We woke up this morning to a brisk, sunny day with all the typical falling leaves and colors and spiders of autumn. One week ago it was uncomfortably hot, but that was September, and this is October, so…it’s officially fall. You can also tell it’s fall because we’re reluctantly turning down weekend mountain biking trips to the Cascades and have a mostly-empty carton of our favorite football-season ice cream in the freezer.

School has been going for 2 weeks now, and it’s Rheannon’s first school-less term in severalĀ  years, and my first term at OSU. I thought I was prepared and built tougher than all the people that told me that taking physics, calculus, chemistry, and an engineering course was stupid, but it turns out that I am human afterall. So after the first week of falling increasingly behind, I dropped physics, felt bad about myself, and then tried to get over it. I might kind of be over it now. Transferring to OSU from a community college, I felt like a country bumpkin in the big city. Surrounded by hundreds of other students in an auditorium classroom, trying to get across campus in five minutes from one class to another while dodging countless unpredictable teenagers on long boards…I miss small town, main street community college with my first-name basis professors and classmates that aren’t 10 years younger than me. But like others before me, I’ll just adopt the role of the hardened non-traditional (old) university student and figure it out.

Rheannon is still in the grad school application process, and we still have no idea where we’ll be in 1-2 years. That being said, we’ve prematurely decided that she’s going to be awarded a prestigious grant that will allow her to study in a lichen lab in Finland for 9 months, while the dogs and I stay home and eat a lot of fast food and watch really terrible action movies. It will be ugly. You probably shouldn’t visit during those 9 months. But since the people that dole out these grants don’t even know they’re awarding her yet, it’s probably too soon to start thinking about how pathetic we’ll be if we have to live apart.

So, it might seem like things have taken a dark turn, transitioning from a summer of recreational bliss to academic stress and the prospect of a carl’s jr./jean-claude van damme future, but don’t worry, it’s not all bad. We’ve both decided to take on ridiculous goals and have drawn up annual training plans that will surely keep us happy and tired throughout the winter. Rheannon decided to train for a 100 mile mountain bike next summer, and after realizing at the 24 hour race that being on my bike at odd hours for long periods of time satisfies some dysfunctional part of me, I decided to do one too.

I picked a course that has a cruel 18,000 feet of climbing, and Rheannon picked one with a slightly more reasonable 12,000 feet of climbing. Either way, we’re looking at up to 15 hours on our bikes, which is probably going to be miserable. You can tell that I still have an unrealistic idea of what that actually means because I use the word probably. Who am I kidding? It’s going to suck. But we’re excited about it, because we’re sick, sick people.