On Wednesday I endeavored to ride 1000 Miles in 24 Hours. I did everything right. First I meticulously researched the guidelines set forth by the IBA (www.ironbutt.com ). It was important for me to work through IBA’s regulations and audit to legitimize my ride. The next step was figuring out a route that I would take which was not an easy process. I needed to go 1000 miles but could not venture to far away from home because I needed to get back to work. The circuit would need to be fast paced but yet aesthetically pleasing. After a few hours of researching on Google maps, I was able to come up with a course that would be perfect. Then I listed the items I would need to make it all happen. After much contemplation on this matter I came up with three must haves which were Rain Gear, Warm Weather Gear and an emergency kit (cell phone, tool kits, medical supplies, duct tape, bungee cord, and leatherman). That may not seem to be a ton of stuff but I believe in simplicity. For me it’s all about getting mentally prepared for the objective. One must Plan a strategy that will solidify success. I made sure that my bike was up to specifications as well. With a new rear tire and 10,000 mile maintenance over haul, I thought I was good to go. The last thing I did was go to bed early on Tuesday night, so I could begin my sojourn when I awoke in the morning. For me, I did not want to schedule a start time. I have strange sleeping patterns so I figured that whenever I awoke would make for the best time to start. 2am was the time I got up and there was no hope of getting back to sleep. The ride began before dawn.
I am not a huge fan of riding in the pitch black of night but given that the first 4 hours of the trip were Highway miles, it was not a big issue. I have always been a huge fan of dawn and my ride just reinforced this belief. Go ahead and get up a few hours before dawn and just observe the environment outside. Pay attention to how the earth begins to shine even before the first ray of sun begins to beam over the horizon. Night turns to gentle glowing hues of radiance that gives morning its first breath of life. My favorite part of the day is during this pre-dawn experience. I pulled over at a rest stop and turned off my motorcycle and just observed nature at its most serene state. All was quiet but one could feel the forest begging to stir from its nightly slumber.
The sun made a début but then so did the clouds. At around 8am it began to rain. I put on my wet weather gear and off I went. Riding wet is motorcycling; it cannot be avoided where I live. One must assimilate to the rain or will be destined to drive in a cage. Have you ever noticed that whenever you get all your rain gear on, that is the moment when the rain decides to go away? The good news is that the precipitation only lasted for about an hour and never returned for the remainder of the trip. Now I found myself 7 hours into my riding experience and was not the least bit tired and felt invigorated by the fresh air of the mountains. The sun was bright, the air was warm and the fresh pavement felt smooth under my wheels. Life was good.
On I traveled, south down the mountain corridor. I had a pretty good system in place. With every gas fill up (approximately 150 miles), I would text my friends and family and send them photos along with a progress report of the trip. I was not in a huge rush because I was way ahead of schedule. Things were looking good but even more important, I felt perfectly relaxed and grateful for the chance and opportunity to spend the day riding.
At around 4pm I felt some major hunger pains and decided to fill up the tank and get a long rest in for dinner. The trip was going ahead of schedule, the weather was excellent and the last leg of the journey was next on the agenda. After eating, I felt refreshed and ready to tackle the world until I saw the oil like fluid gushing from my engine. The sight of it hit me like a howitzer. I was infused with anger for about 5 minutes, then sadness for another short while. Then I thought about the fact that I was alive and that I had the privilege to ride more than 12 hours straight on my motorcycle. Though I was concerned for my bike and worried about the expense of repairs, I felt positive about my overall experience.
So with the breakdown of my bike, my quest to reach 1000 miles in 24 hours was gone. It’s funny how priorities change in a blink of an eye. At one point my focus was on staying on schedule to meet my goal. The next minute all that changed and the focus transitioned into more important tasks like finding a place to stay for the evening. Our perspective on life is all about personal reflection and reference. We can become angry at the most insignificant issues which seem to be such a waste of time. Emotions such as anger, sorrow and jealousy are going to be felt by all of us. That cannot be stopped but it is up to us to decide what we want to do with the feelings. We can let it fester inside us and make it a part of us or another option is to take ownership of the negative feelings, give it its due merit and discard them like we do the rest of our garbage. Please don’t take it the wrong way, we have a right to feel these negative emotions and should not endeavor to just suppress them. It’s more about dealing with the emotions in a timely manner then moving on.
So my story above is a tale of failure but through it all the adventure was by far an overwhelming success. Objectives in life may not be achieved but I truly believe that it’s more about the journey then the reward. I’m no quitter, so I can tell you that this is more a Postponement to achieve my quest then a failure. This just gives me another reason to try it again.