Sometimes I ride to forget everything a round me except the beating of my heart. Sometimes I ride to clear my mind and reach my personal zen. And sometimes, whether I mean to or not, I ride to remember.
I have lived in the same town off and on for my whole life so it’s no surprise that there are many places that hold a special meaning for me. Today I rode past a big one: the site of my wedding. In 2004, I said “I do” to a man I thought I’d spend my life with. Now, almost 12 years later, I sometimes am faced with the glaring fact of that failure and loss in my life.
But in that sense of failure and defeat is something stronger. It is the realization I would not be who I am, where I am, doing what I am doing now if I were still there. Years ago, when I hit a fork in the road of my life, I chose the unmarked, dark and scary path with no idea what was ahead. And it’s been an arduous journey since that moment, and I have learned more about my strengths and weaknesses than I ever thought possible. I have hit the wall and melted down and felt I couldn’t go on. I’ve struggled and had my heart broken and my dreams fall short. And every time I have pulled myself up and kept on and become a stronger and more independent person with each step.
And now, as I embark on my first real training, holding myself accountable and knowing I have teammates relying on me, I know what I have the ability to do. I know I have drive and motivation and discipline that I can draw from.
Sometimes, on long drives or solitary tides, I ponder who I would have been if I had taken the easy path. Would I be happy? And I know deep down the answer. I know that I would rather try to outrun the ghosts of memory on my bike than be trapped in a life half lived.
So today I allowed my ghosts to ride alongside me and embraced every step/misstep I have taken that led me to the trail I was riding on.