It's always been interesting to me to hear people talk about participating in PAC Tour as a Holiday (if you have English roots) or a vacation (if you're American). For me any of my cycling endeavors and adventures have all been very focused actions toward a quest in my spiritual development. The bike is simply the vehicle that carries me on the journey, a vehicle that I truly enjoy, I might add.
My first Transcon was in 2006 the summer I was still 60. That journey was a consummate celebration of healing from 11 years of functional disability from back disease and injury. Was crossing the country even possible for the likes of me? Every night on that Tour I went to sleep with an anxiety ball in the pit of my stomach wondering if I had what it took to be able to ride whatever was before me the next day. And I did, every mile, save for about 25 one day in the first week when I was fighting a cold.
Three years later, 2009, finds me closer to 64 than 63. It also finds me having ridden about 30,000 more miles and having completed four solo tours from between 500 and 1000 miles each. And, it finds me having added several significant food intolerances that have made fueling my body for 30 back-to-back 100+ mile rides a serious challenge.
The result: I have seen way more of the inside of the SAG vehicles than I ever imagined possible. It's sobering to confront the diminishment of my physical abilities, and yet I guess that is an age-appropriate thing. I truly believe that 50% of my diminished performance is a function of my age. The other 50% I truly believe is that I simply have not been able to fuel my self adequately given that all dairy, all grains but rice, and refined sugar of any kind are off the list. HAMMER nutrition products have been great, but not enough to fuel in the neighborhood of 6,000 calories per day.
There are two days left on this Tour. I will be interested to see how I integrate the spiritual yearnings and learnings over the next weeks and months. But for now what I'm gleaning is that, as I move into this next season of my life, the opportunities will increase for me to be humbled by my inabilities that were once strengths; I will need to ask for help more often; and I will want to say "thank you" for both the opportunity to participate in life and to whomever it was that reached out a hand when it was needed.
I pray that I will be able to live this next life-season with robust gladness and graciousness.