The other day me and a few of my really good friends decided it would be a good idea to go on a two day bike ride up Carmel Valley, down to Arryo Seco, and then back again on River Road the next day. For those of you that aren’t local to the Monterey/Salinas area, it’s about a 100 mile loop and since we we’re making it a two day trip, it seemed totally reasonable.
I woke up Wednesday morning and was really sleepy, in fact, I almost called my friends and told them that I wasn’t going to go. But after much duress, I drug myself out of bed, ate breakfast, packed my things and hit the road. I got to the rendezvous point at 11:01 expecting my friends to be patiently awaiting my arrival because of the fact that I was fashionably late (The plan was to meet at 11:00), but they we’re nowhere to be seen, so I waited. After about 10 minutes passed I began thinking about all the extra sleep I could have gotten if I had planned on being late like my friends. (I was outsmarted) They got there around 11:15 and we were on our way.
We started off the ride with the biggest hill on the planet.
Imagine Mt. Everest times 10, then make it bigger, put dragons on it, and that’s what we had to ride our bike up. It was miserable. Burning thighs, unruly tummy from a spicy breakfast, and, of course, the fire breathing dragons to avoid.
After passing over the summit we got to ride down the other side, which made it all worth it. I’m not positive on this, but I’m pretty sure that we all broke the speed of sound.
We got to the bottom, and then got riding on a very slight uphill. Little did we know that this slight up hill would continue to get steeper and steeper and would continue to go on for the next 20 miles. It wasn’t all that bad though. Sore legs were expected as a result of this trip, plus, our calves looked amazing. When we got to the top of this next hill we gazed down into an enormous valley below, full of wildlife and natural resources, then got ready for the descent. Down, down, down we rode, watching the mile markers fly by like they were caught in a hurricane. This down hill continued for like 15 miles, it was great.
Then we got to camp. It was a sight to be had. In my factual mind it was just a river with some sand and rocks around it, but in my mind’s eye, it was like a tropical oasis that gave us free back massages while eating fillet mignon wrapped in bacon.
So we hung out there for the night, looked off into the stars, talked about how great it would be to be a baby duck, and then dozed off.
Then we started to ride again. We we’re expecting it to be a long, slightly downhill ride. It was just that, but instead of it being a nice downhill ride, there was a howling wind in our faces that was bent on keeping us on our slow and arduous journey. We rode against this wind for hours, and eventually, I just couldn’t go on anymore.
I told my friends to go on without me. They continued to ride, and I proceeded to pass out on the side of the road. About a half hour later I got enough energy to move again, so I tried hopping on my bike to finish the ride.
I made it about 100 yards. Then I ran out of gas again. I stopped, called my friend and asked if he wanted to go get lunch, with the stipulation that he come and pick me up 25 miles from home. He said it sounded good to him, but he might be awhile.
As I lay there feeling like I wasn’t going to live long enough to see my friends face, I began to think about why I couldn’t finish the ride. Was my will power just not strong enough to overcome my frail legs? Was I literally just too tired to go on despite any amount of will power I may have stored inside of me? Was there a small family of elves living in my brain telling me that I couldn’t go anymore? Whatever it was, these thoughts led to me realizing so much more. I realized then that my lack of ability to not make the ride because of the wind, lack of will, or just tired legs was a perfect example of what it is to be human. My ability to ride my bicycle is completely contingent on my circumstances. I am not some being of limitless talent and muscular endurance. I cannot not control the wind. I cannot control the small family of elves living inside of my head. I can only react to the world around me because it is so much bigger than I can ever hope to be. As a human, I am ultimately powerless to truly control anything. So, I rode my bike as far as I could, but then just couldn’t anymore, and had to accept it.
Anyways… All that being said, I’m really glad I went on the trip, and despite all the complaining I seem to have done, it really was a great time because of the experience that my friends and I made it.