Alex Howes: Get Wild

Inspiration behind his new limited edition jersey

Republished from www.slipstreamsports.com . Because everyone should read this.

It was a sick adventure.

“Those stupid pencil pushers back at headquarters just don’t get it man. Yeah, give him the permits. Ha, I just want to see if he can pull this off! You sure you good? How much water do you have? That truck runs real good, right? You got tools and a shelter? Damn bro, 150 miles is a looooong way out here in the desert. You’re gonna get to know that bike seat real good.”

I pulled out from the ranger station filled with second guesses and excitement. The rangers fudged the permits and inserted enough white lies into the computer to let me get on my way. Their system was not built to handle an adventure like this. Seven and a half hours of extreme 4×4 driving out into the desert was on tap for the evening. A quick nap in the bed of the truck, an early wake up, and 120 miles (I didn’t tell the rangers I was taking some short cuts, shhhh) on my Cannondale Scalpel over harsh jeep roads and through deep sand was the next step.

The plan was to stash the truck then reunite with my girlfriend at the head of the river before plopping our 40 year-old, craigslist canoe into the water, strapping the bike on top of our load and paddling for seven days to rescue our truck before the scorpions and ravens got it.

It was a bold plan. To everyone else it seemed nearly impossible. To me it was to be a test. A modern-day vision quest.

That night the desert had an otherworldly glow. The stars were out in full force, determined to show they still glowed bright, even if their beauty was too often masked by cities’ harsh, expensive, alternative light. And that night they were all mine as I crept across the lunar landscape, all alone, pulled forward by dreams of the unknown through the vacuum of my headlights.

Deep into the night, my eyelids began to feel the gravity and my poor truck was patiently asking for a rest. I pulled the sweet beast aside and gave her a once over. All seemed in order and I made my little bed in the back.

Humm… Nature is calling. Squatting there in the bushes I heard a rustle, then another in a different direction. I could sense a third. Pants down I sprung up and gave a shout swinging my shovel. The stars revealed not one but three coyotes not more than 12 paces away scattering off into the desert. As I made my way back to the truck, I tried to make sense of it all – “probably a few juveniles. They were just having a look, making fun of me as I had my full moon out. No worries”.

The coyote has always been my spirit animal so it had to mean something. It meant one thing: you are vulnerable, pay attention.

The next morning the truck purred to a halt at our destination as the sun arrived to crack the icy grip of the desert night, saving the day as it has done for eons. The bottles were already strapped to the bike. The Camelback was loaded. The gas station sandwich was mowed for breakfast and I was on my way.

The first 80 miles went by like they never happened. The “roads” were fun. Hard packed. Fun. By mid day the sun was white with fire. I waxed philosophically in my own head over the nuclear fusion hiding deep within our source of life and energy. How beautiful. How extreme. How harsh.

Shit, I’m going to need more water. None to be had. Keep moving. Be calm. Keep moving. Do not panic. Be calm. That sun is hot.

At that moment she passed overhead. Directly between me and the sun. A raven. Shade for the first time all day. She whispered with her shadow, “You are vulnerable but I am watching. Be calm you will be ok.”

The sun had come and gone and my lady was good and worried. I stumbled into the hotel room, drawing in the dusk air behind me. I muttered a few transparent lies about how fine I was that bought me enough space to pull myself together. I drank the cold water as it washed over me and I watched the salty, silty water swirl down the rank drain of our budget hotel. Phase one was complete. I had made it back to basecamp with a little help from my friends and the real adventure could now begin.

Inspired by my personal vision quest, and built for adventure, wear this jersey on days when the system cannot handle you. On days when you are ready to stick it to the man. On days when the next level is your level. Get out there and get weird. Get wild.

 

Buy this insanely awesome jersey here whilst supplies last!

Words: Alex Howes