Biking Through All Challenges

Those of us who have choices right now are very fortunate. I have the options to put the phrase ‘look at the bright side’ into reality, if I choose.

Yes, we had to close the Alpine store and the Run / XC ski store and I have never been in my office surrounded by a tomb-like silence.

BUT the bike store IS OPEN and we can work and service the amazingly cheerful and respectful customers that choose business with us. Being open means we can ‘curbside’ a ski or two, and a run shoe or three. The GW bike staff are really excited to see how well we can do business in this new way of restricted access, focused cleanliness, parking lot deliveries and more.

I am certainly learning new skill sets. Some may not be super transferable, like figuring out which piece of the Gov’t ‘recovery’ program best fits the Gear West family. Each week brings its new rules and requires immense flexibility by me and staff to absorb the changes and carry on cheerfully. I am certainly working on my flexible decision-making skills to consider everyone’s fears, home and financial situations when determining how to remain in business for these next couple of months. Not fun. Nor have I ever run a retail store where we were not marketing for the future; everything is on hold. But I am so lucky, I do not face moral life-threatening decisions like my physician and nursing friends do. Their lives have been turned inside out.

I find myself spending way too much time on the couch. After turning on the fake fire I curl up under a blanket, early in the morning, or too early in the evening, listening to news, reading books and absorbing way too much i-phone social media. Interest in training for much of anything was waning. After reading Kari Gibbons’ (our Altra shoe rep and past employee), post on finishing her 350 miles Ididarod hike in the wilds of Alaska (how exciting! – like reading an Everest mountaineer book), I felt sloth-like and agitated. I HAD to make a small adventure for myself.

If there is a small bright side with this shutdown, it is more TIME. I LOVE time. By not booking myself so solid with work, racing, and with shortened store hours, I could use TIME in so many constructive ways. For sure, I had to practice distancing myself from the couch and bread maker. I tried to make it simple, two goals during these next two Shelter in Place weeks. 1) Get rid of STUFF, such as accumulated athletic jackets. 2) I must bike everywhere I want to go. Although I live only 8 miles away from Gear West, and there is minimal hardship in such a commute, and many do this type of thing all the time, for me it is new. I am excited.

It is day two of my bike trekking commitment and The MOST fun has been….the weather! Out comes the Gore jackets, mud flaps and bike lights. All of which I own but barely use; I have not chosen to exercise in the weather that requires all that stuff. Not no more! Rain, thunder hail and wind were yesterday’s outdoor ingredients and I was ready! Today brought more rain with a chilly wind. I got it! And when one is prepared, navigating toward a goal, even if it is just a tiny one, is a lot of fun. So, I continue. And I will blog about it.

Debating on how I should title these next two weeks: “ Looking for excitement in an ordinary commute” or “Searching for the bright side within a tough situation” or “ Damn this virus” or “ Gotta burn the chocolate I am consuming” or “Bikes are a blast, use them” or “The right clothing works! Ask us! “.

I better return to more productive work.

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