Thursday, December 14, 2017

Grabbing Life With Both Hands

Things have been trundling along for me with everyday life stuff going on. You know, the usual rat race stuff of going to work, taking kids to school, mowing the lawn when it gets to be 22.8mm long...... plus some riding. Being blessed with great trails right out my back door probably likely sees me taking the riding a little for granted. 

Since the Thunderbolt Challenge back in April there haven’t been any riding challenges on my horizon which can make it a bit hard to find motivation. Well, there was The Great Cycle Challenge in October, but that was spread over the whole month, not a specific, self supported race challenge.

I have been toying with the idea of racing the Arizona Trail since late 2015. It is meant to one brute of a race. Tougher mile for mile than the Tour Divide Race even though it is “only” 750 miles in length. Anyway, my leave ballot was recently open and it looks like I will get time off next April to have a crack at it. This won’t be confirmed until January but with the race starting on the 5th of April,  I have less than 4 months to get my shit sorted!

Since the 2015 TD race we have had a frequent, infrequent catch up here in Brisbane between Dave Wicks, Mark Meyers and I to discuss all things bikepacking, reminisce on the 2015 TD and sample a few cold brews. Since mentally committing to the Arizona Trail Race in the last week or so I have been telling myself to get an email out to them both so we can gee each other up about it over a beer. 
I wish I had.

Today I learned that Mark passed away last weekend. Details are sketchy as to the reasons but whatever they turn out to be, he has been taken from us too soon. He was in training for the Hunt 1000, his next bikepacking expedition and we had discussed it during our last bench racing session. We will all miss his dry wit, raspy chuckle and cheesy grin. To Mark’s family I offer my condolences and thank them for the time that they allowed him to spend with us, on our bikes.......or drinking beers and laughing.

Mark showing me the first few kilometres of the TD route, pre race 2015(and helping to settle my butterflies!)

While very sad and waaay too soon, to me it is another lesson that we need to be out there, living life, going for it as you never know how much time you have left. I am going to get stuck in and knock this AZTR750 out of the park because if it is worth doing, it is worth doing well and time is precious.

RIP Mark.

Mark and I, Spray River Trail Banff 2015

I am going for a ride...........