Like many people do at the beginning of a season in Vail I set up a tent inthe yard, light a fire and do an ancient tribal sweat dance. Then I fast forthree weeks wearing a swami hat and a bright orange monks robe (or showercurtain if robe is unavailable at Wal Mart) chanting Om Nama Chaka Khan.Once Im in a deep trance – and have the phrase Chaka, Chaka Khan, I get afeel for you, stuck in my head – I set deep meaningful goals for thecoming season. Okay, Im exaggerating. Its really hard to find a swami hataround here.Im sure you can guess what my goals must have been at the beginning of thissummer if youve seen me around town lately.They were to sleep in late all the time on beautiful days. Drink a lot andget out of shape. But most importantly was the classic, far-reaching goal,that glossy mens self-improvement magazines across the country recommend,which is to buy very expensive, top-of-the line athletic equipment and thenspend hours of time each day trying to think of ways to avoid using it.I bought a new bike, rock climbing equipment and the thigh master (justkidding- it was that electric vibrating stomach exerciser) and havefulfilled my worthy goal of finding places to store the stuff. The closetfull of Ring Dings and Doritos was too full.Now I know youre saying Wow, Erik those are some pretty high goals. Well,thanks, and youll be happy to know Ive achieved them all.The toughest part of achieving these highly difficult goals has been to findmentors among my extremely active, and therefor annoying friends. These arethe people that ride their bikes to the places that most people go to, well,ride their bikes.For example, Id assume youd drive your car to Vail Mountain to put yourbike on a chair lift and then take the chair lift to the top, get lunch witha couple beers (the carbs are good for riding I read) and then forget whyyou are there, take the lift back to your car and head home for a healthydose of tacos and canned cheese product.Theres this girl I know that is also very active and therefor extremelyannoying. Instead of taking the logical route to the Minturn Market onSaturdays – proceed from couch, get ride to pick up car left in the parkingstructure at 3 a.m. the night before, proceed straight through McDonaldsDrive-thru, directly to parking lot while still wearing house slippers. Thischick rides her bike over Vail pass to Red Cliff and then down to Minturn.She gets there just about the time Im asking if the fudge is homemade.Then other day, while working hard to increase my finger strength (bytyping) so I can use that rock climbing gear I bought, I got a phone callfrom a guy who is riding his bike not just around Eagle County or even thecountry. No, this guy wont even settle for riding his bike around the worldin a straight line. No, he wants to hit more than 150 countries along theway. The ride will take him just about 11 years and hell cover somethinglike 200,000 kilometers.The guilt I felt about achieving my goals was intense. If he can ride for 11years do I really think sleeping in late and drinking too much is really ahigh enough goal? Is three pieces of athletic equipment I never use enough?Is dedicating my efforts to the cover girl on Maxim each month really worthywhen that, thinks hes all that, around the world guy is doing it for worldpeace?No I dont think so.So this winter Im going big. Ill be the king of the underachievers. Illsee you on the slopes. That is if you happen to pass out next to me afterleaving the Tap Room.
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