Use Your Hour

Evening spin Natters axams (2)

You have an hour. I know you do. No matter how busy your life, no matter where you are. In any city, or corner of the planet. You have an hour to spare. And you need to use it. Life is easily lost in a blur of “have to” and “Must”

But spare that hour; condense your ‘essentials’ into 23 chunks of living and use the 24th wisely.

The hour itself is the least of your worries; its all in the planning. That puncture on your bike is your fault. You fix it as fast as you can, wondering how the clock has accelerated into a blur of minutes passing. Sooner than you want, that 60 minutes has turned into 45, and your happiness quota has dropped by 25%.

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So prepare. Clean your running shoes. Oil the chain of your bike. Pack your swimming stuff before work. Make dinner ahead of time. Do what you have to. Your hour needs no interruptions.

So, now you’re here. You’ve done the hard parts: the planning and preparation. Go out and live like you mean it. Stop and look at the view, then pedal faster to make up for it. Take the unknown turn into the forest. If you don’t now, when will you? Run faster, or pedal quicker. Leave everything out there. I can guarantee when you’re sat at home later in the dark, you won’t be wishing you spent less time pedalling or backed off just a little bit, just to be safe. Safe Smafe. No one likes safe.

Fresh air makes life better. Find your fresh air. Climb a mountain. Ski down it. Swim in the sea. Jump off a higher rock. Pedal, paddle, kick, pull, climb HARDER. Make it count. Make it happen.

Your life only takes 23 hours. Use the extra one to LIVE.

Evening spin Natters axams (7)

Year in review

My twenty-third to twenty-fourth year on the planet. Here’s the review you’ve all  no one has waited for!

My year in racing

This was the first year in which I really dedicated myself to training. Since finishing as a runner, I haven’t had a coach, and never followed a training plan from start to finish. It has been refreshing, but this year I found the focus was also refreshing, and rejuvenating. I lost enough weight to make the miles pay off, and the season started really well with some major results and a positive outlook. As with most things, it’s hard to follow success with success, and the later season was a combination of missed opportunities and lack of funding. Being self-supported is a difficult one, as mountain bike racing is expensive. I managed to rescue my season by focussing on the Winter Park races, and came away with a series overall win. I missed a few big goals; the podium at the steamboat stinger being the biggest, but there will be plenty more opportunities for things like that. 2012 has been a year in which I’ve seen a number of friends shift focus away from racing, either to pursue new goals outside of bikes, or through disillusionment within racing. I’ve noticed that those people who stick with these things for the long run are the ones who gain most at the end too. Although I’m shifting focus a little, I can’t think of any better way to fill all my free time than racing mountain bikes . Goals for 2013: Train more on my Mountain Bike. Ride much more technical trails. Race some Enduro’s. Race less XC, but more cyclocross. Spend August getting really fit and fast by riding in the high country, and then using that fitness in cyclocross season. Organise less, worry less, and ride more. Spend less money racing, but make go further.

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My year in riding

Riding for fun got a bit neglected this year. Intentionally so, but it’s still a disappointment. Racing was my priority and I stuck with it; racing well at the whiskey 50 was certainly fun; organising and racing short track in Boulder every week was rewarding; seeing lots of friends at Winter Park races renewed my belief in grassroots racing. But I still missed out on some ‘bucket list’ type rides. I didn’t ride Monarch Crest this year; the famous 40 miles shuttle ride that I’ve done every other year I’ve been in Colorado. I didn’t explore any new trails in far-flung places. I didn’t get lost in the snow on top of a mountain at dusk, with not enough clothing or food. I’ll make sure I remedy that one. The highlight of my riding: Kenosha pass with Jamie Emerson, just as the leaves were changing at the end of September. A classic ride that lived up to its hype; really pleased to check that off the list. Goals for 2013: Do a multi-day hut trip or camping trip on bikes. Ride less in Lycra. Ride somewhere completely new. Get lost and come back with a smile on my face and new trails under my tyres.

Curt Gowdy WY (17)

My year in work

With my job ending in September, I spent a lot of time worried about the future, and trying to plug the gap in employment. I ultimately failed. And the world didn’t end, but it changed a lot. The experience has given me some insight into where I’m going though. Through trawling the employment market in Boulder, I met some interesting people and came across opportunities I didn’t know existed. I came very close to being a full-time writer; perhaps the single opportunity that I really resent not getting. But it focussed me; I know that writing is a passion I need to take further, and I know that I can’t live without studying. Without the mental process of research, discovery and documentation, the rest of my life has less perspective. I’ve spent the last few months regaining that perspective, and I’m surer than ever that the path is towards a PhD. I’ve spent a couple of years in CO constantly weighing whether it was the right choice, but I’m now 100% certain. Ideally, this is going to happen in Boulder, but with time of the essence, it’s likely that I will have to see Boulder as a long-term goal, rather than the immediate one. Goals for 2013: find a situation that allows me to think for a living, once again. Find it in a place I call home, and find it soon!

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My year in friendship

I have a lot of friends. Many of them close, who are now a long way away. It takes upheaval to really identify them, and it takes persistence to keep them close. In 2012, I found the girl of my dreams, and kept her. I found friends who will help you out with no need to repay the favour, and friends who, at the drop of the hat, will go for a much-needed ride with you even though its 18 Fahrenheit outside.  Goals for 2013 are pretty straightforward: keep the girl of my dreams. Repay those friends who asked nothing in return when helping me out. Find some new friends, but not many!

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My year in Adventures

I did some more adventuring off the bike this year. Walking up mountains made resurgence, after a couple of years where I was entirely wheel-centric. It made a difference to the end of my year to go really high, where bikes couldn’t take me. I also realised that mountain biking isn’t the social activity I think it is; hiking brings about a new level of conversation that bikes do not. I’m not sure of the numbers, but I can say that hiking is equally as exhausting riding, too. The highlight is my attempt at ‘Super Longs Peak’ with Bryan and Andy. We failed in getting to the top due to our lack of technical climbing equipment, but we successfully spent 12 hours out in the open, from sunrise to sunset, doing what we love to do. And we sprinted for the town line at the end too! Goals for 2013: Summit some peaks on foot. Find the most breath taking and awe-inspiring mountains to climb – not the highest, but the greatest.

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Happy New Year!