Why I Hate Gear…and Other Excuses

I’ve got to get back out there. It’s just one of those things. But weekend after weekend, I find myself curled up in my leather chair with a cup o’ tea, a book, or my laptop.

Back in the day my coach would say, “Visualize it and you can do it.” Oh, I visualize it: There’s me swooping down a slope at A-Basin being chased on my snowboard by my oldest son who, I might add, I have slowly been teaching to ride. There I am again slogging through mud on my mountain bike. Nice. Oh, and look at me zipping around the rink on my skates as I actually put a biscuit in the basket. Okay, maybe I’m pushing it a little on that last one, but still–I can see it.
I’m just not out there doing it. My snowboard desperately needs a tune and my boots are so old I get boot bang something fierce whenever we go up–which is less than often. My bike is attached to the kiddo tag-along and they both have flat tires. I had bought a pump for the bikes and all the soccer balls while I was coaching little kid 101, but the balls, the bag, and the pump have disappeared into the black hole my husband insists is the winterized garage.  I don’t even want to get into the details of my hockey bag. All the clothes  could use a wash (but smell like roses, really). Plus, have you ever put on hockey stuff after it’s been outside? It’s flipping cold.

In college, a friend of mine switched from cycling to running because he preferred the simplicity of relying just on himself. “I don’t want to be dependent on a machine,” he said. “It’s just one more thing to break down.” He wanted to eliminate that which would hold him back.

Yes. Exactly. All this gear, this look, this style–all this hoopla just takes time away from the pursuit of sport. It’s the wanna-bees who buy the right shoes and the Under Armour and the name brand and the top of the line.

On the track team we used to say you knew who the real stars were because they looked like hell. The girl with the stained and faded t-shirts and the ratty shoes? She was the one gutting out the miles, doing the drills. And it showed. “Earn your look!” we’d yell and head out on “adventure runs” through the California hills, rag-tag and feeling fabulous.

Other times, I’d ride my bike to where the trail ended, sling it over my back and hoof it up some slope too rocky to navigate from behind handlebars. Bike hiking. I got grease everywhere and tore the crap out of my shirts. It was awesome.

But see, that was easy. Then, I’d just throw on torn clothes and go. Now, I’ve got nice stuff and it needs to be maintained. I can’t go until things get tuned. And some of these sport fleeces I’m still not sure how to wash properly.

Owning gear equals time-suck. Look at my husband: it takes him at least 45 minutes to get into his hockey gear every single game. It takes another hour or more to get out of it–wait, that might have to do with beer. But, regardless, who’s got that kind of time?

So, yeah: I’m not out there. Maybe next year when the kids are a older. But for now, trust me, it’s the gear.

 photo of self and kid looking down what we just climbed up
See what I mean? Gear for this hike: camera, winter clothes, glasses, Camelback, boots, lunch and a kid.

2 thoughts on “Why I Hate Gear…and Other Excuses

  1. It is totally the machinery … (where are those maintenance elves when we need them?) In college it was possible to carve out time… that might mean studying until 2am, but hey isn’t that what coffee is for? Now (we won’t mention how many years later) the machinery seems slower and more complicated, easier to break down. Of course that might also be age… slipped chains, pulled muscles, sore back…

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