Get ready to say goodbye (to Colorado). (Day Twenty-Eight)
It’s fair to say (and, let’s face it – it’s been said) that climbing and descending The Sierra Nevada Mountains is a ‘sensory overload’ experience. If that’s true, then it’s also true that ascent and downward deployment of The Rockies can be similar, and that the southeastern parts of Utah definitely fit the bill as well. Your senses go berserk. Magical in its beauty and as cruel as Nero or Henry VIII, the Western Express is not to be forgotten, no matter what weather trifles you’ve had or had forgotten you’d had. But, one thing is sure about the stretch: you won’t be bored! Unlikely that you’d had a ponderance about when it would get exciting or when you’d have to (or get to) work your arse off to move to the next level. These things are in front of you in a constant fashion, and they’ll make you wish for boredom. Until that’s what you get.
Day Twenty-Eight started the same as it finished, except for the fact that the day’s beginning carried unfulfilled threats of thunderstorms. By the day’s end, there was no such threat (although, this is being written during an incredible-such storm). Also, the early part allowed us to stop and give some respect to a memorial which we didn’t expect to see.
It was a day that caused me to really think, though, and maybe think too much. This happens when there is a lack of stimuli and a little too much time to dwell. ‘Dwelling’ has always been hard for me. Looking back at today, I now realize that much of my life’s intention has been geared around being busy; moving too fast; allowing a task to always be at hand. Even when I was an adolescent, my efforts to avoid work or hardship were strung together with a sense of adventure. I can’t help but wonder if I’d rather be climbing hills and hallucinating again. The altitude and output wasn’t so bad! As Mincio even said, quoting Rocky Balboa, ‘Ain’t so Bad!’.
Because, if the Western Express is a sensory overload, then the beginning of the Transcontinental is a Sensory Deprivation Chamber. Long flat roads pull you through soft areas that fail to inspire or engage. You’re always wondering when it will change, but it just stays the same. The road ahead is flatter than the road behind, and you won’t see any rise and fall if you look left or right. If not for the handy green mile-marker signs, a fella would never have a clue as to where he was. It all looks the same, or at least that’s what I found on the course from La Junta to Lamar, CO. On the other hand the people we have met so far on this stretch have been among the best, such as the folks who operate the Blue Spruce Hotel, who are fixing us breakfast for our early ride into Kansas.
My understanding is that there is much of this beauty ahead, and although it will certainly grow hotter and hotter, we won’t be seeing anything like Red Canyon again anytime soon. For some reason, this is scarier to me than anything we’ve done so far. For some reason, I find it tough to be stuck in my own head. I’ve heard that some people travel so that they can get to what’s ahead of them; and, others travel so that they’re not where they just were. I know that I’m on this trek so that I can affect a cause, but this apprehension surrounding this stretch makes me wonder if I have some other things to…dwell upon. What am I afraid of, here, anyway?
Kevin, on the other hand! Never seen him afraid of anything. Not even the overly aggressive, very large bouncer in London who was threatening his friend (different story, sorry gang). Nope, Ol Kevin will be fine with stretch, right? I hope so. Thing is, he has a lot on his mind, and those who know him also realize that he likes to keep busy and he can’t sit still, that he’s seen a lot and that what we’re doing is important and that...he probably hates the idea of The Sensory Deprivation Chamber too!
It was a very unlikely friend that reminded me of something that I could use; even unlikely is that it had been said to me only two weeks prior, and the former was on the Team Jesse Foundation coaching staff. Perhaps this coach knew what was ahead for my headspace where The Ride is concerned.
My other friend was dealing in the present, though, and mindful of me, what drives me, as well as the path ahead when he actually quoted from The Bible and said, “whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things.”.
To be clear, it’s not that my friend is irreverent in a traditional sense; it’s just that this isn’t the dude that you’d expect to quote The Bible at you. However it happened, I’m going to move forward with trying to follow this advice. At least the challenge of doing so might give me the opportunity to stray from The Chamber. Pretty sure that any human being, no matter their affiliations, could benefit from this thought.
Tomorrow, we’ll roll wheels for 102.9 miles and reach Garden City, Kansas. Colorado has been excellent to us, and we’ll miss her. The final gifts she gave today were: a) a red tailed hawk that gently raised up from a tree b) two snarling, loose dogs that were outrun by our bikes and c) three wild horses, different but together, that allowed me the opportunity to reflecttt. See? I can’t even spell the word. Wish me luck!
For Families of the Fallen…To The Limit,
Care creates community,