I finished my ride yesterday, which was technically colder than my ride on Saturday, relatively warm. I won’t say warm, or comfortable, but compared to Saturday, it was relatively warm. I could immediately unbuckle my helmet and take my pack off. I could make a cup of hot tea. This was a step in the right direction as compared to Saturday’s state. Not perfect, by any stretch of the imagination, but one step towards feeling like I’d be able to survive Alaska.
To an outside observer, my ride on Saturday was somewhat of a disaster. I got home frozen. It took me a solid 15 minutes to regain the dexterity in my fingers to take my pack off, let alone my helmet. Somehow I managed to walk into the house as my mom was on Skype with my dad so she got to see me in my full frozen glory. She questioned my sanity. She questioned my leap of faith to sign up for the Iditabike. Three years ago, she questioned my move to CeeBee. When I came back from CeeBee, she asked me what I’d learned from the experience.
What did I learn? I learned that I’m blessed with an amazing body and mind ready to soak up the human experience, the good and the bad. I learned that not everybody in this world has to lead a life according to ‘normal’ conventions. I learned that I like to find the limits in everything. I learned that there’s nothing I like more than getting to wake up to watching sunrises and go to sleep watching sunsets. I learned that I can live out of my car and be perfectly content. I learned that even when things got really hard, I could still find happiness in beauty and in life, and when things got really bad, I could be brave enough to change my situation. I learned that if I keep throwing myself at life with full force, I could keep landing on my feet. I learned that I’m really just not a huge fan of the cold. I learned that what others viewed as a disaster, I viewed as life.
What did I learn from my ride on Saturday? Don’t take my gloves off. Keep eating. Keep drinking. Cover my face on the descent. Put my jacket on and if I’m sweating in it, slow down.
On Sunday, I threw myself at another ride in single digits. Back up to Ned. I used what I learned. And aside from slightly chilled hands, I was okay. I was happy.
Show up. Screw up. Grow. Learn. Show up again.