I used to scoff at those that listened to music while riding. “Come on folks, enjoy the sounds of nature, like that 18 wheeler buzzing you. Isn’t it beautiful?”
I am a very defensive cyclist and hearing the sound of the multi-ton death machines flying around me provide a sense of comfort. It’s a false sense of comfort but a comfort none the less. Recently I reluctantly tried out this crazy idea of listening to a podcast while riding. I only used one earbud and I hate to say it but… it was very enjoyable.
Malcolm Gladwell’s new podcast “Broken Record” was on the queue for my ride and I re-listened to an amazing interview with Rick Rubin about Tom Petty’s album “wildflowers”. The ride seemed to go by faster and was much more enjoyable. When you spend so many hours and days by yourself you start to go a bit mad.
I did the whole Tour Divide in 2016 without music and by the end of it I was talking to myself for weeks after the race and was socially “off”. Anyways listening to the podcast and watching the miles click by I began to think about what my top ten songs would be for the Arizona Trail Race. I will obviously be listening to more than ten songs, but these ten songs will probably play the most and have some sort of important meaning to me to get me through the rough patches.
1. Wild – May Erlewine
This was my go-to song to listen to while driving the back-roads of the San Juan Islands. I was missing Olivia and she had bought me this album for me to listen to on the drive from Marquette to Washington. It’s very sentimental as well as calming. Perfect for dusty trails in the wild of Arizona.
2. Time to Move On – Tom Petty
“What lies ahead I have no way of knowing”. Some of the best songwriting ever is present in this Tom Petty classic. I don’t know what this race will hold but it’s time to get going!
3. Lovers in a dangerous time – Barenaked ladies
Barenaked Ladies were constantly playing in all of my childhood memories. They fill me with a sense of nostalgia and strength from past memories and people who have helped me get to this point. This song has a sexy cello hook that is perfect to spin along to.
4. DNA. – Kendrick Lamar
What can I say, the man won a damn Pulitzer Prize! The song has a deep and somber message but it helps me get in a fighter mindset and push hard.
5. Quiet Dog – Mos Def
Classic beats and throwbacks to the rap of the ’70s mixed with pump up lyrics and a high paced tempo for powering up the climbs and flying on the flats.
6. To the Dogs or Whoever – Josh Ritter
My Dad loved this song and it’s got a great kick drum. Josh Ritter writes pump up songs that somehow calm you at the same time. Can’t wait to ride into the setting song while jamming to this song.
7. Shame – The Avett Brothers
The chores get faster and faster, distracting me from the burning in my legs. I don’t feel shame but I feel anxious about past decisions and this song frees me of those feelings during the most important races of my life.
8. Wide open spaces – Dixie Chicks
This is hands down the best song to scream sing to. I will be in some wid open spaces and you know damn well I will be singing some Dixie Chicks to the coyotes.
9. Cowboy Man – Lyle Lovett
Lyle Lovett is perhaps my favorite singer ever. Just like the Barenaked ladies I remember hearing his voice constantly as a kid. The fast beat and fun storytelling Lyle infuses into his music keeps the spirit high and the wheels a turning.
10. Lonely Boy – The Black Keys
The black keys were the first big concert that I had ever been to and damn they were good. This song has always been a favorite and its fitting considering I will be a lonely boy during these races!
Honorable Mention. Take this heart of gold – Mandolin Orange
Honestly, this song makes me a bit sad but it is so beautiful it helps distract from the physical pain and allows me to get lost in the outstanding lyrics and somber vocals.
Well, those are my top ten songs to ride to. Now it’s time to plug in and ride all day!
What are your favorite tunes to jam out to when working out?