Robbed, and then replenished

So I woke up yesterday and the doggo had shat all over the bedroom. He is ten. He knows better. But he also knows better than to sneak out of the house when I’m not looking, which he did the day prior, and go wandering ’round the neighbourhood, eating who knows what off the street for a good solid day.

But then he sits there, with his off-kilter sit and looks at me like, “Heeeyyyy, it’s no big deal..” and I dutifully pick up his poop and leave him be. He’s fine now. I am too, minus the small heart attack sustained when I realized he wasn’t in the house and a neighbour called to say she’d found him. I’m just glad a cougar didn’t find him first.

Robbed, because that same day my dog went for an adventure, my bike ride was cancelled because school was cut short for the kiddos. “Professional development day”, whatever that means, so they only go to school for three hours and then I have to figure out what to do with them. We went for a chilled out bike ride through some blue trails, because you’d better believe I’m gonna be all salty about missing a grown-up ride on a sunny day. There were only two rounds of tears. And snacks whilst sitting on a curb in a parking lot later, because tables and chairs are overrated.

Then this morning, I’m all ready to head out for a ride when I hear a dreaded cough come from the kids’ bedroom. First one, then the other. Just a cough or two each. They wander in to my room, and my son looks sad. My daughter bursts into tears, because she wanted to wear a dress to school today but, “I don’t want to get my friends sick!!” I call the school to say they won’t be coming, cancel my ride, and book them both covid tests. SIGH. Robbed again.

We do some research on Neptune, and there is a debate about how Uranus should be pronounced (and why one way is funnier than the other), and we do some math worksheets.

We head to the lake near our house and kill some time in solitude.

It is here that I realize I haven’t heard a cough since waking this morning. And there is an awful lot of energy being expended on climbing rocks and throwing them as far as we can.
“Are you guys feeling normal?”
“Yeah. I feel fine, mom.”
I look at the guidelines for testing, and without any further symptoms, I cancel their tests.

I get word that the local pumptracks are dry and ready to ride.

We are going biking dammit.

So I load up the bikes, rushing to get there before the school day ends so we’ll have the track to ourselves. It is indeed running pretty mint. And the new dirt jumper?
HO. LEE. COW.
It feels so good! So easy to maneuver, so light, so frickin’ sweet. I cannot wait for the progression that will hopefully come this summer. I am going to clean that snake line this year and learn a trick, so help me God. I legitimately feel like I’m riding better because of this bike.
We head to another track in the shade of the trees, and the kids get bored, and suddenly, it becomes a game of me chasing them all over the track on my bike while they run around like ants in a tsunami movie. It is, unexpectedly, insanely fun. And I’m getting a good workout and some solid pumptrack practice in.
Bonus? All the dirt jump folks I haven’t seen since last summer are bumming around, because I guess we all don’t work at 1 pm on a Friday afternoon. It is a lovely spontaneous gathering of faces I haven’t seen in a season. One guy rides a lap, chats with everyone for a long while, then rides off to work. Another decides to get into a discussion with my children about Schroedinger’s cat.
“Is it cool if we talk about death? Like dead cats?”
Yah. They’re cool. We had a discussion about suicide this morning.
“Oh. Heavy. Okay, so dead cats in a box are cool?
Yup. We’re good.
He explains the concept. Another guy drops by. “THE CAT IS DEAD! You don’t need to open the box!”
Sigh.

Mom? What’s that guy’s name, really? It’s not Nick Fury.
No kiddo, it’s not. It’s not Peter Parker like he told you, either.

But what if he really has been lying to you about his name for the last five years?
He hasn’t. I know his name. Don’t worry.

We go the library post-pumptrack and the kids pick out some books. I choose My Side of the Mountain for them, because there are some actual useful survival skills in there, and I remember loving it as a kid. My son picks out a book called Rebel Genius, which seems way too dark for a six-year old, but I read the back to him and he’s in to it. My daughter picks a few other books about kids who go to magic school.

We get home and I start reading Rebel Genius to them. They’re slack-jawed and absorbed. Before I know it, four hours have passed. This book is good. Sometimes I feel like I missed my calling as an audiobook reader. I really enjoy it. Only now, we’re halfway through and there are these creatures that are locked in a castle cellar that the former dead “artist” had created with eyeballs on their elbows, and my son is going to have nightmares because even I was getting palpitations reading it.
I’m snuggling him as I try to get him to sleep, and he says to me,
“Mama? Today was an amazing day.”

That’s it. I’m done.
All is right in the world.
Some days, I win. 🙂

Bike days

I am on page 128 of an 878 page file review, but simply cannot read anymore about car accidents and chronic pain.

I am on day five of five of happily riding my bike. I could do this forever.

It’s been glorious. Even on grey days, it’s been prime trail conditions. A little chilly, with ice and snow near the top of the climbs, but the past couple of days? Sunshine forever. And views like this:

Disclaimer: We were only *not* 2 m apart for the 10 seconds it took the self-timer to take this photo.

This was a trail I’ve never ridden before. It’s a longer climb than the usual trails I ride in this area, and that lactic burn? Exceptionally real today. Riding on tired legs is a strange, satisfying martyrdom. I am with the ridiculously fit friend, who can climb and chat with seeming little effort, and with another friend who rides an e-bike. I am okay with this because it means we can now ride with her, and because she is happy to wait for me, huffing and puffing behind. I am slowly getting fitter chasing people like these.
Well, I’d frickin’ better be.

My jacket keeps my stem warm…in case you were wondering.

The downhill, as always, is the ultimate reward. There are fun bits like this, along with a few steep, rooty chutes to keep you on your toes, and a few tight switchbacks to keep you wishing that you’d spent some time learning to do nose pivots.

Then I took the kids to the pumptrack, where my dead legs managed two laps, and then my heart was pounding and I just wanted to lie down and take a nap. Then we got ice cream, because really, that’s the true reason my kids will come to the pumptrack with me. Bribery and parenting come hand in hand.

I’m cooked. Brain and body.
Just thought I’d share some scenery. 🙂

Metablog

I posted something, left it up for a day, then took it down. No good reason, aside from the simple fact that it didn’t sit right in my gut that it was up. I didn’t like it. It made me feel sad, and what’s the point of posting things like that? I think six people saw it, though I don’t know how WordPress metrics work, and whether or not it includes email subscribers.

Eons ago, I used to follow a blog of some girl. I remember nothing about her, aside from one post shortly after she had broken both wrists and was in two casts. She was still able to type, it would seem. In it, she casually mentioned how her male partner “made love to her gently” with her casts on, and I was eye-rollingly annoyed.
Why?
Because a) it came out of nowhere, as discussions on relationships and sex were not generally a part of her writing, and b) now I had this image of her flat on her back with both arms in heavy casts pinning her hands beside her head while some dude did all the work on top. (HA! And now I’ve given it to you. Sh*t. Sorry.)
She was fully serious. It wasn’t meant to be funny, and it was sort of like, this great, redeeming thing for her about having two broken arms.
What am I supposed to do with that for the rest of the day?!
Honestly.

Anyway, I’m reading this novel with a sad protagonist. She’s just attempted suicide and is in a strange sort of purgatory. BUT, there is something that gives me the sense that this will end well; that her character arc will result in an about-face of how she views her life, and I will not be a desolate puddle of tears at the end, regardless of whether she ultimately lives or dies. I’m putting a lot of trust in this author, no? I hope it is not misguided. The last novel that really knocked me off my feet ended with a double suicide in a middle eastern country in a Romeo&Juliet-esque disaster. I was crying in a cafe on a sunny afternoon, and now, when people recommend books to me, my first question is, “Will it make me cry?” because if it will, I’m not going to read it. I only have so much emotional reserve, and I must be careful with it.

I’ve never thought about it for this sort of casual writing, as it’s generally been a space to get things out on paper, without having to find references or fear a courtroom pick-apart, but if people actually read this, shouldn’t it be something fun and useful?

Musings about bikes, a collection of random memories and anecdotes, a ranting place; thus far, this space’s only purpose is self-indulgence and therapy for me.

But then, this is what will keep me writing in it, I suppose.
So you’re stuck with this. No apologies.
Thanks for reading.

One day at a time.

I am supposed to be working but kids are distracting and it’s sunny outside and I had a spectacular bike ride this afternoon. It’s Easter Sunday, and while some are out having brunches and dinners today, we are hunkering down and lonely because covid sucks.

Out of the blue, an old friend messaged me last night. I’ve likely mentioned him before, but he’s now a Public Health Officer on the other side of the country. He’d been ready to quit his job just before the pandemic hit and focus on his writing. Out of civic duty and altruism, he did not, and has instead become a very public face over there, receiving all sorts of backlash and threats, resulting in an amusing and creative facebook name change.

****************************
How goes friend? Up for a virtual drink sometime?

Of course! Was just thinking of you yesterday (I actually was – his name showed up in a news article I was reading). How are you? Can’t imagine the sh!t show that is life as a public health officer right now.

I told you my analogy last time, yes? Me mudwrestling with corona, I’m smothered and plastered in it, it’s ugly and messy, I am losing, and the crowd is dumping it on me.
Basically we’ve moved now into the phase where the crowd is also paddling me while I am in the pit.
I feel like staying in this role is epic self-immolation.
But I am always down for some scotch and covid chats whenever you’re free lol

*****************************

I think of him as I walk the dog this morning, doing lunges up the street (I am past the point of caring what people think), and am distracted by a big pickup that pulls up next to me and yells out encouragement for my lunging. Friends driving by. We chat in the street, and I am pleased for that snippet of conversation with people I haven’t seen in far too long.

I wonder if he will quit his job once the chaos lessens. How much is too much?
I suspect I am, to many of my physician friends, the epitome of lazy and selfish. I have chosen the easy path, the one that allows self-gratification and sanity, at the cost of serving my community to the fullest. How does one serve one’s community when you’re working so much you hate everyone? But you know what? I suspect too, that many are quietly (and some openly) jealous I’ve done this.
There’s a weird mindset in medicine. The subculture remains patriarchal and hierarchical, with a strange pride in martyrdom. It’s changing, but slower than one would expect for such an educated subset. We’re all riddled with insecurity at our cores, it would seem.

Anyway, we’re better off than my family out east, trapped in their houses, curfews, virtually martial law. I am outside and riding my bike and smiling at the sun. I guiltily took a half an ativan last night because I felt so sad and miserable about the current state of affairs, and went to bed at 9. Then I woke up at 730 and felt like a normal human again. I haven’t taken an ativan since residency. Eep. Don’t worry, I will not make a habit of it.

Take what you can get and celebrate the little things. One day at a time.

How can one *not* feel better/grateful when it looks like this outside?

Discombobulated

I had a legal assessment today. He described his brain as feeling like someone took a dull butter knife and gave it a rough chop, then sloppily put it together again and shoved it back into his skull. In short, he didn’t think it was working very well.

I went riding today after my case. My climbing was laboured, effortful. I was exhausted at every stretch. Why couldn’t I find the power to make that corner? Why were my gears constantly slipping? Why did it feel like I was going to die?

We take a shorter, easier route down, because something was off. Just as we are about to start, my pedals won’t move, and I realize my rear axel has almost slipped out. Here’s why you have to tighten everything before every ride..

I head to a nearby bike shop and hose off the bike at the end. As I ride off with wet brakes, my front brake is rubbing continuously. I flip it over, and the pads are in constant rotor contact. The front wheel won’t spin more than a quarter way ’round. Well. That’s going to make climbing harder. So I’m not just a terrible, out-of-shape old lady. Clearly, I should just stop doing any mechanical work on my bike, because I suck at it.

Regarding old lady status: I am finding gray hairs every morning and feeling moderately distressed about it. I tell my dad. He advises me to put black sesame on everything. It’s an old Chinese belief. Couldn’t hurt?

My brother texts me and says he is thinking about moving to Bogota. WHAT? Is it the lockdown? What is happening? Why Bogota? He does not do April fool’s pranks. He will actually do this, should he wish to. I tell him I will call him, and he says no, he has to go find toilet paper, because they’re going into full lockdown again in in two days. He is angry. “Don’t tell dad yet. I have to figure out logistics and am in discussions with work.”
I am 99.9% sure my dad doesn’t read this.

Our beloved mountain closed prematurely, by sudden order of our provincial health officer. Cases are surging again. It was, to many, a slap in the face. But we got *almost* a whole season out of it, so that’s something? It makes my heart sad. I want so badly to see friends up close and personal and have snacks in someone’s living room in front of a fire while laughing about something. Anything. My daughter is mad that ski school is cancelled again, just when she was starting to get good at 360 turns.

My children have a made up their own “chores chart”. Sometimes I don’t know where these kids come from. I had nothing to do with this, I swear.

They give themselves little gold stars when they make their beds, fold laundry, clean their room, vacuum, or help make their lunches. (The “math” is because like every Chinese tiger mom, I have them signed up for extra math tutoring, and they get homework every week, even over Spring Break.) When I saw it, I added a row for “positive mindset” under the vacuum row and told them they could get a star for when they are sad/mad or frustrated, and decide to think about something happy so that it doesn’t get any worse and so they can wait out the feeling. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for kids.

The past two days, they’ve given themselves stars in this category, and will give me examples of how they used this to justify the stars. It’s pretty cool.

There is no endpoint; no objective or prize. I’m just going to play it out and see where this goes.

In the meantime, I am mad/sad. I want this virus stuff done. Immunize our old and vulnerable, wait till the ICU/death rates trend down, then let’er rip. This is going to be endemic eventually. Let’s get the show on the road. If only the national vaccination program wasn’t such a sh*tshow. ie. If only there was a program…*sarcasm*

Positive Mindset: I sold my old (read: 2003) dirt jumper yesterday. I bought it 1.5 years ago for $140, put new tires and a new chain on it and had a wheel trued, rode a lot of dirt jumps and crashed a lot, then sold it for $250 within an hour of listing it, with a 3 person waitlist. Pandemic pricing.
Though it’s cost me more in the end with this ridiculous dirt jumping obsession.
But it’s a healthy, soul-filling obsession.
The soul might be full, but the bank account isn’t!
But… that’s the correct way ’round. The opposite must be truly awful.

Important things. Sometimes you need friends to remind you of them.

TRIUMPH!

It’s the little things.

Yesterday I rode my bike for two solid hours with people infinitely faster than me and it was so fun and then I had to go home and do nothing because my muscles feel old and deconditioned and I lay there like a lump on a log while pondering why my bottom bracket was creaking again after only replacing it late last year.

I was so tired when I messaged a bike friend (who fixed this for me in the past) that “My bottom is creaking again” and he replied with a dry, “Consider a change in diet.” Sigh. And then it somehow became an interesting discussion about trail names and racism and marginalized society. See? I am capable of thinking about things other than bikes. ANYWAY.

Today, I am winning, because:
1. I had a trial prep phone call with a lawyer and did not have an anxiety attack about court. I am still hoping they settle but if they don’t, testifying hopefully won’t be too traumatic. This lawyer was way nicer than the original one who was on the case.

2. I BLED MY OWN BRAKES TODAY!! All by myself!

This has long been a source of frustration for me, because a brake bleed and changing brake pads seems like such a simple thing, and yet. AND YET. It does not matter how many degrees one has.

So I’ve always asked friends for help, and as they had all the equipment, it would just get done. But this time, when I took it in for a service, the friend who serviced it did not have the bottom right piece in above photo, because all his brakes don’t require this piece, and use only mineral oil. My brakes need DOT fluid and this stupid extra piece. So he didn’t do it, as it would mean purchasing said piece, and a whole new bleed kit because you wouldn’t want to cross contaminate DOT fluid and mineral oil.
Today, I marched myself to the bike shop and bought that extra stupid piece for $32. Which is RIDICULOUS. It is also called a monopoly.
Then I got over it, marched over to a friend’s to pick up some leftover DOT fluid, then marched myself back home and put the bike on the stand.

Then the internet gave me a step-by-step tutorial, and I followed it to a T, and TA-DA! Front brake bled and new pads placed. GLORIOUS!
Well, then, since I’ve got all this stuff out, I might as well do the back. But oh, this is a new derailleur and I don’t know how it works. 😦
It took some fiddling to get the back wheel off, and then, DONE!
I put it all back together but wait…now the shifting’s funny. Dun dun dun…

The nice thing about living in a town with a lot of athletes is that there’s this girl who is an influencer/ski queen/ski instructor/bike coach/racer/dirt jumper/photographer and general girl extraordinaire, and she lives two doors down. She pulls onto the street, sees me fiddling, and yells out the window: “IT’S BIKE SEASON!!!” with a big grin.
“I JUST BLED MY OWN BRAKES!” I announce, proudly. Because this is legit the biggest deal to me.
“But I’ve messed something up!”
“Oh!” And she pulls onto my driveway, puts on a mask, and comes to take a look.
Five seconds later, she has identified my error and a few greasy fingers and allen key turns later, problem solved.
Then my neighbour across the street comes out with her new pup. They’re a big snowboard/bike family in town, with their kids appearing in bike movies and snowboard edits, and both parents as coaches. We chat, and I announce to her too that I JUST BLED MY OWN BRAKES! We talk puppies and bikes and decide that we should go for a ride together and I am actually really excited at the prospect, though she is probably a pro and omg I hope she will wait for me. I remember her husband telling me about when they went on their first bike date together and she dropped into this feature on the entrance to a double black trail like it was a walk in the park, and he had no choice but to follow and try to keep up. I have yet to ride this feature, and have walked it every time.

I bet these women have been bleeding their own brakes forever.

Well, pat me on the back and call me Happy, because now I can join their ranks, thankyouverymuch.

Bleargh.

Ohhh I love memes.

Though in argument to the above photo, I’d venture to say that skinny slick tires combined with distracted drivers means I’m terrified for my life for the most part on a road bike, which is an adrenaline rush in and of itself. I’ve never tried gravel riding, because I figure there’s really no point. It lacks the rush of speed that comes with road riding, and the adrenaline/forests that come with mountain biking. It’s in this weird in-between that is trendy for reasons wholly unbeknownst to me.

Anyway. I have chosen to gripe about something I know nothing about because I’ve not had enough fun this week. Yet.

As the waitlist grows ever longer, I’ve lengthened my clinic days by an extra three hours. This means that instead of finishing at 5 pm, I finish at 8 pm. So it’s a solid 12 hour work day, and then some usually. This more or less means that the next two months will consist of more work than I’d like, and a general tipping of the work-life balance, as all the legal work will still take the same amount of time.
I’ve only committed to this extra hours thing for the next two months because I’ve got a lot of dirt jumping skills I want to work on this summer, and I might go insane if I do this longer.
And, I will never look back and wish I’d worked more.

I think I sometimes harbour so much animosity toward work because it’s exhausting. It’s people for ten of those twelve hours: worried or sick or scared people. And it’s me trying to get a coherent story out of them, examining them, then trying to sort out a plan for what to do. Then it’s writing notes and ordering tests and reviewing results. It’s about 2 hours of paperwork at the end of the day, not counting all the paperwork throughout the day, and not counting the surprise phone calls and emails and memos that need to be answered, referrals that need triaging, and results that need to be discussed. Every hour I see a person adds about fifteen minutes of paperwork. My brain is fully fried at the end of a clinic day. It’s reminiscent of the chaos of residency, but better.
Residency was like having ten toddlers asking you questions all the time and wanting answers RIGHTNOW while three people kept trying to die on your watch while you scribbled out a note or asked a junior to scribe and you ran around like an ant on speed. Oh, and you haven’t slept, because you’ve been there for 36 hours and your staff doc is quizzing you and you’re supposed to present Grand Rounds tomorrow but Powerpoint and public speaking are your nemeses (I once sat down on the floor behind the podium during my Rounds presentation after a big discussion ensued because I really just wanted to go to sleep. No f*cks given). Repeat x5 years.
Clinic is more like a controlled trickle of grownups asking questions, and no one trying to die. Much calmer. Only you’re stuck doing all the paperwork and every pee break extends the amount of time you’re trapped in front of your computer doing paperwork.
Ah well. At least I can eat while doing paperwork. They don’t pay you for the paperwork, by the way.
Does any job actually pay you for the paperwork?

Just had to get that out of my system.
I know I’m lucky to be doing what I’m doing, so just ignore me.

I’m going to ride my bike tomorrow. Be the top two guys in the photo above. It’ll be great. 🙂

Homage to the current home

How many people actually get to choose where they live?
How many people simply decide to stay where they are? Because it’s easy to find a job there, because family is there, because they grew up there, because that’s where their friends are, because inertia.

I’m having a moment today; where I just look around and think, hot damn I’m blessed. This is the best place on earth. I have all I could ever want.
No doubt this can be found anywhere, but it took moving here for me to find it.

It may be because I just had the laziest ever Sunday, where, after doing my 100s, and about an hour of work, I have lain on the couch with my dog reading and doing nothing. No skiing or bikes today, as the hubs is working, while I live a life of weekend luxury and have plunked the children in front of the television because I am a horrible parent and didn’t feel like taking two reluctant kids out on the mountain or out on a snowy bike ride. (I did have them ride their bikes up and down the street, and do some math homework and practice piano and rid their closets of too-small clothing though.) I’ll make my end of the bargain up the next few days at work. My schedule for tomorrow is bananas.

whistlerblackcomb.com

I love this town. I love all the people in it, even if I haven’t met them all. I love how beautiful it is when it snows, how moody the silhouettes of the trees are against an ashen sky when it rains. I love how glittering and spectacular it is when it’s sunny. I love the variety of people here. I love their competitive drive, their entrepreneurial spirits, their passion for the outdoors, for adventure, for fun. I love that all the kids here know how to ski and bike and have no recall of not knowing how to do these things, because they all started when they were three. Together.

I love that the world clamours to be here. That living here is a dream for so many.

My husband works in real estate. He often gets trolls on his online ads, mocking the ridiculousness of the asking price for a plot of earth here. Our extended families, when they visit, balk at the price of groceries. The argument that ultimately no one can contest is always, “But look at this place. Just look around you.” And you turn around and see the mountains at your doorstep, lakes, rivers, trails all outside your front door. There is fine dining and heli-tours and people, and there is simultaneous solitude and wilderness.
Get a lap in before work. Or after. Whatever you fancy.

whistler.com

Nearly everyone here has moved here from somewhere else. And nearly everyone here who has decided to stay, has left behind job opportunities, families, something stable and safe, to be here, in search of adventure and possibility and a different approach to life. There are also many who have come here, then left, but inevitably, return months or years later, realizing that once you’ve lived here, all other possibilities seem less exciting somehow.

There is an underlying restlessness, a PeterPan-dom, maybe it’s ADHD. It is difficult to sit still, but sometimes, after a week solid of movement, the idea of a Sunday being a day of rest is a sigh of relief.

I’ve often said, after we moved here, that this I where I want to die; ideally at a healthy, ripe old age, having had the privilege of seeing my children grown and having my fill of skiing and biking and all the other fun things I have yet to discover.

Many friends say the same, invoking the adamant, childish stance of “NO, I’m never leaving” while gripping firmly to a tree branch, arm woven through a bike frame. I’ve found my kindreds. A whole town of them.

Access to this trail is fifteen minutes from my house. Then it’s a 2-3ish hour pedal up to get here. Faster if you’re not me. And the photographer is a friend. Check her work out here, it’s amazing: https://www.justajeskova.com/

In your head

I discovered recently that the Cranberries lead singer died. Quite some time ago.

Anyway, it is her voice that echoes in my head, when I think about all the things that are in my head, and seem to have so much power over everything. Brains are funny things. As a neurologist, I can tell you that we basically don’t know anything. Okay, we know some stuff. The stuff we know is fascinating and amazing and totally mind-blowing. And there’s enough that we know to result in a lot of studying and a minimum five year residency with usually a one to two year fellowship on top (ie. 5-7 years of extra training after finishing medical school), but even with what we do know, we don’t really know anything. I feel bad for neurology trainees in a hundred years or so. There’ll be that much more they’ve figured out. Hopefully.

But anyway.
Bikes.
They take up a solid 80% of my waking thoughts.
And there is so much about mountain biking that is in your head.

I got to ride with a friend yesterday who is passionate about the sport, but despite years of diligent practice, she has not progressed with the rest of us. Why? Her head.
It’s a mental game, and biking does not reward a spirit of timidity.

He casts a critical eye, no?

She struggles on the climbs, not because she doesn’t have the strength or technique, but I think because she is uncertain if she can make it over that root, or that rock. She struggles on the descents in the same manner. And when she is afraid, she stops, and cannot seem to talk herself through that fear to overcome it.
Our brains work differently, and I don’t know how to help her. But it doesn’t matter, really, because she enjoys being in the woods, riding her bike, and seeing her own gradual progressions. She has no real desire to huck off that rock, charge down that chute, or fly through that corner. Her joy in mountain biking is simply in the riding, and when I ride with her, they are easier trails, and I work on trying new line choices or hopping over little things, or riding features as slowly as possible, which is often harder than riding them fast. We ride slowly and have a chat, and it’s all still a nice time, on a bike, in the woods.

Today, I rode with a different friend. His bike brain is perhaps more comprehensible to me. He patiently led me down a trail my first or second year riding that should only take half an hour, but took me two and a half. Not long after that, we rode a trail that was way above my pay grade at the time. There is one big rock feature I’ve walked every. single. time. It looks daunting, with all sorts of rocks in awkward places and steps and bumps that it’s hard to see the line down. Once, we went to ride it, and he crashed hard on it, hitting a tree, cracking his helmet and breaking a couple ribs. He’s ridden an alternate line down it ever since. That was a carnage day. One guy separated a shoulder, another crashed and lost his mojo, and another cut up his leg.

We rode it again today, and while he attempted the feature again, pulled the brakes and called it before completing it. He’s ridden it a bunch before that crash, and it’s one of those things that once he eventually rides it again, it’ll be fine moving forward. It’s his head that’s getting in the way. We all know this, and alas, it is the most frustrating thing about mountain biking. (That, and the friends who are always fitter than you, no matter how hard you work.)
Come on brain, get it together.
He shows me the line, and I manage it successfully. It’s my first time ever riding this feature. It’s a good headspace day for me, it would seem. It’s hard to have a bad day riding. Unless I’m hungry. I’ve learned now that the second my brain gets all negative on a ride, it is only ever because I’m hungry.

The nice thing about biking though, is that even when you’re having a bad brain day, well then, take it easy. The advice from bike friends that has now become a mantra: “If you’re not feeling it, you’re not feeling it. That rock/jump/slab/chute will still be there tomorrow.”

Live to ride another day.

IIIiiiit’s BIKE SEASON!!!!

I know it’s crooked. I’m not good at photos with gloves on okay?

Thank GOD.
I’ve been out for a couple, but not a proper one until Thursday and Friday.

On Thursday, I rode that one that messes with me psychologically again, only it was drier than it has been in the past, and I cleaned it! SO, now that I’ve done it in its entirety once, it’s just a matter of doing it again, and again, and hopefully faster, and in the wet. This guy makes it look easy, but it I swear, it starts with all this fast flow, and then it tosses you into a bunch of roots and off camber rock jank.

I had four whole hours to play on Friday though.
I met up with a friend I haven’t seen in nearly two years, because a) summer friend, and b) Monday night ride friend – and since Monday night rides were cancelled last year, we just rode with our own respective bike circles and didn’t see each other.

Magically, we were both free Friday, and met up in a town south of us, where the trails are dry and pretty perfect. There’s this trail I’ve wanted to ride since I heard about it from a friend about a year or two ago. She’d said I might like it. Another friend rode it earlier this past week, and also suggested I go check it out. We decided to head there. The person I was riding with is on a mission to earn trail “badges” on Trailforks, so every trail he ticks off adds to the total sum of trails in certain areas, and thus he was keen to check it out too.

The photo above is shortly after entering that trail, with an incredibly peaceful and satisfying view of the valley. Here’s someone else riding it, and he does it at about the same pace I was able to manage it, especially since we were riding it blind. The riding friend lost his mojo after an early crash on one of the trails we rode to warm up, and ended up walking nearly every feature, which, in the end, may have been more sketchy than just riding them. He is generous and positive though.
Bikes: I think they just attract good, positive people.

He films me ride one section (as usual, the video looks very unexciting, and not very steep) then jokingly asks if my kids know that their mom is a badass. I dunno, badass vs adolescent in a 40-year-old woman’s body… same same. I am suddenly thinking about the dirt jumps, and how I may need to start going at 6 am again so that it’s not so intimidating. And find a regular girl crew to go with. It’s always less intimidating when you have a girl crew.

I don’t know what it is this year. Last spring, I was crashing (painfully, I might add) every ride for the months of March and April, and this year so far, I’ve been riding on point, just feeling confident and strong on tech features, even if my fitness is seriously lacking and I’m going slower…
Maybe it’s the new tires.

Anyway, even though I didn’t get to ride this weekend, I’m still all blissed out from my Thurs/Fri high, and seriously, who needs drugs when you have bikes?

I can’t wait for the rest of the season to present itself, with all of its joys and triumphs and challenges and fabulous people.

It’s all good. I think I have the big guy’s blessing on this addiction. Though I personally would’ve put him on something better than a basket cruiser with coaster brakes.