Manufacturing a weekend takes planning, perseverance and a modicum of luck. Four days of planning to make best use of the limited freedom of the weekend, ensuring every moment is spent enjoying the life we’ve chosen to live. Rather than waiting for something amazing to happen, proactivity must be employed – fun is a personal responsibility, and although its best shared, and often mutually dependent on friends, its not some mystical unquantifiable element. There are plenty of ways to measure fun.
I raced the Bailey Hundo on Saturday. Bearing in mind this is the first time I’ve ridden a hundred miles on a mountain bike, let alone race it, I was nervous. My 70kg frame isn’t exactly featherweight, and I’d much rather race short track than ride all day. My worry was probably a redeeming feature in a race which rewarded patience over power.
I went off steady, got the obligatory gravel corner front wheel washout done in the first 5 miles, and settled into riding amazing trails. This race consisted of 60 miles of phenomenal downhill singletrack, followed by 40 miles of slogging uphill dirt road. It hurt, but good company for the majority of the ride (and a group pee-break at mile 50) made it fly by.
I got to mile 80 feeling really good, and stuck to the wheel of a Honey Stinger/Trek rider for the last stretches of dirt road. I finished in 6th, not completely blown, not in total agony. Just tired enough to know that I couldn’t have ridden any harder.
Then life accelerated into a blur of showering, changing, eating and jumping into Sam’s car for a transfer to adventure #2 of the weekend: hut trip. After some iphone directions, I made it to the Walmart in Evergreen to meet Daan (who had to wait 30 minutes for me to show up) then drove up into the snow covered mountains. What should have been a half mile hike from the highway to a secret hut turned into an hour and a half of post-holing through snow. Lesson learnt: just because there’s no snow by the road, doesn’t mean there won’t be any in the woods. After a brief hail storm and almost giving up, we found Hyme’s cabin where it should be: hidden in the trees, a valley away from the highway and A-basin ski area, but in a totally different universe.
Rags dipped in kerosene for fire lighting, and a hot enough wood stove to cook pasta on made for the perfect wind down after an 18 hour day (I dread to think how many calories I burnt that day!). I faded fast, and slept solidly through til 8am. Homemade cinnamon rolls more than sufficed for breaky, followed by a daylight assisted snow free route back to the cars and on to the ski resort.
I knew I wouldn’t be spending much time actually skiing, considering every single part of my body ached when I woke up. Instead, I sat in the sun, relaxed, read, drank beer, cooked steak on a BBQ and enjoyed the fact for once I was content to not spend a single drop of energy. I did end up doing a few runs of slushy skiing, and I’m glad I did – just to get up into the mountains if nothing else.
This week I’ve been on recovery and moving house mode. Both of which were accomplished successfully. Short track went well on Wednesday: I got 5th, which I feel is more representative of where I should be – Maybe I’ll gain a little bit of time each week on the lead group, and by the end of the summer I’ll be flying!