The point is this: we get to choose. Even when we don’t think we have a choice–for instance, the 4.35 hours per week spent commuting–we do have a choice. We can switch jobs. We can move closer to our job. We can always make a change.
But when we focus our gaze on time wasters, realizing that the average American spends somewhere between 20 and 35 hours per week (or even more) watching TV, the choice becomes that much clearer.
What will you spend your precious time on? What will you invest your energy in?
Time is ticking away.
Go ride your bike today.

Let's say you observe someone trying to do something great, to achieve something that could possibly be out of their grasp, be unachievable. 

Let's take it a step further and say that person actually does achieve this feat, this goal that appears from the outside to be super-human. I think there are a couple of natural responses that we as the observers can have. 

One response to observing someone else's single-minded pursuit of a goal is disdain. This may seem surprising, but you'll observe peoples’ disdainful visceral reaction quite frequently. "Why did that person spend so much time riding his mountain bike across the nation? If he's going to spend a year not working and without pay, why doesn't he go to Africa and help dig wells or something?" You see this same line of reasoning any time a lot of money is spent on a project, no matter how passionately the spender believes in the project.

Another response is incredulity, to the point of calling that person a flat-out liar. "There's no way you could free solo up that cliffside! You're LYING!" (But does the disbeliever ever say that to the person's face? No, it's usually behind their back or online.)

A third response is to believe that the person did what they said they've done, and to choose to be inspired by their incredible achievement. This is the option that I go with. I love to be inspired by the upper echelon of human achievement. As I see athletes accomplishing extraordinary things it allows my mind to run wild.

"What am I capable of? What could I do and achieve?" 

Seeing other people achieve their dreams allows my own dreams to grow just a little bigger, become just a little grander.

Who's to say I can't reach the stars?

Day 52
Photo: Nathan Wentz

Heading into 2017, I thought to myself: “How can I transform my thinking to promote a healthy balance in my athletic life, and not get too hung up on JUST mountain biking all the time?” It occurred to me that I need to shift my focus from racking up mountain bike miles and instead track some other metric to gauge whether or not I’m successful. (But don’t get me started on success.)
“What gets measured, gets managed,” as they say (the actual source of this quotation is hotly debated). But in a related sense, what doesn’t get measured doesn’t get managed. While I love creating spreadsheets to track my metrics across a wide variety of goals ranging from athletics to finances and everything in between, I’ve realized that I can’t track everything in my life. Some things I need to simply let be, allow them to remain unmeasured, and simply enjoyed in the moment. So, to promote health in 2017, I decided to stop consciously measuring and managing some metrics (like bike miles) and start measuring another metric.
My current key metric is human-powered elevation gain across all sports.

Being active outside every single day injects numerous facets of satisfaction and meaning into my everyday existence. One facet is disconnecting from electronics and reconnecting with the natural world. Another important facet—which I’ve been missing over the last few months—is a sense of adventure.

While starting easy by walking has been absolutely critical and truly rewarding, the core reason I head out my front door is to explore this beautiful, wild world that we live in. Walking the same route through my neighborhood day after day does not an adventure provide. 

I thirst to head deep into the mountain range behind my house. Maps spread out on the floor, I concoct wild routes with daring connections, envisioning a series of roads and trails that perhaps no one has stitched together before. 

What will the view look like from the top of this mountain? Is there any way to connect over this saddle to the next valley over? Is that trail even rideable, or will I be hiking the whole time?

In many ways, it is the unknown that drives us to push our boundaries, to sally forth into areas that we have never visited. This thirst for adventure and exploration is the core of why I do what I do… but injuries need time to heal. 

Soon I will be back to exploring these mountains. Soon. The work to get there is formidable, which is why even the small steps now—that might not feel so adventurous--are still so important.


Day 45