Starting A New Chapter In #BikeLife

It's been a while since I last wrote as I felt like I needed to take a break from #bikelife and reset. This winter I felt like I needed a break from forcing myself to bike and made the decision to move my body in different ways. I suppose I felt burnt out. I also was not at all interested in feeling cold even tho it was a mild winter. Frankly, I don't think I have recovered from the mental/emotional stress that was 2018, which carried into 2019, and finally concluded in March of 2020. Well, we can now say the legal stuff is taken care of and officially over, but that doesn't mean the rest of it is.

The estate is 100% done. So one thing off my back.
As I write this, it's April 1st and we're in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and I will be completely honest and admit that I'm mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted.

The bike shop is still open, but we've made it a 2-person show of Travis and me. It's been good to have folks bring bikes in to get worked on so they have transportation and/or a means to get outside and get some fresh air. Bikes are being purchased for kids. Bikes are being purchased for adults. We are doing our absolute best in trying to keep things clean and sanitized. Offer pickup/dropoff, over the phone payment, Paypal, etc. It's been busy and we are super fortunate for that.

While there are good things happening, I'm struggling with daily life because I'm more tired than I've been in a long time. Riding has been something put on the back burner because I need to turn wrenches after hours to help Travis. The times I'm not at work late, I'm feeling too tired to go out and mountain bike. Plus, the thought of potentially running into another human being out in the woods...I just can't even*.

*I'm an introvert and an INFJ (supposedly?). When all of my emotional resources are eaten up I can't human anymore. Any time I have after-hours I'm doing what I can to take care of my body with stretching and simply trying to recover from my mental hangover and exhaustion (physical and emotional.)

I'm also undertaking another project that I can't talk about right now, but it's going to be something good, but it will take time to cultivate. However, I know it'll eat into my riding time for a while and I'm trying to cope with that.

So what are we looking at here? 
Another year filled with stress, even if good things are happening during that stress. 

We have a tired Josie. Josie misses biking, but Josie doesn't have the energy to expend like she typically does. Josie's knee also likes to be stupid which can also impact her riding as in riding LESS instead of more (which contributes to bad moods). Josie is also trying to take care of her neck/shoulder so she can work without pain. There is a lot going on and Josie is feeling sad.

What does Josie do?

She gains inspiration from two good friends who purchased E-MTBs and found them to be absolutely amazing and superduper fun.

Josie knows that there is an E-MTB that recently came out that is basically exactly what she would want in terms of an e-bike. Something that isn't super torque-y and provides 2x the power vs. 4x the power. Also? It's light for an E-MTB! Josie takes a good, hard look and says "Why the heck not?"

Yes. I bought an E-MTB. It's a way for me to celebrate the estate finally being done, it's a way for me to try the Specialized Turbo Levo SL, and it's a way for me to not have an excuse to ride my bike. If my knee is acting up, the assistance will help with that. If I'm exhausted from work, I can still go out and actually ENJOY a mountain bike ride. (For those who don't ride Decorah trails, we have a LOT of hills.) Also, we sell a lot of electric-assist bikes at the bike shop, so why shouldn't I ride one so I can talk about it better?

Also, looking to the future, if COVID-19 basically takes away the Arizona trip we had planned for November, I at least have a way of making the local trails more fun to ride. Heck, who knows if we even really will get ANYWHERE else this year.

I look at it as a tool in which I can spice things up. Let it be known I am in no way shape or form NOT going to ride my other bikes, you know, the ones without motors. I'm still going to ride them, but this bike is to help supplement me when work takes up a lot of my time and I want to get a ride in before dark.

It's to help me when I'm feeling utterly exhausted (which is daily right now.) It's to let me double my riding fun on my days off! If I go for a 25-mile gravel ride and want to ride trails later, I can without worrying about blowing my knee up! (Believe me, when I say blow up, I mean it!)

I'm still a bit in disbelief about this, but at the same time, I'm not. I had thought about it since the Turbo Levo SL came out, but I didn't leap on buying one because I didn't feel like it was time. Life happened since then and a lot of things changed. With those changes I realized that there was a solid need in my world. Especially since I've been feeling more depressive lately- and when I can't get much riding in that makes it even worse.

Things have a funny way of lining up, and this was one of those situations where the stars aligned and I knew it was time.

Now, I know I'm going to catch hell from some folks out there who believe that I'm riding a "motorcycle" or I'm "cheating" and I can assure you that I'm absolutely not doing either of those two things. I only get assistance when I'm pedaling the bike, plus there are many articles out there that can educate you on how you are getting exercise even if you are using a bike with pedal assist.

My riding style isn't going to change!

I'm a super responsible rider and during this time, I have to make sure I don't do anything stupid to land in the hospital. So those who are fearful of me zipping around with reckless abandon and acting like a complete dingdong, I apologize, but that's not going to happen.

I'm not 100% without physical issues as my left knee has a tendency to develop "water knee" more often than I'd like. Having a bike that can take some of the pressure off so I can ride as long as I hope to or intend to makes it completely worthwhile. Having a bike that can allow me to maximize my riding time on my days off (double up on rides, etc.) without aggravating my knee is also helpful. Having a bike that gets me outside when I'm having hormonal lows or am simply wiped out from work and/or allergies excites me to no end!

For those who are nervous about me stealing QOMs or something of that nature, I'll have you know that I have several QOMs of my own on the local mtb trails. Also? I pretty much stopped using Strava late last year because I found it taking the fun out of my rides.

My entire goal for 2020 was to make it a year where I would find joy in mountain biking again, and I'm going to do just that.

I would like to extend a huge thank you to Specialized Bicycles and Decorah Bicycles for their help in allowing me to find some joy in a trying time and for their support. I'm looking forward to sharing my "Eeebing" adventures with all of you!