I'm not sure if it's friday or the rain but today's blog has me (poorly) waxing a bit philosophical. I had another post ready but the weather put a damper on that until Monday. So instead you're now stuck with my rambling...
I've not a great artist. I don't sing in public lest non valuable things be thrown in my direction. My high school cello playing left much to be desired for those forced to listen to it unaccompanied by the rest of the orchestra. However athletics have often been an outlet for me where those watching at least didn't have to run away in horror. From the early days of endless late nights perfecting my basketball skills to the current almost never ending bike rides, I find solace and an avenue for expression through my muscles. Consistently pushing harder and further, muscular strength has given way to increasing mental strength whether that's pushing without sleep or focusing my way through technical downhills alone and where a fall would be most unwise. And as I ride, the further I go, the more beautiful things I see. The more beautiful things I see, the more I wonder how to share them with others and also as my dad points out, bring about a greater good from the experience. What's the answer to that? I don't know but I'm working on figuring it out.
Certainly one positive aspect of my cycling progression has been an in depth understanding of what I truly need as a person, both on a physical survival level and gradually on an emotional level as well. As Marni can attest, I have a deeply ingrained drive to live simply. Sure I can be distracted by shiny bikes, cool electronics and flashy gear as much as the next person but given time to settle down I'm usually longing to jettison unneeded stuff. The point of all this chatter of course is "what next?" and "where do I go from here?". While walking home from our Starbucks date this morning, I couldn't help but ponder a reoccurring viewpoint of mine or perhaps it's a hypothesis.
Foot travel is the purest form of athletic self expression.
I used to run. I like running and hiking a lot. And when you're on foot, you free yourself of the bike equipment, many of the things which can break, the need to upgrade components and the consumables of tires, brake pads, chains, etc. When you run, all you really need is shoes and some would argue you can do without those. Running is allowed everywhere with no Wilderness restrictions. When you're on foot, scrambling on unrideable terrain is much faster and snow travel is viable with far fewer restrictions.
Running is not without it's problems however. Even for those with relatively indestructible bodies it's hard on the knees and feet. Plus it's definitely slower in most terrain requiring an increased time to travel the same distance which in turn requires more food and for most of us, vacation days. Let's not forget too that running downhill in no way can compete with the fun of down hilling on a mountain bike.
So foot travel is back on the radar this fall and winter. I'm not ready to give up cycling because, well, it's awesome and I love it. But I'm hoping I can reach some sort of equilibrium where at least for certain parts of the year I can do both without totally sucking on my feet. I do have unfinished business with everything from my goal 5k PR to a real actual marathon not done in training. And of course there are many fastpacking type trips bouncing around in my head in non bike legal or accessible terrain. First up, Yellowstone adventure with DaveC...