Thursday, November 28, 2019
Sum. Our life is really but a sum. Its equation made up of being and doing. We’re born being. We learn doing. We need to. Our life depends on it. There are certain things that all animals, including humans, need to be able to do in order to survive. As our doing repertoire grows, so does our independence. This continues until we are able to take care of our own self. At this point, we become what we call an adult. We should now be able to earn a living and live happily ever after. Such a simple template. But is it working and who is it serving? It’s an important question that deserves our attention. Is it serving mankind? Or is it serving our economy? Is it teaching us how to make a living instead of a life? Is it teaching way too much doing and not close to enough being? Could that be why we often feel like our lives don’t add up? Could it be that we live in a world lost in doing? I ponder these questions during my last ride. The sum of why I ride is to let the doing part of turning the pedals bring me back to being. How balanced is your equation? What is your sum? The solution is not to do more. The solution is to be more. Sum.
Tuesday, November 26, 2019
Darkness. My enthusiasm is always sluggish this time of the year. In nature, the extended darkness provides a time for necessary rest. I can’t seem to embrace it as such. I try to maintain summer’s pace. It has become my escape method. I have become very comfortable at its speed, just fast enough to avoid feeling. Nature is telling me to follow its lead. I recognize its truth, but I still resist. Staying busy is easier. Unconsciously, I am leaning towards disconnection. The temperature hovers around zero Celsius on Sunday. I ride out to the pavilion. My emotions linger close to the surface. But I can begin to feel a sense of ease as I sit there alone. Strangely, simply admitting to myself that I am unwell makes me feel better. Acknowledging my own darkness is the way forward. Reconnecting with life in nature’s now brings me back. As the days get shorter, I yearn for more light. And as the days get colder, I yearn to ride snow and ice covered roads that lead me to the serenity of the forest. I yearn, not to avoid feeling. But to embrace the season that is. Welcome to the dark time of the year. Slow down, and let it show you its light. Darkness.
Tuesday, November 19, 2019
Backward.A wise man once told me that in order to truly know a road or a trail, you must have travelled it in both directions.Preferably by bike.Ok, I added that last piece…Regardless how it is travelled, I strongly believe that this piece of wisdom also applies to life itself.To have lived well means having lived in both directions.It means having gone back to revisit your past in order to understand your present.It means going back to forgive old versions of yourself in order to heal the current version of yourself.It means going back to unload everything that no longer serves you.It means going back to give your crap back to it’s rightful owner.It means going back to understand what you couldn’t understand when you were in the middle of it.It means going back to learn the lessons that you weren’t ready to learn until now.When you refuse to go back, you end up carrying your past with you into the present and eventually into the future.When you refuse to go back, you end up reliving your past over and over in a never-ending cycle.The only way to move forward is by going back.Backward is forward.Backward.
Thursday, November 14, 2019
Fly.This pic is from the seemingly everlasting summer of 1983.I was 14 years old.And my sole purpose at the time was to make the SE Racing logo wings on my PK Ripper take flight.Ever since I started riding, I’ve always been obsessed with jumping.I remember building small ramps in my backyard with wood planks and bricks when I was about 6 years old.Eventually, as I got older, the ramps got bigger and bigger.After assembling each of these launching contraptions, there was always a certain delay before someone gathered enough courage to actually launch it.This was how legends were born back in the day.No suspension, small 20 inch wheels, landing on flat ground.You either acquired new scars and a good “the time I nearly died” story or you were immortalized as a neighborhood icon.Often, even if you crashed, you still came out of it with all three.There is something about the feeling of the wheels of my bike losing contact with the ground that fascinates me.Maybe it’s the human animal instinct to want to be like the birds?Even at 51 years old, riding a well built pump track on my mountain bike is one of my favorite ways to ride.Clearing a set of doubles still gives me goosebumps.The feeling of the bike gently sailing, hovering in the open space between mounds of dirt is simply incredible.Compress, release, recompress.It isn’t about speed.It’s about flow.It’s about letting the bike rise after gracefully coaxing it.It’s about just letting it…Fly.
Wednesday, November 13, 2019
Fluidity. With our first snowfall of the season, Saturday’s conditions were winter-like. The fat bike was happy to come out of hibernation, very eager to play in the snow again. The once familiar landscape felt so fresh covered by it’s new white blanket. I got out as early as I could, trying to take in the magic while it lasted as the temperatures warmed up in the afternoon and the snow slowly started to melt. Sunday’s skinny tire gravel ride was soft, wet and muddy with some snow covered bits. I bypassed certain trail sections where the snow was deepest, but still managed to make it to the café on the other side of town for my latte. After the messy post-ride clean-up, I decided to stick to the road on Remembrance Day Monday. This ride brought my odometer reading for the year just above 5,000 kms. Not a huge distance compared to back when I trained and raced, but the most that I have done since my health issues in 2015 and 2016. I thought about how far I’ve come since then, just as I began to understand that my progress wasn’t about a number. It was about a feeling of elegance in my pedal stroke that I hadn’t felt in a very, very long time. It was about the smooth, graceful circles that my legs were drawing. It was about the spin mantra that my lower limbs were repeating. It was about feeling more and more centered with each consecutive rotation. I wasn’t going fast by any means, but I couldn’t help but smile as I felt that old familiar feeling of riding effortlessness. Fluidity.
Tuesday, November 5, 2019
Feel. It wasn’t early. It wasn’t late. I got up and went downstairs as the rest of the house slept. I worked on my bike. I did some yoga. Even with the extra hour the night before, I still wasn’t really feeling it. But it was Sunday, and on Sunday, I ride. I made tea, ate and slowly wrapped myself in my ride gear still sipping on my steaming beverage between layers. I ventured out taking the long way, eventually making my way out to the pavilion. I sat for a bit to feel the cool breeze. From there, I rode through Mill Creek park. I was happy to be on my bike, but to be honest, I still wasn’t feeling it. The trail crossing the railway tracks was closed which meant a detour. I took it as an omen that I wasn’t supposed to make it to the café for my latte that day. I veered off and headed home instead. I had been forcing it enough already. My body has been trying to tell me that it would like me to ride less lately. Like nature around me, starting to get ready for its winter sleep, my body is asking me to tone it down a bit as the days get shorter and the air colder. Riding back, I noticed a crane floating on one of the marsh lakes. I tried to get closer to take a photo but it didn’t like me being so close and it flew off. It’s grace and strength so impressive as it lifted itself up with a single flap of it’s strong wings. Airborne, it glided steadily, hovering just above the still water (sorry, I was too slow to take a picture). It was amazingly beautiful. And in that very moment, I finally started feeling it. Feel.