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Team MoBill Part 4 – Encounters

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

I distanced myself more and more from Missoula touting it as a lonely place. Even though I had numerous friendships. I was just feeling sorry for myself and leaving town when I could.

When I was home I would blog about my adventures with embedded messages that said, “help I am lonely”. Embedded because I always cherished my solo lifestyle. I didn’t really understand what was going on.

Idaho Adventures
This long ridge looks like it belongs in Oregon or Clifornia

After one such big adventure into Idaho I stopped by the Orange Street Market for some fake bacon. At the time I was unaware that real bacon was good for you. But continuing on with this story I spotted a familiar face. This person did not spot me and before she could escape I yelled out her name, “Mo”! I waived.

Idaho Adventures
Long climbs is where my heart is

What do I say? What do I say? I talked about my recent adventure complete with photos from a iPhone.

“Wow, that is cool”, she said and I glistened with pride.  I felt like a grade schooler showing my crayon drawing to the teacher.

And that was it. That is all I had. Sure I had plenty of questions. But my mind was jumbled. It was all I could do to walk one isle to discuss what I was there for. I grabbed my bacon and ran. I would learn later that I grabbed turkey bacon and that was not a great impression.

Single Outdoor Loving Ochlophobist
Getting Lost

The biggest joy, when I did find it, was riding with my Thursday Night Family. Specially when Mo would show up on her cross bike. This person was so cool. She could ride that cross bike anywhere the group would go. I avoided taking photos because I didn’t want to come off creepy. But then when I stopped for photos of the group going through something like say a creek. And she just happened to be coming by.

TNR Ride
Mo joined us on numerous TNR rides

But, if your trying to impress someone don’t just take photos of when they fail. Mo misjudged a creek crossing  and put her foot down. What mountain bikers call a dabble. Darn, just when I thought I would capture her greatness on a bike.

In numerous Thursday night rides we started to chat more and I was trying to figure out a way to show her I was interested. For instance one of my greatest moves was to suggest she partake in the after ride social that TNR is famous for. She agreed one time and I think it was because it involved ice cream. A person after my own heart.

At said ice cream gathering I popped the question.

“So you know Josh, right? Well he is having a party. Did you hear about that?”, I stumbled to get out a cohesive question. They both worked at Adventure Cycling and I knew they might already now each other.

“I am not sure, I don’t think so … that sounds fun”

I quickly blurted, “wanna go?”

“I am not sure, I’ll check my calendar … maybe”

So I gave her the details and we all dissolved back into our lives. I never went to parties. By by damn, I was going to this one.

I emailed Josh about his shin-dig and let him know I asked one of the TNR folks if they wanted to go and if that was OK. I was told that she got an initial invite but never replied.  Just doing my part to bring people together … right? That felt awkward.

At the BBQ I tried to blend in. Social gatherings made me feel quite odd. I grabbed a beer and joined in on a hula hoop contest. I destroyed it. As everyone walked away from my display of endurance whooping I noticed that Mo had indeed shown up.

Again she seemed to be greatly adored by everyone and a jewel of the party. Just like the previous year demonstrating that moonwalk at the holiday party. She engaged in smart conversation and quick puns. Everyone enjoyed her company.

I found three main instances where I inserted myself into the Mo experience.  Once to show a video of my friend playing drums, again with that damn iPhone.

I attempted to talk her into a weekend of riding in the Bitterroot Valley. I was immediately questioned about what time in the morning this be. I suggested a modest 8 am and was told, “good luck with that”. I didn’t press on this issue.

Then with some beer induced conversation about how I should read poetry at my next solo 24 hour race, you know, to pass time. I agreed to do that. And the party dissolved. I went home and thought about missed opportunities. The next day I rode all day in the Bitterroot.

Single Outdoor Loving Ochlophobist
Fresh off a win in Spokane …

I never read poetry at the Spokane race. I got so caught up in winning it that I forgot. Then I won another race in Rapeljie. And of course my good luck rolled into a new Job in Bozeman. Life was looking up. Opportunities abound.

My TNR family threw me a going away party on top of Sentinel. As the toasts were given I did not show a lot of holding back the tear endurance. I started to realize what I was leaving behind and how much I actually was a part of people’s lives here.  Was I making a mistake?

Mount Sentinal Goodbye Party
Really regretting taking a job in another town at this point

And Mo was there. I found some time to catch up on her adventures and the news that she was buying a new mountain bike. I talked merits of full suspension and gave some advice. She told me about places to go in Bozeman that were cool. As I walked with Lydia back down to the trailhead Mo stopped by on her cross bike.

“Just wanted to say goodbye”, she said and then rode down the hills.

I turned to Lydia, “Am I making a mistake”?

She didn’t answer.

Seriously though, what WAS I doing? Why was I running away from the very town that gave me so much happiness. Too late now. I needed to grow up and get that good job. Make some money. Pay off some bills. And focus on the new opportunity.

And I moved. Just like that my interests in Missoula banished. The new life was in front of me. But first, one more stop at the Bridge Pizza. To get my favorite slice. And wouldn’t you know it?  I ran into Mo again … moments before leaving town. I flagged her down for some small talk. Then I drove away with tears welling up in my eyes. And it started to rain. It felt more like a funeral.

Moving To Bozeman
As I leave Missoula there were signs that I was making a great mistake
Blog Posts

Team MoBill Part 3 – Green Goggles

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

I just pulled Betty off of my bike rack and was getting ready for the Thursday Night Ride. Being it was May 12th we were finally on dirt. I was fresh off an adventure race win and feeling like a superhero. I had a secret weapon too. My green goggles.

The Green Goggle
Night Vision

I had two weeks before my 24 hour race in Spokane. I came up with this idea to limit my view while riding in the daylight to train for night riding. You know, because at night you are just able to see where your lights shine. Anyway that was my plan for tonight. I would wear my green goggles. This was my last chance to practice because I was on the edge of a taper period. I strapped them on and looked around.

“Are you going to wear THOSE?”, the voice seemed agitated. I swiveled around to come face to face with my friend Julie.

“Yea … because I want to …”, is all I got out before she swiveled around and stomped off. Wondering what was up with her I joined the group. We were doing a local trail called Sidewinder. To get to the top of it we climbed up fire roads. It seems this was perfect to ride up to someone and chat.

Norman and I pose for a pic

“So where is your mother ship”, I heard a voice to my right. I squinted hard to make sure I was seeing what I thought I saw. It was the moon-walker.

“um …”, I struggled with an explanation. Then I decided to just come clean, “I am training for a 24 hour race and want to get ready for night riding. These goggles limit my vision so I can get ready to go fast at night.” I was hoping that had covered it. There might have been an “OK” plus some chit chat. I basically blacked out for around 10 minutes.

It was her … the moon-walker commonly known as Mo. And I didn’t want to bug, or ride with, her all night so as to not give away Julie’s plan. The gravity of the night started to sink in. That was it. My first chance to make a first impression. Short and sweet. And as a bonus, my worst introduction ever.

And what about Julie? I know understood why she was so pissed at me. I later confirmed with her that indeed the night was set up. And I brought my madness. Seems I was destined to always be solo.

“Well, if anything does happen, she saw my worst”, I told everyone later at the pizza get-together. Mo didn’t attend … probably a bad sign.

Blog Posts

Team MoBill Part 2 – The Investigation

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

2011 started out so tough. It was so hard and scary at times that it was hard to recognize opportunity. Pure survival. The last thing on my mind was “a girl”. The only thing I could do to keep my mind off things was to train, and train hard. During this time my best friend, who I had a huge crush on, left town. Then I had a bad situation, a sewage flood and subsequent blaming of me, with my landlord. That resulted in a midnight extraction and move to another apartment. Bundle that with a really tough situation at work where my boss turned psycho. All of this putting me in a “I hate Missoula” mood.

Missoula Morning

But Missoula was not my problem. A beautiful town with beautiful friends that I took all for granted. At this point, if this were a movie, the assumption the boy meet girls is forgotten.

Training Intervals

It was survival time and I had to survive. I continued on and do what I did best. Race hard and win when I could. Empty heart and empty town was my window into the world. The January suggestion was all but forgotten.

Missoula scene

I couldn’t sleep, and for once it was not about all the bad things happening. I found a new apartment and things started to look up. I even had a job opportunity, although in Bozeman. No, I couldn’t sleep. Then it hit me. I was wondering about the suggestion that Julie had made a couple months ago. Was this person she was talking about the very same person I remember doing the MJ Moon Walk.


I went to the inter webs to get more details. I went to Facebook and sent a message to Julie. I didn’t want to seem like I was interested … but I was. I gently asked for details.  Then I got a reply.

Wow, I was wondering if you remembered.

Oh yea, I did, I internally realized. But I wasn’t going to let on that I was up all night rendering the suggestion in my head. I needed more intel. I wondered if we should just start using code names since I was going to suggest maybe being a team of stockers. I mean intelligence gatherers. Ok, yea, stalkers.Missoula

My informant assured me that the subject checked out and I was given a couple resources to review. A couple blog posts, and maybe a staff photo or two. With this intel my assumption was confirmed … the subject was indeed the “moon-walker”.

I reported back with some intel of my own. A USA cycling profile. A racer. A cyclocross racer. This was exciting.

You are a good detective. I’ll see if I can talk her into joining us on a hike then give you a heads up…

Hold on, whoa. Huge excitement, sure, then dread. I mean I am not the prince of social situations. Some call quirky, or akward. And that is where we leave it … with a huge foreshadow.