Some women come to the desert to erase previous lives, to seek a different way to live in the world. Do they pour themselves into the sparest of spaces…? Do they open themselves to sheer loneliness and fall too deep into self?
How does a 5’2 middle-aged and somewhat retired athlete land herself on a team with three elite male cyclists for Nevada’s premier ultra-endurance cycling race? Well, it has a lot to do with luck (in my case, it’s an occupational hazard when you date the owner of the bike shop who sponsors the event)— but more than that, my journey coincides with a personal journey that started over a year ago.
Granted, I can’t speak for the other three athletes on my team, but looking back on this year made me question why we toe the line for events like this, when there’s nothing waiting for you at the end but a jersey and a hearty congratulations. I’ve always been told that if you don’t make it in life [as a writer, as an athlete, as some sort of professional elite] by the time you’re 25, you might as well throw in the towel and resign yourself to a life of mediocrity. And yet, since I was 25, I’ve really become an athlete and a writer I never truly believed I’d be, which is a strange thing to think about given what choices and chances mean in our lives, and how much sway we have over what we become.
The bike—like the run—is a perpetual process of becoming, though, a slow march through time and space that, on Friday September 13, began for the seventh iteration of the Great Basin Ichthyosaur totem (of which I’ve been more or less a part for five years) that toed the line for yet another Silver State 508.
At 7:00 a.m., the team division of the SS508 began at the Hilton Garden Inn on South Meadows Parkway in Reno. The riders who departed were led by a team car to the base of Geiger Grade where the race would truly begin. This year, our Great Basin Ichthyosaur team was comprised of:
Team Captain Rich Staley, owner of Great Basin Bicycles and my partner in crime for the most part;
Climber-extraordinaire Mike Taylor (who also makes our official jerseys) is a super-pro-rider who defies gravity on the climbs;
Steady and strong Kevin Weiske who is also my teammate on the Clean Power pb Tesla USAC racing team and the nicest guy in the world;
And then there’s me, Rebecca A. Eckland: athlete and writer.
We (luckily) also had two crew members with us to drive the van and take care of logistics so, for the most part, we wouldn’t have to: Dave Staley and Jim Newberg, without whom we would have been a hot mess (of that I have no doubt.)
The 411 on the Silver State 508
Before you read any further, there are a few details you should know. Athletes (aside from the solo racers) must navigate the difficult race course of the wilds of Nevada as well as the impossible terrain of the inside of their race vehicle. Just think about it: the amount of stuff you need to ride a road bike times however many times the rider will be out on the course times the number of team members— that’s a shit ton of stuff. In our case, we had a seven-passenger bus, and it was bursting at the seams with all our supplies even before the race began. I’m still convinced there was a secret compartment for my things which, once they were loaded, I didn’t see again until the end of the race. (I’ll get to that later.)
Finally, the other piece of information you’ll need to know is that for the first time, the SS508 offered an “open” division, meaning teams could switch riders at any point during the race. In previous years, you had to switch at specific time stations, which meant you knew how long you’d be riding and (approximately) how long you’d have to rest before your next stage. The open category created a logistical challenge, one I’m not sure I handled so well. But these are the kinds of challenges you face in an endurance event, when the time and distance you’ll spend on the course create an infinite number of unknowns.
Geiger Grade and the Gateway to the America’s Loneliest Highway
When the race began, Mike Taylor really tore it up. I didn’t know he would, because when he joined our team last minute (our original teammate tore his bicep from his arm in an accident the week before) Rich only said he was a tall guy, and that he supplied us with the shop jerseys. It wasn’t until literally the start line when he mentioned “oh, btw, this guy was pro.”
You wouldn’t know it by his demeanor, but all you have to do is watch Mike ride and you will see the difference between “amateur” and “pro.” In the crisp and beautiful dawn, he put a considerable nine minute gap on all the other teams in the first 30 miles of the race, surprising other teams who’d thought they would lead the entire time.
As our first rider, Mike took us from Reno, over Geiger Grade, through Virginia City and down to the junction where Six-Mile Canyon meets Highway 50. His time up Geiger Grade? 36 minutes— and that felt “easy.” For comparison, my absolute fastest Geiger time is just over 38 minutes and let me tell you, that was at absolute puke-speed.
[Aside: Geiger Grade, for those of you who don’t know, is a 7.8 mile climb that offers expansive views of Reno and the Sierra Nevada range. It’s among my favorites due to the red-colored rocks that offer a beautiful—and stark—contrast to the blue Nevada skies. Up until last year, Rich and I had a weekly ritual where we would ride the Geiger climb every Tuesday morning starting at 5 a.m. That lasted until the end of last summer when early commuters got fed up with us (you know it’s time to change your route when even a school bus tries to run you over.)]
My favorite moment of the race might have been when team Coconut Crab (a four-man team comprised of four Frenchmen from the Bay Area with eight very high-end and very expensive bikes) saw a rider on the horizon and expected it to be their man. When it turned out to be Mike… oh god, the expressions on their faces were priceless. Granted, it only took them another 50ish miles before they caught us, passed us and were in the lead for the rest of the race. They would finish in absolute first place out of everybody with an impressive time of 24 hours and 51 minutes. But yeah, that moment—that made me smile a little bit.
Rich Staley took the baton ( a GPS tracker) from the base of Six-Mile Canyon, and carried it past Fallon and nearly to Sand Mountain. The first 20 miles of Rich’s leg were brutal due to construction on the highway, which left lots of rocks and debris all over the road, and not much of a shoulder. That would give me nightmares later about the return trip (when I’d be riding that stretch of road and I imagined some semi truck would run me over because why not? Impatient drivers seem to forget that cyclists are actual people who can get hurt if you hit them with a car.) But once you get out here, the sky opens up and it’s this other version of Nevada that goes panoptic. It takes a bit of an effort not to panic by the scope of this place.
On the Flats to Fallon
Rich took us to Fallon, a metropolis compared to the rest of the towns through which we’d pass, with amenities like Walmart, McDonald’s and fully stocked gas stations. These aren’t things you’d normally think of as “amenities”, but once we leave the limits of the small town, luxuries like a bathroom with running water or the possibility of a cup of hot coffee are a thing of memory. Fallon is a town that dwindles into the desert, though, with large outlying areas of agriculture where alfalfa and cantaloupe grow in the large green fields.
The fields last until Grimes point, which acts as a gateway to the true Great Basin desert. Once you turn that corner of the highway, Fallon vanishes from sight, and you’re in this vast alkali flat that is unworldly, silent and gapingly beautiful. It’s a place writ large, and that is written upon: all along the shoulder of the road are traces of names, Bible passages and peace signs. Rock arrangements that appear mysteriously because I have never seen anyone arranging the rocks along the side of the road, although it must have happened at some point.
Rich, who is shares his ability to ride for sixty miles without water with only one other creature (the camel) nearly lasted the entire sixty miles with no help or support from us. I actually had to make the executive decision to pull off at the last viable pull out before the climb up Sand Pass to let our third rider, Kevin, have at least a mile of warm-up before his first climb.
Sand Mountain, the Dixie Bombing Range and the Pony Express Trail
Let me tell you a story about Kevin Weiske. Two years ago, I started dabbling in classical cycling races. Before that, I’d done mainly endurance stuff, and because I’m curious about the capacity of the human body to adapt to the demands placed on it, I wanted to see if someone who had been a steady-state endurance athlete could develop the kind of power needed to be successful in that sport. (The short answer is—at least for me—unfortunately, no. Although I did see changes in my physique and increases in my power output, I have not been very successful at classical cycling racing.)
Early on, I won a few races in addition to a handful of disastrous OTBs [off-the-back, which means you’ve been dropped by the main peloton of racers] when I was still unattached and I was approached by a local cyclist, Will Stöger, who had started a race team called Clean Power Cycling Powered by Tesla, who offered me a spot on the team. Grateful for any offer at all, I took him up on it, and that’s how, early in the 2018 race season, I met my teammate Kevin when he offered to give me a lift to the Barioni Road Race, just North of Sacramento.
This winter, Kevin joined Rich and I for our CompuTrainer (indoor cycling, but on your own bike) classes at the bike shop, and continued to be very supportive of my goals as a cyclist and athlete.
So, fast forward to about 100 miles in the SS508, and Kevin is ready to begin his leg. He put in considerable miles over the season to prepare for the race. Additionally, he asked Rich to ride with him at midnight to get a sense of what it’s like to be out on the road in the middle of the night. Rich, of course, obliged and they both went out for a midnight ride from Reno and around Washoe Valley this past August, when I do what I always do best at midnight (sleep).
As Kevin climbed Sand Pass, we waited for him at the top. I was in the back-back seat where I’d (unwisely) put my stuff. As I plugged in my cell phone to charge it (I was also doing social media updates, which, due to the iffy connection, had already drained my battery) two military helicopters flew right over the top of our van, prefacing the landscape to come. After Sand Pass, Kevin would descend into the Dixie Valley, which is a bombing range for the U.S. Navy. Last year on the race course, we saw puffs of dust in the distance from military aircraft doing exactly that.
Also, a little-known fact: you can access one of Nevada’s lesser-known nuclear test sites by way of the Dixie Valley. Called Project Shoal, the site hosted the detonation of a nuclear bomb that was placed deep within the earth to test what would happen if a nuclear reaction occurred near a natural fault line (which also exists just East of the Dixie Valley.) The military built a conventional suburban neighborhood under which they lowered the nuclear device. Today, nothing exists but the foundations of those buildings and a plaque that, if you didn’t know where to find it, you never would.
The first time Rich took me to the Shoal site, I remember:
the lack of sagebrush or anything at ground zero and;
a white plastic wastebasket that someone had left there. I picked that up, and took it home and had a friend make radioactive stickers with the word “SHOALS” on each side of it. We use it at home for our recycling.
A Big Aside
All of my life, with the exception of last year, I have believed myself to be an athlete. There are so many memories I could use to support this: memories of competing and placing in marathons, triathlons, Ironman, and the time I won the CA Triple Crown Stage Race. But there are handfuls of other memories, too, when I couldn’t have even fathomed a podium, much less stood on one.
So, the story for this SS508 really starts last year when I was, by all accounts, in the best cycling shape of my life. I was riding 240-280 miles a week, racing at least once every week with the Alta Alpina Cyclists and I watched my wattage climb (as I climbed) better than I had in my entire life. And then the season of fires came, and the light turned orange and gray for weeks, and I just stopped. This also coincided with personal turmoil that I won’t dive into here. The magic of it— that nameless whatever I’d find from the saddle that had nothing to do with public accolades but everything to do with personal ones— vanished and my understanding of who I am and my place in the world shifted.
This is all a really over-done way of saying that my decision to eat when we were stopped at the windmill was probably not the best one. Granted, sometimes we only know the good decisions from the bad ones in hindsight. But in previous SS508s, I timed my meals according to when I projected I’d be riding. The problem with an open category (or at least the way we ran things) is that no one knew exactly when we’d be riding. So, under the sun at approximately 1 p.m. I indulged in lunch, a.k.a. a piece of fried chicken, because:
that’s when I usually eat lunch;
I was hungry and;
the van had eaten what I had brought for myself and I didn’t want to make a scene by asking where my natural peanut-butter bars had gone.
Let’s just say it wasn’t the smartest thing I’ve ever done. (Side note: fried chicken is on the SS508 menu thanks to a former teammate from a few years ago who swore by it.)
So, let’s recap: Kevin is riding like a rockstar. It’s 80+ degrees out and we all eat lunch at the windmill. Rich tells me I have over an hour until I begin my leg, climbing Carroll Summit. I don’t eat a lot, but enough so that I’m not hungry. However, Kevin cruises by Middlegate, Nevada’s shoe tree, and before we know it, he’s at the turn to Highway 722.
Because you never ever want to start on a hill, Rich pulled me out of the van and said: time for you to ride. It had only been 15 minutes since I’d eaten and it was 80+degrees outside. I could already smell trouble. (When I was a triathlete, I learned that there is an inverse relationship between what you can and should eat and the distance you’re riding and/or the temperature outside. The longer or the hotter it is, the less you want to put inside your body.)
So, without getting too dramatic about it, I knew this wasn’t going to be pleasant, but I was going to do it because that’s what you do when you’re on a team. You do what you have to.
In the Hot Seat (on Carroll Summit)
This year, I wasn’t expecting to toe the line for anything, much less another SS508. Yet, as I began my first effort in this multi-effort race, I couldn’t ignore that I was once again on a roster for the event for the fifth time in a row for another iteration of the Great Basin Ichthyosaur. I don’t know how to say this gracefully, but it’s hard not to feel intimidated as the only woman on an all-man team even if your teammates are the nicest guys in the world (mine were). You’re constantly worried you’re not fast/strong/good enough. Or, I was constantly worried about all of those things. And that’s what I felt when I started up Carroll Summit.
If you have never driven on Nevada’s Highway 722, I recommend you get in your car right now and do it. It’s gorgeous, remote country that just makes you feel grateful to be alive. The first part of the climb doesn’t feel like a climb (and you want to look down at the bike and ask: “what’s wrong with you?") But, it is a climb. The rabbitbrush is all in vibrant yellow bloom right now, and the road meanders into an ever-narrowing canyon. Rocky cliffs line the side, and sometimes you can see mountain sheep, gazing down at you. Juniper trees start to populate the landscape, but they aren’t tall enough—or close enough to the road—to offer any shade.
I think I passed three or four riders on the climb, low in my aerobars (where I feel the most comfortable) listening to my favorite songs by Kygo among others I won’t list because you’ll roll your eyes. I saw range cattle. Hawks circling just below the clouds. The charred branches of trees from a wildfire two years ago. About 2/3 of the way up, there’s a big sweeping switchback and Rich was flying the drone overhead. I wish I could tell you what that climb felt like because everyone said I was doing so well. The views were gorgeous and I wanted to stop and take some pictures, but I had to keep reminding myself that not-stopping is the point of racing.
Rich will later tell me I was climbing quickly, and that, according to race records, I am the first woman and seventh-fastest rider overall up this climb. Believe me when I say it didn’t feel quick at the time. It felt like I was hanging on for life.
At the summit, I see another competitor I met the week before, Giovanni, who is riding the event solo (and who is from Italy.) That gave my spirit a much-needed kick in the pants before the winding descent to Smith Creek Ranch and the expanses beyond.
The stretch of road between Smith Creek Ranch and Railroad Summit has stress cracks that will literally knock your teeth out. It’s really too bad, because otherwise it’s a very enjoyable ride through a long valley with alkali flats in the distance that form ephemeral sculptures due to the direction of the wind. I did my best through that section with a side/headwind, but that was a battle I was slowly losing. The guys waited for me at the top of Railroad Pass where Rich took the GPS tracker from me (and he enjoyed a nice, long downhill.)
Nevada Shenanigans and Other Fun Facts
In the late 19th Century, a venture-capitalist sold a considerable amount of shares in the “Reese River Navigation Company” that was started as a money-making farce— the idea was that investors would be funding barges to carry the gold mined in Nevada on barges to a railroad depot in Battle Mountain. As anyone who’s ever ridden the SS508 will tell you, the Reese “River” is little more than a creek, and the idea of putting on a barge on it is laughable.
There are alfalfa fields, though; all filled with antelope as Rich rides through in the naked dusk. Mike takes the lead about a quarter of a mile before 722 joins Highway 50 for the climb up Austin and beyond. Kevin buys everyone ice cream sandwiches (I take a bite and give Rich mine since I’m still feeling sick) in Austin where we use a porta-potty with toilet paper (another luxury that vanishes as the race progresses.) All of the riders in the van— which means Kevin, Rich and I—try to sleep because we know what’s coming. I can’t, really— or not very well. I close my eyes, but I can feel the van, the road and the conversation of our crew in my body along with the grumbling of my unhappy stomach.
Outside, Mike once again kills it, taking the hills fast and not giving up a second to fatigue.
I don’t do much at at this point in the race. I try to sleep. I drink lots of water. I update social media with our progress. The sun gets low. Because of distant fires, the colors in the sky are vibrant and pretty.
When we stop to exchange riders again (to collect Mike and to put Rich out on the road) I do a FB Live video and get the mileage wrong (we’ve covered 220 miles, not 460. Oh well, at this point, who’s counting??) The light’s absolutely gorgeous— golden and low—and there’s hardly a sound around us.
As Rich continues to ride toward Eureka, the light continues to fade, and because of the smoke in the distance, the sunset colors the sky technicolor.
Coyotes yip in the distance. I think about how, this year, the desert once again became a mystery, a place that unfolded itself slowly, and for me, asking the silent questions I have been avoiding for nearly one year.
I wonder about the definition of “athlete” I’ve decided to live with, and why I excluded scenes and races like this from my life. In a way, I know why: when I was hired at my current job, I can still remember telling my parents that I wanted to (finally) build a better life for myself. I had said: “Imagine what I could do if I focused on my career like I focus on training.” Only, a year later, nothing has happened. I’m not any better at writing—or, I haven’t really found journals who will publish my latest essays, and I miss the natural world and what I once called a second home—where I often went to to find my center and my peace in my miles on the bike, and before that, my miles running.
Yet, this is a place I come back to, again and again, on this journey of perpetual becoming where every running stride or pedal stroke or spoken word leaves us, in some way, changed. And here, too, I wonder about these halves of my life were I’m half in and half out of two separate worlds, never wholly in one, but never fully absent, either. Perhaps this is my story, this perpetual attempt to return without ever truly arriving. There is beauty in this moment, and I wonder if my strength of writing landscape rather than writing relationships settles with me in this place where the sky and the distances between everything human is large.
Perhaps it was never only two choices: athlete or writer. Perhaps there is some way to exist in the distance in between, to find happiness in the unknown.
On the Night Train
Once the sun sets, the SS508 becomes a different race. The temperature plummets from 80 degrees to 30. We take the van to Eureka while Rich rides the bike for the final miles in the dark to Eureka. While we wait for him to arrive, we get gas and I change into my next (clean) cycling kit. The local gas station graciously stayed open for the event, which meant we could get gas and I could use a toilet with toilet paper and flush technology. While we’re waiting for Rich to arrive, someone asks us why we’re out here riding our bikes. Mike responds: “for no good reason.” A second later, I wander out to the curb and as I’m standing in my cycling kit, a jacked-up truck drops its exhaust while a young, 20-something blonde teenager (probably drunk) behind the wheel yells: “Suck my balls, fagots!” at us.
This initiates some discussion between our crew and other people at the gas station. “He must not know much about oral sex,” says crewman Jim at one point, and I start to wonder if I underestimated this older gentleman.
When Rich arrives, we pack him in the van and start the journey back—this time, I lead us out into the desert, back the way we came. Due to race rules, the van has to follow me directly, and I try not to feel guilty about this. But, I don’t do well in the cold, so my speed isn’t what I wish it was. I finally just repeat the mantra to myself that I’m riding miles so my teammates don’t have to. I’m helping them like being the filling in an oreo cookie (and who doesn’t like the filling an an oreo cookie?)
This 40 miles is especially brutal. I don’t ride with music because it’s night and I need my senses attuned to what’s around me. But, I can’t see anything beyond the light cast by the headlamp on my bike and the van behind me with the flicker of bugs (moths, probably) in my line of site and the odd rodent who skitters across the road. I try to remember landmarks, but everything is obscured by the dark. Also, I didn’t eat after my Carroll Summit stage (aside from a 1/2 sandwich six hours before) because that chicken in the heat was such a bad idea, so I feel woozy at best.
I focus on the flashes of bugs in my headlight, the cadence of my breath. I try not to get too down on myself about my pitiful watts. I start to feel the cold seep from my feet and arms into my heart. I watch the mileage, and when there’s 10 miles left to my projected 40, I tell myself I’ll make it or die. I look up in the sky and over to my right I glimpse a shooting star. I smell the sagebrush, invisible because of the dark, and I tell myself I have to keep going.
At some point, all I can think about are the peanut butter-filled pretzels Rich said he bought from Costco that are in the back of the van and my vision gets narrow, like the way old movies faded to black from the outside-in. I talk myself into riding ten miles more than projected, and when crewman Dave honks at me, and tells me to get the fuck back to the van, do I realize I had become slightly insane.
I fall asleep as soon as I’m in a dry sweatshirt and sweatpants, with my soaked and cold sports bra pressing into my chest. I don’t even lay down, I just sleep sitting up, shivering because I can’t get warm. I don’t remember who rode next or whatever happened. When I sleep, I do it seriously.
All I Don’t Remember
Rich rides through the Reese River Valley at night. I wake up at some point, and gaze out the front windshield. Watching the headlights reflect off the reflective strips on his tights is mesmerizing, and I talk Dave and Jim into eating some peanut butter pretzels with me as we watch Rich ride. I eat a handful or two before I pass out, snoring (according to eye-witness reports.) Rich told me later that he entertained the crew inside by bunny-hopping the bike over bunnies and dodging cow pies. I’m sorry I missed all that.
At some point, (at the base of Carroll Summit at the Smith Creek Ranch) Mike heads out and crushes the long climb, seeing no creatures, not even cows. Rich does the descent, and Dave drives the van in a manner that upsides our other crewmember, Jim. “It was insane,” Jim would later say in a way that suggests he expected us to end up in the ravine down below. We make considerable distance on the team behind us and slowly begin to reel in the sole solo rider ahead.
I miss all of this and wake up around 4 a.m. when I’m told to suit up. My stomach is a total mess (which is really unusual for me. Normally, I have an iron stomach and can eat/compete through most things.) Kevin is riding, taking us into and through Fallon. It is dark and cold, and I feel awful. This, for me, is where the struggle begins.
Riding Despite the Darkness
They wake me up, and I learn we are somewhere outside of Fallon. This surprises me because all the years I have ridden this race before, arriving to Fallon coincides with the sunrise. At the moment, we’re two hours away from that happening, and we’re nearly in Fallon.
Kevin is riding. Rich and Mike are sleeping. I try to assess my body, to pinpoint my discomfort. I’m not sure if I feel hungry or sick or depressed or all of those things, all at once. I feel unprepared for what’s ahead of me, even though last year at this time, another few miles on the bike would have been a piece of cake.
For so long, preparing myself to compete was a kind of daily practice for me, in the sense that yogis use that phrase. A daily and private ritual where, wordlessly, I experienced my own body in the world—good or bad—that was outside of school or work or expectations. I needed that time, whether it was running, cycling, swimming—whatever—it was time to spend with myself in the silence of myself.
When I met Rich, I started teaching CT classes for him in the shop as a way to help him out during the winter season when bike sales are naturally slow. I started to share these miles with others. And for the most part, I enjoyed learning about other people’s lives and their journeys that were different—and yet very similar— to my own.
I think sometimes we don’t realize how much we matter to each other, or how much words can matter. Someone who trained with us last winter was having a rough time in life, I think, and they brought their mess of negativity with them—telling me how slow I was on the bike. And, once, asking me if I had to have my bike custom made because my legs are so short.
The problem with me is that I listened and I haven’t raced a day since— until the SS508. As Kevin finds a pull-out on the side of the road, Mike tries to encourage me as I step out of the van to begin my last leg of the race but the doubt is heavy .
I start my leg heading West on highway 50 toward Silver Springs with a Nevada headwind in my face.
I’m wearing a skin suit, which is about as warm as it sounds. Soon, I feel like the air is freezing my collarbones and chest in place, and the hazy smoke from a nearby fire makes it hard to breathe. Rich tells me I’m catching the riders in front of us, and I do my best to believe him.
Wild horses start to dot the landscape and I keep as low as I can in my aerobars to combat the considerable headwind which is often a feature of this stretch of Hwy 50. When I arrive at the exchange point in Silver Springs, I see the van parked, and I expect all the guys to come out and tell me to get off the bike because I’m too slow.
I haven’t made it to my hour yet, and even though I feel awful, I know I have more in my legs to give the team. I ride for another seven miles, doing my best. It’s not pretty or remarkable—but sometimes life is that way, too. You just have to keep going because you’ve got to keep the promises you make—even if it’s hard and even if it’s only for yourself.
The Final Miles
At the base of Six Mile Canyon, Mike takes it up the final climb. He’s impressive, even at this late stage in the race, tackling the climb like the pro he is. We wait for him at the top, cheering. The guys probably realized this hours before, but this is when it becomes a reality for me, too: we could beat our projected time.
Rich takes over at the top of Geiger Summit, promising not to leave his aerobars (he doesn’t) reaching something around 50 mph on the way down. I hear about it later—that I should have videoed his descent. (Truthfully, watching Rich ride down a hill is like watching someone dance. He’s graceful and somehow not reckless even though at the speeds he’s going, if he fell, he’d be dead.)
Rich takes us into Reno down the side streets, track standing at the red lights, and into the finish line where we earn our official finishing time of 26 hours, 38 minutes— a new course record for a four-man open team. Once we extract ourselves from the crazy van (BTW, I still don’t know where my pants are), we pose for team photos at the finish line.
These start off demur:
…and then (thanks to Rich) they get a little crazy:
So athlete or writer— or neither athlete nor writer— I was lucky enough to be on a team that set a new course record in the Silver State 508. Because I’ve done this race for five years in a row, I’ve also been inducted into the Hall of Fame.
More than that, I look at sunrises, sunsets and stars differently after this SS508. I’m inspired for a new adventure when I can— in whatever shape or size—once again find that daily practice that opens that door to the magic of moving in the world; that (every)place where I’m defined as not just a writer, and not just an athlete, but as a human being.