Adventure by Bike

One of my favorite things about my bike is the adventure.  Really you can take your bike wherever you want to do and do whatever your heart desires.  The bike is about the wherever and whatever.  Your bike becomes a vessel of transportation as well as the pivotal catalyst that sparks your wanderlust and challenges you to become better.  It doesn’t have to be about racing, or STRAVA segments, although those are noble pursuits in their own right.  I like to win just as much, if not more, than the next person.  However, the bike can become about something bigger.  Something so big you can’t quite comprehend, but you just enjoy the ride.  Quite literally.

As a professional cyclist, it can’t be about training and intervals all the time, if not even most of the time.  I need to get out there and clip in because I want to explore my boundaries and push past the norm and into a realm of adventure mixed with a bit of chaos.  Now that’s why I ride.  Freedom is found in the unknown where you have let go of expectations, fear, and insecurity.  It becomes much simpler in this space.  I have caught glimpses of this during racing, where I can use boldness to conquer a course and get the result.  Yet even if I don’t get the result, you still can find this freedom in knowing you pushed your limits and gave it your best effort.  However, when the stars align during a race, this is a feeling you never forget.  It rarely goes according to plan, but you can capitalize on opportunity and react, and follow your instinct.  This makes racing less tied up in structure and more about finding your adventure zone.20150829_151125963_iOS

But let’s be honest, the best part of adventure by bike is those beautiful days where you explore new routes, bigger destinations, and local cuisine.  I am notorious for planning rides based on the food and wine specialties paired delightfully with historical markers and beautiful views.  Living in Northern California, I am blessed with the endless options of a crisp sauvignon blanc paired with oysters to a farm fresh meal with freshly roasted coffee.  Yes, you didn’t think oysters and wine could be consumed mid-ride, but I am here to say this can happen.  And I lived to tell about it.   I highly suggest destination rides with fun treats, good friends and expansive views.  For some reason food and friends can really motivate an incredible ride.

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How do you find this adventure zone?  If I can find it in training and racing, so can you.  You have to be able to accept the security in the plan and also be ready let the instructions fly away.  You need to know what you are capable of, and keep challenging that limit.  It turns out, this pursuit of adventure and willingness to explore, can make you a fast bike racer, an honorable pioneer, and a better person.20150702_201539142_iOS

Find your Adventure Zone:

  1. Get a destination. This destination can be a goal or a great bed and breakfast with cinnamon rolls.  If you have somewhere you want to go, go for it.  You will find adventure along the way, I promise.  Whether you have a race you want to win, a ride you want to complete, or a landmark that needs to be seen, you can do anything with an apple fritter in your pocket.
  2. Bring friends. I am all about solo adventures and winning bike races solo, where you can reconnect with yourself, but bringing along riding buddies can help cut the wind, increase the speed and therefore distance, and adds to the safety of it all!  You can be picky who you bring and more does not always equal merrier.  In racing, you don’t always get to pick your riding group, but thankfully in training you can!
  3. Plan for the unexpected. I know I have been discussing the freedom found in the adventure zone, but you should plan where you will stay, get water, food, etc.  But also be ready for the unexpected.  Even races don’t always go according to plan.
  4. Be in the moment. Even though you know your route and quest, be ready to let go of the reigns a little and just let the day come to you.  This applies to racing to!  Enjoy being present and existing.  Take pictures to document, but even if you don’t put them on Instagram at the moment, the adventure still happened.
  5. Seek and enjoy. You can seek out this adventure zone, but don’t look too hard.  Sometimes it will come to you when you least expect it.  You find it by challenging yourself and getting out on your bike.  You enjoy it because you never know when that moment will come.

 

 

I recently wrote this  blog for Defeet and you can check it and other great content here!

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