life is little more than a series of snapshots in time surrounded by all the planning and preparing that is more or less how we choose to spend our life’s units, say a waster of our valuable time here while we wait for the next big moment in time. Birth, turning 16 then 18 then 21, we retire sometime after 65 and then wait to die, hopefully in a warm comfy space. It’s those brief moments and how we experience them that dictate our life’s worth when measured by our own standards.
living in the present is the hardest thing for most of us as the miles of life pedal on by. I’ve been so fucking scared of this bridge and for good reason. I literally got vertigo straight into the 4.2 miles ride. I tired to breath deeply sit upright and relax And find love in the sheer terror I was experiencing but who are we fucking kidding, my first logging truck hit before I was 100′ into the journey, I was purely and truly scared fucking shitless the whole time. To ad insult to injury there is a giant fucking steep incline at the end and then a tight crazy bombing downhill. For the entire portion of this bridge I was in the middle of the biggest panic attack I’ve ever had, my heart hurt and I was dizzy, I was also smiling from ear to ear and screaming at the top of my lungs every time a car or truck almost clipped me. My biggest fear was being hit and flying over the edge where I would break every bone on impact with the water and then die a bitter death by drowning while the giant sharks tore me from limb to limb. If you think I’m being mello dramatic it’s because you have haven’t ridden across this bridge and certainly not with double vision. This ride would be a big enough challange without fucked up vision but the way I see just makes it that much more difficult.
So I survived the bridge and I’m sitting in a coffee shop in a big comfy chair and taking the rest of the day off, my camp is 5 or 10 miles from here, I’m out of food, fuel and I’m getting two fucking beers to celebrate tonight. My success hasn’t come without pain and my left IT band is starting to nag me out of nowhere. I’ve been doing everything I can to nurse it today but it’s getting worse… Had I known there was a second bridge I wouldn’t have wasted half the day screwing around in Astoria looking for a good tattoo parlor. Fucking cross wind on that second bridge really got my goat.
I arrive at camp and for the first time since leaving on this journey Im surrounded by cyclists, some riding all the way to lands end others spanning the country. Two girls from Quebec and another guy also from Quebec, i try and decipher thier broken French while they talk of sailing the St Laurence on a steel schooner. A couple from England, many from Canada and two Brazilian girls. I’m the only American we make a huge fire and laugh and talk about this and that. Starting the fire with gas, one of the cyclists literally caught his entire body on fire, I put him out with minor burns and it was worth laughing about later but at the time quite a scene. For the first time in my journey I feel like a real touring cyclist, I’ve found my tribe, we smoke the peace pipe and each person, each and every one of us now hardened cyclists tells our best scare story of the journey.
Never in my life have I felt more in place, surrounded by my people and wondering if I can’t just ride forever. Of course with victory there is defeat and I wake up crippled, my IT band is fucked and so is my journey. It takes two hours to ride 18 miles to where I find refuge, hand over most of my cash and throw a latte in for good measure, my ride may be over, I can barely walk a single step :(…