PAC Tour, Southern Trancontinental 2006

Post Tour Wrap up

 

Humbling Post Tour
In Hinton OK, after our 13th day of the tour and having just passed the halfway point, I was asked by a fellow rider to speculate on how many days could I ride at this 114 miles/day pace. Although physically fine, at the time I was feeling the blues about being away from my family so long so I offered two answers. Physically I could do two or three consecutive transcontinentals, I declared, but emotionally I would only want to do one.

Now three days after finishing, the reality is my physical and mental limit is exactly one transcontinental bike tour. On Friday, the day after finishing, I had a stomach bug that left me with mild diarrhea. I felt totally drained and napped twice. On Saturday, I didn't feel up to driving and napped as my wife drove 7 hours to our home in Melbourne FL.

 

To dare mighty things...
Upon arriving home I just wanted to lie down. My five year-old daughter Holly however was full of energy and wanted to ride her bike to Publix (a grocery store 1.2 miles away). Normally I jump at the chance to ride with her, but I really didn't feel up to it and tried to dissuade her. With her insistence I dragged myself off the couch and told her I'd watch her ride in front of our house.

Eventually she got me on my bike as I pondered the irony of my unwillingness to ride to the corner grocery store after having just cycled across a continent. Before I knew it we were on our way to Publix.

Along the way she spotted a dead armadillo in the grass and we stopped to investigate. We found its body in good condition and speculated on the cause of death. After a pause Holly sighed, "Poor armadillo." Seizing the opportunity to make it a lesson on life, I said that all living things will die eventually ...like dogs and cats. To which she added "...and trees and birds". I was about to continue the list with "...and us", but I thought that would be a little depressing. While I thought about what to say next, however, she showed wisdom beyond her years when she filled the pause with "...and us."

Thinking about my own mortality, I suppose that in fifty years I too will be gone, or at least at 96 years old my best days will certainly be behind me. How sad would it be in my then frail body and failing health to regret unpursued passions.

With that in mind, I'll leave you with one of my favorite quotations.

"Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checked by failure...than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt

Thanks for following my incredible journey and I wish you great success in pursuing your own dreams whatever they may be.

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