Six years....

What were we getting into? 

Normally, we're at 24 Hours in the Sage this weekend, hanging out with KOA Dave and the rest of the crowd that makes this event so much fun. Not this year - Sage is next weekend and for the first time in a few years, we're home with "nothing" to do. Why would that be unusual? What's the deal with staying home this weekend? Well, since 2008 (except 2009 - skipped that year for some reason) Nick and I have been celebrating our anniversary in a rather strange way. Instead of dinner, flowers and pricey gifts, we have treated each other to hours of pedaling, spectacular single track and awesome sunrises and sunsets. We've enjoyed KOA Dave's gourmet cooking, night time riding and camping in the Turtle. It just happens that our anniversary is August 17th - the same weekend as 24 Hours in the Sage. So we've had some silly team names, like Honeymoon and Marriage Counseling - to reflect the timing of the race and how cool it was that we were able to do something we both loved on that special day. This year, we're Bac 4 Mor - always looking for more fun and epic rides.
2010 - after wrecking in the Notch, I'm still willing to ride my bike!

2011 - Nick making the Notch look easy
Photo - About the Shot

2011 - Like all endurances events, we've had our share of stormy weather
Photo - About the Shot
With Sage moving back one weekend because of a conflict with the Steamboat Stinger, it gave me a chance to sit down and reflect on the last six years. How much we've changed. How we've grown together (despite some big fights...) How we've adapted to make things flow. And how it's so cool that I've been able to learn how to mountain bike from my partner. Not many women have that chance. It's usually not recommended to attempt to teach your significant other how to mountain bike, but Nick has been the best. He's tailored the rides to my strengths, gradually increasing the difficulty and technical levels as I grew stronger. I can honestly say that I wouldn't be mountain biking if I hadn't met him. Now it's a lifestyle, providing us with the chance to explore ourselves, our relationship and the great trails of my home state. I've seen and done so many things I never imagined doing - just because Nick said I should give mountain biking a try. Races like 24 Hours in the Sage are just the start. I helped him and a friend in 2006 when we were dating and couldn't see myself ever riding my bike at night - let alone on singletrack, at speed. Then came 2008 and we celebrated our first anniversary by trying a 24 hour race together. We've gone on bikepacking trips (not enough if you ask him!) We've come home on a Friday and hit the road for some different riding over the weekend. It's been awesome.

2012 - Riding things I never imagined thanks to Nick
Photo - About the Shot
So this year, with a weekend to ourselves before the big event, we'll probably celebrate the way we always do. Riding our bikes. Maybe together, maybe not. That's the beauty and strength of our relationship. He's confident enough in my skills to let me galevant around the canyon on my own while he's off riding with the guys. And I know that I'm too slow for some the big days so don't bat an eye when he's got epic rides planned and I'm not invited. I support him at his races and he supports me during mine. We both get the chance to push ourselves and grow, then take the time to recover. Which kinda describes the relationship as well! Pushing, growing and realizing what we have.

2012 - Celebrating. And hopefully we'll be celebrating many more years!
Photo Justine Gehrett


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