Finding some peace on Highway 93

From the “Wrong Tools for the Job” file comes today’s ride. It was totally unexpected and un-extreme — but just what I needed.

Mission: At the crack of dawn, take The Kid to driver’s training in Lakewood, CO, about 30 miles from home, and leave him there with the car. Return at 4 p.m. for his recital.

Original plan: Gear up the Stumpjumper Pro Carbon at 8 a.m., ride from Jefferson County Stadium to Apex Park in Golden, rip some trails, ride back to the stadium, find a shady spot, make some calls and generate money-making ideas until 4.

The Family thinks I’m insane for wanting such a long solo adventure, but lately the demon voices have been winning, and I’ve been impatient, ill tempered and extremely self critical. I really needed to get away from the noise — to escape those voices and reconnect with my own voice, if that makes sense.

Reality: Late last night I was feeling extra restless, so I did an hour of penance on the trainer. I rode a road bike that I never ride, and my running shoes slipped all over the Look pedals; my calves and hamstrings got worked! That misadventure, plus this morning’s 6 a.m. alarm, had me feeling tired, tight and sore.

I dropped Ian and the car off, strapped on a heavy backpack and churned my way along Highway 40 toward Golden. I was going so … sloooowwwwww. When I reached Golden I knew I didn’t have the snap for Apex’s climbs. I wanted to go home and take a nap.

The Wife kept offering to pick me up, but no, not me. I turned north on Highway 93 and slogged toward Boulder. The backpack crushed me. My 6-year-old Lycra chafed me. And the 2.3″ soft knobbies anchored me.

Oof. This was gonna be a long one.

As a frequently hyper, occasionally self-destructive go-getter, I gotta admit there’s something to be said for not being in a hurry. I knew where I wanted to go, but I had plenty of time, and I knew The Wife would rescue me if I needed.

Pedal. Pedal. Pedal. Let the mind drift. … Tire pressure vs. tire volume vs. downforce vs. type of surface; hmm, there’s an equation and a chart in there somewhere. … Stop on the bridge over the river. Two dads teach their kids to flycast. A family walks along the bank, and their Lab takes a swim. He jumps out and shakes water on everyone. Rufus’ spirit lives!

As the hilly miles scroll by, the body opens up. The mind lets go. The voices float away. Below the conscious noise and under the demons who orchestrate that cacophony, there’s a well of peace. I feel mellow yet stoked, creative yet grounded.

I call The Wife and arrange to meet her at our local coffee shop.

As I roll into Boulder, I feel strong. I feel quiet. I feel like myself.

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