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Pedaling for Mortality

While the wind wasn't ferocious, it made up for lack of intensity with consistency. A steady pressing against my goal, forward momentum. Wind. The single natural phenomenon known to induce insanity. If you've ever taken note of the residents in notoriously windy locations, you know what I mean. Nederland, CO anyone? They have a weekend festival for a frozen dead guy. Those weathered, windy ones have you clutching your loved one's hand just a bit tighter. So here I am pedaling against the crazy swirling and my mind followed suit. Thoughts wandered, lost and tangled, bouncing from the here to there and finally to a dark somewhere. I landed at a spot both familiar and uncomfortable. My pending death. More specifically that not only is it sure to come, eventually, but how will I feel when that hour arrives? Even more specifically, how do I want it to feel?


Answer: Earned.



Finish lines. Summits. A multi-day route terminus. The final page in a book. The last swipe of ketchup from my plate. These final moments land heaviest when I've poured myself into them. Yes, I take my ketchup that seriously. Heinz 57 only. No substitute will suffice. Beat it Mr. Kensington's. For years I'd leave finish lines with a brief moment of elation, quickly moving my mind's eye to the next start. Now, after many finishes, many summits, and many termini I've trained myself to quiet that pursuit. Sit in the warmth brought about from a job well done. Enjoy that earned sun.


But at our ultimate end there will be no need to still the pursuit. The pursuit ends. No more races, mountains, or cross-country routes. What happens next, or what some may hope happens next, is a debate best left to other blogs. For the sake of clarity I prefer to take nothing for granted. I have the moments leading up to that final bit of light and cannot confidently assume there's another waiting in the wings. So what does that make me think? What action do I take next? How do I cope with this reality? And...why won't this wind stop?!


Stillness. Pursuit. Achievement. Fulfillment. Death.


Who knew this recovery spin would turn into a soulful deep dive?


I want to earn my life. In turn, I want to earn my death. When those gamma waves rock through my skull in my final moments I want to be sure they smile at the memories of a fully lived existence, of fully lived connection, and of respect for each breath taken.


Stamping my passport. Zip tying a numberplate. Packing, unpacking, repacking, and dragging my bike bag through airports. Slurping down a cold brew and turning up Eminem's Lose Yourself. And most importantly, shirking the responsible, reasonable, and reliable option for the unknown, exciting, and dangerous fork in the road define the key to my road map. A map undefined and without boundaries. A map with only one guiding characteristic: let's go.


I can't do everything. So I'll do anything.


I'm going to earn my life and knowing so brings light to a dark topic. Brings warmth to a cold fact. I'm currently choosing to earn is while pedaling a bike. Round and round. Let's go.



If this sparked something inside of you.

If that spark has room to become a fire.

Take on the next big adventure on my international calendar.

Join me in October in Panama.

Yes.

If you are reading this, you can do this.

Bracketing a single day 120km MTB race across the country will be a bike park day, a bike tour of Panama City, and a couple relaxing days on tiny islands in crystal clear water.


Earn it.

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