"For two non-pros, it was pretty awesome to get to experience what it must be like to be a training professional – a daily life built around riding and recovering and pushing yourself beyond your limits."
This race is already kind of an experience on its own. No trees, nothing, just endless field with a sneaky trail going up and down around a canyon. Some birds. Some rocks and it’s dry like a desert. The silence is kind of scary, when you come from Portland, it’s definitely weird to face nothing but the sound of the wind. Just this weird vibration of the wind in my left ear. It makes the whole place surrealist. The landscape reminds me of a painting by Dali, somewhere between something really organic and the weirdness of a dream, the same field as far as the skyline - the infinity of repetition.
My best bud is nearing the end (he’s 15 after all). It might not happen today, or even tomorrow, but in my gut I know it’s close. And while it’s not a tragedy, it still feels tragic. I’ve had many dogs in my life (counting family dogs, there have been 7, some still living) but none can match the impact Zeppo has had. I got him right when Greg and I moved to Portland in 2007. He was about 7, and I had just turned 23. I was kind of all over the place and I really credit him with grounding me and turning me into an adult, and ultimately the person I am today. We didn’t have a car at the time, so I learned my way around Portland with Zeppo on never-ending dogs walks and explorative runs to all corners of the city. I made friends through having him, spent many rainy days in crappy apartments with him, and he slept under the covers in my bed. I took tearful cab rides to the vet when he was sick, and frolicked on singletrack as much as possible. We traveled around Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Washington and even Ohio. We moved to Wisconsin, and back to Portland. Until about a year ago, he was still running with me, at 14 (I can only hope I age as well as Zeppo). He has been a constant source of companionship, joy, humor and pride and losing him is going to leave a tremendous hole in our little family. Thinking about our home without Zeppo is, honestly, terrifying. He changed my life and I wish he could stick around forever.
All too often, people use weight loss or the desire to alter their body as the motivator to workout, and it’s no wonder they fail or don’t enjoy the process. I wish that culturally we could focus on the doing rather than the result when it comes to sports and fitness. If your goal is “I want to ride my first 100k” rather than “I want to loose weight, or look different” I’m willing to bet the process and the result will be more meaningful and the results will last longer. The confidence you attain from doing something that was previously out of your reach only leads to further growth and trumps any menial weight loose target. Get outside, ditch the gym, and take the focus off altering your body and onto learning or doing something new. You won’t regret it. And, lay off that Fitspo shit.