Why Todd? Why do you love to watch people suffer!? hahahaha and of course we love to follow along as if part of our brain is missing…
My crusher letter, followed by pictures:
It’s taken me five days to finally come to terms of what happened last weekend. I’ve been trying to find the words to accurately describe the event and I don’t think I will ever find them, but I’ll attempt it. It’s what I do. I attempt things, I set goals.
Four of us went up to the UP to ride 237 miles, with a cutoff of 40 hours. This event is called crusher EX (EX is for expedition/adventure). An event that involves gravel, nasty green ponds/river/puddles crossings, 10% grade climbs and a ton of hike a bike. Miles and miles and miles of climbs and miles and miles of true suffering. It’s a sufferfest out there with close to 15K of elevation gain! If I’ve ever wanted to find my limits, trust me I did. My lack of “preparation” a couple of days before the race didn’t help, it’s been a busy summer. Three days before the race, I spent a whole day in bed sobbing over having a cold, thinking of the possibility of having to “quit” the race, before even starting it. The night before the race I got no sleep (maybe 2 hours max) nerves, getting up to the UP late, still needing to prep food/bottles/bike, you name it. I had failed myself even before starting the race.
50 miles in, and the whole time my brain wasn’t with it, a strange feeling, I’ve never felt like that on a bike, but honestly the lack of sleep and not riding my bike for two weeks (due to trips) was getting to me. I didn’t want to verbalize it, but I wanted to quit. How was that even possible? An event I had been looking forward to for months, and only 50 miles in! But the odds seemed to be against me.
I have now sat down to do the math, and realized I was up (minus a 20 min rest where I tried to nap and maybe fell asleep for a few min on the side of the road, on the dirt, on top of gravel while the mosquitos swarmed my head) for a total of 60 hours. I highly do not recommend ever trying that! Let’s just say that it is almost possible to fall of your bike due to having the feeling of sleeping while riding. Not to mention the horrible mental breakdown I had earlier this week.
I love riding my bike guys! It’s one of my joys in life. It’s where I find myself, where I talk to myself for miles and miles, where I find what makes me. I know, it’s weird.
As much as I love riding my bike, I’ll be honest, this ride broke me a bit. 237 miles plus a few extra ones of type two fun! Hundreds of mosquitos and horse flies (that bite really hard through your clothes!) followed us through the course. We wore mosquito nets as we rode, we applied and reapplied mosquito repellent.
I’ve always loved adventure. I’ve always loved hard stuff, why? Because for some of us, is an inner battle, it’s me against me. Just like in life, not everything is easy, so why add more pain you may ask? Because it’s what builds me, builds character, builds confidence in myself. Helps me feel truly alive. I love a good challenge.
This ride was by far the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, harder than when I lost my knee to “canyon knee” in Grand Canyon while backpacking 54 miles on rim-rim-rim. Harder than climbing Mt Rainier and thinking I may die if I stepped off the ledge. Harder than when I got mild frostbite on my fingers after riding 60 miles in the dead of winter in the UP in -15F (and colder). It’s hard to say that if I had had better prep before the race and not gotten a cold and had a full night of sleep before the race it would have been easier. I don’t know. I may never find out! Because so far, the “trail of no return” in which I pushed my bike up hill through massive rocks on a 9% grade for a whole mile keeps me pondering if I would ever do the 225EX again.
As my friend Molly mentioned while riding, we are fortunate, blessed that we get to ride, do the event! I am blessed guys! I am blessed that I get to explore this earth in places so remote, with my bike. Growing up, I could have only dreamed that one day I would be doing this – more on that on a different note coming in November.
I am blessed to have a husband who supports my riding, friends and awesome sitters (Tessa), Neighbors (Karen) that help me with the kids so I can get rides in and take adventures like this! One day, I will have to explain to the kids the massive guilt I felt while leaving them to go on these trips, but how I needed to do it for myself to, honestly, be a better mom to them. It’s a massive challenge to find the time to train and ride when I have two little monkeys, getting three rides in a week is nearly impossible, not to mention that every time they pick up a bug, I get it too (it’s impossible for a 2yo to not sneeze all over my face)
HUGE thanks to my riding partners, Molly, David, Fredrick, because in those moments when I thought I could no longer go, you all became an inspiration to me, that I could keep pushing! Thanks for letting me rest on the side of the road for 20 min, you truly saved my life (my brain was super loopy), it truly was an honor to ride with you! to the angels running support for us, Maria, Beth, Katie, wow, you outdid yourself, I will never be able to repay what you did for us. You were like CPR machines, we came in beaten, almost defeated, sometimes soulless (after Mt curwood) and you literally revived us all! You took amazing care of us, from changing my socks (sorry that must have been so so gross Maria!) to cleaning my bike and replacing all my snacks and water bottles! Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. Crusher would not have been crushed if it wasn’t for our support team.
There’s so much more I’d like to write, but the pictures will have to do justice of what we lived on the trail. There’s just one more thing to say, life has sooooo much to offer, find joy, love hard, set goals, attempt them, crush them, if you don’t succeed, try again. You will only win if you show up, be there for each other, again – love hard.