My road bike. Just sitting there for 3 weeks. My anxiety level redlining after a fellow local cyclist got hit by a car from behind in the bike lane last month. Non-life threatening injuries the report said. A lengthy surgery to put the bones in his wrist back together and a busted ankle that are going to change pretty much everything in his life for a long while now. Damn. Hearing about incidents like this scare the living daylight out of me. Out there, we are so very vulnerable. Especially in this day and age of distracted drivers. In order to survive, I’ve become hyper vigilant while riding. Unapologetically jumping onto sidewalks whenever I don’t feel safe. Using trails whenever possible. Avoiding certain high traffic low shoulder roads altogether. Defensive riding. And I’ve stopped giving the middle finger or mouthing off non-conforming drivers. Instead, I’ve been waving to drivers who give me more than the required 3 feet. Hoping to cultivate good karma. Doing what I can so that we can hopefully all get along and share the road. Instead of fighting it, I’ve also been trying to feel the fear. Lean into it. Accept it. But sometimes it just gets too strong. Like these last few weeks. Eroding anxiety. Slowly killing me. I don’t ride on the road as much as I used to. More gravel. More mountain. My attempt to lean the odds in my favor. Last Friday I paused for a minute after starting my Garmin to taste this fear. Sit with it. Befriend it. A prayer of sorts. My high vis jersey and socks. My powerful blinking front and rear lights. Control what I can. Surrender to what I cannot. Alive. My first road century of this year. But if I’m being completely honest, a part of me was still relieved when I made it back home safely.
Friday, May 28, 2021
Thursday, May 20, 2021
The cracks have been there for so long that I mostly didn’t notice them anymore. Blending in with the wallpaper of my life. Just looking away all this time. Pretending that they weren’t there. Making them invisible right in front of my eyes. A brilliant plan that works. For a while. Until life starts shaking things up and exposing these cracks. For me, it really doesn’t take much. My overreaction to little things revealing much bigger things. Magnified. These cracks. Inviting me to look at what’s behind them. Maybe that’s the purpose of these things that we deem as bad that always eventually happen in this life. To gently shine a spotlight on these cracks. To make room for the light to work itself in. Highlighting what we’re still holding onto. What can we do? We can keep on resisting. Keep on ignoring these cracks. Or we can finally work on repairing them. Kintsugi is a Japanese term that describes the art of fixing cracked and broken pottery with gold, making it stronger and highlighting where it was broken. We’re all broken. Cracked to some extent. In order to grow and heal, we must allow ourselves to feel these cracks. It’s been another rough week. Our dog got sick again. An anal gland abscess. Life showing me the cracks in my complicated relationship with sickness. Now, I just need to find myself some gold to put these pieces back together.
Thursday, May 13, 2021
Ruts. Riding old logging roads, continuously scanning for the best line, I sometimes unintentionally fall into a rut. If I try to white-knuckle myself out of it, I often end up losing balance and crashing as my wheels drag against the rut’s edge. Through experience, I’ve learned that the best approach is to ride it out. Stay in the rut, even if it requires extra concentration to thread my way safely through the middle. Relax and keep going until a natural exit line emerges. Such is life. And last week I found myself in one those metaphorical ruts. Our dog got sick. My anxiety level skyrocketed. These events were really not catastrophical per se, but to be honest, lately, it doesn’t take much to throw me off. Tiptoeing through my days, desperately trying to not become unhinged. How did I get here? Maybe it isn’t even about what’s happening in these moments. Maybe it’s about what’s happening in these moments re-awakening unpleasant boxed up feelings deep inside of me. Past traumas resurfacing. Maybe that’s the purpose of these ruts. Maybe they’re meant to be pointers to the parts of me that need my love and attention. Maybe they’re meant to highlight what still needs to be healed. The dog is feeling much better. And I am slowly coming out of this rut. Maybe life isn’t about avoiding ruts. Maybe it’s about becoming comfortable riding them out. Ruts.