I went for my first bike ride of the season with ari_foxy yesterday. I want to start riding to work again soon, so I thought a little refresher ride would be in order to get me back in shape. Well, we had no goal in mind, so we just kept riding south down the river trail. We ended up riding as far south as we could go. After about 2-3 hours we were back at the vehicles. Total ride: 25-30 miles! Jeez! Do you think I'm ready for my 10-11 mile ride to work?!? I came home, showered, and collapsed. Ari later came over and we treated him to some homemade beef stew and "The Amazing Race" on t.v. Many thanks to tarnac and stevefoxx for providing the inspiration to make beef stew in the crock pot.
I thought about the bike ride as I lay in bed trying to drift off to sleep. It pretty much sums up my philosophy on living. You get a goal and you keep at it. Like NASA and the Apollo missions, "Failure is not an option." This has been the way with me since my mountain climbing days in the early 90's. I would find a summit, get the trail length, get the elevation gain, plan how much time I would need, line up the appropriate gear, and do it! Very rarely did I not achieve a summit. Only unsafe conditions would turn me back. I suppose the last great hike I did was at the Grand Canyon back in 1999 or 2000. A friend wanted to hike down to the river and back out in a day. I was not in the greatest shape, but I had that drive and stamina. I had been to the bottom and back out a couple of times before, but those were 2-day trips. We would also be attempting this on the shortest day of the year. Long story short, we did it. We left at sunrise and were back on the rim by sunset. What kept me going? Simple. Failure was not an option. To be hauled out by the Park Service was a very expensive proposition. I HAD TO make it back to the rim. Even if it took all night, I would make it out. We had extra food and clothes. We had flashlights. Goddamnit! We would do it! And we did. I now consider it one of my greatest accomplishments. My heart is still filled with pride when I think about that day. And as I drifted off to sleep I thought about the bike ride and the pride was there again. The greatest rewards sometimes require the greatest effort. It's worth it.