OK, so I’ve really been slacking on the blogs. In my defense I’ve been a bit busy. I’m not sure where to begin. This ride was by far the most difficult, satisfying, completely bewildering, soul-testing, grit-affirming, and inspiring thing I’ve ever experienced. I don’t think my words will suffice but I’ll do my best.
Every day seemed like a week. It was as if my mind couldn’t understand how so many memorable happenings could be crammed into 1 day, so time was stretched like taffy in my memory. Many nights I couldn’t remember the beginning of the day or even what town I started in. Day one feels like years ago, and my memories feel like déjà vu. Without pictures I may not even believe it all actually happened. A hurricane and endless climbs in Maine, hundreds of miles of dirt and gravel roads in Missouri, hail storms in Arizona, a sand storm in California, packs of dogs giving chase in New Mexico, 105 degree heat in the desert, momentum-killing headwinds throughout the Midwest, and tagged by a truck as I looked upon the Pacific coast for the first time. Looking back all I can do is smile. It was a battle – every day. I felt like a machine. I was alone, but never alone. Everyday my family and friends pushed me along. I feel closer to the people who cared, who prayed, who hoped with me that this crazy “plan” would work. Even now I have a hard time believing that it did. When I threw leg over my bike that first day in Bar Harbor, Maine, I had NO IDEA what I was in for. In many ways I feel like a different person, like an unlocked version of myself. My heart feels different - bigger than before, and the world feels more open.
In the last week, people have been asking me for the #1 lesson from this journey. The answer is that it was all mental. I was amazed by what my body could do with “permission” from my mind. Riding a loaded bike alone for 8 to 12 hours every day sounds insane, until you decide it isn’t. How many things that we decide are a huge deal are only a huge deal in our minds? I argue that the answer is almost anything. For me this ride wasn’t just about riding a bike, it was a way to unlock my mind. A way to, in the words of life coach Tim Brownson, “Get Unstuck.” It was a way to fully realize that I alone determine what is possible, and that I alone dictate the path of my life. We are all immensely powerful once we believe it.
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