This is a timeless love story. A journey with a fearless soldier and a soul crushing villain obstructing the most direct path to the throne. In this story, mortality of both the hero and villain will be challenged by each other. Pressed to their limits and bound by measures so expansive, the words in this story can’t begin to tell the triumph of countless minor victories along the way, as well as the slowly deteriorating effects of defeat after defeat after defeat.
Cycling is easily the hardest thing I’ve ever done, while also being one of the most rewarding. Like I’ve said in previous posts, it has sailed me to far off lands that I never could have imagined visiting. A journey so epicly massive it’s carried me over towering snowy mountains, brisk white capped waves of ocean fronts, and the golden glowing plains of the Midwest prairies. While on my bike, I’ve seen sunrises and sunsets that a camera can’t even begin to capture as the warmth and serenity overcome my own breath. Cycling has helped me become one with my environment by ultimately teaching me about myself.
In this case, the sport’s sheer brutality takes on the personalization of the villain. This villain has thrown me to the ground at 40+ mph, breaking bones, burning off skin, and destroying thousands of dollars in equipment. This villain has watched from a cozy rocking chair as I train for hours in snow, hail, wind, and rain. This villain has sat by and laughed while eating a sandwich as I crawl into a store, parched and bonked after running out of food and water in the middle of nowhere. This villain has honked at me while I walk my bike on the side of the road for miles upon miles barefoot after some mechanical prevented me from re-straddling. This villain has driven a massive pickup truck by me while screaming obscenities, spitting, and chucking garbage at me. This villain has, in many cases, challenged my own intentions to continue pressing on with this sport.
The villain is my teacher. The villain has taught me what agony, exhaustion, and defeat feel like. Not once, but over and over and over again.
For those of you who know me closely, know what my intentions with cycling are: go professional. What most people don’t know is I gave myself a timed leash of doing so. I’ve watched many people say they are going pro, drop out of school, give up on any other dreams they have, and pursue the ever elusive success story of becoming the best…which ultimately never comes. In these saddening stories, the villain has triumphed over these brave soldiers of cycling.