But I dig riding my bike. Heather likes it when I ride my bike. She just doesn't like it when it becomes all encompassing like it has for the last several years. The sad part about it is that I had so much fun riding all summer long (long rides, short rides, rides in storms, rides in sweltering heat (albeit by Colorado standards at 9000 feet) etc.) but not 50 miles into the CTR, I was no longer having fun. For the majority of the trail, I did not have fun. Sure...there were periods that were fun or sections but, overall, I suffered and was lost. I would venture to say that I even hated it. Sadly, I had ridden the trail from the start to Copper Mountain numerous times throughout the summer and had a blast doing so (and most of that was done rigid and single). I guess the big difference was a lack of a schedule. Oddly enough, I was actually faster on a lot of my training rides where I just didn't give a rats ass and spent a lot of time looking at the scenery. During the race, there's not a lot of time for that and you certainly don't see much when you ride through the night. I think it was 2007 that Matt Lee raced the CTR after the Tour Divide and said he felt that lights should be outlawed because you stand to miss out on so much beauty by riding at night. He was right. I look at pictures of the places I pedaled through at night and it saddens me. But...those sights aren't going anywhere.
I don't know what (if anything) is next for me in terms of riding other than...well...riding. Heather and I talked about it today. I do know that I'll ride more. I'll do some stuff this summer in between fishing, playing with the pups, having fun with Heather (that means taking trips without the pups and plenty of tubing on the Platte in my Speedo), doing some more backpacking and drinking a beer or two. But I will not take it as seriously as in years past. I won't be racing. One day, I may even do the Colorado Trail again (although there are some stretches that I'd rather never see again). I've always wanted to ride the Katy Trail in its entirety and there's also a little route along the spine of the Rockies that's always intrigued me as well. But the most valuable lesson I learned is...I will do it in moderation. I'm so happy and fortunate to have the life/family that I do.
Thanks for checking in. Enjoy the holiday and I hope the New Year finds you all well. Now go do something fun. I will. Just as soon as I'm done feeling nauseous.