A few weeks back I went out to the Fruita Fat Tire Festival to make my annual pilgrimage to the true holy land of mountain biking. Forget what you hear about Moab, Fruita has been where those who's soul is truly engrained in the depths of the sport go for the last 15 years.
I've had the pleasure of meeting, and befriending, many of industry types over the years here in Fruita. It used to shock me, but then I started to realize it's bikes we're all here for. It's bikes that have brought us together. Like a large church without walls, our communion Cliff Bars and PBR, shared with all who are in need of one on the ride...or the other after.
This last time I had the pleasure of meeting Andreas Hestler, someone who I had spent my college days reading about, who raced for Rocky Mountain Bicycles back in the day as well as went to the '96 Mountain Bike Olympics. Appropriately, I met him in Troy's garage while looking for beer and then something to open said beer with. Soon the band would squeeze in and before they went on Andreas and I had ourselves a nice conversation about the early days of mountain biking in BC, specifically how many of today's brands started with Rocky Mountain Bicycles.
As the band raged on, so did we. Making our own bootleg videos of the Dry River Yacht Club, Dre with his Blackberry and myself with my digital camera a they rocked the house. Between sets Andreas looks at me and says "Yeah ya know Jon you are pretty cool ya know I think you need to come to Vancouver to ride and drink some beer sometime". Of course I say yes and then ask if there are any festivals or weekends I should swing up for. He then laughs and points to his shirt:
"Hell yeah eh, the BC Epic Jonny boy"
Sure I say. What the hell. Sounds like fun. I get a pat on a back and an "Atta boy it'll be fun Jonny" from Dre as well as a "Hey you need another beer eh?" of course I said sure. We all kept cheering on the band for kicking some serious butt in the garage. Yet little did I know what I had promised.
So the following week I get a link from Dre via Facebook on the race along with the details of where I can stay (couch at his pad first night, tents race week, find a hotel on my own last day). I click on the link and see what I had opened my big mouth about.
The BC Epic gets it's name for a reason. About 40 miles a DAY for 7 days. Vancouver to Whistler. Even doing the Challenge, you are looking at 20-30 miles a day on some of the best singletrack in the world....and 4 hours of saddle time a day.
I did the only logical thing I could think of, and I posted the link on Facebook telling my friends "I think I've officially lost it" along with the link (btw...www.BCBikeRace.com
), hoping one of my slightly more sane friends will tell me I was being stupid. Problem is, my friends aren't much more sane than me and have all encouraged such stupidity.
So Saturday I went out for a ride despite the rain clouds. I filled up my camelback instead of bottles, backed my Gore Tex rain jacket, and started a pedaling. Thinking about it over and over in my head. Thinking I've done the Chequamegon 40 5x, the Birkie (55k on XC skiis), RAGBRAI on almost nothing but beer and sweet corn many a times, and have been trimming up nicely thanks to a lot of yoga. I am a bit older than I was the last time I did Chequamegon. But you know...being older is also a key to doing this kind of crap. These endurance races aren't good for the 20 something. And well God knows I could probably do the whole thing off the fat around my waste line for fuel.
I'm at an crossroads on this. One side, I left the regional publication I help found, came up with the name for, and the whole bit so I'm free. Another program I was hired to help launch nationwide ends early June. If i just don't pick up another new project I could in theory just train each day. Work on finding a media outlet that would pay my way in exchange for the story. And maybe get a bike sponsor. And....well we'll see.
Alas I think the answer lies in my childhood hero who's inspired me since I was a child. Mr Ferris Bueller. I'm off to Chicago Friday to work the last leg of my project. And Mr Bueller's famous line is ringing clear in my head:
"Life moves pretty fast, if you don't stop and take a long around, you might miss it"
So true Ferris. So true.