Wednesday was the last bike team practice of the season and this weekend’s race was canceled because the forecast called for snow and a deep freeze. Our ride on that golden evening was tinged with melancholy. I asserted that I would take the girls, my favorite group. They cheered. We pedaled around Victor piecing together muddy singletrack laced with aspen leaves.
I watched the four high school girls ride in a little group ahead of me, all smooth cadence and skinny legs and teal accessories. I felt pride and contentment welling up in me.
I think each year of coaching has been more gratifying than the last. The team is huge now. Everyone likes each other. The kids are as happy practicing wheelies on the grass and playing noisy games of bike tag as they are pinning it on singletrack.
The time commitment feels so heavy midseason when I’m running from the office to practice or city council or high school soccer games and spending Saturday mornings with the kids instead of escaping into the high peaks.
I’ve been struggling with a sense of FOMO since it started snowing mid-September and shut me out of big runs in the Tetons. Last year I did around ten runs in the twenty-mile range, and this year I’ve only done three.
On Wednesday I rode the Krampus at practice because the Bronson is in the shop getting prepped for winter storage. I love the Krampus so, so much. It gave me a couple flashbacks to how I spent my summer. I’ve slept outside twenty-five nights this year, not quite the thirty I was shooting for but there’s still time. I’ve done a lot of thirty-six hour trips, bailing the second practice is over on Saturday morning and going for a bikepacking overnighter or driving a couple hours to explore new mountain ranges. I saw so many new trails this year, feeding my ravenous need for novelty. I can’t even count them.
This is life at its finest, traveling by foot and bike through this beautiful world and watching the next generation do the same.