"Riches do not exhilarate us so much with their possession as they torment us with their loss" - Epicurus
Yesterday our garage was broken into and my and my husband's mountain bikes were stolen. I don't want to dramatize the situation but I really feel the need to share a little about our bikes. Maybe this is part of the healing process.
I moved to Colorado permanently after college in the Spring of 2005. I had a little graduation money, a newly acquired Bachelor's degree and an ex-boyfriend waiting on the back burner in case anything fell through. What I didn't have was a clue about what I wanted to do with my life. I did know that I needed a job. I started by getting in my car and driving North on Academy Blvd. I applied to several retail stores as I made my way up Academy, not really caring which of them called me back, as long as one of them did. Then I reached Bicycle Village. When I walked in that store I immediately wanted a job. These were my kind of people. They were all college or post-college age, all fit, fun and intelligent. And they were so NICE. I spoke with the girl at the register for a long time. It was the first conversation I had had with anyone since moving and it felt so good. I loved the idea of being surrounded by bike people. I had a road bike and was into triathlons at the time. My goal was to do an Ironman, and I thought keeping this kind of company would ensure that I didn't let that goal slip away.
I got the job and my entire world opened up. I learned so much and met so many cool people. Being from Kansas, I hadn't a clue about this obscure sport of riding fat-tired bikes on trails encumbered with rocks and roots. I had to learn about mountain biking quickly since my new job was to sell the bikes. I became more and more intrigued with the sport. I coveted the mountain bikes in the store so fiercely that I often had dreams about riding them on the trails my road bike would never dare to brave. Of course, even with my employee discount, I couldn't afford one of these things. Not any of the good ones anyway. That's where Brian came in.
I met Brian at an ice-skating rink. All of the Bicycle village employees had gone skating and one of the girls brought her boyfriend, who brought his roommate, who was Brian. Brian worked for the rival bike shop, Criterium. He said he could take me mountain biking on one of their rentals. I was in! I called him the next week and we planned a ride. It was supposed to be an easy ride since I had never been off-road before. It ended up being the hardest thing I had ever done in my life (including a couple 1/2 Ironman triathlons). We rode The Buckhorn and Captain Jack trails in Cheyenne Canyon. The ride took almost 6 hours and was anything but beginner friendly. I almost cried at the top of the first climb. Brian is a GOOD rider and apparently has a hard time gauging the difficulty levels of trails for ordinary people. Anyway, I was hooked. I went on a few more rides with him on that rental bike and then one night he called me at the shop and said "I have a bike for you." Really? What did that mean? He said it was a loaner, but I was stoked! I went to his house that night where he finished putting the parts on and fit me to it. The frame was his very first mountain bike. It was custom-made for him but he had designed it himself before he knew much about geometry so it was always a little too small. It was perfect for me though. Between Brian and his roommate, there were enough parts to put the bike together for me. Yay!
Mountain biking became my thing. My new thing. I rode it almost every day, even if it was just a short ride at Palmer Park, a sweet mountain biking spot right outside my apartment complex. My skills had a long way to go so I rode every chance I got. My endurance was pretty good from road biking and running, but mountain biking still kicked my ass! I loved working at the bike shop even more now because there were so many experienced riders to push and teach me. There was always someone to ride with, no matter what day, what time or how last-minute it was. That summer I did some races on that bike. I did the Buffalo Creek Xterra, the Crested Butte Xterra, and even won the beginner category at the Wildflower Rush XC race. I also raced the Super-D there, which is a cross between downhill and cross-country. I went over my bars and got this bruise.>>
Over the next couple years, I rode with Brian a lot. We rode all over Colorado together. He really opened me up to this beautiful state and its endless trails. Somewhere along the line we started dating. One thing led to another and I got pregnant. I continued to ride until about 3 months of pregnancy. Since becoming a mother, I have only gone on a handful of mountain bike rides. While my love for mountain biking never faded, running was the more practical activity for a new mom. I dove into running and left my mountain bike hanging in the garage, promising it I would take it out again when I had more time away from the baby. Time passed and I lost interest. I grew more in love with running. I set all kinds of running goals and only thought of my bike when I had an injury or a friend who wanted to go riding. I did not consider myself a cyclist any longer.
When Brian and I discovered our garage had been broken into, we immediately started taking inventory. We have a lot of bikes between us, so it took a few minutes to realize which ones were gone. When I realized it, my heart sank. Oh. No more mountain bike. Since it is winter, and I haven't mountain biked regularly in two years, it is taking some time to sink in. It's not necessarily the bike that I am mourning. If it were, I would have started mourning it when I was pregnant because that's when we really lost touch with each other. I feel like a little chunk of "me" was snatched from my garage. For my husband and I, bikes are part of our identities. Our relationship was founded on a love of bikes. Bikes brought this family together. Brian is a frame builder and he hand-built his stolen bike. It is his baby, his art. I know this is harder on him than it is on me.
Last night after all the venting, cussing and "why-me-ing," Brian hugged me and said that sometimes you have to lose something you love. It builds character. Upon hearing that, I felt a little sense of peace. The bikes were merely this: metal; rubber. Albeit expensive metal and rubber... The important thing is that we have each other. The garage was robbed of the bikes that began our relationship, but our family remains intact and love tenaciously abounds.