I had to admit she had a point. I was safe, I was warm and dry in my cocoon, and though it would be a hassle to pack up our wet gear and forge the muddy, soaked trails in the morning, it would also be an adventure we’d never had. That’s why we were out there in the first place. That’s why I sign up for grueling endurance races, I realized. The fun and adventure lie in the uncertainty. Even when I ride and fail, even if unexpected crises or lack of fitness make it harder than expected or force an alternate route, even when I’m pinned down by ferocious monsoonal flow at 11,000 feet, it’s better than not having ridden at all.

Rain drummed on our jury-rigged shelter and kept me awake for hours, though I eventually succumbed. When I woke a little after 2 a.m., the storm had rolled on and I listened to the fiddle of c00rickets and watched the bright blue stars winking in the night. When I woke again, a foggy, stormy morning was dawning. I crawled from my warm bed, stretched my creaky bones, and began pulling my gear from the puddles and wringing out my wet pack. There was trail yet to ride.Boarding Pass: The adventure begins with a narrow-gauge ride. Photo: Jen Judge

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