Clutching the Compass

This week I was reminded of a major tenant I have in life which is:

Don’t Clutch the Compass.

Until recently I didn’t have a name for this, but thanks to the eloquent Katie Den Ouden I now have a handy phrase.

I find myself doing this and I see it in my athletes all the time, so I thought I would share.

We all know the value of having a large goal out there in the future, the BHAG! The goal, the destination, the point of arrival, it matters. We all have them whether we say them out loud or not. I’m talking about the: win my age group, qualify for kona, win kona, make partner, land a big client, finish a memoir, make a million dollars, coach 200 athletes, kind of goals. Having that destination gives purpose and motivation to the daily tasks. It’s exciting, and challenging!

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Thank you Scrivle for that gem!

But there is a double edge sword here. On one hand, I love watching my athletes set a huge goal like nabbing a PR in a race, or qualifying for the big dance in Kona and then attaining that goal! So sweet! On the other hand I have watched people not hit their goals and get frustrated and down on themselves when they were actually making great progress. Goals are a double edge sword.

The way to ride the edge of the sword when it comes to Big Hairy Audacious Goals is to remember: “Don’t Clutch the Compass.” What this means is that you want to put your goal in your minds eye, and you want to keep the awareness that this is where you want to land.

Then you want to let go of how you are going to get there.

You want to remove dependence on the WAY and PROCESS that you take to get there, I also suggest putting yourself in the hands of a capable coach to craft the program, if it’s athletic!  Every once in awhile you want to dig out the compass and take a bearing and check in to make sure you are still heading in the right direction towards your goal. But what you want to stay away from is obsessively checking the compass every step of the way to make sure you never head a single inch off path.

I see this happen all the time with athletes. They are so fixated on the end point, the perfect path to take, the power, the heart rate, the aligning every one of life’s details to add up to the ultimate personal success where rainbows abound, puppies are everywhere, and the Sound Of Music theme song is playing.

They clutch the compass in their hand, tapping on it every so often, and all the while, life and scenery, and the big picture is flying on by.

I see this in a few different ways:

  • Many athletes constantly look at every training session as a litmus test to prove to themselves that they are on track towards their goals. When a session went poorly, they see it as being off path. This is clutching the compass. 
  • Many athletes refuse to diverge in any way shape or form from the most direct path to the goal. Sometimes going around a mountain is better than the direct path that leads up and over. This is clutching the compass.
  • Most athletes who are chasing a BHAG utterly refuse to take a purposeful diversion off path just for the joy of it. They walk right past something amazing that would add to their life story because they are too focused on arriving. This is clutching the compass.

I have so been here. I see it in my training, and I see it in the ways I’ve chosen to grow my business. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed in the details…ahhh the about me page of the website is all messed up…when in reality, I’m here to help people cross the Ironman finish lines. The about me page is small beans, don’t clutch the compass Sonja.

What I’ve learned through Ironman racing is that attaining the BHAG is really pretty cool, for about 48 hours. But what you will look back on in life and smile about, are the times that you put the compass in your pocket. The times where you took a bearing and headed off west, in search of yourself, and experiences that would take you one step closer to learning valuable lessons. Keeping a relaxed attitude and checking the compass only every so often feels really scary at first if you have any of the TypeA blood in you, but I promise that after a few dances with success you will start to feel more comfortable. If you don’t put down the compass, and look around, you won’t get any practice, and you’ll just hang onto that thing like Tom Cruise in Castaway with Wilson.

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Don’t Clutch the Compass!

Or better yet, hire a travel guide, and enjoy the scenery!

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How do you bake your cake?

You know when you hear a reference or a certain quote twice in a short period of time? Oh, coincidence. Ha! I think not…the universe speaking up is what I say.

Yesterday I was in Book Club and we are reading Daring Greatly by Brene Brown which I read a few years back. It’s interesting to pick up a book like this again, I’m reading it with a completely different lens. At the beginning of book club we do a clearing. It’s a time where we go around the circle and give everyone the chance to spew about what’s impacting them on that day so that we can discuss the books content with a clear mind.

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I was 15 minutes late to book club that day. I hate being late. My inner perfectionist has an absolute conniption fit when I’m late. If I know I’m going to be late and I’m driving somewhere, I will stress and have anxiety the entire drive. I’m constantly worried while driving that I’m going to be late, even when I’m early. It’s not unlike me to call someone I’m meeting to let them know I’m going to be late, only to arrive right on time.

Well, I was late, so I was feeling very rushed and behind. When it came to my time for clearing, I just offloaded how overwhelmed I feel these days. I’m used to training for big races, I’ve done that for years. And I’m used to coaching my monthly one-on-one athletes. At times those two things, plus being wife and mom, really fill up my life. Well, throwing in my new coaching company RTTC has really taken things to a new level. I’m delivering much more content to my athletes these days and really stepping up the communication factor with them. At the same time I’m developing a new coaching product called IronTide which I’m totally jazzed about, but holy moly, it’s so much work.

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The nice thing about book club is that we are all trained to hold space for each other. This means nobody jumps in to solve my problems, they just listen, nod, and ask questions that might help me get to the bottom of what I’m experiencing and how I feel about it. It’s a really safe place to open up. Their questions and dialogue helped me to really drill down further.

” One of the most universal numbing strategies is what I call crazy-busy. I often say that when they start having twelve-step meetings for busy-aholics, they’ll need to rent out football stadiums. We are a culture of people who’ve bought into the idea that if we stay busy enough, the truth of our lives won’t catch up with us”          —Brene Brown

My entire clearing could be summed up as crazy-busy but my next question is “what if you are crazy-busy because your life is so full of everything you want in it?” I’m not numbing, I’m trying to SLAY LIFE. Is filling my life with what I want in there helping me to not deal with some of the hard bits? I guess, yes, but I often tell Troy “I’m overwhelmed by the awesomeness of my life.”

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Discussing that with book club and bouncing these ideas back and forth I came up with this: I think this stuff is like a recipe. Baking a cake shall we say. I have the right ingredients sitting on my counter. I’ve worked really hard to realize that I don’t need hot peppers or spinach in my cake. I put those back in the fridge. I’m looking at all the right stuff in front of me. But, I don’t have the ratios right yet. My cake still has a bit too much flour, it’s missing an egg, and I don’t quite have the baking soda, baking powder thing down because it’s either flat, or over-puffed.

This was such an ahh-hah. You can have the right stuff in your life and still feel out of alignment, out of whack, overwhelmed, anxious, and ready to throw in the towel. At times I just want to clear all the ingredients off the counter with one swift act of aggression.

 

Today I saw this tweet from Mary Beth Ellis that made me realize I had to post this blog because it adds another layer (pun intended) to the situation.

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Ahhhh, another cake analogy!

As I seek to get the ratios correct in my life recipe, I’m still looking at yet another obstacle, and that’s temperature and time. I can get all the right ingredients, and get them all in the right amounts and then the oven is too high, or too low, and I can leave that cake in for too long, to take it out too early, thus rushing or stalling the process. The possible pitfalls are endless, but thinking about things this way I started to get a little clarity.

This is life. LIFE IS NOW. It takes constant evaluation. If you wake up every day and endeavor to make the best cake you can, after some fixed amount of time you will probobly have a darn nice cake on your hands. If you however wake up every day, go into the kitchen, throw some ingredients in a pan, with little regard to what you intend, then the likelihood that you will end up with a cake in the end is slim, much less a tasty cake.

It comes down to knowing what kind of cake you want to bake, and waking up every day with that goal in mind. But then backing up enough to know that there are a lot of moving parts to success and it’s a constant experiment. It’s also about trying something, and then looking back and writing down the lessons learned and tweaking from there the next day.

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I realized I’m frustrated and overwhelmed because I wake up in the morning, get out all the right ingredients, put them together in ratios that I think is right, pop it in an oven that I think is the right temp, and my cake comes out a mess most the time. That piece of reflection from day to day is missing for me. I’m waking up the next day, and trying a different mix of ingredients, a different oven temp, and getting a different type of crappy cake. Where I am missing the mark is getting deliberate with what ingredients are too much, what are too little, and incorporating MINOR tweaks so that I can really see the outcome of those tweaks.

This requires a deliberate assessment of the now. What’s in, what’s out? What is the current ratio? Getting real with now is the first step before I can start experimenting in a deliberate and calculated way. And we aren’t talking about a cake, we are talking about life, and the difference between thriving and spinning my wheels. It’s not an easy assessment, but I think having my newly developed cake analogy is going to help me put some processes into action.

I’m wondering if this resonates with any other athletes who are balancing jobs, training, families, etc? What happens when you toss in an extra ingredient? Does your cake get all gross for awhile?

Adventures with IronCowboy

Interrupting previous scheduled blog posts to post about my Sunday Funday with Iron Cowboy!

James Lawrence, or as he calls himself the Iron Cowboy is a man on a mission! He has set a pretty huge goal. He’s doing 50 Ironmans in 50 days in 50 states. He calls it 50/50/50 and most of you who are reading this have either heard about him and his huge goal, or your jaw is on the ground. Yes, 95% of people think he can’t do it (he told me this) but he set the goal, put everything in order, and a week ago last Saturday got started in Hawaii!

Hawaii – Alaska – Washington – Oregon – California – Nevada – Arizona – New Mexico – Colorado

#9 was Colorado. James told me the date about 4 months ago. A million things have attempted to take over that date in my calendar but I held strong that I was going to be there for him when he came through Pueblo, CO on Sunday.

Saturday was the Boulder 70.3 and I spent most the day out on the coarse coaching and cheering. I got a good nights sleep that evening and headed to Pueblo at 7:30am. I originally intended to start the swim with him, but had heard he was starting at 6am and with the drive to Pueblo and staying up to finish my athletes schedules, I decided to leave Denver at 7:30am and see if I could start the bike with him. I saw on Periscope that he was just hopping in the pool at 7:30am, and was relieved knowing that the timing would be perfect.

It was easy to find him! He has a wrapped RV, van, and car. I knew I was in the right place.

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I got my bike ready with lots of fluids and food and waited for him by his bike. I was a bit sad that we didn’t have like 20 cyclists waiting to join him in Colorado. It really was just me. We did have lots of people happy to drive the bike course with us and point us in the right direction and keep us making the correct turns. The support was fantastic, I think people just weren’t sure how much they could bike with him, what time he would start, etc. The course was supposed to be 2 loops. I was in for both loops, just there to do whatever needed. If you join him in a future state keep an eye on social media to get better time estimates. They try to keep a schedule, but honestly, it’s all changeable if he needs changes.

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James came out and off we went. At first he was talking very softly. It was nice to have him all to myself to hear about some of the adventures thus far and be able to ask questions about what was working, what wasn’t working, how his family was holding up, etc. He had finished the marathon at 1am the night before and then drove to Colorado from New Mexico after that. He only had 3 hours of sleep the night before (he slept in the back seat of the Subaru because the RV would wake him up when it turned) and he had not gotten more than 3.5 hours of sleep since he began the 50/50/50. In my head I was like “SLEEP is going to be the limiter” here. He has so many nutrition products, recovery modalities, IVs, medical help, but what the man really needs is sleep. The problem is that he is finishing so late, and having such a huge drive that sleep is getting chopped. I’m really hoping he gets this figured out!

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After some chatting we got on this great road that went straight for like 20 miles. James said he would just sit in and draft and I told him to tell me if the effort level is off. He asked me to remind him to drink every 20 minutes. We did this for awhile and at one point I sat up and told him to drink and I woke him up! I shocked him! The whirl of sitting on my wheel had zoned him into near sleep zone! Yikes! Swimming makes me sleepy too! At that point I knew from ultra running that I needed to keep him talking more and engaged more. So I tried to do that.

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We had a little bit of company on the way back from some of the local Pueblo triathletes. That was really nice. Dallas, his chiropractor also hopped on a bike to talk to him about what he was doing, what was hurting, etc. Also, at one point his Colorado point person hopped out and rode next to us on a tandem, with huge wigs. I thought I was going to pee my bike shorts. It was SO hilarious, especially Eriks pink flip flops!

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James decided that after loop 1 he would take a little short nap in the RV, get an IV, sit in the Normatec boots, and then we would head back out for loop number two. We were making good time, so he felt he could get away with it. We finished 54 miles in just over 3 hours. He was happy about the time!

After his break we were back on the bike, again just the two of us out for the second loop. We headed out the same way and 8 miles into that second loop Colorado did it’s typical thing and downpoured on us. I was really sad because I had all this new rain gear in the car for Norseman and I didn’t have any of it on me. I was actually afraid when we left for loop two that it was going to be really hot. Welcome to Colorado! You just never know what you are going to get!

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We rode through the wind, and rain, and splash. Matt, who had been helping us know where to go all day in his truck hopped out and had a raincoat that we put on James. James was concerned his body temp would drop in the rain, as were we, so that was awesome that Matt had a coat that fit him. It stopped raining hard shortly after but James wore it for the rest of the bike. We got some good riding in through miles 60/70/80 in aero, with some rain on and off.

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Of course when it started to rain and get nasty the camera crew turned up! James is filming a documentary so there is a camera crew around all the time too! I gotta say it was a highlight riding in the rain with James, in the gorgeous plains of Pueblo, all green with grass and sunflowers, and then seeing the camera drone come whizzing by over our heads. I felt awesome in that moment, and so did James. Just thinking about the footage they got makes me pretty excited! Rudy Project was also out getting some footage of James, they are based in Colorado, so it worked well for them! I love this picture of the Iron Cowboy car with the kayak, the bikes, and everyone hanging out the window. What a crazy experience!

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When we turned around to come back into Pueblo we had about 30 miles left to ride. The storm was directly in our path, with a huge amount of lightening so the crew loaded us up in a truck and skirted us around the storm. I rode in the back of the truck while we drove through that storm and it was awesome. I didn’t get too wet, but I did take a little cat nap! We then met up with a road that had a tailwind and we rode that bad boy like we stole something! 30-32mph for the last 22 miles or so! It was awesome! I’m really glad his crew is there keeping him safe. Lightning is no joke here in Colorado and kills people every year here.

James wanted to ride to 112.1 miles so we stopped right on the side of the road when we hit that mark and the crew van scooped up James and drove him over to the start of the marathon spot. Matt gave me a ride back to my car and I packed up and drove over to the marathon starting location. This is us just after finishing the 112.1 with Erik and his son. Erik was the Colorado liaison and did a fantastic job!

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There was a good little crowd over at the marathon start! I got a real taste of what James is going through from an energy standpoint. I was a little tired after biking 112 (we clocked a 5:55 ride…thank you tailwind!), my energy was a tad low, and then there were 30 really happy, really excited people who all couldn’t wait to see James. He changed and came out to join everyone and I’ll tell you, he had more energy than I did! SO many people were there to share their story and James told me that in each state SOMEONE has run their FIRST marathon with him. What a cool thing. If you see the man on the left in the below picture, holding his daughter, well he ran his first marathon that night! His inspiration is Dick and Rick Hoyt, because his daughter has a genetic abnormality and he runs with her all the time! Oh, the stories, I’m so thankful for the community that running and endurance sport creates!

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After some photos we all got going in the marathon. We ran 4 miles over to a loop that we were going to run, all the while with James Periscope live streaming. If you don’t know about Periscope check it out! It’s twitters new live streaming and it’s a TON of fun, perfect for what James is doing!  We made it out to the loop we intended to run, but a section of it had been overtaken by the river! James got a short little ride through it! haha! We decided to change the course and ran a different loop, and by the end of the night, we were running 1 mile laps around Pueblo River Walk. That was entertainment in and of itself!

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The marathon was really cool and I was glad I got to walk/jog/run the whole thing with him. I think there were 10 of us that did the whole thing with him, and another 30 or so that did parts! He does a “5K” everyday where lots of people come out and join for that. Most of his kids run the 5K, he has 5 children, all who are on the trip! His wife Sunny Joe is a really wonderful woman. The two of them are beautiful to watch together. What’s really cool is his wife takes the kids to go do something fun in each state and then when the 5K rolls around the kids run with him and tell him all about the fun they had that day. I LOVE this, and you can tell it totally gives James energy to have this little routine with them. At one point I watched him pick up his son and spin him around in circles. I was like “eek…how are you doing that after 9 ironmans in 9 days?” The kids are having MUCH more fun than James is! haha!

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I had a blast meeting the two older girls, and then meeting many of the other people doing the run along with him. Two people came all the way from Aspen to run with him and one guy had completed 30 Ironmans in 30 days in Italy! It was so cool for James to run with him, they had lots to talk about. That guy was probably one of the only people on the planet that could even remotely relate.

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I felt like I was the insider a little bit because I had been with him all day. It made me a little sad to think that I couldn’t go on the next day and just do it all again with him. I really wanted to. I think if I could do the bike and 10 miles of the run every day with him that would make me a very happy girl. I’m hoping I can meet him in Nebraska in July and spend a few days doing just that! James and I have always clicked personality wise and at one point in the marathon his quad started giving him trouble. He stopped and stretched, and he used a can of sunscreen to try to roll it out a bit. When it didn’t let up much after that he texted Sunny Joe, his wife, and asked her what to do.

This was by far my favorite part of the day because it’s SO UP MY ALLY. Sunny Joe does energy work. Our emotional body has a mirror in our physical body. If you get all squiffy about this sort of stuff then move to the next paragraph but James asked her what the right quad means emotionally and she replied with “worry of behind the scene details.” We both looked at each other with wide eyes. She then gave him like 5 mantras to repeat to ease his worry of the behind the scenes details and we ran a mile repeating those and talking about how great the crew is, and how the details are handled, and how he just needs to focus on swim/bike/run. Two miles later that quad pain was GONE, but we had to really repeat those mantras and get that emotional worry to subside. It wasn’t just about repeating words, it was about convincing him that the details were handled. Once he believed and knew that in his heart, his quad was back to it’s normal tired heavy overtrained self. The more years I spend in the sport, the more that kind of work is something I really lean into and believe. It may sound like Hocus-Pocus, but I have so many examples of things like this in my own life, and that of my friends. It was cool to see James using the medical side, the physiology side, and then pulling in the emotional side. Mmmm Juicy!

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We finished the marathon at 11:55pm and I felt proud about that because I knew he was going to get a solid 6 hours of sleep, and I felt a little responsible for that. It truly takes a village to get him through each and every day, but I was glad to do my little part on one little day! 95% of people may feel that he isn’t going to make it, but I’m in the 5%. I know quite a bit about the determination in this guy, and we shared a lot of words out there. If he stays on top of his bike, and the crew keeps doing their job, then James will do his job! Childhood obesity is a cause close to his heart and it keeps him going when it gets tough.

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If you have any questions, leave them in the comments and I will try to answer them with what I know. If he has yet to come to your state, PLEASE go join him! Especially on the bike where drafting is super helpful! The running crew is fun, but he could sure use bike supporters too. Oh and no speed is too slow, especially for the run! We were logging lots of 13 14 and 15 minute miles! It’s very inclusive! We had some 4 year olds running with us at one point!

Perception and perspective is something we develop through our life experiences. I know in my heart that I have perceptions that just aren’t true, and James is great at challenging those in me. For as long as I’ve known him, he’s pushed the limits of his own capacity and has broadened my horizons in doing so. Just making it through the 10 that he has thus far in 10 different states challenges what I think is possible. Deep bow to him!

If you live in Colorado….he’s in Nebraska on July 19th, and Wyoming on July 23rd. His last day is July 25th in Utah!

Keep it up Cowboy!

Aspen Adventure Day 2

Oh man I slept like a baby! Thank you again Jen for the awesome lodging! Saturday morning Jeff drove up and dropped Mo off in Vail to ride for two days with us. The Beesons also drove on up for the weekends adventure. After breakfast we packed all the kids into the Honda Element with Troy running SAG, and Jen and Mark both got to ride a bit on Saturday. Annie was so incredibly happy to have friends to play with along the way!

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Bright and early we left from Eagle/Vail. The skies were deep blue and cloudless, the wind was nonexistent, and it was gorgeous! I rode a little bit to start off with Michele and Mo, just to make sure everyone was clear on where they were going, and all was good. They were great riding buddies and it was so cool to bring two new people together who ended up having a great time riding together!

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Then Jen and I rode the rest of the way up to Tennessee Pass together while Mark and Tony rode together. Jen and I chatted and were happy, and just having a really nice time! This section of road, over Battle Mountain and up the pass were just gorgeous. Green trees, clear blue lakes. I was a very happy girl!

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At the top of Tennessee Pass Jen turned around and rode back to Eagle/Vail to pick up their car where she would meet Troy at Twin Lakes.

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After parting ways with Jen I got some solo riding time all the way to Twin Lakes. I had a weird situation happen with a guy following me in his car. He would stop on the opposite side of the road and then I would pass then I would see him a few miles later do the same thing again. By the 4th time my intuition was heightened. When I got to Leadville I pulled into a quickie mart for water and he pulled in too. It was very strange. So I called Troy and asked him to come find me and just stay close for a little bit. Nothing more came of it.

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After Leadville I made my way to Twin Lakes. This is a major aid station for the Leadville 100 run and I always think about that when I’m here. It reminds me of pacing Erick, crewing for Emily, and just the buzz and excitement of Leadville. Rolling in here Mark and Tony were snacking and the kids were playing. Everyone was happy and life was good.

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I refueled and took off with the boys to climb Independence Pass. Mark was off like a rocket and Tony and I took our sweet time! It’s a lot of climbing and I was feeling less than spry!

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As we got closer we could see there was an avalanche blocking the road and people had gotten out of their cars to start shoveling. We could see snow flying off the edge of the cliff as they dug it out. By the time we made it up there one lane was sorta open. We eeked our way through and kept climbing.

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This pass is amazing! I could climb it every day. It’s hard and I struggled a bit but the views made the struggle that much easier. Because of the avalanche we really didn’t have much traffic, they were all stuck down below. It was some nice solitude time.

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Tony and I met back up and snapped a picture at the top and then enjoyed the 20 miles of screaming descent. You actually get tired of descending, it’s so much!

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We pulled into the hotel. Troy arrived at the same time with Mo and Michelle and Jen. Everyone got checked into their rooms and I headed out and ran 3 miles up Aspen mountain, and then three miles back down. I had to get a feeling of what was to come in Norway, and well, it’s legit. The end of that race is going to be something I’ve never experienced before!

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After that we enjoyed great dinner out together and we topped off the night with an ice cream sandwich. I slept like the dead!

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Aspen Adventure Day 1

I got this crazy idea a few weeks ago to ride my bike to Aspen and back from my house. I sat on it a few days, checked my schedule and then just decided to go for it. I put it out on Facebook and got some great responses from people who agreed to join me, and thus an adventure was born! We’ve had a really wet spring, and with a nice winter snow base I didn’t really know what we were going to get into, but as is typical me, I said “Adventure! Let’s do it.”

We made reservations in Aspen, and my friend Jen was sweet enough to open up her vacation home in Vail to us! Troy agreed to come up to Vail Friday night after Annie got out of school and run SAG for Satuday/Sunday and then drive home Monday morning early. That left me without SAG on Friday and Monday, but all the details seemed fairly covered!

On Friday I got a lift over to Jodys house off Ken Carl and we took off. Up through Bear Lake Park, along past Red Rocks and then up the I-70 frontage road to meet up with Jen. Then it was the three of us for the rest of the day.

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We had a short 1 mile stint on I-70, down Floyd Hill, along a cute bike path to Idaho Springs, and then were on the frontage road along the highway. I’ve traveled this route many times and I really like it. From Idaho Springs to the top of Loveland Pass is about 30 miles of straight climbing. That’s legit and similar to what I will do the first 30 miles of Norseman.

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We had a very lovely headwind the entire way that broke us up. We rode some solo miles but never too far apart. When you hit the Bakerville exit off I70 at that point you hop on the bike path. There is a 7-ish mile BEAUTIFUL bike path that leads to the base of Loveland ski resort. I love this bike path.

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We get a few miles down the bike path and theres a little patch of snow. No bigee, we walk on through. Then a little bit later, another patch, we navigate that. Then a bit later a big long patch. Jody is sitting there looking at us with a “what now?” face and of course I’m like “Welcome to the adventure!!” We hike-a-bike through that patch and then keep riding on the other side.

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Well, we got wooed…. a few more hike a bike patches later we don’t know whether to keep progressing forward, or turn back, rehike through what we already hiked through, and then ride on I-70 for 7 miles? We soldier on. This may not have quite been a team decision. Every 100 yard hike-a-bike section ended to reveal yet another 100 yard hike-a-bike section. On our 20th one of those we were tired!
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We took some stop breaks, did a little conscious complaining, and motored on. 2 miles of hike a bike later we dumped out at the bottom of Loveland ski resort and the base of Loveland pass. Oddly there were two cyclists standing there wondering whether they should take our route in reverse, to which I said “I forbid you.”

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Now, I must say how proud of Jody and Jen I am. This hike-a-biking was not for the faint of heart. We each potholed dozens of times down to our upper thigh or waste in snow, all the while toting a bike along with us. I tend to just put my nose down and motor through adversity like this, and this was a really big test of friendship. I was pretty pleased that nobody lost their marbles, everyone handled themselves like champs, and I feel we are all a bit closer now because of it. You can’t take that bonding experience from us!

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I lost my toe warmers in the process and all three of us had soaking wet feet, Jody being the worse because he didn’t wear socks. We were so happy to be back on our bikes riding and proceeded up Loveland Pass. The top was beautiful and we found Jody hunkered down behind a wall, rubbing his toes trying to bring the life back to them before the long descent. Jen and I were in good spirits, happy to have made it to the top of the pass!

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On the way down we stopped at Arapahoe Basin to refill bottles and all three of us decided that new, warm, cozy, fuzzy ski socks from the gift shop were in order. Those socks felt so darn good. I’m still missing one of them, Jen, any ideas?

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From A-Basin we descended, quite cold, down to Keystone and into Dillon. We hit up the bike path, knowing it would get us to Frisco, but took a wrong turn and ended up in Silverthorn. Back up the hill, and onto the right path we somehow found our way to Frisco and onto the bike path towards Copper Mountain. Along the way Jody saw two beavers in the beaver pond, Jen and I saw neither, and all of us were getting pretty tired.

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At Copper mountain we stopped to get junk food. I can’t really put it any other way. Chips, soda, crap, more crap, oh it all tasted so good. We were debating whether we should wait for Troy and have him take us the rest of the way. In my mind I knew it would be very tight to fit 3 bikes, 3 cyclists, Annie, Troy, and all the bags in the Honda Element. I told the crew I would ride up and over Vail pass. Well then Jen and Jody weren’t going to let me do that without them, so everyone started suiting up to ride over Vail Pass. As we were about to step outside the heavens unleashed a torrent of hail. We sat back down and called Troy.

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Much maneuvering later we were indeed able to fit 3 bikes, 3 cyclists, Troy, Annie and all the bags in the Honda Element. I love that car! For the day, we totaled 92 miles, and 11,000 feet of climbing! Not too shabby! A warm shower never felt so good! We enjoyed a great night out eating before tucking into bed, ready for the next days adventure!

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