As Elaine has been writing about, we're getting back into the skiing groove. It's not so much that it ever totally stopped, but our sessions sort of were relegated to "have to" quick jaunts up the local hill. Part of it is probably being at the end of a long season, but also the conditions of the snow, which while undoubtably copious, was exceptionally variable with the deep powder turning into a brutal sun crust in just a day or two following the storm. Then there was the story of a group of five or six skiers dying in an avalanche, and it seemed like a nice time to lay low for a bit. Anyway, it's been nice to get back at it with a couple good days climbing and skiing Pawnee and Saint Vrain Mountain. As we've got a big Tiny Home build (big Tiny…hmmm) coming up in the upcoming weeks and months we're packing as much adventure in while we can. Skiing all 18 of the Indian Peaks might be a bit ambitious, but it's our goal and we'll see how it progresses with other life objectives.
In the meantime, we've been getting back into bike commuting. With the reality of a strict budget coming up with the upcoming build, we're looking for ways to cut spending. Two big ones are eating and gas. Eat out once a week, if that. And whenever possible, bike to work. Doing the math, we commute about 50 miles a day, and that eats a lot of gas and car repairs. Thank goodness Elaine's dad is a Toyota mechanic, which helps save a bunch, but still. Plus, there is something just good about bike commuting.
During all my years of riding and racing I did the vast majority of my "training" via bike commuting. Well, not so much in the beginning, but when I worked at IMBA that was the norm, and I don't think it's any mistake those were some of my better seasons. Commuting to work is exceptionally motivating. Gotta get to work by a certain time. Gotta get home to eat dinner. And while I enjoy riding, the biggest motivation problem I have sans commuting is that there are these amazing, sky shooting peaks, emerald lakes, glacial cirques and snow fields that tend to win out over lodge pole pine forests when choosing our day off activities. The truth is, you're not allowed to the most beautiful and majestic places in the county on a bicycle. You have to either walk or ski, and those places are so addictive that biking sometimes loses out.
Nevertheless, we've been having fun commuting bikes to work. Three days a week of riding, three days a week of skiing, one day of yoga and mellow hiking a week is a great balance. Elaine got a sweet 29er Specialized from the local bike shop this winter that was on deep discount, and it's been an awesome pick-up. 29ers are truly more friendly to inexperienced riders because they make it much easier to roll and trust the bike over rough stuff than the smaller wheels. Today, third time down Canyon Link Trail, with trail construction everywhere, she nearly cleaned the whole thing. Elaine is solid on the uphills but is still learning to trust the bike on the downhills, so this was big progression.
Biking is fun. Starting the morning off with some crisp singletrack, rounding the bend and seeing the divide to the west, cruising along the bike path watching the river rise by the day…it's cool. After the bus ride home it's invigorating to ride home in the dying light of the evening, up the short but steep dirt ride to our home. Bikes are a tool, and an incredibly fun one at that.