Mountain, Cross and Shuffleboard Nats

pixychick

JORBA: Ringwood
JORBA.ORG
#1
I retired (aka: lost my job) a few years back, and have been trying to enjoy a better lifestyle…. If I even know what that is? Now the time has come for Art to do the same. As much as we both want this, there are a lot of unknowns, making it both scary and exciting. When I think about retirement, I envision 70 year old cronies hanging outside a Florida apartment playing shuffleboard. I realize that retirement is different these days with many retiring early when they can still do more than watch TV and play shuffleboard. This thread is about the transition to retirement.

Mountain Bike Nats:
Yes, they were a few months back, but worth mentioning. It may not seem like a big deal because it was my fourth national title, but with each one I have felt more accomplished and challenged. This year I raced a stronger and larger field than ever before. The lead racer put over a minute on me on the opening climb. While some racers were nervous about the technical aspects of the course, I was very comfortable and relaxed and able to gain back that deficit on the back end of the course. The heckle pit was awesome and helped to seal my win. On a year where I had many distractions, I was pleased to be able to rise to the occasion for just one more victory. Thanks to all those that were out there cheering for me!

The Winter Plan:
A few weeks back Art and I got a fixer-upper house in Arizona. I currently live in NJ, just one mile from where I was born, so this is a pretty big step in little pixy world. We are not moving to Az full time, but plan to spend winters renovating this house on the edge of the Coronado National Forest. … Yes, we can ride from the house to the trails, which was one of the reasons for choosing this house. The property is really special, with great views and a naturalized yard of cacti, agave, aloe, cholla, one saguaro, ocotillo, hummingbirds and a tarantula.

The house needs some big work: new electrical, new kitchen, new windows, and heat and A/C. It’s a really nice house but has been through a foreclosure and a half and while it may have been loved, it never got brought up to code. This will be a new experience because house construction in Az is quite different than NJ. Just like the Alamo in “Peewee’s Great Adventure”, there are no basements in Az.

Our 9 days out in AZ for the closing were mostly hot, but the evenings were cool. I sweated more than I ever remembered and only rode 4 times, all before 8:00 am. We also had our first “Oh no, why did we buy this house” moment when we were denied power and forced to call a licensed electrician, only to find that the previous owners had been stealing all their power. … Crazy! We were able to get that fixed enough to not be stealing and get our power back, but we will need to have an electrician come back and get things up to code. We have many plans for the house in the works right now, but still plan to do some cross racing.

Once back from Az, I managed one day of racing at Nittanny Cross. Considering that I put zero into my prep for my cross season, I would say that I did fine in my race. I lined up by chance behind someone who botched their start, putting me in the back of the class. It took the whole first lap to pass ladies and get myself to third. I just could not bridge up any farther. I held my spot in 3rd and was very pleased to be able to do that. It was also great to once again be a part of the cross vibe. It’s always a fun time and usually not too taxing because of the short race. It’s like 25% race and 75% social/fun. One reason why I still come back for more cross each year.
 

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pearl

THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING
Team MTBNJ Halter's
#2
first

Good seeing you this weekend; if you need any tips remodeling the bathroom, the pearls can offer some insight....

I have a feeling you will have this under control though :)
 
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ChrisG

Unapologetic Lifer for Rock and Roll
#3
Looking forward to reading this!

And I'm happy for you and Art! I have no doubt the two of you will make the most of everything you set out to do.
 

Rusty

Active Member
#4
Good for you guys, you have a similar plan in motion to our future plans, so very interested in learning about such transitions. Best wishes, it's your time to enjoy and it sounds wonderful. Trails out there are awesome, but the plants are all trying to kill you, so don't overshoot a turn ;)
 

capedoc

Well-Known Member
Team MTBNJ Halter's
#5
What will become of that sweet White woodworking Sprinter van now?

Good luck! Sounds like an adventure!
 

clarkenstein

JORBA Money Launderer
JORBA.ORG
#8
i can't handle the spider i have living on my front porch. that thing next to my house would have me insanely freaked. kill it. kill it now.
 
#9
Will work for bike trails and tacos!!!!!!
You should type out Art's complaints about how absolutely different they build stuff over there. Better/Worse/Different.
White Fine Woodworking, not a single ornamental piece of wood in all of Arizona. Make it yours!
Good luck!
-Luke
 

Delish

Well-Known Member
Team MTBNJ Halter's
#10
Something tells me the trails around Coronado National Forest are about to get awesome-er.

Glad to see a new blog, especially one that involves riding AND home remodeling.

I've never made it that far south in AZ. Looks like great terrain. How did you decide on that particular area?
 

1speed

Incredibly profound yet fantastically flawed
#11
A few weeks back Art and I got a fixer-upper house in Arizona. I currently live in NJ, just one mile from where I was born, so this is a pretty big step in little pixy world. We are not moving to Az full time, but plan to spend winters renovating this house on the edge of the Coronado National Forest. … Yes, we can ride from the house to the trails, which was one of the reasons for choosing this house. The property is really special, with great views and a naturalized yard of cacti, agave, aloe, cholla, one saguaro, ocotillo, hummingbirds and a tarantula.
I look at this paragraph and the message says, "I am spending winters in heaven." For my wife and I, AZ is kind of our favorite place on earth. Cheers to you, and hope your retirement is full of adventures that end well, and only boring when you want it to be! Enjoy!
 

pixychick

JORBA: Ringwood
JORBA.ORG
#14
How did you decide on that particular area?
This pretty much started with the 2013/2014 winter from hell. Not being able to ride, I got antsy and booked a trip to our usual B&B in Tucson. As early as December, I started looking at real estate online on map by how close to mountain bike access. I wanted to have a few places picked out to look at before we went out there. We knew local Tucson climate and proximity to certain needs. Then I started to compare to other areas. We considered: climates, prices of homes, driving distances to daily needs, both air and noise pollution, traffic and riding opportunities. The house we purchased was actually one that caught my eye in Dec, but was out of our price range. By the time we got there in February, the price had dropped drastically.

I even checked some homes in Bend. Bend is such a cool bike town, but I'm not sure I would want to live there retired. While many flock there for bike lifestyle, your $ did not buy as much home as other places. The town was also overcrowded. It would have required us to sell in NJ to buy out there. We were not quite ready for that yet. I actually love the riding and lush green summers in NJ.

The Tucson area seemed a good fit. I suppose we may be totally wrong. While home values are good, there are some drawbacks: houses in AZ can sit for years before they sell. So like with anything in life, there is a risk.

AND YES... we will be considering working guests!
 

pooriggy

Well-Known Member
Team MTBNJ Halter's
#15
The Tucson area seemed a good fit. I suppose we may be totally wrong.
Congrats! I am sooo jelly.

Ellen, living out retirement experiencing different adventures is never wrong. Staying in NJ dreaming about retiring elsewhere is totally wrong. YOU ARE REALLY DOIN IT!
 

Robin

Well-Known Member
#17
Ellen!!!! This is sooo awesome! Excited for both you and Art.

I know AZ is hot in the summer... But I have plenty of free time to work. Or should you need help during my spring break...;)
 

rocknrollgirl

Well-Known Member
#18
Hey Ellen,
Chris and I are about 3 years out from this same transition and I understand the exciting/scary feeling you are talking about. We too want to find a place we can go play before we are ready to sell and make "the" move. It seems like it would be an easy decision, but holy cow....not so. I look forward to sharing in your adventure and learning everything I can!

Ruth
 
#19
Congratulations Ellen! (And Art!). I'm not sure how your partial move will impact the petition to have Ringwood Park named after you both for the obscene amount of work you both have led, and done, there. Buddy of mine went to grad school there, and all MTB rides were done before 6am.....