As I sit down to write my thoughts before I head out on my bike for 2700 miles, my oldest friend Wheels is lying next to me on my bed snoring away and farting like normal. She was a bit more sore than usual today and the fact that I won't see her for a month makes me worry about her. She has her good days where she navigates the stairs up to the door pretty well and motors around sniffing all there is to be sniffed and she has her bad days where she is really not too interested in anything but sleeping in the sun since the stairs are just not happening that day. This is when I must pack her up and down. (Note: plans are underway for building an old dog handicap ramp) Her bad days are not for a lack of try, rather her old legs and hips just don't work or have the strength that they used to anymore. It breaks my heart to see my old friend unable to retrieve bumpers and birds at warp speed or plunge in the water or even get up and down stairs on her own, but what inspires me is that she has no idea that she is 13 years old and her heart is still that little black puppy I picked out of a litter of twelve so many years ago. She only knows two things: the first is how to love no matter what and the second is to seek attention at any given time. Her nickname is "The Black Hole of Attention" and it is spot on. She really has no interest in other dogs, but rather their owners who are a potential source of petting.
God, I love this dog. She understands my passion, my fire, my intensity and my mood more than I do I think. She also understands English and listens better than most humans, I am fairly convinced. Thus, tonight as I sit here in my bed, trying to convince the overly stressed, rushed, worry-wart side of my brain that wants to keep me feeling nervous about riding to Banff to shut the fuck up because I am trying to fall asleep in my comfortable bed for the last time for awhile, Wheels props her gray chin between her two front paws up on my leg, looks up with her cateract-laiden blue eyes and sighs.
Tension is gone and instantly my worries about finances during and after the race, my worries about getting all the last minute crap done on time and driving to Sierra Vista in the morning and my silly little insecurities vanish. Like shedding a heavy load, I take a huge breath in, let it out, smile and remember why I am doing this race. Wheels knows. She knows what I need and when I need it and tonight it was a reminder that there is no place for worry or nervousness anywhere in the miles I am about to ride. They only serve to ruin a good time.
I think back to October and my own words on the forum (walkurtalk):
Here it is June, and honestly, I really have nothing more to add. That says it all.
So, now its time to plunge down the Rabbit Hole to see what I can see. Sounds like a pretty damn good time ahead.....
There are so many people I want to thank who have helped me in one way or another to get to the start line of this race: My family who has been supportive even though they think I am insane. Some have reached out with encouraging words and love, some have not shown any interest, but it is uplifiting, motivating and awesome to have my own blood believing in and supporting what I am doing from 1200 miles away. My friends who have encouraged me, pushed me, challenged me, helped me, loved me, contributed to my effort or just reached out with kind words via email or Facebook. Strangers who have read my blog and contacted me, befriended me, believe in me, read my ramblings, encouraged me with the right words at the right times and contributed financially out of the goodness that resides within. I don't make it a practice to use names without prior permission, but you all know who you are and I love you all. Please know that you were in my heart back in April from the first turn of the crank in AZ, and you will be in my heart on Wednesday night as I pedal north to Banff and again when I roll out for Durango from Waterton Canyon in August.
I am living my dream.
I want so much to see you all live yours....
Here is all the info I can think of one may need:
Tour Divide Tracker:
Map of the Route with Elevation Profile (zoomable):
MTBCast website: (riders call in an leave messages about their experiences. I will call in here and there)