Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Right place, right time

During the three days I spent in Southcentral Alaska last week, the weather was absolutely gorgeous. Temps in the 40s, sunny, no wind. I felt a bit reluctant to leave it all behind for April in Utah - the one (and only) time of year this state is even the slightest bit wet. But when I talked to my roommate in Anchorage today, she informed me that the city had been inundated with a 10-hour blizzard that left 6 inches of snow, with 4 more expected tonight. It was all I could do to bite my lip to keep from saying, "Ha, ha, guess where I am? 70 degrees and sunny! One day after a spring snowstorm that's keeping the mountains quite pretty. I'm going to go ride some singletrack!"

This is Ashlon. He's my Facebook friend who's letting me borrow his bike (his old bike. The new one is completely pimped out.) We had never met face to face before Sunday, but because we share a common passion for cycling, we got along like old friends. He recently moved to Sandy from West Virginia, so even though I'm the visitor, I felt more like the guide, pointing out the places of interest and we traveled through my childhood stomping grounds. That all changed when we reached the trailhead in Alpine. People who know me mainly through my blog tend to have this preconception that I'm an expert cyclist. I may be a passionate cyclist, a dedicated cyclist, even an obsessive cyclist, but I am anything but an expert. I'm flailing and timid, sometimes at the same time, and I can't roll away from even the simplest singletrack ride without a few cuts and bruises. But it doesn't mean I love it any less. It's a lesson I'm going to tell my children (or at least my nephew) someday: You don't have to be great at something to pursue it with all your heart, and even get your name on an ultra-endurance records list somewhere.

We had a great, relaxing late afternoon ride. I complained about the elevation and the alarming shortage of caffeinated beverages, and we both complained about how dry the air is. (Ashlon: "That crap that builds up in your nose, what is that?") Ashlon made fun of my tights and wool socks. (Me: "I rode up to Snowbird yesterday and it was really cold! How was I supposed to know it was so warm today?") I casually listed my weekend plans: Snowboarding in fresh (if now a bit slushy) powder on Thursday, river trip on Saturday, hiking in the desert on Sunday. Gotta love Utah.