At the beginning of the year, we challenged you to set a cycling goal even though cycling goals are trivial. We know that many of you who set goals have pursued them seriously. Even if you haven't been able to meet the goal you set, we are really impressed with your efforts.
Nathan Elder met his goal and was kind enough to write about it. All of the photos, words, and adventures below are his. Enjoy!
I emailed my goal to Yawp rather quickly last December and promptly neglected my goal. Mostly because emails are not real. Have you ever touched one? Didn’t think so.
Late January was marked the joining of Strava and purchase of a new bike, both seeming essential to the goal. With new bike excitement, the miles seemed racked up and felt easy. Riding was further aided by global warming and the second warmest February on record.
But soon the new bike smell would fade and despite the warmest March on record for Colorado, the application of energy toward my goal decreased. An apartment move provided another excuse cease toiling, and increase pizza/beer intake.
Work picks up in April and May with the annual thawing of snowpack and flowing of rivers. Weekends fill up with work and excuses piled up. I began to think of my goal as an unreal email. I think it was actually an online form, which is even less real.
Then June hit. Shit. I verbally articulated the goal to several people in the hopes it would motivate me. I rode a little bit, and conned others into riding Belcher Hill with me. Telling them it would be fun all the while using the hardest climb nearby as “training.” Still not feeling prepared as the month turned to July.
A few weeks before I embarked on my goal, I went on the Yawp/SloHi bikepacking trip. I found myself struggling near the back of the pack and hearing the inner voices telling me to give up on my goal.
And then I found myself in a dark place, literally. For the first time publicly, I admit that I took spin classes. Not just any spin classes, the kind where they turn the lights out, light candles and blare EDM music. I sweated a lot. Wool was a bad choice for indoors. I contemplated what situation I could possibly find myself in where I need to spin mountain bike cranks at 110 RPM. I cannot feel the beat and cycle to the rhythm. But I had decided that I was going to accomplish my goal via any odd detour necessary.
The day I as dropped off the side of highway 50, as soon as the sticky rubber gripped the pins of my pedals, all that was left to do was pedal and push. The two things I should have been doing all along.
During the trip I had one weak moment. After eating real food and seeing semi-civilization for the first time in a few days and sitting out another rainstorm, I knew I was just a $17 hostel stay and $75 train ride from being dry and comfortable. The rain cleared, the sun came out and I pedaled on, finishing a few days ahead of schedule.
Push. Pedal. And achieve your goal. And prizes. Don’t forget the prizes. Levi promised them.*
*Editor's note: Yes, we did promise all of you prizes for completing your goals, but many of you attempted to meet such incredible goals that our prizes are going to seem chintzy and anticlimactic. Sure, we could've told you earlier, but where's the fun in that?