This is how I was going to start this blog: “I think most of us could agree that the pursuit of health defines the allure and significance of sport. Fitness, competition, style, etc., all matter in our diverse discussions and manifestations of sport, but at the base of any and all sporting endeavors is the importance of health. If we agree on that, then hopefully one can follow my logic. I will concede to the intoxicated tribe of 100 milers that speak of spiritual growth and crazed but redeemable suffering via the mountain 100 akin, I guess, to the age-old adage what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. But I speak strictly from a perspective of sport and competition, where the ultimate goal is to sustain health and competitiveness. That is the issue here.”
But that’s just me over-complicating things, as I’m want to do.
Then I was going to talk about how I met Dave Mackey at Dean Karnazes’ house. Footfeathers, Anna Frost, Ricky Gates, Miguel Heras, Greg Vollet, a quiver of more Salomon athletes, the Bay Area. . . a ton of good beer, laughs, push-ups, snoring. . .
Instead, I just want to reiterate how sad is the news of Dave Mackey. GZ and the CO scene in general have been pretty clear about Mackey’s situation; nonetheless, the recent up-date is heart-wrenching. What? What?
At the same time, I suppose, there is life and the realization that things could have been worse.
The agent of discourse and debate in me was going to use this news (I was not aware the injury was sooo bad) as a way to underscore the kind of genuine tragedy that takes down such an athlete. This is hardcore injury, death-defying crap happening on a normally routine navigation of steep mountain rock. This is tragic stuff, but stuff we can almost. . . almost. . .come to expect from these kinds of athletes. Recently I’ve caught news of a few base jumpers who have died during what, I suspect, was fairly routine exercise. These kinds of things happen, unfortunately, when athletes do what they do. Especially these kinds of athletes.
I was going to underscore how the destruction of recent 100 milers (elites feasting on this unsustainable race distance) contrasts greatly with this more natural kind of athletic tragedy. Mackey has been doing his thing for YEARS. He as feasted on trail and adventure for YEARS and YEARS. This is not a 3-4 years and you’re done, dude. Go to his blog and see the honors bestowed upon this gentleman of the mountain. He is the model citizen of this particular extreme sport culture. Take that to the bank.
And a gentleman, indeed. That’s what I met when I got a chance to talk to him in Karnazes’ kitchen. The coolest. Wise. He sobered me up. Kinda slapped me around in a most refreshing kind of way. I needed to be slapped. Thanks, Mackey.
I was going to go on (in this blog) about how I once wrote (it’s in the archives!) regarding the future of ultra and would we see the likes of Carpenter and Mackey ever again. The sense to this question was not necessarily in the kind of dominance each has sustained. It’s that they sustained, period. I might’ve thrown-in that they shied from the bigger distances and ran (dominated) more reasonable race types, but that’s pretty much beside the point. Keep It Simple, Stupid.
I hope Dave Mackey blows our minds again, climbs the steps of recovery and rehabilitation as if they’re steps of the Dipsea, steps to another summit where he belongs. Goodspeed, Dave Mackey, God willing.