Friday, June 6, 2014

Miles Behind Me, Miles Ahead

I’m afraid I’m going to fall apart now.  Going into the 2014 Mohican 100 I really wasn’t engaged like I had been in so many other events I’ve blathered on about in the past four years.  I only got fired up for the race a few short weeks before it took place.  And even then I didn’t have a lot of attention I could divert to getting ready.  Between the wretched winter we had and a busy work and home schedule I couldn’t get on a bike often enough to feel good about my prospects in Loudonville.

Having finished the race and felt pretty darn good afterward has left me fired up again about mountain biking and cycling in general.  As early as Monday I was ready to get back out on the trails. I would have too, if my sinuses hadn’t plugged up tight and a brief spat of rain hadn’t made VP greasy and treacherous.  Okay, I actually did ride at VP on Wednesday, but I didn’t enjoy it much.
All week I’ve been fantasizing about getting out and riding.  I’ve wanted to work on my backyard trail, clear some historic trails that have been vandalized by the USFS and nature, and I’ve wanted to ride a lot of my local roads.  Mark and I talked all winter about bikecragging, and now summer is slipping away without us taking advantage of that possibility.  I’ve got to get on the ball.
I remembered that last year at this time I was riding and running before work with lights.  I was riding two and three days a week at VP and on the roads within striking distance of the office at lunch.  Evenings and weekends we were riding.
This year my kids are in sports.  This spring I have a good sized garden to take care.  We have fifteen chickens.  I’m important at work and end up bringing it home with me.  Yeah, I know, I always said I would never be that kind of person.  I finally found work that was worth bringing home.
The Mohican was amazing.  I had been so busy for so long that the last few days before the race I was so happy to be so close to having it all—including the Mohican—behind me.  It was another stressor in my life that I felt I didn’t really need.
I was wrong.  I needed it desperately.  What I was surprised to discover was that out on the course everything else was purged from my head.  For three days I basically ate, slept, and pedaled Mohican.  On the drive home my thoughts didn’t instantly revert back to the unread emails in my inbox.  I didn’t go back to prioritizing the outstanding projects in my queue.
In fact, I was on my way to work Monday morning before it hit me that I hadn’t thought of all of the crazy flotsam and jetsam waiting for me back in the cube.  That made me happy.  The Mohican had been a nice temporary escape from reality.  I’d needed something to accomplish that for a long time.  No other schemes or mini-adventures that I’d come up with had been able to do that for me.
As this week has worn on I’ve found myself adrift though.  My schemes for the rest of the year all involve running.  I don’t know why, but that’s daunting to me.  Maybe I’m afraid with this final chapter closed in the saga I might lose interest in mountain biking.  And maybe I’m afraid if I step away from the bike for too long it’ll be impossible to come back.  I’m experiencing that with rock climbing.  As much as I want to tap into that world and relive those experiences I am not adequately motivated to prioritize it.  There are too many small and seemingly insignificant obstacles that are disproportionately effective at keeping me from getting back into climbing.
Jeff and I both agreed we’d not want to go back and do the Mohican.  But he pointed out, and I had to agree, that likely in a few months we’d forget how bad it was and we’d start planning on going back next year.  Personally, I’d like to find something closer.  Maybe Troy’s 12 Hour Race at CVP.  Maybe the Brown County Breakdown.
As bad as it was at times—as disheartening as it was to have to hike-a-bike and slog through hog mud—looking back I’d rather be doing that than mowing my yard or working on meeting agendas and minutes.  I’d rather be racing my mountain bike than sitting in an office chair.  I’d rather be driving to Loudonville than commuting back and forth on the same old roads all the time.
What I need in my life is simplicity.  I want to kill my phone.  I want to purge my house of electronics.  I want to haul off a lot of junk and find a space that’s not too big and not too small for my family.  I want some kind of physical, emotional, and spiritual equilibrium.  Don’t we all?
Having access to so much information I have found that I don’t use my imagination as much as I used to.  Being privy to every event in the universe makes it infinitely hard to just pick one or to even come up with stuff on my own to do.  I’m a slave to the clock and calendar.  I’m lost in a sea of social obligations.
All I want to do when I go home tonight is ride my bike for an hour or so, have dinner with my family, maybe watch a little mindless entertainment on TV and go to sleep.  If I need to hoe some weeds in my garden along the way then so be it.  But I’m truly tired of fighting all of the inward battles for control of my attention span.  I can’t seem to focus on what needs to be done or what I want to be done.  There’s just too much competing for my mind…all the time.


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