16 07 2009

Why do we do the things we do?

What do we learn from the decisions we make?

Do we learn from them?

Do I?

Deciding not to ride on the tour was a huge thing for me. Hard. Mostly because I didn’t want to be labeled a quitter…or a wimp…or whatever else I might have been labeled because of it.

It was hard to make the decision, and then even harder to figure out why I made it. One of the other riders (Doug) asked me why and I said I wasn’t having fun. He said that sometimes things were hard and you have to stick with them. I said I know, but this wasn’t one of those things.

And here’s what I meant. I know that things are hard. I know that very little that is really worth getting is easy to get. There is no one (I would hazard to guess) on this earth who has spent most of their life 200 pounds over weight (as I have) and has lost 170 pounds of that mass (as I have), all on their own, with no councilor, special powder, surgical procedure, or fad diet who would tell you anything else. I know what hard is.  More importantly I know what it’s worth. If it has worth. Losing all that weight is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and that’s what I’m going to be writing a great deal about.

Riding my bike was easy. It was like running away. It made me feel like my life was on hold. And while I was out on the road it gave me a feeling of heading toward something. I remedy for being lost. But I came to a huge conclusion.

I’m not lost. I’ve felt that way  before…but I don’t feel it now. What I want at the end of the day, any day, no matter the day…is to be at home in the arms of the woman I love. My best friend and my greatest nemesis. My wife. I choose fleeting moments with her buying a new mattress, shoping at trader joes, arguing over how many pictures we’ll hang in the living room, over time with the bike, over time on the road.

Does that mean I’ll never plan an other long trip on the bike? Don’t know. But I certainly won’t plan it while she has a bunch  of time off. I’ll be more careful with it. I’ll weigh it’s worth and put that above my curiousity about my personal limits.

So was the ride worth that time away from her? Hell no. We’ve spent too much time away from each other over the past few years, and we’ve been living in the same house.

The ride was in no way worth that.

The ride was worth, proving that I could do it. The ride was worth, showing other people how cool and physically awesome I am. And in that was worthless to me, now, at this point in my existance.

I believe that if the worth of an experience hinges on creating a situation where other people are forced to be impressed with you…and not

and not, I say

and not, on sharing yourself with those other people, on opening yourself up to them and the world and the universe and all that hippy-dippy shit…then it has little to no worth at all.

I truly believe that there is not a person reading this blog (I truly believe there are very few people reading this blog) who isn’t capable of riding a bike across the country (or getting across using a simple tool and their body as the engine). Regardless of age, weight, stature, size…you name it.

People have done it, crawled, walked, biked, hiked, pushed themselves in a wheelchair.

I believe in every last one of you. I believe you can do anything if you really put your mind to it, and have a good enough reason.

I know you can, I just don’t know if you will.

So making the decision was hard.

But no where near as hard as leaving the 22 people who are still pedaling away. They are truly some of the most amazing people I have ever had the pleasure of spending three weeks with. We ate, slept, wept, sweat, pedaled and raged together. We sang karaoke…we laughed.

Those people rule. They had their reasons for starting, and I think they’ll all finish it…in one way or an other.

I’m sorry I left you…but it had to happen.

My last day riding was 103 miles and I rode it with my great bearded roommate Brian Vanfleet (sp? sorry dude). We Tom and Hucked it from a crop duster hanger, to a pond full of banded water snakes…it was a hundred degrees with a hundred percent humidity and we rode until we were loosing our minds. It was the greatest day I spent on the ride. It was the perfect way to end it all.

I was going to (at brian’s request) say  a little something to each of the other riders in this blog today, but it all seems condescending and potentially hurtful…i have a habit toward bluntness…

So let me just say this.

I believe in you all. I hope that you get out  of this ride, everything you wanted to get out of it. I did. Pedaling isn’t enough. But if that’s all you got, it’ll suffice.

I know you can make it all the way there. The mystery, as always, is will you.

If you think in terms of what will you do, instead of what can you do…the boundaries that separate us all would simply fade to nothingness.

Until next time

I am, as always










4 responses

17 07 2009

Okay–reading this is the second time today I have burst into tears from a conversation with you–well, the other one was an actual conversation as opposed to me reading something you wrote and having a conversation with you in my head and writing comments. Anyway…I love to listen to you think about things. I am very glad you are not lost. I never thought you were–and BTW, I never thought you were a nihilist either–but I don’t think I can convince you about that one. It totally does not sound as though you are abandoning yourself–and I am, of course, glad our Iowa conversation made you think about that before you decided to go home rather than continuing to peddle toward LA. Thinking about what you wrote today, it occurred to me that sometimes, in order to not abandon yourself, you wind up abandoning others–that sometimes the choice is you or them–and, in order to survive, you have to leave them to save yourself. Don’t know that this decision was that radical, but maybe it actually was. Have a safe journey back home.

love, me

17 07 2009

Sweet heaven! How I love to watch the workings of the minds of people who can actually use them. What could be more fun that watching Terry watch Tyler’s mind work. I am knee deep in paradise.

As for Tyler, you did well. Sometimes the simplest things are the most compelling, interesting and revealing. You take something that seems shallow on the surface … then you weave silvery layers of web through, around and inside it until it is engulfed.

Fly safely

18 07 2009

Tyler, we totally miss you on this ride but I completely respect your decision. and I really really wanted to tell you about the curveball we were thrown at the end of the ride yesterday. 88 miles and the last 4 miles were 18% grade. EIGHTEEN. I made it up in my 11-23 cassette but had to stop a bunch and literally started sobbing at the top.

anyways, you are great. your presence will be missed on this ride. thanks for everything you gave when you were here.

12 08 2009

Dude – when you coming back? I want to hear about your Jersey adventures! Miss you!

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