Saturday, June 21, 2008

Postcard from the Edge, I mean, Annapolis

Here are some preliminary words from Tim, with much more to come....

Everything is sore. I imagine millions of micro tears, deep within my bones and connective tissu. My heart is slow, but pounding massively. As I lay here in bed, I can literally feel each pulse of the heart and legs and lungs that just somehow got me across the country, by bicycle, in a bit over 11 days. The Race Across America, solo, is a unique metaphor and analogy for life’s ups and downs. Climb to descend, thaw to freeze, death and rebirth, every single minute of every single day. I’ve hand plenty of time recently to consider these ideas and what follows are just a few ideas spurred on by a simple guy with a simple goal, a crew with goals, a bike race across the country and what you come to understand at 3am in the mountains of New Mexico. Everything is connected. My body is held together by what quite simply are a system of levers, surface area, engines and the like. When one part of the system begins to fail, chafe, or otherwise draw-down, the another steps in for relief. Saddle sores are the bane of existence and the tiniest of problems will soon open the gate to hell for the rider who chooses to deny or ignore. Nothing is alone. Companionship is surrendipitous and often times completely unexpected. I count the cattle, the stars, cliffs and painted highway lines as my friends. Jim and Ryan are also now very important and we have shown that the true team draws closer with adversity and keeps the light shining on the lonely rider at all hours of the day. First light of morning reminds me that the sun also rises and shines for me and for every one in my life. Fatigue is relative. My fatigue was driven by hundreds of hours perched on my bike. The kids I ride for are born into a life of fatigue and pain and these things aren’t in the same universe. Bless my fatigue so that others might live well. The only thing bad thing about adversity is how you choose to respond. RAAM is about conflict, survival and finding moments of peace surrounding a mass of riders, crew, weather, technology, hope and failure. How we roll with the punches is by answering another call. Fight to get knocked down to fight again. Quite yer’ whining. The only easy day was yesterday is only true if yesterday was easier. The only easy part of solo RAAM is that there is no easy part. There are no easy yesterdays in RAAM. There are days that work and then everything else. We define RAAM. The Race Across America is defined by the racers, RAAM volunteers, the crew of each racer and the American countryside. The definition of RAAM changes each year because we are always changing, hopefully becoming better and treating each other with respect, dignity and kindness. RAAM inspires. The RAAM brings people from all walks of life together on a world stage that millions of people pay attention to each year. I am inspired by the quick and the bold and then I enter the race to inspire others. The effect ripples out from the center. The great effect of RAAM is that each year there are hundreds of “centers” and the ripples keep getting wider, traveling farther. RAAM perspires. Yep, you’re gonna sweat. In my case I sweat, I bled, I burned, I chaffed, I cried, I mumbled incoherently, I had Technicolor hallucinations that only ended with some rest, only to return later, I yelled for the sun to come out and warm me up and I cursed the wind pummeling me from the side. My vision is to stick with this thing and see where it goes. As I lay here, I’m already beginning to look at next year and see what that may bring. When we get back to Colorado I’ll be updating this blog frequently with tons of comments, pictures and thoughts on the race past. Your support and encouragement inspired me to reach my goals when the cards were down. Your phone calls, blog comments, prayers and hopes fueled my fire that sometimes raged like an out of control wildfire and sometimes smoldered like a wet log. You and I and our crew got there TOGETHER and that means everything to me, at the end of it all.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your early thoughts Tim. We will look forward to reading more. Congratulations to you and your great crew. I hope all of you are able to get the rest you need.

j. H.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your spectacular race and finish. I wish I could have been there but at least mom was....mike told me about the fire engines, what a reception!!!
We are all happy that you finished albeit exhausted but you hung in there dude, and you did what you set out to do.
Many thanks to your crew for their wonderful assistance and for keeping you on track when things got rough.
I hope you will rest and recover well and Aimee and I are proud of you for doing the race.
Enjoy your finish celebration and heck, why don't you just ride your bike back home....hahahahaha
Bill and Aimee

Kenny said...

Congratulations Tim!

All of us Loons were talking about you many times as we were on our various rides the past 2 weeks. (I met you very briefly last year, I work part time at Trail Head Cycle) I was amazed at the stories your fellow riders told of you last year, flying down on the descents. What you did this year is incredible. You're in a club of about 200 people. Your words describing everything are moving and encouraging.
Well done. Now get some sleep.

Anonymous said...

To Tim & His Crew:

"Snowflakes are one of nature's most fragile things, but just look at what they can do when they stick together".

Quote from Vesta Kelly