Right away, I see that I should have used the title "Commitment" because that is the topic at hand this morning of July 4th and not my mental fortitude because, clearly, the fact that I am right at 3 weeks from a very long ride on some remote and quite difficult terrain all but certifies that I am still off the reservation. Additionally, the fact that I have never completely sealed the deal on this whole trail with 27 gears and am fast approaching the time when I need to shit or get off the pot on either sticking with one gear or throwing a different drivetrain on might seem suspect to some. Wish I could explain it but I'm not sure that I can.
Anyways...back to commitment. I fear no commitment. I feel like that's obvious. I just celebrated my four year wedding anniversary with my lovely and kick ass wife. I'm not sure if she supports me in some of the things I do because she truly loves me or because it's a way to get me out of the house for a bit (still need to inquire about multiple receipts I happened upon from the "pool guy" the last few months that seemed suspect to me).
Another area that I have been very committed to for the last year is with regard to riding singlespeed. Last year in early August I said I was going to do it and see how it changed my riding. Again, my lovely and kick ass wife bought me a lot of the parts that are on "Blue" my current bike. I am fast approaching a year now and it's been a nice transformation. I know I am a better rider now. I do still go back and forth with some degree of doubt about whether bringing only one gear is a mistake and I know the week before the race will be filled with anxiousness about it but in talking to a friend of mine recently (who is a very accomplished singlespeeder and enduro racer with both CTR and a still current Tour Divide record under his belt to name just two) he said, "Trust yourself and your judgement. Nobody else knows your body better than you do." Clearly sage advice that one ups the Dalai Lama himself. Thank you Pivay.
This brings me to what really is the point of all of this drivel. Yet another journey of commitment that I am about to set sail on. I've given this one lot's of thought through the years but have never been confident enough to actually pull it off. What is is you may ask? Well it's not wearing flip flops for the next 12 months because I may find myself in a situation where I need to outrun someone and I can only do that hooked toe thing for so long before cramps set in. It's also not drinking water only because well....beer kicks serious ass.
No friends...this commitment is on another level entirely. I am seriously thinking about committing to growing a beard for a full year. I'm not talking about stringing together 4 or 7 days or any of that sissy shit either. I'm talking about swinging for the fences and leaving it all out on that field. I do have a few concerns with a beard and they are as follows: 1. I have this weird kinda cow lick thing going on in my right, under chin area. I get this sweep of hair that I have to tend to about once a week. 2. Genetically speaking, I don't know that I can grow the thickest/fullest of beards. Don't get me wrong, my face doesn't look like a yard of dirt with a few weeds thrown in but I seem to have a little spot at the corners of my mouth that doesn't quite fill in as much as I'd like but it might turn out ok. 3. I'm folically challenged up top and decided to throw in the towel years ago and either shave the dome or just trim it with no guard. I'm happy with this decision as I have been told that I have a head with good shape to it. I used to not know what that meant but over the years I have seen guys with funky shaped heads going bald and that's just a kick to the nuts after already having fallen down in the dirt. I cannot grow hair up top to compliment the beard so I'm going to have to grow things a tad longer (maybe another 1/8") and then blend the facial hair in because I don't know that I care for white dudes that are bald and sport the beard. Something about the transition between straight up shaved and beard just looks off to me unless you wrestle "professionally".
I'm going to give this some serious thought the next couple of days and if I go with it, I will pick the day and mark the calendar. I actually already have some stubble. Of course I will provide weekly photos and journal entries on how it's impacting my life along the way. Foreseeable topics include, grooming, food or valuables being lost in it, itching, increased respect or fear shown towards me from random strangers, offers to model underwear, facial sweating and things of that nature. I have mentioned this idea in passing to Heather and the eye roll grunt combination leads me to believe that she is not thrilled but I've never been good at interpreting the subtle female body language communications. It's a damn good thing I'm not a Praying Mantis or certain species of spiders and scorpions.