Paddling the MR340 was a challenge. But it was a doable challenge. After all, the race was nearby. And it was fairly straight forward for me to leverage and adapt my whitewater paddling and river reading experience. The most significant cost to participate was for a boat and with so many viable craft available both new and used, anyone can find a craft to satisfy their budget. Besides these low barriers to entry, I believe the most important contributor to my successful completion was that the race came with a built-in tribe consisting of fellow racers, the race organizational team, and a vibrant and engaged online user community that was full of advice, recommendations, and support.
This time is going to be a bit different. A bit harder. And this time…I am starting with none of those advantages.
For my second Epic Escapade:
I’m embarking on a quest to ride ALL of the
International Mountain Biking Association’s
designated EPIC trails and Ride Centers.
And that means…
So what’s an EPIC™ trail? For those unfamiliar with the IMBA or their designations of EPIC™ trails and EPIC Ride Centers™, the IMBA website describes them as,
“The EPICS designation denotes a true backcountry riding experience. IMBA EPICS are what many mountain bikers live for and make travel plans around: immersive rides that are technically and physically challenging, beautiful to behold and worthy of celebration.”
“An IMBA EPICS ride is a demanding, mostly singletrack experience in a remote, backcountry setting. EPICS are at least 20 miles long and both technically and physically challenging. […] These rides serve to offer inspiration and should be on every mountain biker’s bucket list.”
“IMBA Ride Centers™ feature extensive trail networks, masterfully designed for mountain bikers of every skill level and built by professional trailbuilders and local volunteers. From backcountry adventures to shuttle-served gravity trails, and from expert-only trails to family-friendly riding, mountain bikers can expect the best the sport has to offer at an IMBA Ride Center. Trails systems are integrated, well-designed, and embraced by the surrounding communities for the economic, tourism and other benefits they provide.”
And I have no freaking idea how I’m going to make this happen…YET! I’m not yet able to FIRE (financially independent retire early). I’m 50 and frankly, I’ve let my physical condition deteriorate. I’m battling occasional sciatica. I do not have unlimited vacation time. I am at best an intermediate mountain biker. And I do not have a support network or any real resources to help guide me through this effort.
There is no clear path that I can easily follow to achieve this goal and that is exactly the point of embarking on an epic escapade. Is it epic in scope? Hell’s yes it is. Is this going to be an escapade?
By definition it is!
Am I going to have to break out of my comfort zone and life as I’ve built it…absolutely.
To start, I’m committing to post one article a week documenting my Epic Escapade. Until next time,