September 22, 2011

Patagonia TOOLS, Riding in the Sierra, and Coming Home.

Donner Lake, from Donner Summit
The tail end of summer is upon us and I am mildly depressed due to the short days that are quickly shrouding us with darkness, much too early in the day.  This also means cyclocross season is almost here, so there is reason to celebrate!

I spent last week on the shore of Fallen Leaf Lake, nestled between Lake Tahoe and the Desolation Wilderness – attending the Patagonia TOOLS conference. Words cannot begin to do justice to the wealth of knowledge, passion, and inspiration shared at Patagonia’s biennial conference for grassroots activists. Staying true to their mission, “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis,” Patagonia is fostering solutions to the environmental crisis and raising up the next generation of impassioned individuals.

There was a lot going on in the cycling world while I was off the grid (a very peaceful place to be, highly recommended) – and while I was completely entrench in the inspiring individuals I was surrounded by, there was piece of me that longed to be at CrossVegas, Starcrossed, and the Rapha GP; not to mention USA Cycling Marathon Nationals, hosted in my own backyard.

Instead of racing, I was doing morning yoga sessions on the boat dock, listening to Anne Leonard as she instilled hope into my thirsty soul, brainstorming strategy, messaging, and successful campaign implementation with Washington DC professionals and stealing away for a few minutes in the Desolation Wilderness. A change of pace for sure…. a new perspective and joyful reprieve.

And on Monday, I got back on my bike….. Riding from Squaw Valley, up Donner Pass, along the Truckee River and between steep walls of strong granite. The Sierras are daunting, overwhelming, gravitational.

My adventure among the igneous rock didn’t last for long, as we soon headed north, toward home. From Reno, we took Highway 395 to 31, The Oregon Outback. And the Oregon Outback it is. A stop at Summer Lake Hot Springs soothed our bodies after an early morning wakeup-call by a California Forest Service Ranger, just south of the border, and by noon, we were back in our beloved Bend.

The Sierra is beautiful, majestic, magnificent, but the High Desert of Central Oregon is home.

Boat Docks = Morning Yoga Sessions
Donner Pass
Summer Lake Hot Springs. Worth the trip.