I don’t how I do it, I don’t know why I agree, but somehow every season I get roped into and signed up for some sort of race. This year while volunteering at an adventure race in Ohiopyle, PA, my friend Ashley offered a comp entry into an X-terra she’s coordinating—THREE WEEKS FROM NOW. Time to get training.
I’ve never claimed to be fast. I’ve never claimed that I’m going to win anything. I always just take pride in the fact that I’m out there trying. This morning I got on my mountain bike and took off for the Deep Creek State Park. Hopped on the trail and was quickly humbled by all the rocks, roots and technical ground I was covering. I got off and walked.
The hill I climbed was on foot not by peddle. The hill I descended was on foot while pumping my squeaky brakes. I again had to cross the trail lifting the bike up a foot to clear the big rocks that I’m not skilled enough to ride. But at one point I looked up from the ground, steady with my footing, and noticed I was alone. I was out there on the trail alone. I was out there. That’s more than a lot of people I know can say about their morning.
It didn’t matter that I wasn’t yet good enough to bunny hop over the ‘boulders’, or that my legs had a hard time pumping up the incline. I was in the woods, swatting the flies, sweating through my shirt, getting dirt on my legs doing it and loving it. What are you doing?
Seen on my ride
Moving is weird. Picking up and moving everything you own is kind of a strange concept. Moving without packing up everything is an even stranger idea, I own very little. I now live in Maryland, western Maryland. I’m closer to West Virginia and the Amish of Pennsylvania than I am DC and Baltimore.
I left Michigan more or less on a whim. When I left Oregon I had anticipated going back by the end of July to spend my summer running the trails, biking, swimming at the reservoir and sipping on the craft brews of the best coast. Instead, I packed up my little suitcase, stole some of my Mum’s shoes and booked it east toward Wisp Mountain and Deep Creek Lake, now, owning even less than I did before. Most of my ‘stuff’ is safely stored in the basement of my friend in Southern Oregon. I spent nearly $200 at Target yesterday getting ‘stuff’ I need—like hair gel, workout shorts and underwear. All ‘stuff’ I have…in Oregon.
Now, the lake is in my back yard, Wisp is just a short ride away and I’m waiting tables at a place called Black Bear Tavern with teen moms, long haired former raft guides, and old men that tell me I have a cute butt. But when I retire my apron at the end of the night I go home to a view. On my days off I’m able to head to Ohiopyle, PA and hit the river, go across the lake to the State Park. I can ride my bike and take photos of my newest obsession—barns and silos, little churches and road signs.
Moving is weird, but it’s also exciting. It’s fun to get to know a new area, new people and stretch who I am. I’m able to expand my perspective on a new place in this country and explore. And to me exploration is what it’s all about.
What are you doing June 16th and 17th? Is being outdoors, surrounded by trees, facing a beautiful lake, encouraging friends, family and community members in an epic race something you enjoy? I know, I know, this sounds like a bad car commercial. But I’m trying to sell you on the idea of spending the day outside, with me, at the beautiful Applegate Lake. Granite-Man race weekend is quickly approaching and you’re kinda crazy if you don’t plan on being involved.
The weekend consists of a sweet off road triathlon. The bike portion goes all the way around the lake-I know it’s cool because I rode it last weekend. There’s a duathlon and an aquathon also. And hey, if you have kids that want to get involved have them do the kids tri—get them involved in this great sport early! Sunday will be a 10-mile trail run, one of the best trails in this area. If you haven’t run at the Applegate this is a great opportunity to try out a new place for future runs and rides.
Hang out here ALL weekend!
The weekend is partially about the event, but for me, it’s mostly about the sense of community involvement. I love to see people cheering others on, volunteers coming together to put on an amazing experience and athletes pushing themselves as hard as they can. That’s what this is, an experience for everyone.
Here’s me continuing to sell you on this great weekend: come volunteer for me! Send me an e-mail at VolunteerGM@gmail.com and you can receive a 50% off the race that you are not volunteering at. So, help me Saturday and run Sunday. Or get your tri on and help me out Sunday. Then hang out. Drink a Ninkasi beer, sit by the lake, watch the kids paddle around and enjoy an awesome weekend away—but not that far away!