I get a text and run out my door. It’s pouring rain, I’m wearing nothing but by purple kilt but I’m only going next door which is less than 50 feet away. This is pretty much the last thing I remember other than floating in mid air, my feet level with my head, time and motion frozen for one brief second. Things rush through my mind like damn this is going to hurt. I wonder if my head will split open like an egg, or will I break my back. I’m surprised at how many thoughts swirl around my head before I’m body slammed on the stairs. I’m soaking wet, muddy, everything hurts. That’s where it all went black. I’ve spent 42 of the last 48 hours laying motionless in my bed.
A bright light appears and pulls me from my coma, it’s the sun and the color of summer. It paints my walls with its light, the same bright orange as my bike. I’ve spent every conscious moment of the last two days stating at this thing. She was new in the picture above but now like me she is well used. I think about all the pictures I lost when my phone was stolen. I had actually written my masterpiece about humans and self preservation. We all like to think that in disasters that human beings will band together but i witnessed mass pandemonium, an every man for himself apocalypse play out before my very eyes and had dozens of images to prove it. The whole situation was surreal but my photojournalist background was stronger than my internal instinct to flee.
I can’t help bunt to wonder where I’d be right now. Had I been one day ahead I would have missed the whole thing. Chika is a work of art, sure pushing 3″ of rubber takes a bit more energy on road but that’s not what I built her for. When her fat tires enter Tera Firma it’s a whole different ball game, I don’t remember where I was when we fell into our groove with each other but I do remember exactly how it felt. It was one of my higher mileage days, I had found a beer for later and had my bags filled with snacks which meant we were unstoppable and free to ride in any direction for as long as we chose. It was hot as hell with a headwind. My forearms nestled in on the bars and I was tucked like a pro roady and matching their speeds. My body was as fit as I’ve ever been and loaded with fuel. It was one of those times when every single element was perfection. I climbed the hills like Lance Armstrong jacked on roids. The only thing I was jacked on was life.
Deep down I know I owe myself one more big ride before I ship Sookie to Florida. Maybe the Arctic, the continental divide has also crossed my mind as has putting on skinny tires and drop bars and riding to meet Sookie in the east. Either way she’s going with me. Years ago I went bikepacking in Puerto Rico and it was one of the most epic rides of my life. With her chunky fat tires Chika is a tropical paradise assault vehicle. Those slick muddy trials kicked my ass but it was the most beautiful riding I’ve ever done. I’m still in bed, still covered in mud patiently waiting for one of my girlfriends to show up for my sponge bath but what I really need is a good massage. It’s not just being laid up that’s making me feel like a caged animal, it’s working, having a schedule and sleeping indoors. The elements are calling to me, Mother Nature is quite the seductress.
” I Judge you unfortunate because you have never been unfortunate; you have passed through life without an antagonist; no one will know what you can do,-not even yourself.” Seneca