This thing I do….

13 07 2009

The ride is going….well….I guess just going is the best way to describe it. It feels a bit like a regular 9-5 (except it’s 6-5) job….we get out of bed, we get dressed, we get on our bikes, we pedal and pedal and pedal and pedal, we get off our bikes again. Last night we camped in a thunderstorm in Mississippi and today 8 of 23 of us are making the ride and the rest of us are hiding from the weather, and trying to dry out.

If you ever make a trip across a country (this or any other) on a bicycle, do yourself a favor and go be the less traveled roads, and I mean really less traveled. Just like in a car, on a bike highways all look the same, unless you’re doing it just to prove that you can, or to say that you did…give yourself some amazing things to sensually experience, don’t just go as fast as you can on the most direct route. It’s torture.

Seriously, torture. Road and shoulder and grass and trees. Boring as hell. When I set out on this trip I didn’t know the  reason I was doing it. There’s the obvious “chance of a lifetime” angle, there’s go out and find something about yourself (soul searchy) angle, there’s the I just want to have fun and get paid to ride my bike across the country angle, the I want people to think I’m cool because I did it angle, the I’ve got something to prove (to myself or to others) angle, and many many more.

I was never sure witch angle was mine, and then it hit me…I’ve taken a couple of days away from riding (partially due to illness, mostly due to mental fatigue). This idea of why I am doing this ride has been plaguing me. And the reason it’s been plaguing me, is that I’m not having any fun. I’m bored. We’re traveling on highways (as I said boring) and we’re going at such a furious pace that I’m unable to experience any of the places that we go. I’m miserable. Strangely enough, physically, I’m fine. My body has adjusted to the miles and I don’t feel tired all the time any more. My body is down, with it, but my mind is not. It wants to go home.

So I started thinking about why I’m doing this. What is the draw. It’s true…i love to ride my bike. I love it (although recently that has not been the case). Riding gives me an incredible feeling of freedom…which when you’re on a schedule and riding a set route along an old battered highway isn’t always there.

So why else. I went through all the reasons. I tried them each on for size and the one that seemed to fit the most was…to have fun. I wanted to do this because I thought it would be fun…and since it’s not anymore…i don’t want to do it.

But there was something not quite right about that either. I knew that I wasn’t just thinking it would be fun…I knew there was something deeper…something I wasn’t admitting to myself.

And then I found it. I found something big. Something that doesn’t just apply to this trip but to a great many things I’ve tried in my life.

I was sort of curious to see if I could do it. Would I be able to pull it off. And it was this curiosity that drove me. I came to this conclusion by going backwards to the day where I stopped having fun. It was on that same day that I stopped worrying about whether I would be able to finish the ride…the day where I realized that riding your bike across the country, like so many other things in this world, is just a matter of doing….Of course I could do it, I am doing it.

There have been so many things in my life that were driven by that curiosity…I’m curious what I’m capable of…

Once the whole thing went from something I wasn’t sure if I could do, to something I was pretty darn sure that I could, then the question of worth began to play into it. Is this trip, this time, this summer, this whole 42below vodka 42ride thing, really worth my time?

Truth be told, and I’ve been trying really hard not to complain, this is not a great job. It’s completely unorganized, the pace  is so fast that we’re unable to healthily feed ourselves and rest, the miles that we’ve told that we’d be riding have never been right (we’re riding 10 to 20% more every day that we were told we were going to), the people we’re working for have no idea what’s going on and we’re all (those above us and below) in over our heads. Its a giant mess. We need rest and recoup time  to ride 90+ miles a day, and sustinance other than fast food and trans-fatty acids. I mean when I  find myself riding down the road on my bicycle (one of my very favorite things to do) and thinking about how I’d rather be at the house I barely moved into in New Jersey unpacking boxes and looking for a job there (two of my least favorite things to do) there’s something a bit off about that scenario.

You might say, “Tyler, it’s a job, you can’t always like your jobs.” But when it pays this poorly, I’ve got to love it, or look for other options. So it’s back to the question of worth…is it worth it…all this time away from my life, my dogs, most importantly, my wife.

It really makes me question the worth. What would make it worth it? I don’t f*cking know. But I’m working on that.

So, perhaps I’m about to bail…go home…perhaps I’m not…I can tell you this. If you wonder if you could ride your bike across the country, the answer is…you can!

I’ve been riding sick and partially injured for days, and it really has barely slowed me down. If you keep moving forward you’ll get where it is you set out to go…the question is…is that really where you want to be?

until  next time

i am

thefatmanindisguise

t

y

l

e

r

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10 responses

13 07 2009
SteveO

Well dude… as a wise man said, “do.. or do not.” Know this, though: if you hate it and are absolutely miserable, and you bail- no one who counts themself your friend will think any less of you. Hell, I don’t know anyone else who has ridden their bike from New Jersey to Alabama! (or I suppose, Mississippi, which is where I am guessing you are now.) I’ve driven through Alabama and Mississippi many times, and it is boring and depressing.
I had a stupid misunderstanding with my car door this morning, which I lost, evidenced by the nasty cut on my forehead. Everyone who sees me immediately goes to “did you fall off your bike?” “did you crash your bike?” “did someone run you off the road on your bike?” Their fears about cycling automatically translate into a misdiagnosis. I KNOW my way around my bike- its these horseless carriages that get me!
Happy riding- or if not, go do what does make you happy.

13 07 2009
Linnea

A dream is a wish your heart makes (swelling orchestra) When you’re fast asleep…. If you need the “You can do this! Work through the tough times! Don’t say you can do it, do it!” talk. Then just do it, miserable though you are now, miserable though you may be tomorrow. Doing it is Doing it.

On the other hand, Go home. You know you can do it. At the end of everyday are you happy following this dream, or do you want to be climbing into bed with your wife. The answer seems easy.

The answer to the question what will you be glad you did tonight, or tomorrow may be different than what will you be glad you did five years from now?

Love ya, more importantly respect you… either way.

13 07 2009
RO

Ty – Yer already my hero. Ya have been for years. If you drop out now, hell who else is gonna be able to say “I did this!!” I look at most everything I do as a fun factor – when I am writing and I hit that groove and I am having a blast it is worth it. But it is the other 65 percent of the time that it sucks. That area is so depressed and still in poverty that started some where related to what Steve does in wool on special weekends. Hell, almost everyone here in the ‘Loo is better off for living here and not in that area. You are a rock star. I sort of think of this in terms that a 2 year old would think while fingerpainting = they will never get that blue and yellow make green until they mix it on their paper, throw their hands in the air and yell, “DONE!” It is okay to do that. It would be cool if you could learn about the area but it sounds like it is not RAGBRAI. 😦

13 07 2009
allieger

Wow. It’s a big question and I don’t envy you figuring out the answer. However – isn’t it illegal to ride on the highways/freeways of America? Can’t you get them to put you on a safer, more scenic route? Some quick googling shows that Adventure Cycling Association (ACA) have maps that are cross-country routes for bicyclists. The Federal Government is considering turning these routes into a National bike highway system so I think they have to be decent. http://www.adventurecycling.org I know it will seem late to be re-routing but if things are as crazy as they sound, why not do it? Also – it truly sucks if they are expecting you to live on fast food the whole way. That’s practically a punishment! Hang in there! And no matter what you decide, you’re awesome!

13 07 2009
the magnificent

you are awesome and like steve said I do not envy you trying to find the answer(s) to your question(s). But here is a quote that I hope will inspire you and help you find your way:

Ding dong the witch is dead…ching ching walla walla bing bang.

13 07 2009
wcpmd7

Do what worksfor you!Love Ya!

13 07 2009
Ethan

I don’t have any pearls of wisdom for you, not that you even need them, but I hope you can find some quiet to reflect and come to your answer. I think you have proven to yourself that you can do it. No matter what your choice, remember, that you have done already what very few people ever do, could do, or would even be willing to take the chance to do. You did it. You took the chance, and proved that you could do it. Spending an unorganized summer without being able to slow down and enjoy this country a little bit, seems to defeat the purpose to me. Riding your bike should be fun. I know that if I ever had to call riding my bike “work” I would never ride again. On the other hand, going home and spending the summer with your wife, dogs and new house in a new state sounds pretty good. Tyler, just know that no matter what your choice, you have made a lot of people proud! Good Luck!

14 07 2009
Amy Augustine

Somebody once told me “you’re life will be more defined by what you say no to than by what you say yes to” and to be honest, I think about this all the time. It can mean whatever you need it to depending on the situation, but I always feel like it’s wise and decent food for thought. Love you, Tyler Hayes. XOXO from me.

14 07 2009
wcpmd7

Do what worksfor you!Love Ya!
Sorry, forgot to add great post! Can’t wait to see your next post!

14 07 2009
lisadorable

Bullshit is bullshit.

Make sure you know from whence the bullshit comes and then proceed.

You are the only person you have to answer to.

I really wanted to go on a pretend tyrade and call you a fucking whiner, big baby, poor me, my name is tyler and i ride a bike…All in the hopes of making you laugh. It seems kinda serious, though. I don’t know if it’s funny, yet.

It’s all an experiment, Tyler. None of it is really very important unless you want it to be. It’s only drama filled if you want it to be. You are god, always.

You are also awesome, always. Even when you are a whiney baby (just joshin’).

I love you Tyler. I am praying for you to feel at peace with this. I’m praying for fun to return to you.

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