I remember how sad I was the day I left for California. I had been looking forward to this day for years, and it was finally happening. I was making my dream of moving out West a reality. My father and I had packed up the moving van, put my car on a trailer, and were prepared to set out on a 4 day journey to Mammoth Lakes. Father-daughter outing at it’s best. And there sat my mother, trying to look excited for her little girl, but I could see right through her.
I have a photo of my mother on my dresser, rocking in the chair on the front porch of our house the day I left for Cali. I catch myself staring at it for long periods of time, wishing for things to be different. Sometimes I actually talk to it. I can remember crying all the way to Knoxville that day. I was sad to leave my mother behind, even though I knew life had to go on. I had to chase down my dreams alone, without my mama. This was the last day I saw her before she got sick.
Life is a bitch. We have dreams and goals, with very limited moments to achieve them. What happens when someone or something gets in the way? How do we move on with our own life when a part of us wants to stand still? How can we separate our minds from our hearts, and make the perfect decision for ourselves, without hurting those around us? I don’t know. I didn’t know when I left my mother crying on the front porch, and I most definitely don’t know any better now.
It never gets easier. You just get stronger.
Walking away from something you care about is one of the hardest things in the world. I sure don’t feel strong. Maybe that line is bullshit?
Unless you’re talking about bike racing…
I raced Ring of Fire for the second time tonight. I’ve had so many nagging emotions lately, and I knew this was something I had to do for myself. I was exhausted from multiple nights of insomnia, sore from playing a bunch of high school boys in basketball, and emotionally taxed. In spite of my shitty disposition, I headed to the track after work. It was blazing hot, and I drenched my kit in sweat simply pumping up my tires.
Once my race started, I felt like I was going to hang for the entire race. We were at a cookie ride pace for a few laps, but of course people go APE SHIT over a $10 Pro Gold prime, so those mofos took off. Our field was barely 10 deep, so I had to go with every single break. I guess when the entire field goes, it’s not really a break, but it sure did break my crippled ass. I got dropped and couldn’t get back on.
I sat up for two laps and waited for the group to come back around. I grabbed the last wheel and hung on for dear life. I went with every acceleration, nearly died each time, but always caught back on to the group. I stayed with them for 12 more laps, then got crushed in the last lap. This was probably the best race of my summer.
And I was with a bunch of dudes.
It’s never easy. You can experience it a million times, but you always go back to that feeling. You always feel exactly the same. You try and think back to all those times you suffered and cried and wished for a different outcome. You wonder if you could have done anything different. You feel lost, scared, and broken. You think to yourself, “I’ve been in this place before, so why am I so heart broken now?” It doesn’t matter if it’s the first time or the 239th time…it still stings. Pain is pain is pain. Your soul doesn’t know the difference.
This climb really hurts, but the only way to get to the other side is to suffer. One pedal stroke at a time. One breath at a time. One heartbeat at a time. One tear at a time. I really hope I can make it, because I’m exhausted.