2010, goodbye. And thanks.
The expectations I had going into 2010 were met, and in most cases, far exceeded. It was one of those years of ongoing and deliberate adventure, exploration, and even—although modest—success and self-discovery. From a bike racing point-of-view, I am not sure that I could ask for anything more. Despite the delusions of grandeur that I openly foster and tend, the realities that dominate and define my life prevent most of those incantations from ever materializing as anything more than glimpses or brief, fleeting moments. But then, those small windows are enough. I’m happy. Satisfied. And yet, hungry for more. It is, after all, that pursuit of happiness that wakes me up in the morning and sends me out into to world and realm of wilderness, and necessarily, cubicles.
I wrote in January of 2010 that “I am determined to turn empyrean visions into corporeal reality this year. Which means ignoring those golden windows (momentarily) and focusing on the bitter, hard work that is required to actually obtain something of substance and merit.” A year later? Success!—If moving slightly forward in the field at the cross-country races, and trying a few new things can be considered items of ‘substance’ or ‘merit’, that is. And why not? I’m 33 years old. It’s probably safe to put any professional aspirations into the memory hole of “not-going-to-happen”. Not that I held any such aspirations to begin with. Not consistently, anyway.*
*Although… (“Oh stop it!” — my wife)
Enough philosophizing. Below are few of my favorite moments of what can only be described as a stellar 2010:
2010 had no shortage of great riding. From American Fork Canyon, to Thunder Mountain, to Moab and Saint George. Even routine after-work rides came with unexpected and spontaneous brilliance. Which shouldn’t be unexpected, really—after all, riding a bike is riding a bike. The day that most represented the season as a whole, however, came in Park City, Utah. The trail network in Park City is a wonderful array of singletrack, switchbacks, and panoramic, wide-angled, amazing. My entire summer focused (perhaps, in the end, to a detrimental result) on the Park City Point 2 Point. And although that day became a lesson in personal determination, the weeks leading up to it, and this specific ride in particular, offered a prolonged look at the possibilities therein. A tangible grasp of those delusional ends I am so often chasing. I find myself often muttering about, “if only the Point 2 Point would have been at the end of July…”. Alas, it wasn’t. But the end of July came with an inordinate amount of energy and legs and confidence. As for the race itself? The before and after make for an interesting dichotomy.
Favorite Ski Day:
The Utah snow in 2010 did not exactly live up to the ‘Greatest Snow on Earth’ mantra. Indeed, it was, for much of the year, utter garbage. However, late season storms and stability brought redemption. And Bonkers. I wrote that that day was ” one of those rare and astonishing days. That kind of superlative, effusive, iconic day where sun and snow and the stunning and enormous terrain seem to continually and constantly steal your breath, leaving you elated, euphoric, and alive.” The passage of time has not dimmed the ecstasy. In fact, it has probably only served to intensify and elevate it.
‘Race’ only loosely describes the Dixie Lite. Indeed, it bares little resemblance to anything traditionally called such. Oh, certainly, there were start and finish lines, and a clock. But beyond that, the 170 miles of dirt and singletrack and unanticipated wonderment went far beyond a mere race. No, the Dixie Lite was an epiphany. A vision. Of what can and might be. What, for many, already is. And how so? So much more is possible than what we currently do on a bike. No distance is too far, and no mountain pass too high, so long as there is time enough to pedal. Bikepacking lifts the fog of the unseen and breaks down the barriers of light and dark and days. Distance melts into time and scenery, and “where to camp tonight.” I’d love to bikepack more. And more after that. Reality holds a firm grip on time, however. But the seed has been planted.
Favorite New Discovery:
Cyclocross. Without a doubt. Cyclocross. I still cannot explain exactly why, but I’ve never had so much fun, while suffering so much. ‘Cross is illogical, inexplicable, and wonderful. Utterly wonderful. And already I am looking forward to the autumn of 2011 and the ensuing absurdity of barriers, off-camber turns, and soaking-wet muddy smiles.
Best New Music:
2010 was a good year for music. I stumbled across a lot of new–to me–bands that I have thoroughly enjoyed. But the best of them was Mumford and Sons. They have a unique sound that seems to play well in the desert, the mountains, or while driving down a crowded freeway. I’m looking forward to what comes next from Mumford and Sons in 2011, and beyond.
There are a few blog posts that stand out to me, as I look back at the year of writing—or blogging. Can any of this really be considered writing? Among my favorites are the Interview with Lance Armstrong, as well as, of course, Twitterstrong—and if you are wondering… Yes, I’ve since been blocked by Lance’s Twitter Police. However, I think my favorite post of the year, and perhaps one that more accurately represents the theme and tone of this blog was after one of the better ski tours I had in 2010, when I learned a little more about the point of the mountain.
And there you have it. A few of my favorite things from 2010.
Exit Question: What were some of your favorites?