Happy New Year to all my readers! I hope 2015 has begun well for you, and you are as excited about a new year filled with cycling adventures as I am!
I ended my cycling year with a 7 mile cross bike ride on New Year’s Eve, in 10 degree weather (brrrr!). This ride was defined by something different: silence. I generally ride with one headphone in at low volume, nothing crazy, just something that provides a beat that helps me keep cadence and distract me during grueling climbs. (You can see my favorite riding songs in a separate post, if you’re interested, it won’t be your standard set list)
Silence makes me incredibly uncomfortable. I always have background noise present, generally music. Meditation, and the attempt to be silent and still, literally makes my nauseous, which I am well aware says a lot about me and is inherently unhealthy in every way. But I left my headphones on my desk at the office, and wanted to get out while the sun was briefly shining, so I went soundless. As I rode out of town, the only noise I heard was the soft wish of my tires as they gently crunched on the hard packed snow. The brisk air rushed across my face and past my ears, my fingers grew numb even with 2 pairs of gloves on. I pedaled hard. getting out of the seat to push myself through each small climb, and kept my (numb) fingers crossed on every icy descent. As I turned to the south, I could see another storm gathering over the San Juans, and wondered if I would make it the last 3 miles without snow beginning to fall.
Riding in silence was a different experience. I was utterly alone with my thoughts, my only distraction the cold that continued to try to chill me through my cold weather gear. The ride had been a last minute plan, I had ridden to a friends so we could go on a walk together, and when the walk ended and I got on my bike, I realized I was warmed up and it was a prefect opportunity to ride, so I did. As I rode, the remnants of our conversation during the walk echoed in my head, and I had no way of drowning it out. I was forced to spend the hour not only in silence, but having to think through all the feelings brought forward during the talk. Each pedal stroke pushed me forward in an exploration of my own desires, fears, limits, and motivations. The biggest topic that I came back to was fear, and more to the point, my fear. My fear of failure, in every aspect of my life. My fear of putting myself out there, to reach for a higher rung. This fear has been lifelong, and exhibits itself constantly. I rarely venture outside of my comfort zone, always fearful of the worst, of being hurt physically or emotionally.
About 5 miles into my ride, I stopped to take a few pictures for this post, which at the time was just to be a fun little end of year tidbit, when I realized what I had in front of me. I had nothing stopping me. I was out on my bike in the snow on the last day of the year, in one of the most beautiful places on earth. No matter what chances I take, and what the end results are, I am finally living. Life is a one way street, there are no re-dos, and no way of turning time back. Every chance not taken is an opportunity missed, one that may never come my way again. I ended 2014 with a new resolve, and that is to live. Maybe not each day to its fullest, some days will be toiled away in front of a computer, but to take the opportunity when it is front of me, to make all the years I have left count in a way that leave me fulfilled and inspire others.
As I rang in the New Year at my favorite (and very near and dear to my heart) theater, surrounded by friends new and old, my phone buzzing with new year wishes from those far from me, I was filled with the greatest sense of contentment. I live in a strong community with amazing and true friends, I have the most supportive and loving family a girl could ask for, and I get to live where I do. When the snow melts, I will ride these roads with my dad and these trails with my friends and my daughter. Even if I fail at everything I try from here, I am off to a better start than most could ever ask for. These thoughts led me to the following quotes:
“We have nothing to fear but fear itself” -Franklin D. Roosevelt
“Simply because you can breathe doesn’t mean you’re alive or that you really lived” -Rise Against
Happy New Year’s from me to you, and may your 2015 be filled with love and laughter and adventure!