Sometime last year TGR put out an article called The Three (And a Half) Types of Fun, Explained. Since you probably are not going to follow the link I provided, I'll give you a blow by version here.
Type I fun: Always awesome, all the time. You could do what you're doing all day and it would never suck.
Type 1.5 fun: Mostly awesome, most of the time, except when it sucks.
Type II fun: Mostly shitty, most of the time. BUT you get to brag about it and 'cause, you know, the experience is everything.
Type III fun: Never ever fun because you're afraid you won't make it back alive.
Let me preface just a little more. At the end of last season, BME put out a survey and asked what we, the racers, would like to see this season. My answer was something like "no more chairlifts." I'm sure I'm not the only one that gave that answer either. It's not that lift-accessed riding isn't awesome, because it definitely is, but when it comes to racing in bike parks, it just doesn't have the same appeal as a huge day out in the backcountry. To steal a line from Ed Masters, the spirit of enduro, for me, is based in good 'ol backcountry single track that takes some time and effort to get to. Just like hiking to the bottom of the Canyon would be a lot less spiritual for me if they built a gondola to phantom ranch, taking a chairlift to the top of a trail has the same affect. Don't get me wrong though, I still love doing endless laps in Winter Park, or Angel Fire, or Keystone. I still grin like an idiot when I look out from the top of a mountain--even if I took a chairlift to the top--I love bike park dirt just the same, and the Grand Canyon would still be a beautiful place if they put in a tram--just a little less fulfilling.
Now that you know the three and a half types of fun and I've stood on my soap box, we can talk about the opening round of the Big Mountain Enduro series in Santa Fe this last weekend. It was epic, perhaps too epic for some, but that's just the way the cookie crumbles sometimes. In our one day of racing we covered 4 stages, 35 miles, 7,500 feet of climbing, and 10+ hours on the bike. That's no small feat. I'm happy to report that I made it out alive and almost unscathed (I only shoulder checked one tree), and managed to finish 3rd. Needless to say, I'm pretty happy about it. The riding at Gloreita had me feeling very at home, with a lot of dry dirt, pine trees, rocks, and big drops. Though I was definitely feeling pretty flat by the time the pro women dropped on stages 3 and 4, I felt WAY better than I thought I would after 6,500', and then 7,500' of climbing and hiking--after a 7,200' day the week before I was feeling at least mentally prepared for SF, but I didn't think I'd feel as physically prepared as I was. Squats paid off I guess...
I would classify Santa Fe as type 1.5 fun, though many others would probably say type II, and some may even say type III. Regardless, I'm pretty sure that at the end of the day most everyone had a kickass time. Kudos to you BME, THAT was a race, and kudos to my ladies and everyone else that survived. You are awesome. It's off to Angel Fire for the second stop of the Enduro Cup in a couple of weeks, and I'm really looking forward to some sweet backcountry riding... and some chairlifts ;)
Race report and gallery from Eddie Clark/Mountain Flyer Magazine
WOW. The last week has been a whirlwind of non-stop talking, hugs and kisses and congratulations, endless parties, a lot eating and drinking, and ton of really bad dancing. Last Wednesday I finished the last final of my undergraduate career, Friday (the 13th appropriately) I graduated with my BS in biomedical science and chemistry, I'm a nationally registered EMT, I graduated with many of my life-long best friends, I got to accept flowers and give my mom a hug on stage upon receiving my diploma in front of the other 1,500 College of Engineering, Forestry and Natural Sciences students--I'd like to tell you that my graduation was better than yours but I don't want to rub it in.
Here we are a week later, and even though the weekend's festivities should be a reminder that I graduated from college, I just feel like it's a normal summer break. I'm sure it will set in come the last Thursday in August when I don't saunter down the pedway of north campus towards BIO room 265. Now, in case you were wondering, "what's next," or "what are you going to do?" here's the answer: I am going to race my bike. I am going to travel. I am going to continue working at the hospital for my wonderful boss. I am not going to medical school (right now). I am not going to grad school (right now). I will indeed be returning to the system of higher education, but not for at least a year. Why? Because I have no idea what I want to do besides ride my bike and have a shit ton of fun. And I'm pretty sure you can't go to medical school and not be 100% sure you want to be there.
I never changed my major in college. I declared biomed and chemistry my freshman year and never looked back. I enjoyed it thoroughly, I was interested in almost all of my classes, and until the end of my junior year I was damn sure I was going to medical school. Then I took an ecology class and thought maybe I could do a masters in environmental science or something, then I took some really interesting polysci classes and thought that maybe I should do a masters in IR and polysci, or take my Bar, then I thought maybe I should get my MBA. All of those sounded fun and appealing to me and that's when I realized I have no idea what I want to do. And I don't think we are supposed to know exactly what we want to do with the rest of our lives when we graduate from college--after all, most of us are in our EARLY twenties, we are naive, and we still think we are all meant to do great things and change the world...
In the last months of my undergrad I cried to my mom numerous times because I was tired, and stressed, and pissed off I didn't have enough time to ride and workout as much as I wanted. I was freaking out because I was graduating from college and I felt like I had 30 days to grow all the way up and become a "real" adult. I was frustrated because I felt like I missed something along the way because I had no idea what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. And my mom, who is the most badass, put together, motivated woman I have ever known, looked at me and told me this: you don't have to come out of school knowing what you're doing with the rest of your life. College is supposed to further your education, spark your interests, and prepare you for the rest of life. It's supposed to teach you time management, how to juggle life, how to handle stress, and solve problems. Those were welcome words to hear from my mom.
Needless to say, college did teach me all of the aforementioned lessons, plus many more. Upon finishing our pathology final, Kierstan and I promptly walked to Criollo and began consuming celebratory margs and discussing everything we have learned in the last four years. I'll spare you all the ones that are not appropriate for your sensitive ears... here they are in no particular order.
1. Go to as many concerts as you can. Even if you have shit due the next day. Go. You'll still pass genetics, and immunology, and physics.
2. "Shit ton" is a metric unit--typically used when measuring amounts of dangerous chemicals.
3. People don't get smarter just because they are in college, or because they made it to a 400 level class, or because they are your professor.
4. You can definitely write a kickass capstone paper in 24 hours. If you don't sleep.
5. It takes a lot more effort to fail a class than it does to pass with a B.
6. Unless you only go 8 times in a semester and lost 10% for attendance. Then you get a C.
7. Online classes always seem like a good idea and like they will be easy--but remember that you hate discussion boards and don't care about art history up to 1200 BC.
8. Sleep and exercise are way more important than your homework.
9. It's amazing that amount of material you can learn in the 6 hours before the test.
10. If you actually want to learn things and not be distracted during class, don't take classes with your best friend, don't bring your computer and don't look at Pinkbike and Buzzfeed the whole time. PRINT THE POWERPOINT AND BRING IT TO CLASS.
11. Be careful who you answer the door for in your underwear. You think it's just your girlfriend, but it turns out she brought two random guys with her.
12. A chocolate milk and Tiger's Milk can get you home from Phoenix at any time of the night.
13. The Rendezvous makes their whiskey chai strong at all hours of the day. Don't drink one and then go meet with your lab TA.
14. Wine is very good for the soul.
15. Wine is very bad for your motivation and decision-making capabilities.
16. The whole "study for 3 hours for every credit hour a class is worth" thing is BS.
17. The people that act like know-it-alls spend way too much time studying and not enough time having fun.
18. Don't waste your time with shitty people. Don't waste your time on something you're not interested in.
19. Walk around with your chin up and your eyes forward.
20. The only person you need to impress is yourself.
21. Be classy. Respect yourself.
23. Be nice. Try not to judge too much. Give the guy on the corner a gift card or your leftovers or some spare cash or some dog food. Donate money to something you believe in.
24. Very few people are good at dancing so let your freak flag fly. Whiskey or tequila helps.
25. Your parents are the best people to cry to when you're freaking out.
26. Eat well. Fuel yourself well. Don't eat shit, literally or figuratively. It's really not that hard or expensive. Learn to cook.
27. You'll have your heart broken, and then you'll look back and wonder, "WTF was I thinking?" Because you're tough, and you deserve the best.
28. Make memories. Take a lot of pictures.
29. Make traditions. Have a "family dinner" once a week. Have a breakfast once a week. Have a drink night.
30. Find something you are passionate about and dive head first.
To this point, all of these have been pretty silly, but not unimportant, lessons. Here are the 5 most important things I've learned.
1. I graduated with my best friends. I took almost every single class with my very best friend. I had friends and parents that supported me the whole time. If you're as lucky as I am, realize it and appreciate it every single day.
2. Change is inevitable. One day, your friends will decide that they are moving to Europe, or Montana, or Seattle, and it's going to break your heart and you'll want to do everything you can to stop them--but you won't because you want them to go do what they love and explore the world and life. You will miss them every single day, but they'll come back to visit and nothing will be different.
3. You can fucking do it. I managed to ski race and live in Colorado my freshman year of college. Then I picked up a totally new sport and raced bikes professionally throughout college, I traveled and did well and missed a lot of school. I managed my time, I got everything done, I was nice to my professors, and I graduated with a 3.7 GPA.
4. It's okay to have no idea what you want to do. Most of the people that think they know exactly what they want to do with the rest of their lives probably don't really know, and the few that truly do are special. Don't be afraid to fail, to make mistakes, or to change your mind. You gotta learn somehow.
5. Time flies. It's the most cliche thing I've written but it's the truth. The last four years seem like they went faster than any of the previous years. We are all getting older and we don't know how long we have. Do what makes you happy and make sure the people you love know it.
AKA a day to celebrate the most impressive people on this planet: moms. And my mom really is impressive. and kind. and beautiful. and inspiring.
Happy Mother's Day. I've always thought that Mother's Day was a weird thing to celebrate, not because it does not deserve celebration, but because it's only ONCE a year. I think it's silly to have one day a year that we are supposed to be overly appreciative of our mothers, rather than being appreciative and grateful everyday. And I say this because I'm guilty of falling for the Hallmark trap. I know that I don't show you gratitude and appreciation every day. I take you for granted often, because you have always been there for me. I've never known a time that you haven't been there for me, that you haven't had my back. But that's totally flawed on my part. So here's a very cliche, and very sincere letter of appreciation for you on Mother's Day.
Melanie and Beth told me a story about when they first met you, and how they searched endlessly "to find a flaw on Janey." They told me the only thing they could find was your ankles... which is pretty damn impressive, especially considering how well you wear heels. I know you have flaws, like that you work too hard, and you're a perfectionist, but it's only because you're running the world. To me, you are perfect. The other day when we were out shopping you turned and laughed at me and the smile on your face and in your eyes will be stuck in my head forever. I look at you and aspire to be as amazing as you are. When people find out I'm your daughter, they smile and tell me some story about you, about how much respect they have for you. And it's because you have done so much good, because you have worked hard for so many people-friends, family, employees, students-because you stand up for others, and because you care.
With that, I'd like to thank you. I would like to thank you for everything you do for me, and dad, and Jake, and Grandpa, and everyone else in your life. Thank you for working so hard to give me everything I've ever needed, wanted, and more. Thank you for always loving me, unconditionally, no matter how much of a brat I may have been (or may be in the future). Thank you for always supporting me, letting me chase my dreams, and following beside me. Thank you for keeping me grounded and for not letting me get my head too far up my ass. Thank you for pushing me, for challenging me, and always reminding me that life is a beautiful gift. Thank you for letting me cry when I'm tired, or stressed, or upset. Thank you for being a wonderful and inspiring role model to me and so many others.
I could write you pages, but I know you know how much I love you. So I trust that you will go do at least a few things for yourself today, even if it's only working out and getting a pedicure, because you deserve it today and every day. I'm going to try to not waste your money by passing my EMT practicals.
I love you to the moon and back.
Writing is something I have always been passionate about. I love sharing my stories, my thoughts, my advice, but mostly, I write to record memories and express myself. So here are a few of my fondest memories, best and worst moments, my most profound and boisterous thoughts, and riskiest advice. Enjoy!