As the end of bike season rolls around many riders gather to share tales of adventures, races won and lost, and general mountain bike debauchery. Looking at photos of the grand rides and the transcontinental journeys, soaking in the post race reports of truly epic events like the tour divide, or watching a video of a far off trail created by one of your peers, one can not help but feel a tinge of envy. Maybe even some regret that you are missing out on something.
I will be the first to admit that I suffer from FOMO… Fear of Missing Out. I always want to be riding my bike or play in dirt and I hate spending time indoors. Maybe being actively involved in the bike industry has overwhelmed my senses with all things adventure and bicycle. No matter what the culprit is, I seem to be constantly bombarded with various forms of bicycle tales and imagery. The red sand of the desserts sprinkled across the shop floor. The smell of campfire coming off of a down puff coat hanging by the front door. Hearing the stories of your co-workers 10 day trek across Montana. Or seeing the Leadville Trail 100’s illustrious 1,000 mile belt buckle draped across a work bench.
Diving into the internet does not help to ease any jealous notions I sometimes have. So many of the websites that I tend to frequent are plastered with stories of pro climbers living as nomads in their tents or vans starting a new adventure everyday, a photo essay on bikepacking across Iceland, or how to prepare the food you will need for a self supported trek across Norway. All things that while amazing and inspiring to look at, make the snowflakes at my door seem that much more unwelcome.
With winter fast approaching and bike season all but over here in Utah, it can make me feel as if I accomplished nothing this summer.
The ski resorts have already started blowing snow out here and are set to open in the near future. And before anyone asks the question, unfortunately for me, a fat bike is not in my future. As a person with the aforementioned FOMO the changing of seasons can always bring about some sense of regret. I often get a case of the should haves wonder if I should have done more. If I should have ridden more often, or should have ridden faster. Maybe I should have gone on that camping trip to the West Desert with my buddies. I should have gone on that 4×4 trip through the pony express trail. I should have planned out a bikepacking trip to the Lava Hot Springs. Maybe I just need to sell everything I own and live in the back of a sprinter van. These are of course knee jerk reactions. I know so many of my concerns are very unfounded. I often have the chance to ride bikes in some of the most coveted places in the world. And on a seemingly weekly basis I have people tell me that they jealous of what I get to do almost everyday. While the adventure life is a great and very appealing thing there is always a bit of a flip side.
A recent essay I read brought up some points that I know a lot of us tend to overlook. Life on the road is hard. And while the idea of having a new view every morning, outside of your wonderful house on wheels, when you wake up sounds thrilling, there are also drawbacks to being a bit of a nomad. Never knowing if you will stay warm and dry at night is one of the first things that comes to mind. And lets face the facts, the human race really did not start thriving until the agricultural stage of society. In this humans became more sedentary and lost their nomadic ways. Maybe that is natures way of telling us that the adventurous life, while fun for a time, is not really all that sustainable. It can beat you up and it can wear you down. It can leave you lusting after the same dry warm spot to lay your head every single night. So often I (and others as well) can tend to overlook the amount of time spent on a bike trainer that is takes to get the coveted 1,000 mile Leadville belt buckle. And so quickly is forgotten the ramen noodle diet that made so many trips to exotic mountain biking destinations possible. Maybe I just need to look at that snow encroaching from the mountains around me and just think about the facts. While I may not have had any amazing, awe inspiring adventures this summer, this winter I am going to be nice, warm, and content to have a roof over my head as well as warm food in my belly. Plus, I get to start a new adventure completely unique to those I so often hear about; by the time this has been posted, my wife and I will be in the middle of moving into a real honest to god house! A new kind of adventure awaits…