Monday, March 23, 2015

Survival is a helluva lot more compelling than Strava

By noon, it's 90 degrees and the winds are starting to feel like something more than a gentle breeze. The desert pulls the moisture from everywhere it can find it, including you. Back home, an 'easy' 35 mile ride may not require more than a bottle or two of water, but here, you have to be careful.

We rode out to Badwater Basin, out-an-back on rolling hills to the lowest point in the US. We left just after sunrise, and by the time we got back (in time for pancakes at the 49er Cafe) the day had settled in.

Later in the afternoon, under welcome cloud cover, we would ride out again, this time doing the challenging but luscious "Artist's Drive"loop (one of our faves, with it's own nickname, if you're a regular reader of this blog).

At the breakfast table, Georganna (who is supporting our rides all while training for her next ultra-endurance running event) told us how she couldn't resist running on gravel side roads here in the park. They just lured her to explore. I scolded her, telling her that we would NEVER find her if something happened: no cell service, no water, far off the beaten path, in a place that is thousands of acres of desolation.

And that's when it struck me why I love this place so much, and why I feel it's necessary to come out here to ride. It's all about survival out here, about self-sufficiency and conservation of energy. It's a welcome and preferred escape from those artificial Strava segments, hammerhead group rides, Facebook brags about mileage and extreme and 'epic'. My definition of 'epic' is quite different, I suspect.

And so we are off again today, picking another direction to ride in this land of few roads and many climbs. And we will push ourselves, pace ourselves, take on challenges that we can't get anywhere else.

We will be epic.

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