Tuesday, September 1, 2015
Where You Been?
I was 80 miles into a 70 mile ride...and still 50 miles from home. I didn't know those specific numbers at the time, because I stubbornly refuse to use any kind of cycling computer...(No Gramin No Ruels)....but I knew I'd gone a long way...and that I still had a long way to go.
By this time I'd intentionally deviated from my very roughly plotted course (North East... or like...whatever...) numerous times, simply to see where roads took me...roads that turned to dirt and smelled like rivers. And I'd lost count of how many times I'd been forced to take the "long way"... encountering closed bridges and dead ends. One road allegedly connected to another, but after transitioning from pavement to gravel to dirt... it ended at a trailer in what seemed the final stages of falling down. Eyeing the two large dogs standing sentry at the overgrown trail that forged onward, passing within feet of the dilapidated and crumbling trailer...And looking dubiously at my rear wheel, with its cracked hub flange, missing and entwined spokes... its pronounced and troublesome wobble... the wheel that had broken 20 miles ago and I'd still doggedly refused to head home....I grimaced and turned around... backtracking five miles to try and find yet another way.
Because...what was another five miles in a day this long? Save for being just five more miles of pensive introspection.
Five more miles of trying to stave off that ever present dagger that lives in the brain... that presses itself against skin and vein... that tells you your very presence in the lives of the people you know and love is, and always will be, nothing less than toxic. And that everyone would fare much better... if you just kept riding... If you would just disappear down that overgrown jeep trail and never emerge.
That...is where I been.
Why?...Where you been?
For the most part, I ride alone. Some of it is circumstantial... my variable schedule rarely meshing with other people's. But much of it is intentional. Make no mistake, I loathe my own company. After 30 minutes of listening to the inanity and insanity that is my inner monologue, I'm ready to punch myself unconscious. (Yeah. It's happened before.) .
That's when I pedal harder. Until that inner voice is gasping for air. Until ghosts are just more headwind that I have to plunge through.
I'll never train for shit. But I'll ride myself into the kind of knots that leave me drooling and dragging for days.
Don't get me wrong. I love riding with friends. I love laughing and telling insane stories and swapping filthy jokes and making relentless fun of each other and everyone else. Of trying to beat the everloving shit out of each other on every hill or county line sign we come to. But I guess what I'm getting at is... the things that I want and need to get out of riding my bike... are things that often need to be done alone.
If I ignore those things during the day... they just come back at night. In force.
And I suspect that some of you get that.
And the ones who don't...
Well.... chances are they're the ones who don't return your friendly greeting out on the trail. They're the ones who come barreling toward you, barely in control of their expensive bikes. The ones who don't yield when they should... who don't smile and wave back when they should... who don't get a clue when they should. They're the ones who pat themselves on the back for being legends-in-their-own-minds... when they should be kicking themselves in the ass for being washed-up-has-beens.
As much fun as it is... if the bike isn't teaching you humility... you're doing it wrong.
And for me... if I'm not out there beating the shit out of a few ghosts... or myself... then I'm lost. And not the way I want or need to be.
I think...that getting lost is kind of the only way to really find those things that mean something.
So...go get lost. And end up some places you've never seen or been. On the road, in the woods and in your head.
Like... for serious.
Posted by Watts at 6:23 AM