Whew…stepping outside of our comfort zone is easy to talk about but really hard to do sometimes. It’s even harder to trust someone else when you do so.
As we all know 2021 was a year of change and growth. As I sat inside my home missing my friends I wanted to come up with a way, as a group, that we could train from our own homes, connect via social media and calls, and then meet in person. Hence, Nomadic Adventure Co was born!
The concept was to break down barriers entering the bike packing world. The was to be an adventure not a race. I am not fast and I wanted others to find that same relaxed pace. This was a trip all about friendship, pictures and no set times. Competition did NOT have a place here.
I have bike packed myself and LOVE it. There is no better way, in my opinion, to see the countryside than from the back of my bike! Life gets simpler when the cell phone doesn’t work and all you need to do is take care of yourself and the bike. I also knew that there are more people that have never experienced a night under the stars with not a car in sight than what have.
I asked on social media “What if I told you that you would go somewhere you had never been, do something you can’t do today and come home with a renewed passion?” Oh and “It will all happen on your bike.”
When I reached out to sponsors the response was overwhelming! I knew that we were on to something but I wanted to further break down barriers by lowering the cost of entry. We provided coaching, by Joy McCullough, for five months. Every rider that chose the “Entire Enchilada” package got stronger and stronger.
One thing that 2021 brought to us was zoom calls. I need a shirt that says “You are on mute!” Our Nomads were treated to weekly videos from industry professionals. They got to meet and talk to people that are household names in our industry!
All of the above is cool but it is only what lead up to the trip of a lifetime. The goal was to ride from Fruita, CO to Moab, UT on gravel. We would finding new limits and getting to know a route that very few have travelled. It would not be easy but it would be worth it.
The ability to set up a camp where there is not a soul in sight….not one light, not one radio or even a fence is something that everyone that wants to should experience once. The stars reached from horizon to horizon that night.
Part of the gift of bike packing is to be adaptable. Things happen out of our control. When Eszter Horyani asked about being our photographer she said “It will not go as you expected but that is part of it”. Those words were about to prove so true.
When we awoke we knew that rain was coming. We also knew that the ground was saturated from earlier rains and that the dirt we were on would turn to a soul sucking mud. The theme of morning was adaptability. Time to break camp and get on solid gravel.
I loved that the group trusted us to take them on a trip that they would remember and smile about. But, I will probably never be more proud of every one of them digging deep and riding through cold rain most of that day. The sun was no longer out and things were no longer fun. BUT when we look back on it that day, it has the ability to be claimed as badass! I DID that…it was that kind of day!
Does everything go as planned? NO. Long story short we adapted with fun that was not on the calendar but arguably more fun that what we were planning. The lessons learned I believe are:
- Step outside of your comfort zone and stay there for a bit. You will find a sense of pride in that experience that can not be bought.
- Take care of yourself and your bike. Your bike is your friend on such trips. There is not an easy out but if you take care of your equipment it will take care of you.
- Know your gear. This was done through zoom calls, questions and planning. The six Ps definitely came into play…prior proper planning prevents poor performance. Every one of the nomads SHONE!
- Every day has a high and low. Neither last! Embrace each moment and make the most of it but above all just keep pedaling!
Life is full of beauty and surprises…look closely and you will find both in the same place!
Thank you to our partners: Salsa Cycles, Big Agnes, Orange Mud, Kenda Tires, Eliel Cycling, Blackburn Bags, and Chamois Butt’r. The experience would not be the same without each one of you!
Photos credit: Eszter Horanyi