Battle Scars


I know I’ve been pretty hot and heavy on the blog scene lately.  I’m getting about as bad as Rich Dillen, but much more emo.  I hope my writing brings a few laughs, maybe a few tears, and just maybe I can ease someone else’s pain with my experiences.  If nothing else, I will be able to look back and read about a bad day on the bike or a sad moment in my life, and realize I can pull through once again.  It’s all about perspective.

I spent the weekend in Asheville and had two great training rides while I was there.  My recovery week started today, so I ended my big week with a bang.

A small group of us hit up DuPont on Saturday, logging 20 ish miles.  We rode a few trails I had been on before, and to my excitement, I rode a ton of stuff I previously walked.  I never stopped because I felt like I needed a break, and the only time I got off my bike was to walk sections I wasn’t sure about riding.  Even though I was the slowest in the group, I felt confident my skills and fitness had improved a ton from last summer.  I definitely had a blast, with a little brief suffering mixed in.  I am looking forward to more time in the woods this summer.

Of all the rides I have done over the last few months, Sunday’s ride through Ashevegas is my new favorite.  A little West Asheville, a little Blue Ridge Parkway, and a lot of new places I had never been.  We even hit up a couple of gravel climbs, with one of them REALLY testing me.  Oddly enough, those two roads were probably my favorite.  It felt good to suffer.  It was an amazing feeling to wear my legs out and know I could keep going, not to mention the amazing view at the top.  Asheville is a beautiful place and I felt pretty peaceful at this point.  My beautiful part of the suffering, comes in mental silence.  No worries, no doubts, no heartbreak.  There’s nothing that can break that kind of mental silence.  Nothing.

And the descent was pretty rad, too.

I made the trip home last night, with some time to myself for the first time all weekend.  I had almost pushed out the memory of my mother’s birthday, but those emotions flooded back during the drive home.  I missed her.  I was sad.  I was angry.  I didn’t want to go home.  I wanted to be anywhere but home.

I woke up at 3am with a migraine straight from the depths of hell.  I suffered in a totally different way for the next 7 hours.  That’s enough time to do Pisgah Monster Cross.  And today…well…today wasn’t so good.  My heart just felt broken.

But I am a trained professional in heartbreak.  Don’t try this at home.

I managed to shake the migraine in enough time to make the ladies ride from Piney.  I needed to spin my legs out after 4 days in a row of chasing wheels and climbing mountains.  It was nice to be back on the bike.  I managed to muster up a few smiles, and even laughed a little.  I was able to flush out some of the negative energy I had built up, and replace it with something positive and freeing.  No matter what happens in my life, I can always count on my bike to cheer me up, even if it means I have to suffer.  Suffering is living.

I make choices on the bike based on what I want out of it.  Sometimes it’s to train.  Sometimes it’s for fun.  Sometimes it’s to blow off steam.  I’m ultimately responsible for those choices, and have to deal with the repercussions and aftermath.  I may not always make the best decisions, but they are mine.  I may lead with my heart before consulting my head, and end up going on a ride that’s way over my head.  I might go out with intentions of just having a good time, and end up broken and scarred.  Maybe I know what I’m doing, maybe I don’t, but that’s a risk I have to be willing to take in order to grow.

It’s risky.  All of it.  I can sit back and wonder ‘what if?’ or I can take a chance on something.  If I succeed, I will rejoice.  If I fail, I will have to find a way to pick up the pieces and move on.  Either way, my choices are MINE and I will grow into a better person for making them…right or wrong.  I might even walk away with a battle scar.  It’s all a gamble anyway, right?

Oh…we’re talking about the bike?


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