I closed out the summer by spending three days backpacking along the Superior Hiking Trail with my good friend Curtis. We struck out Northbound from Gooseberry Falls State Park and covered thirty some odd miles of the trail, ending up in Tettegouche State Park from where we hitched back to Curtis’s car. This was my first multi-day hiking trip, and it left me yearning for more. It was humbling to feel sore and exhausted after the relatively short days that we put in, but that was more than offset by the exhiliration brought on by trying something new and seeing the world from a new perspective. We saw some amazing country, and I ended the trip with a renewed appreciation for how lucky I am to be from Minnesota. Looking at my few pictures from the trip, it seems surreal that there is this much awesome wilderness such a short distance from my home.
I spent the first half of 2011 training for and obsessing over the Tour Divide, a 2700 mile long mountain bike race that essentially took over my life. I also hoped to document the process of getting ready for the race by starting a blog, http://anothertourdivideblog.blogspot.com. It never really took off and its few entries are exceedingly half-assed. Fortunately I proved to be better at training than blogging. I finished the Divide in twenty days and eighteen hours, a good deal faster than what I considered to be an obtainable time for a rider of my abilities.
Racing the Divide was my calculated quarter-life crisis: a way to pack three years worth of riding and travelling into a single summer before I hunker down and spend the rest of my twenties in a law library. I hoped to get over my bike obsession by literally pedalling myself sick; the world’s longest mountain bike race seemed like an ideal way to do it. If this sounds like a stupid idea, its because it is! It didn’t work at all and I finished the race emboldened by my better than hoped for finish, already thinking about what I’ll do differently when I return for a second attempt.
The euphoria of finishing the Divide was awesome but shortlived. It didn’t take long before I sunk into a post race funk that I’m still trying to claw my way out of. I’m not riding very much, and feel bored with my regular routes and trails when I do. Without the Divide as a focal point for my energy, I feel listless and unsure of what to do next; there are plenty of other ultra-endurance races that appeal to me, but they are many months ahead. This blog is largely born out of boredom, and a hope that documenting it will somehow liven up my riding. Check back here to see what I’m up to, or better yet come drag my ass out for a ride.