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Team MoBill Final – Summer of Adventure

This post is the last in a series called the Team MoBill Story

It was agreed that we should meet up for adventures on the weekends. For me I traveled every weekend to either race or ride somewhere so I was used to it. For Mo not so much. She was totally into adventure but trading a non work day to get up and travel was just not her cup of tea. I totally understood. But then every weekend she was up for something new.

It seems to me that we were training for sharing the adventures of life. To be on a team. Something I never considered. I mean I was solo right? Solo racer. Always solo. And more then myself Mo was a solo too. So each weekend was like training camp to be on some sort of a team.

My setup
My setup

After our first date we immediately concocted another adventure. And the adventure we choose was totally new to both of us. Bike packing. Not your cushy-bob-trailer-yawn-fest. No, this was hike-a-bike back-country stuff. When Mo told me she had a distain for traditional bike “touring” I was hooked. I involved a friend under the guise of a group trip. We arrived near Lima to embark on our first real bike pack.

Day one in the books we camped high on the Continental Divide. Mo’s adventure skills and tenacity on what would be discovered as her first mountain bike ride was tremendous. That night as we gazed into the night sky she started to point out Orion’s Belt. Without thinking I stole a kiss. A quick smooch on the cheek. She did not protest. I fell asleep in terror on the next step. A proper wet kiss. I vowed to never let it get that far. I was certain that I would totally botch it up.

The second day tested our mettle. There were long steep climbs and a big day ending push to a mountain lake. Even through it all our team building took another step. The wet kiss was delivered. A total success from what I remember. That milestone out of the way snuggling became a common practice. A bond forming through adventure.

As we approached the trail head on our third day I entered into another state of panic. Secretly I was falling for this person and almost past the point of turning back. If anything would go wrong there could be heartbreak. The bike pack was not only a success but I found new passions. Love for self supported mountain biking yes, of course. But I think I felt a bond with someone now. I wanted to be on her team. It was best to keep this to myself. On the way back to were we would split up a hand hold, a heart felt, don’t let go kind of hand hold.

It did not take long to come up with another adventure. A back pack with just us. It never occurred to either of us that we lived so far apart and spent the better part of weekends traveling. We just had this desire for the next adventure.

This time we were high in the Absaroka Range. Just the two of us adventuring and bonding with each step. That night our first brush with conflict. It seemed as though I had a different approach to fire building and when trying to micro manage her efforts I got a quick slap on the wrist. Like a puppy I retreated to a corner of camp and contemplated the lesson. I was learning to be on a team. Working together without trying to control.

We just kept getting closer and closer. And at the same time discovered boundaries. After this one each weekend melted into the next. Work weeks were spent gathering supplies and scheming. It was time for me to drive West and do my best to balance the driving. My motivation however was to partake in a friends event called M.E.S.S.S. or Missoula to Elk Summit Shit Show I think. Once in the event my motivation was to show Mo what I had been working on all my life. To go fast. Things went well and I crushed it.

As I approached the finish I couldn’t wait to see Mo. She would be so amazed, I was setting an event record. I finished and the only person there was Josh setting up a BBQ. Mo was still at a baby shower. Guess I did not send out the memo I was going to do it so fast. She did find her way to the finish however and I set forth to explain what a feat I had just endured.

That’s so cool snuggles

A phrase I have been tagged with ever since.

A finish line photo shows Cuddles and Snuggles together. Not because of my strong endurance effort but just supporting her teammate Snuggles. This endurance effort my last status as a Solo racer. The next day we decided to give a relationship a whirl. I was now on a team.

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The finish line

Near the end of the summer our friend, who we call E.B., gave us our team name. MoBill as in Mobile. We were always mobile, or on the move. In another adventure. Yea, team MoBill. A life adventure team.

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Team MoBill Part 6 – First Date

This post is the sixth in a series called the Team MoBill Story

It was now August 20th, 2011 and I still felt that I never got out for an epic all day rides. All week I thinking about the weekend before. Mid week I blogged about a new love to vaguely expose my feelings. And with every good turmoil in my life I did what I always did. Go on a bike-pout.

Adventure
Heather Lakes

I embarked on a 66 mile adventure into the back country to journey into my feelings. And it turned out to be an amazing one at that. I was about home when my phone alerted me to a text. Curious I pulled out my phone to glance at the screen. A message from a number that I didn’t recognize.

Remember me … This is M…

I leaned into the curb by accident and crashed into the grass at the side of the road. I scrambled for my phone and started to reply, “Hey, I d……”, ARGH! The phone had died. The battery was dead. I mean, my luck right? I didn’t even get to read the rest of the message. Shit … was it Mo?

In the 2.5 seconds it took me to warp speed back I devised a plan. I rode home and plugged in my phone. Then and waited for it to boot, got the number, and went to my Google Voice account to send a text. I paused to wonder what should I say? I debated for about 5 minutes on how to open.

Bill M here. Using my other number. Hey you still up? I just got your text.

An eternity passed and to ease the butterflies I fixed supper. I thought about all the scenarios and what I would say. Then I remembered a message from my friend Lydia who said she was coming to Bozeman to visit her friend. If there was a way to bring Mo to Bozeman.  Maybe another backpack trip. That’s it. The phone alerted me to another text message.

… crazy over here, watching buffy, doin laundry …

It was Mo, you know, chit chat to get things rolling. I decided enough was enough. I needed to pull on my big boy pants and really go for it.

… Hey i got a question …

I thought to myself that maybe her phone would die and I wouldn’t have to ask … my hand hovered over the cancel button. I thought I should run. Wow, this is a big mistake. What am I doing?

… I might have an answer

Oh boy … here we go!

… I got a email that Lydia is visiting her friend here in bozone. Would you consider a adventurous weekend in Boz

She was in. And I couldn’t believe I pulled it all off.  The first adventure with Mo unsupported. Then the weekend could not come fast enough and I found myself getting out every day after work. Trying to pass the time. I even blogged a post hinting to everyone that something was up. Soon the weekend did come and Mo arrived via Lydia shuttle to Bozeman.

September I never blogged. Because I couldn’t. Something was developing and I did not want to ruin it. So finally now I present the trip in images. They tell a story. A story how I found a new adventure partner. Even if we lived 250 miles apart and it seemed impossible to take it much further. But then again, “Even if it is impossible, that does not mean you shouldn’t try”.

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Team MoBill Part 5 – The Ambush

This post is the fifth in a series called the Team MoBill Story

I sent out the usual weekend adventure bait to friends. I was looking for an adventure with someone. Norman was the first to reply and mentioned a back pack trip with Lydia and Mo.  I was messaging my friend Lydia when it came to my attention that there was a backpack trip planned with Norman and Mo. I calmly got the logistics. It seemed impossible to join them. The biggest concern was that I could not take Friday off with such short notice. Also there was the distance from Bozeman. I inquired for more details and mentioned that I wanted to try and catch up.

Seemed absurd to chase friends through the Swan Range with the possibility to never catch them. Specially since they were doing a vague loop. I could go backwards and intercept but that seemed less likely to work. I remember what a good friend once said, “Even if it is impossible, that does not mean you shouldn’t try”. So Friday after work the plan went into action.

Necklace Lake Backpack
Helmville Lake on my way to the trailhead

I guess by now it was obvious that the goal was to ambush their trip and get one more chance to see Mo. I was in settling into my new life. The possibilities seemed endless. Good job. More money. I could finally buy bike stuff without begging and needing sponsorship. But this trip re kindled something. A desire to see Mo. I just had to, one more time.

It was like a 24 hour race. Staying up all night and hiking by headlamp. Trying to keep the sleep monsters at bay. At the very least I wanted to impress these folks. And I finally did find where they were camping. The plan worked and I quietly set up my tent near.

The next morning I told stories of grizzly encounters the night before … or was it a moose snorting near my head? I got antsy and took a hike down to a waterfall, then returned.  Still no Mo. Made breakfast, still only two companions. I didn’t want to tip off why I was there, so I never inquired. Suddenly my heart dropped. Oh no, assuming the worst … she bailed on the trip. I was just about to ask.

Suddenly one of the tents made a sound. Then started to shake. A zipper went up and Mo popped her head out. Good morning she proclaimed. My god, I thought to myself, it was more like noon. How could someone sleep so long?

I was overjoyed to see her but our conversation escapes me. Something like, “Wow, you don’t look so bad in the morning”. Wow, big fail.  I can’t remember the rest of the morning. I hope none of it was inappropriate. No matter, thankfully I did not goofball myself out of the opportunity.

The hike to Necklace Lakes was mostly chatting with Lydia as Norman seemed content to stay back with Mo and get into deep conversations. I mean good on him, I was no good with this kind of thing. I spoke Lydia’s language. Mostly discussing an extra hike that afternoon and keeping the chit chat to a minimum. I was always talking about extra mileage, going the extra distance, blah blah blah.

But there were times we did connect, Mo and I. Well from my perspective anyway. Spontaneous play broke out and everyone knows I am pretty good at that. Like the ability to make snow persons and engage in a snow slide competition. Or how long can one stay in a frigid mountain lake before succumbing to hypothermia. My favorite moment was starring into the lake for hours marveling at the life on the bottom.

The next day I was up early and knowing everyone’s morning routine, specially Mo’s, I went for a hike. And I needed to do a hike that would impress all. Heck why not go straight up to the ridge and get photos of the sunrise. And to make it appear super human do it in a hour. Then brag about it. Big show off.

The hike out was just like the hike in. Lydia and I seemed to be in a hurry, me to put in the dominating physical effort, Lydia, well I think she wanted to get it all over with. The hike was strenuous but soon we were on Holland Lake with Cold Smokes in our hands. I started to panic. It was all over. And now what? I bucked for a meetup in town for a burger.

We gathered in Seeley Lake and after burgers were standing in the parking lot saying our good byes. This is it I figured. One last adventure. Maybe the last time I would see Mo.

I turned to get back into my beetle and to drive off. Yea, the ambush was a success, sure. But I didn’t put anything on the line. I didn’t ask her what I really wanted to. Like … can I see you again? ARGH!

“MO”, I called out as I turned back towards the group. I had no clue what I was going to do. I stumbled for words.

“Yea”

“You must contact me … promise me … we must chat again”, was all I could come up with.

“Yea, I can do that”