-Oliver Wendell Holmes
Saturday, August 14, 2010
-Oliver Wendell Holmes
Thursday, August 12, 2010
I hope all is well in your part of the world. I'm writing from the porch of a hostel in a little town called Mitchell. It's about 80 miles outside of McKenzie Pass. The porch is really cool. The roof extends well beyond the door offering cover from sun and rain. There's a beat up pair of cowboy boots by the door next to a sign that says "Please remove spurrs before walking on wood floors." I don't know what the population is, but I haven't seen more than 10 people since I arrived. Every now and then you see a muddy truck with a dog in the back. The owner hops out and heads in to the burger/bar for a shot of Jack Black, a burger, or to sign up for Friday's amateur boxing night. Anyway, they serve up a burger the size of your face ... well, not yours sweetie ... let's just say the burger was huge! The fries are so big they flex when you pick them up. The guy that served it bought the place about 5 years ago. He didn't seem like the owner of a burger joint to me. He had a thick grey beard that hung to his chest with yellow nicotine stains on his face and fingers. He told me he and his wife moved out there because he had a job on a ranch. The job fell through so they bought the burger place and stayed. It's kind if funny all the twists and turns a person's life will take.
I hope you enjoy the photos! As soon as I get cell phone service I'll give you a call. Talk to you soon.
Monday, August 9, 2010
- Laurence Fishburne
As I write, I feel incredibly content. It is a contentment derived from the realization that a personal victory has been achieved. I awoke this morning at the foot of Mckenzie Pass. It is one of the first "real" climbs of the trip. Up to this point, I had convinced myself that if I stared long enough at a topography map the route would suddenly be ridden with ease. This, of course, would not be the case.
McKenzie Pass was closed and we were forced to take the lower route, Sustaine Alternate, which involved 34 miles of consistent climbing with 4800 feet of elevation gain. The remaining 60 miles involved rolling terrain.
The next morning, the skys were heavy and overcast. While eating breakfast and filling water bottles for the day, I faced potential failure and physical pain. Later, while riding, any gradient change marked the beginning of my doom. I was quietly, but assuredly, marking myself for failure!
In, Relections on the Art of Living, Joseph Campbell wrote to the effect that anything you do has a still point, or, what I take to mean a time in which things are neither good nor bad, they simply are. When you're at that point, according to Campbell, you can perform maximally. Basically, I was riding out of fear rather than in the moment. I had yet to realize that "still point." But as happens so often on the bike, the observance of one's surrounding takes over and anything beyond your immediate world is no longer part of the moment. A still point often arrives.
I remember the initial challenge of the climb, but somehow the moment seemed to ease its way into the ride. A slow grind up the pass turned into one of awe as moisture-thick trees parted to make way for the deep rumble of waterfalls.
Friday, August 6, 2010
Thursday, August 5, 2010
In late September 2008, I was diagnosed with cancer. Surgery, chemo, and radiation introduced me to a darkness I have never felt. June 4th, 2010 marked the beginning of a 57 day self-supported, 4200 mile, bicycle journey from the Pacific to the Atlantic. Each pedal stroke introduced me to fear and self-doubt, as well as heartfelt elation and joy. The ride was a privilege, a gift; in fact, it was a celebration of life. It showed me that I am a survivor and that maybe, just maybe, I can reach for greater heights.
My hope is that I can convey my journey in such a way as to do it justice. In an effort to collect memories, I took pictures daily and journaled nightly. Combining the two created what I hope to be assorted reflections and lessons of a special time in my life. Rather than giving a day-by-day account of the trip, I reviewed pictures and journal entries in three day increments. The significant events are what I'd like to share. I include few details such as speed and distance as they have little relevance other than meeting the August 1st return date. The following is the retelling of my story.