I first met Mike Webster mid-autumn of 1990. Leaving a 200-level Poli-Sci classroom with head swimming in abstract theory I walked into the crisp fall air and almost directly into him. These days you can't swing a pair of skinny jeans without hitting at least one fixie-riding hipster, but 24 years ago fixed-gear bikes were beyond rare.
In my 4 years on campus this was the only one I saw, and Mike was riding it, in circles, backwards.
Maybe you had to be there.
Fast forward a few decades and the guy that taught me much of what I know about riding and racing bicycles hadn't yet been on one in 2014. His ever-loving and uber-thoughful wife called me with a plan: Take him camping, riding, boating--just generally outdoors--for Fathers Day.
She and I concurred that there was no need to give him advance notice of this plan--the day before would be fine, since he wouldn't use said notice to get ready anyway.
At the agreed upon time and place, give or take 2 hours, he showed up and we got down to it: suited up in drysuits and dove straight into the Gunnison Whitewater Park. An hour+ of faffing about there saw him learn to peel out into current, catch eddies on both weak and strong side, swim a few wave trains, catch a rope bag heaved him-ward, and just generally learn a bit about being in moving water.
The next morning we did a highlight lap of Hartman Rocks for old time's sake, then headed up-canyon and did a pretty if sketchy (due to barbed wire) lap on the Taylor Park run. Mike swam once when a mid-stream boulder caught him zigging where he should have zagged. No blood no foul, and it was obvious he immediately internalized the lesson.
Just before sunset that same day, Stevil Kneivil met us for a lap of the Upper Upper Taylor, with about triple the flow we'd ever run it at. Juicy. Mike had two more swims, both self-rescues, while Stevil stayed in his boat but seemed umpteen times more gripped. His words: "Holy adrenaline dump batman! Not sure I'm ever gonna run this one again!"
(He says that every time we run it.)
Dinner at the SketchyBurger in Gunboat was followed by a calm, clear, cold night of much-needed sleep under the stars.
We wrapped up our activities on Sunday with several hours spent riding, laughing, and sessioning on Vitamin B.
Minutiae aside, we spent the weekend outside and immersed as Herself had requested, recharging our batteries and each, in our way, remembering a little bit of how we've gotten to be where we are at this moment in time.
Can't wait to do it again. Soon?
Thanks for checkin' in.