Cars equal comfort. They make things easier, faster, and less committing. When you drive to the crag or the trailhead, it’s like you’re leaving a safety net in the parking lot. With a bike, not so much. When the day is done or the climb is over, there’s no jumping in the rig and punching the cruise control home. When you’re cycling for transportation, the ride home is as integral a part of the climb as the summit, whether it’s a few blocks home from the gym, or a week-long ride back from the desert. The lesson is this: the climb isn’t over when you reach the top. You’ve still got to get down, you’ve still got to get home. When you’re on the bike, there’s no easy escape, no quick way to pull the plug. This requires commitment and dedication, but it also builds patience and understanding.
This is the last installment in our series of trip reports from the fall’s Pilgrims of Gnar expedition. At 35 days and over 1500 miles of riding, this experience taught us a lot about ourselves, each other, and life on the bike. A journey this long tends to change your perspective and leave you in a daze, but even as you readjust to the world around you, the important lessons and values avoid erosion.
I’ve been racking my brain, typing till my fingers bleed, trying every different angle, but none of it feels right. This fall we cycled over 1500 miles across 5 states to spend 2 weeks climbing in one of my favorite places on Earth: Zion Canyon. A trip report won’t do, and I’m not convinced there are any words or ways to convey to you just how much this life means to me, how much it’s changed the way I climb, live, and see the world. I’d love to tell you about each pitch, each mile, every day and every climb, but I know that’s not how it works. I want to grab hold of your shoulders, to shake you and show you what’s real, what’s important and why this life is the best thing that’s ever happened to me, but you’ll just think I’m crazy.
Maybe it’s the easy way out, maybe I’m missing something or just loosing touch with how to tell a story. Maybe, but something tells me this trip was too big, to deep, and too crazy to properly share, and that my attempt with words will only confuse the issue. What happened out there? Sometimes even I wonder, but I rest easy knowing I shared it with my two best friends on earth, knowing they had their minds blown as wide as mine. This time, I’m gonna keep my mouth shut. This time, I’m gonna let the pictures tell the story.