I didn’t get a newsletter out last Monday because I took a road trip to Moab to get my desert fix. I needed to shake out the ol’ legs and get my MTB skills tuned up again, so a weekend in the desert seemed like the right tonic.
I learned a lot about my butt. And my bad habits. (Bear with me here…)
We did a lot of great riding in Moab, and it was super fun…until it wasn’t. By the third day of riding, my butt was killing me; I had swapped out saddles before I left for Moab because the one I had on there for the past year had not been comfortable for me. So I tried a new one…and this one was even worse.
By the time we reached the mid point of our Saturday ride, I couldn’t even sit down. I couldn’t pedal more than one pedal stroke. I watched my buddies ride away and I just stopped pedaling.
There on the side of the trail, I thought about a conversation I had with my mom many years ago when I was really into 24-hour racing (which I was also pretty bad at). After a particularly grueling race, I called her and she asked me why I did these things. Why did I put myself through all that?
“To see if I can,” I told her.
Back then I still had something to prove, whether that was to myself or to the riding community at large.
Folks, I turn 39 years old in a few weeks. I have nothing left to prove on a bicycle. As I stood there on the side of the trail in agony, I talked to myself frankly. “This is not fun,” I said, literally out loud.
“Then stop doing it, dummy,” I responded.
So I did.
I regret nothing.
I went back to the truck and sat in the bed of my buddy Russell’s truck, sipping a Tecate and staring up at the canyon walls. It may have been the most peaceful moment of a trip full of peaceful moments.
About my bad habits…
In the past, this surrender would have eaten at me. I talk myself down a lot, and I tend to analyze ideas all the way to failure before I even try them. That’s not really too shocking, I suppose, and I’m sure most of you often do the same.
I wouldn’t say my surrender on the trails of Moab was exactly a revelation. I was really motivated by the literal pain in my ass. But I will say this: My reaction to that moment certainly left me thinking long into the night about my own personal evolution.
In camp later that evening, I expected the typical ribbing from my friends about my trip off the back (SLOW GUY ON THE FAST RIDE, Y’ALL! LIVIN’ THAT LIFESTYLE!) and return to the truck while the rest of them stuck it out with their blisters and saddle sores and tired legs.
I got some of that, of course, but my good friend Matt from Conation Collective, who had easily ridden away from me on the ride, said something that resonated, something I already knew but needed to hear. “I feel like it’s a sign of actual maturity to recognize when something isn’t fun and just stop doing it.”
I think I might be a grown-up, guys.
Well well well. Thought I was being sneaky, but you got me. I’m selling my photography.
I’m a freelancer now. Everything’s for sale. Want my desk chair? It’s for sale! Need an old cracked plate? I’ve got one upstairs in the kitchen, hang on!
But in all seriousness, I figured this was better than charging a subscription fee for this newsletter (and let’s be honest: How many of you would actually pay for my random musings?).
At least this way, you can get something pretty cool and help keep me writing/photographying.
So that photo right at the top of this newsletter? You can get yourself a pretty sweet print of it for as little as $10, or a big ol’ canvas print to hang in your living room for…well…a lot more than that. I’ll highlight one or two photos every week in this newsletter, and I hope you’ll consider supporting my work.
Basically, I’m hoping you’ll support me as a writer/artist, and I want to give you something for it. Want to support me a little? Spend $10 and get the download or a print! Wanna support me a lot? Spend $500 and get a massive canvas! Every little bit helps this motivated freelancer…
As a newly-minted freelancer, I now have the opportunity to pester you through numerous outlets rather than one.
Let’s start with the one you know: you’ll be seeing me on Bikerumor in the next few months, writing a lot of gear reviews and general bike stuff — ya know, what you’d expect from a gear dork like me.
The one you don’t know is Preem TV. This one’s really nifty, and I got to appear in the same video as Ice-T! We’re buds now. We go way back. (Disclaimer: I don’t know Ice-T and we don’t go way back.)
I’ll be making a bunch of videos for Preem TV, so if you want to see what I look like when I’m moving and talking and riding a bike poorly, boy are you in luck!