Inspiration for posts comes sometimes at the most inopportune times, those times being ones where I don’t have anything to write with or on, no computer and a brain that’s going to ‘splode if said thought isn’t expelled. Lately, these moments have come when I’m riding a bicycle.
If you’ve followed Redhead Writing for any length of time, you know there’s also the “Redhead Riding” side to the equation. I like my bicycles and spend six days a week on one somewhere or another. I have a coach – two, actually (one for the track and one for my overall road and training program). My best ideas come following intervals where I’ve set my body to spontaneously combust through some (ridiculous) painful sprinting effort. Maybe my brain is clearest when my legs are brimming with lactic acid. Whatever the reason, I’ll take it.
This year is the first year I’ve ridden a bike since I was a kid. I fell in love with track and road bikes and decided to see what I could do with it. Hence the coaches and training schedule. Hence the two new bikes (the Tiemeyer and Barbie). And crashes. And days where it would have been much easier to say damn it all straight to H and go grab myself a taco because this whole riding bikes fast thing sucks epic amounts of wooly ass.
But I didn’t. And after one of three ten-minute intervals of pain down at the Colorado Springs velodrome on Saturday, my coach looked at me and said, “You’re really improving, Red. Coming along nicely.” And then I got to sit the motor for the first time.
If you’re not a track cyclist, it’s likely you have no idea what that means. So I’ll tell ya: it means you get to ride your bike with no brakes directly behind the pacing motorbike on the track (a motorbike that has a roller behind it so your front wheel doesn’t ram into the bike and send you crashing into a pile of bike and broken bones). It means you get to use the bike’s draft to go faster and work harder than you could on your own. It’s a workout I’ve watched everyone else do all season. And finally, I got to do it.
While my first attempt was laughable, it reminded me…
There are two kinds of people in this world: ones that get things done and ones that don’t.
If I’d given up because this bike riding think sucks wooly ass, I’d never have had my landmark Saturday at the track. I’d always be scared to descend (a feat at which I’m getting better every day). I’d have hung up my bike the day I crashed this year and scored road rash so bad I couldn’t sleep.
It’s like anything in life: if you’re too afraid to fall, you’ll never even walk close to the edge. But if you begin to realize that every time you fall, you can come back better, stronger and with more resolve – the edge stops looking so scary. Me? I love the feeling that my eyes are welling-up with tears on account of a personal victory. I’ll cry for that shit all day long. It’s a helluva lot better than sitting on your sofa at 3 PM on a Saturday with the curtains drawn, wondering if the sun is going to shine and watching people do thing on TV that you could be doing yourself if you had the gumption to get off your ass.
So today – on a Monday of all days, I’m asking you: what kind of person are you? Do you screw around with excuses, blame and woe-is-me anthologies? Is your legacy one built on harvesting the tasteless low-hanging fruit? Do you kill your victories with self-deprecation instead of celebrating a life well-lived?
Or is it one where you drop a big ol’ f-bomb (or even a little internal one if blue language ain’t yer style) and walk into the world with arms wide open, asking to fail as soon as possible so you can push through towards success? Do you HUG your successes back and after a requisite period of mourning, laugh about your failures? When you jump, do people tell you you’re crazy?
It takes a little “crazy” to get out there and grab life by the man-berries, but hey – a little crazy never hurt anyone. Go find your crazy.