt even worse than I was a month ago.  The right side of my body from shoulder to big toe was pissed off and constantly reminding me of my mistakes.


I still went to the Shenandoah Mountain 100 a month later.  Mebbe I'm "proud" that I managed to finish, but once again, the smarter move mighta been to stay home or just volunteer.  I was still a broken (small) man.  Riding scared with a foot/ankle/leg that didn't wanna do stuff like "move" or "exist" was just plain stupid.  

And I was still pretty terrified about wrecking again... like give up mountain biking for life petrified.  I thought mebbe this is how it ends.

But somehow...

And I got to slam my way through a bunch of racing in three weeks at the King and Queen of the Watershed, PMBAR, and the Pisgah 55.5k... although I carried The Fear with me through all of those events.  It's a heavy rock to get out from underneath.

I'm definitely getting my mojo back now.  Me and my relatively new'ish bikes are getting along like Peanut M&M's and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.  Admittedly, I'm not railing leaf covered trails in the Pisgah without at least acknowledging that danger might be lurking below in the form of giant holes, loose rocks the size of a loaf of Wonder Bread, or a spoke-eating log.  For all I know, there could be a predator hiding in the leaves.

You can't tell me with 100% certainty there isn't.

Can I say it was a "good" year?  Why not?  I'm feeling great riding bikes in the woods, I have a wife who loves me, a jehrb that still lets me wear shorts while only occasionally doing hygiene stuff (I really need a shave right now), and my dog still greets me when I get home as if I'd been on a deep space mission to Mars for three years.  Mebbe I learned a lesson about respecting the limitations of my injured body.  Perhaps I've become a better person...

Probably not, but I'm trying.

Only twenty something more days till 2022.

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