So here we are, fellow riders. Facing down the last day of Ride The Rockies. Are we tired? Yes. In agonizing pain? Naturally.
Yet I look around and say we are collectively pretty happy. And that must be the mark of a successful week. I see the weary faces and sunburned calves. I know that I’m not the only one who feels my legs have been beaten by haters with baseball bats. I have noticed more than one comrade downing Advil by the fist-full with some beer and…more beer.
Teammate Darcy said that her back muscles have created a vortex sucking her shoulder blades and lumbar spine into a black hole that will surely result in her head finally coming to rest on her butt. That’s serious back pain, friends. She swore to never again get on her bike, but as I type this, I’m watching her lay out tomorrow’s gear, *just in case* she changes her mind.
Some have kicked the dirt and tossed their bikes…. but most of us have grumbled our way back onto the saddle and down the road, eventually smiling and laughing. Every mile builds the confidence that we can make it all the way.
“True happiness is… to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future.”
-Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Let that sink right down into your brain. Because I think that’s what’s going on in our little community right now. We are letting go of the anxious dependence upon the future. What choice do we have? One doesn’t stress about micromanagement and office gossip when one’s legs are bleeding into one’s eyeballs. Therefore, the bleeding eyeball scenario is the one where happiness lives.
It is HARD for serious and reasonable adults to ignore our plans for next week or forget the anxiety of the past. Pushing our physical limits as we have done this week, is (for me at least) what it takes to let go, and live in the present. As we become exhausted, we give up on the anxiety of what we are and what we are not. Little by little we stop comparing ourselves to others and start appreciating what just happened there on Fremont Pass. (#itwasamiracle)
Sleep problems? Not tonight. Petty differences with people we love? No big. Offenses? None taken. All the negative self talk that creeps into our consciousness just can’t survive when we have to use everything we’ve got, to climb over that mountain. As we purge ourselves of the needless brain garbage we have become accustomed to, we might kick, scream, and blame it on the bike. But we feel it leaving us, and know that by tomorrow night it will not only be gone, but the free space it leaves will make room for the enjoyment of the present, for months to come.
I did not believe I could keep going after the Wolcott Gap and the noisy sheep, who mocked my whining. I felt like my legs couldn’t keep the pedals moving to the top. I KNEW that my dad would surely call for a SAG on the road behind me. Imagine my renewed hope for life itself, when we both met at the Aid Station at the bottom of the descent. There’s no other way to get that moment or forget all the others, than to just get out there and start pedaling. Get it. Good luck friends, see you at the finish.