Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Off the Grid and Lovin' It!
Do you realize how addicted you are to your social network connections? I didn't until I had the opportunity to sever these connections for a few days.
Mid-June, I had a chance to spend 4 days mountain biking in Utah. This was no small endeavor. It involved riding about 70 miles at 8,000 - 10,000 feet elevation. May not sound like a big thing for my readers in Denver or Santa Fe. Although I ride my bike across Iowa each year along with 15,000 of my best friends (See RAGBRAI and Team Flamingo), Iowa's average elevation is only 1,100 feet. This was my first attempt at mountain biking and I found its demands to be much different than for RAGBRAI.
Utah Easy Downhill ride video
Thunder Ridge (Zion) Steep Downhill ride video
Excuse me, I digress . . .
This adventure was physically challenging but it was culturally challenging as well. I made the conscious decision not to take my laptop on this trip. No work time on the plane (I actually read a book for pleasure on my trip.)
AND believe it or not, I intentionally left my phone in our car.
This may not sound like a big move for most of you, but these were the first 4 days, in recent (and not so recent) history that I was disconnected from the net. I had an MP3 player with me, but I put it away deep into my backpack so that I wouldn't be tempted.
I loved it. It was a feeling of emancipation. I wasn't connected to anyone but the 15 people of my group. It was all about riding our bikes and enjoying the woods. I was riding with my great friend, Jay Foster, and one of his friends, Larry. There were 3 guides and 9 other guys who were out to "beat the mountain."
I don't know what to tell you, but look at the 169 unread messages that you have in your email this morning. Consider the on-going stream of Tweets, IMs and phone calls you have to deal with daily and consider "Tossing It" for a few days. The world will still be there when you come back and you will be all the better for it.
P.S. I might note that I read Dan Brown's 700-page, Deception Point, on this trip as well. I had to spend some of the time in my tent while it was raining and having a great book was a good thing.