I’m beginning with the end in mind. Not a bad move anytime you’re in contemplation mode over decision that lays ahead. There’s an end each year that I don’t enjoy. Not stranger danger New Years Eve type end but the end of Tour For Kids.
I don’t like cycling so much that I’d happily forfeit my home and car for it. As soon as I could focus and move last year, I got back to work. Like when the exotic dancers have to leave the discos and go back to the pole…I gots to make me some money. Not do all my work for drinks and winks. Once it’s done, real life creeps back in and you have many months to get over what you did to your poor bod and decide on next year.
I got razzed at a panel I was moderating last spring, mostly by me, for saying “circle back” a bunch of times. It just kept working for what was happening. Like a rickety ferris wheel I couldn’t get off. And I’m getting back on here.
Soon I’ll be back in the same place closing a circle that began near the end of last year’s ride. The decision to do it again.
It’s not easy to fundraise. Nor is it easy to keep up with the hamer-jammers you ride with. Truth be told, I waffle hard on the decision every year. Whether to come back or not. When you beat yourself down and are overtired on that last day, like a big wobbly baby, you toy with the idea of an easier year ahead. Full of naps and grown up bottles.
Over the last near decade, the decision has been made primarily in the last 25km of the last day of riding. This is where you set yourself up for success or failure. I had the flu the week leading up to the ride last year and I felt it in my legs on that last day. Who feels the flu in their legs? Frickin’ leg flu! Since when is that a thing? When I can’t keep up I get mad and frustrated and pouty and all the things. It sucks. The first couple of years were a real struggle to finish strong, if at all, and last year was reminiscent of that.
Working hard for a weak finish blows.
You get to know your body over years of riding. You don’t always love your body but you get to know it gooooood. What it can and can’t do. On your first big ride you and your body are on a really intense first date. That lasts days. And I guess this post is for the newbies that may be riding their first big ride this year with us.
In that last 25km, you need to switch over from leg power to soul power. As soon as you stop trying, in that moment, to be much more of a cyclist than you are. When you stop chasing something that you might not be yet. That’s when you become someone that you are. Someone that worked hard to do something good for kids and families that needed you to. I’m not saying that those fast f**kers that blew by you aren’t doing good, but that’s not your place to be this time. It may be some day, but don’t get that day confused with this day.
This isn’t for first. This isn’t for best. This is for the deepest part of you that felt compelled to help. And you are.
You’re here! There’s beer! Get used to it! Because it’s really hard not to come back.
Last year, two of us let go of the pack. Each of us strong riders but not on this day. So we stopped chasing our fast friends. Conversation turned from “Holy crap I’m never going to make it” to “Look at this extraordinary thing we get to do!” Instantly.
You can always make your legs go round and round, circle back to the bottom of the pedal stroke. Doesn’t have to be fast. You don’t even have to make it if you discover you can’t. It’s what you did up to this point, committing, raising funds, listening to stories, demonstrating how much you care about these kids, that means the most.
Rolling in, two buddies and a straggler that we were not going to leave to ride in alone. Poor guy. He was on day three of a very confusing first date with his body. We almost “yard saled” the lot of us while attempting a high five crossing the finish line but we closed the circle full. Not empty.
This same buddy and I will be side by side when we roll out this week for Tour For Kids 2016. We decided this on that glorious last 25km. Our plan is to stay close to a new rider who has in years past generously donated many precious memories of her son Adam to all of us. Big, big circle. And we have her back.
To donate to my ride: Tour For Kids