Nothing is ever black and white. Everything has its own twists and turns, and no one should ever expect anything in this life to be easy. We should expect complications and be relieved when something actually works out without a struggle. Every story has two sides, sometimes more. Every heart is torn in various directions. Even the most educated brains have trouble committing one way or the other. I believe it’s the way of the world.
Accept it and move on. Life is too short to put up walls, hold grudges, and let go of those closest to us. Find a way. Try and accept others, because I’m sure there’s something about yourself that other’s have trouble accepting. Get off your high horse. Stop comparing yourself to everyone else. Your life is not my life and my life is not your life. Stop making mountains out of little piles of dirt. We are all searching for a way. Don’t assume you know someone’s struggle, because you only see it through your own eyes.
Running out of food and water on an impromptu 60 mile bike ride seems like a mountain, right? Depends on how you look at it…
KB and I set out on Sunday to ride from Asheville to Marshall. We planned on a nice, 40-ish mile ride to the little ghost town, riding back to AVL via the river road. I had packed a huge piece of coffee cake from West End, and filled up two water bottles for what was going to be a hot day. Little did we know, our day was going to be much longer than expected.
Somewhere close to the 12 mile mark, we stopped to check the GPS. Neither of us had been on the ride more than a couple of times, and being the new girl in town made me a navigational nightmare. Once we got our bearings, KB realized she had a flat. I took on the role of pit bitch, took off the rear wheel, and soon understood why bike mechanics get pissed off when you bring in a dirty bike. My hands were black from my fingertip to my elbow. I had just painted my nails the night before. Oh, the luck of a cute girl on a bicycle! Anyway, I managed to change the flat in record time (keep your smart ass comments to yourself…you know who you are), and we were finally on our way again. This would be the first of many hiccups.
We managed to get lost a few times, ironically, at the end of very long descents. I was getting hungry at this point (I’m always hungry) and the sun was getting hot. Mind you, once you get to Marshall, there is a BORING 20-ish miles back to Asheville. Luckily it wasn’t cold and raining, because we most definitely didn’t have any fire stations nearby. It was at this point we realized my very large piece of coffee cake wasn’t actually going to do much for either of us. Also, I was down to one water bottle. Somehow, I managed to make jokes and keep a smile on my face. In spite of my stomach gnawing on my spinal cord, I felt pretty amazing.
And I didn’t cry. Suck it, haters.
After more climbing, more sweating, and more wishing that a french fry would fall in my mouth, we made it to Marshall. Good thing no one lives there, because we screamed with joy as we crossed the bridge. Even though we knew Zuma’s wasn’t open, we thought for sure there would be a place to buy a coke and a snack. We were so hungry.
Nothing. Marshall sucks. Not even a tumble weed rolled by us. I screamed at the top of my lungs, “FUCK OFF, MARSHALL!!!!” KB said we might die there. I knew if I could just pedal my ass off, we would be in Asheville in a little over an hour.
And we both were completely out of water. What a cluster fuck.
We saw a couple in front of the tattoo shop and asked if they knew of a place to get snacks. “You could climb over that little mountain and go to Ingles.” Um, no. We had no intentions of climbing anywhere for anything, unless it was up Haywood Road to get to my house. We decided to take our chances. At least we couldn’t get lost along the river.
I yelled and laughed and made fun of myself. KB was in good spirits as well, in spite of her aching legs. We took turns pulling. I wanted to TT my hungry ass straight to Standard Pizza as hard as I could, but I started getting dizzy…and hot…and thirsty. KB got quiet. I stopped making jokes. We had a head wind. I desperately wished for a fireman and frostbite, or at least my ass to go numb. We considered calling someone to come get us, but the reality hit me pretty hard.
“We will NEVER EVER live that down. No fucking way. I’m riding home.” So we kept moving. It really wasn’t THAT far back, but when you are out of food and water, life seems pretty shady.
With 15 miles to go, I glanced to the side of the road and recognized a guy walking towards his car. “HEY YOU! I KNOW YOU!” It was an old friend from my Sugar Mountain days. He and his girlfriend had just pulled their boat out of the river.
“Do you have water or a beer or crackers or anything at all we can eat? We screwed up today and now we’re struggling to make it home.”
He said, “I have all of that” and handed me a beer. I chugged it immediately. His awesome girlfriend gave us food. We laughed and explained how we got lost on the way to Marshall. They totally changed the game for us. I could make inappropriate jokes again, and KB even tried a sip of beer in desperation. She still hates it. And we set out once again to finish our ride.
We finally made it to my house, after 60 miles and over 5 hours in the saddle. We put on our bathing suits and went directly to Standard Pizza. I don’t even remember eating it, but it was out of the box before we got out of the parking lot. And yes, we did have intentions of swimming. I might live in West Asheville, but I’m no shoeless hippie.
Stupid? Yes. Epic? Yes. Ill-prepared? Yes. But you know what? Shit happens.
What you choose to do when it does is up to you. You can give up and tuck your tail between your legs, or you can take a chance and push through the pain and discomfort. Who knows…you might find out it was totally worth it.
And it was.
Stop being afraid. Just stop. You might fuck up, get hurt, hurt someone else, or end up in a place far from where you started, but JUST STOP BEING AFRAID. You know your heart. You know there is a reason you’re here RIGHT NOW. Don’t shut out the good. Don’t ignore the bad. Just FEEL IT. Embrace this. Nothing is perfect. Nothing is without sacrifice. Nothing is EVER black and white. Stop having expectations. You will ALWAYS be disappointed. Stop letting the past ruin your future. This isn’t the same. You aren’t who you were back then. Just stop. Let it be.
Just let it be.