Spending the majority of the past decade in a mobile/ temporary living situation has pretty firmly altered our previously held idea of "home" as any single location to where we happen to be working out of on any given day. Home for us is now simply a place where the morning beverages are prepared, daily missions are staged from and returned to for recovery, and where we lay our heads down to re-up for the next outing. At this point, Mary and I have called a lot of places home.
It's not like we are happy posted up in the middle of any old place and in fact we are pretty picky about what we are looking for and where we spend our time. Lucky for us, we have come across places that meet the criteria spread across most corners of the world that we have found ourselves.
We are now well tuned in to the fact that our best times are spent when we are immersed in a community of like minded passionate individuals, athletes, outdoor lovers, conscious people and most on the mark - other fully committed mountain bikers! This has lead us to believe that these special places are numerous, continually expanding and can be found all over the world by following not much more than intuition and the word of other off road cyclists about where the good riding is.
It is clear that many of these special places have drawn in or altered the consciousness of the people who live there and happily the typical style of greeting out of town riders is to take in those who come to their neck of the woods without hesitation and proudly share what are increasingly (with days and years of hard work often by under recognized local riders) becoming more advanced and enjoyable trail systems. These are the places that act as surrogate homes for us and are the places that keep us stoked on traveling, training and continuing what we do! This is something that we don't see changing any time soon as we continue to figure the best path to feed our passions for off road cycling and make our way into 2013 once again as a two person all inclusive husband and wife team.
This season is all about utilizing our past knowledge to chart the best course for the future. Mary and I started out 2013 with a considerable base period and extensive travels that included our participation in the Trans Andes Challenge Stage race in Chile. By this point, our fifth trip to the country, we have smartened up enough to spend as much time as possible around this exceptional race to get in the type of uninhibited training that is most easily possible in the embrace of a warm and dry summer that we have come to know in Chile.
We proceeded to trade in the long days of the Chilean summer for the winter/early spring of Sonoma County, California to ensure that we touched up on the type of environment that has all the necessary ingredients for what we hope to accomplish on the international circuit. Considering what many in the northern hemisphere are going through this time of year there was little reason to complain about the weather and we made sure to use any naturally occurring adversity (or straight up bad weather) to polish up the technical skills and test out the latest in tire and equipment choices.
As soon as we stepped into the familiar Epic-ness of Northern California, we knew it had been too long since our last visit. A couple of weeks later, Mary and I were well into our own version of the hardman/woman training camp, with this segment firmly aimed at riding our bikes loads of miles. In between dropping the saddles low to fulfill deep primal urges of "getting some" in the vertically endowed singletracks in the land of the redwoods, we made sure to enjoy the precision luxury of our road bikes on the oh so amazing, though often decayed, roads of Sonoma county. It was a great feeling to be back in such an exceptional area to stretch our limits.
We are still trying to keep it diverse by getting in the ocean a couple times a week, on the paddle boards if it is flat but always hoping for some incoming swell to light up one of the little known and seldom surfed B waves that shape the cliffs along the wild Sonoma Coast.
The cross country racing season is fast approaching and that means change and travel is soon on the way, but before that it means digging in deep to take advantage of all that this area has going for it and getting in some serious CHARGING.
Our first major cross country competition of the season will be the Continental Championships, and it is coming right up this weekend. Mary and I are happy to announce our selection to the US National Team and are excited to represent our country, team and sponsors at what is undeniably one of the most special events on our yearly calendar. Pan American Championships is always an exciting event to compete in, but even more it is a chance to be ambassadors of our sport at an event that showcases the talent of an entire continent while visiting an incredible part of South America - a fantastic opportunity!
Looking ahead, the ink is just drying on our tickets to Europe where we will soon be returning to our chosen style of RV travel and living. Mary and I will be launching our tried and true mobile World Cup campaign spending the spring crossing borders to compete in the highest level national cross country events across Europe. Here we look forward to the opportunity to compete with some of the best while taking the time to appreciate the different cultures that are so apparent in countries often separated by little more than a few hundred kilometers.
In our travels, Mary and I have learned to take advantage of the good things that are available right in front of us while shelving our preconceived notions of what is "good and bad". We know how good the beer is in Germany, but more importantly we know well enough that when in France it is time to switch up to wine to ensure that we continue on with the A game and experience the best that each culture has to offer.
Hope to see you at a race in your neighborhood sometime soon!
For more updates, visit our personal blog at www.maryandmikeride.blogspot.com