Looking at my skis leaning in the corner of the garage, offered me further proof of the subtle damage which occurs even through normal use. Dirt and mud from my last tough egress out of a backcountry route, cakes the topskin.
Climbing skins, pushed hard over downed trees on approach into the alpine, folded and put away wet after every day this season; lie drying and tattered.
My bases, filled with scratches from early and late season sharks, lurking beneath the surface of a somewhat good La Nina snowpack; still harbor a poorly P-Tex'd patch over a core shot from back in January. The core, now protected by the thinnest of cover is evidence of wounds which have yet to heal fully.....
Ski boots which scramble over scree on wind-swept ridges, allowing me to connect the dots between slopes of snow, shelter a similar bounty of volcanic mud in the uncounted scratches gouged into the hard exterior shell....each walking exit from a tough ski day staining the sole until the next powder day where they will be washed clean.
Bike shoes, offering up evidence of many hike-a-bike episodes; are devoid of tread in places, ripped canvas and worn brass cleats....everything operational, but very much worn from the journey.....
And then I started thinking of the stats on my blog viewership. Last month's viewership toped 900 visits on the month for the first time, representing a stunning run-up in traffic that started 3 months ago giving me a monthly average 97% higher in the month of March over what it was in December. I owe this to two things: A new camera, and a full schedule of great adventures. I don't think I've improved that much as a photographer....but what a joy it is to snap shots with the new glass. And while I really do enjoy having the adventures and getting to write, photograph and share....I've hit the wall here in the past 10 days or so; creatively, physically and mentally. I need a bit of a rest. I tried pushing though it at first....but it just flattened me.....much like the gash in my balding rear tire which keeps opening, and I keep nursing along into the next adventure.
I suspect I'm overdue for a complete overhaul....some time in a hammock, somewhere calm; a copse of greening aspen in the cool breeze and warm sunshine of early summer would be welcomed. I was going to ride the AZT300 and had been preparing all spring to get this done...I even went two months without drinking beer! But the month of March broke me and left me with creeping suspicions that I really was not in a good mental place to do this now. At first, I thought that perhaps I was just being lazy and trying to find a way out of doing such a big ride. But after my precocious attempt at something so soon after the heaviest of life's curveballs to ever come my way; I realized that the thoughts in my head had nothing to do with a lack of commitment. After careful contemplation and with a heavy heart, I abandoned my dream for this year. The rest, fell in line....perhaps a makeup in May on the Coco250? If so, I better change my chain....there's a link in there that is a bit janky, but I've been living with for some time now.
I'm not going to take much of a break....probably just a week or so as I have already tapered off my normal schedule of adventures. It's perhaps seasonally appropriate that this is happening in the nape of the seasons....the end of a ski season, and the beginning of a mountain bike season. The trouble being that since I live in Arizona....the mountain bike season pretty much spans the entire year. It's tough to get a good rest in when so much is offered.
I suppose I should offer thanks to the many folks who enable the good times....the cheer in a post ride celebration, the early morning breakfasts before heading out into darkness, up a cold and windy skin track to ski a peak well off into the distance, and most importantly; the folks we leave behind so we may follow our passions and share with them later.