“Looks like what drives me crazy
Don’t have no effect on you–
But I’m gonna keep on at it
Till it drives you crazy, too.”
― Langston Hughes, Selected Poems
I had a bad day yesterday. Maybe one of the low points of my life.
Now you’d think that going out mountain biking with a bit of a death wish was probably not the best idea. You probably think that having a sense of self-preservation is one essential to have with you when you are going to be out soloing a technical trail miles from the nearest population.
That’s just not me. I’ll get out there, bordering on suicidal, and the heat of my pulse blending with the heat of the sun, the scent of nature, the beautiful surroundings…these remind me that I’m still alive, and that’s not an entire waste. As was the case today.
I dropped the kids at school and headed out to ride Mary’s and Steve’s. The sun was amazing, the trails were perfection. I was alone and could easily pace myself. I was worried I wouldn’t have enough time to complete the lollipop route I had planned, since the last time I did it I was equally locked into a timeframe and was unable to complete the ride in time.
But there was no issue with that today. Once I was warmed-up, my body just flew down the trail. I pushed the speed, banked the corners, and let my body add suspension to the whole system. It felt great.
Sometimes I go so long with a bad stretch of riding, I forget that it’s fun and I’m actually not too bad at it. Thankfully, today was one of those magical days where the stars aligned and I felt great and rode amazing and I decided that even though my life is a complete pile of poop in so many ways, at least I have this.
“Some people are old at 18 and some are young at 90. Time is a concept that humans created.” ― Yoko Ono
I had to find joy again. Joy on the bike. The thing that makes it fun. The thing that gives it purpose, reason.
I first started to ride a bike for three reasons: to lose weight and avoid diabetes, to get around town with the kids (bike trailer is easier than car seats), and to train for a race. Fun? No. Not the reason. But I quickly found that fun was the byproduct. And that’s what kept me going. That and my fierce determination to be awesome.
So it’s been odd that I don’t seem to have any of those same reasons presently. I have really only been riding for fun. And with the big race and a couple of exploratory (read: “unpleasant”) rides since then, I’ve been somewhat more than burned out on the whole bike thing.
Well today I went to hit the trail and find the fun again. I wanted to feel like a kid on a bike again. I wanted to ride free and loose and just let my body do what it knows how to do- find the flow.
I think for at least a little bit, I did. Okay, maybe more than a little bit. Maybe a lot a bit. When I finished up the ride I’d had a great time- ridden for about 2 hours and 18.5 miles. I was tired, but I was smiling.
But it got me to thinking about those motivations I used to have. I wonder if I could rekindle them? I wonder how I lost them to begin with? What has taken priority over them? would I rather fun be the motivational factor or the byproduct.
I can’t say I have answers to these questions yet, but I’m exploring them. In the non-suffering way. And I feel encouraged.
“I love running. I’m not into marathons, but I am into avoiding problems at an accelerated rate. ”
― Jarod Kintz
I finally got into an actual run today. It was Connor’s 6th Birthday and after school I took him to see the Lego Movie. The afternoon was so nice and Dennis was OK with playing with Connor for a bit, so I went ahead and hit the Lunch Loops for a quick run.
Low and behold my buddy Dave’s van was parked there! I was out for a ride.
I opted for Eagle Tail climb and Pet-e-kes down.
Low and behold my buddy Dave came riding down the trail I was running up! We talked for a minute and I took some sweet shots of him on his bike, then we parted ways and finished up.
The sun was magnificent. I am in love with the sun.