Pain is temporary quitting lasts forever – Lance Armstrong (Not that I am a fan)
This post serves two purposes. First, it is simple the 14th blog post for your reading pleasure; assuming that you find some sort of pleasure or enjoyment value in reading what I have to say. Secondly, and if you don’t mind selfishly this will be a post that I keep handy for those really tough days or weeks.
I am thinking those tough days are going to be those days early on during the winter riding when I either get stuck in a wicked snow storm and/or the wind chill stops me dead in my tracks. Or those days that I am frozen to the bone and am stranded in the middle of nowhere. How about those days when instead of snow it rains? At least in a snow storm depending on the type of snow you shouldn’t be soaked to the bone. But those days in the winter or early spring where it rains and it rains all day.
I still remember the day quite vividly. During my first ride in 2011 I had just recently headed south on the Cassiar Highway in British Columbia from Watson Lake, Yukon. It was a tough day of climbing and the weather was not the greatest; in fact the weather for almost the entire ride so far was not the greatest. Virtually every single day from the day I woke up in Banff Alberta I had been rained on if only for 5 minutes. I swear there was a rain cloud that was following me the whole way to the Northwest Territories and beyond. Some days were worse than other, but the rain never left me. And being so far north the temperatures were also cooler.
But I remember on this day; scanning one of the most beautiful landscapes, reflecting back on all the challenges up to that point and realizing in that moment that this was the greatest adventure of my life and there was nowhere else on this earth I would rather be. Some of our greatest accomplishments have a ways of speaking to us this way.
It was that day or within a few days after that moment that I realized that I needed to take this amazing experience of bicycle touring to the next level. That next level was so very obvious – To cycle the Canadian Arctic to the bottom of Argentina. So the first reason I am out here is because this has been my dream since 2011. This dream is 8 years old that I have put 100’s of hour of research and 1000’s of hours into dreaming about.
The second reason I am out here is because of all the personal sacrifices I made to be here. My most vivid memories that revolve around this particular reason is living without a car and biking or busing everywhere regardless of weather or temperature. I have memories of standing at bus stops for longer than 30 minutes at a time in extremely frigid temperatures. I have memories of being stuck in the pouring rain past midnight trying to get home on a bike. I have memories of flat tires in the dark and pouring rain. All those times I remember thinking what the hell decisions have I made in my life that at my age I am stuck in these situations. And then I would always remember that I was making personal sacrifices to make my dream a reality.
The third reason that I am out here and probably the reason that I need to pull most of my strength from in particular when it comes to crossing Canada in the winter. Failures, I am haunted by all my failures in life. Apparently I am suppose to learn from my failures, and I have. I have learned a lot; but have I learned what they were suppose to teach me? I have already made some references to my struggles in dealing with failure in some recent posts so I won’t belabour my list of failures. But at this stage in life at my age this is area is a real challenge for me. One failure in particular that is going to follow me for sometime (which I have also mentioned) is a failed engagement.
What felt like 2 1/2 years of trying to prove myself as a good person yet always failing. I already know myself as a good person (most of the time). And I suppose trying to prove yourself as good person verses trying to prove yourself as successfully conquering the greatest challenge you can come up for yourself are different. But are they different? There is something about the act of proving yourself. I am not a people pleaser by any means. Anyone who knows me, knows that already. But this need to prove myself if even just to myself goes so deep I can’t even see the bottom of this dark pit of hell.
When you are all alone and you are me; cycling across Canada during the winter is my form of therapy.