Without a doubt this past summer was one for the record books which in some ways left me hollowed out and bare. However, after the Divide I discovered a new fondness for mountain running and slowly my goal list for the next year is filling up with hair-brained ideas that are not solely cycling related. When I discovered backcountry skiing it opened up a whole new world of possibilities and as with mountain running I am able to explore places that a bike simply can not take you. I had a goal of running a trail marathon before work started but for once I actually made the smart call and realized that my body was still limping along after the summer, so I tucked that goal in my back pocket and now it's winter motivation.
Waking up at 4:30 AM after multiple 55+ hour work weeks outside and then promptly plunging yourself right back into windchills that would make a polar bear shiver isn't easy, but the views and grin inducing skiing make it all worth it.
Up high in the mountains with the wind whipping away at any exposed skin is where I find pure happiness. Sure, I crave a warm bed as my little headlamp bounces along only exposing the next few steps, but who can deny the power of exploring with only your legs to propel you.
The sensation of having your breath become rhythmic, your heart start to pound harder and harder, and your legs burn up the skintrack causing your thoughts to narrow to only the next steps or the next ridge line can be incredible. However tunnel vision can lead to tunnel thoughts and since I prefer the natural world to the gym I must remember to look around and relax my thoughts.
At times I let my wandering mind get the best of me and I start to spiral down rabbit holes in my own brain, but if I let the wind and cold air narrow my focus to only the path directly ahead of me and the sensation of being in an incredible environment my mind clears and I realize that in that moment I am as happy as I can be.