I hate Crossfit! So when I woke up this Saturday to be dragged to do the workout I was less than thrilled. It was during that hour at the gym that John and Donnie informed (not asked) me that we would be camping and riding dirt bikes for the next 36 hours, let it be known I am an extreme novice when it comes to riding dirt bikes, or at least I was two days ago. We left the gym, grabbed supplies and headed out to the Castle Creek area outside of Aspen. It was about the time that I crossed a river in my 98’ Nissan Frontier that I knew we weren’t turning back and it was about that time that I began thinking about how many episodes of Chopped were on the DVR and how much ice cream was in the freezer. We pushed on, the couch at home becoming more distant and my odds of being thrown off a motorized deathtrap into some ravine were skyrocketing, but as the kids say, “YOLO” (You only live once). We rode that afternoon, settled in at camp, and had a freeze dried dinner better than most things I have eaten in the past year.
Sunday proved to be trying, frustrating, and above all rewarding. We set out to Crested Butte over Pearl Pass having very little idea what we would find (what we would find was 50 miles of rocks and one patch of July snow). We were about a hundred yards from the peak of the pass, 20 of which were covered in knee deep slush. There was no way were giving up at this point, but this snow was nearly impassable. After each of us tried individually we relied upon the group, pushing, pulling, grunting, and heaving we made it, together. This seemingly simple task took us 45 minutes, and more energy than I could muster alone. The next chunk went smoothly, but about 10 miles from the peak on the return journey I was waning fast. A few crashes, a few stalls, and not quite enough water into this trip I was done. I had been in this headspace before and I got brought right back to arriving at Jaywalker almost two years ago. I knew what I had to do, and where I had to go, but I had no idea how. And now, on this falling apart bike, miles from home, I was faced with a task that alone seemed impossible. But now, like then, there were familiar faces waiting at each bend to encourage me and to bring me with them, and friends that refused to give up on me even when I was stuck in the mud holding them back. We made it back, the important word being ‘We’. This is a trip that I wouldn’t have taken, and would’ve failed at, had it not been for the friends I’ve made and the lessons they have taught me. This camaraderie and brotherhood is a gift that Jaywalker gave me, and it’s taken me to some amazing places with some extraordinary people.