DTLA GPX2011 from The Bicinity on Vimeo.
So you should go ride yours for me until I’m no longer sick.
I’m sick. That’s not what makes me happy but I am still sick. I really wanted to write something fun today but nope, it’s just not the way my world seems to be moving.
I did however find this, I loved it and it made me smile so maybe it will do the same for you….
I need to be honest, I have had avery emotional week. Were to begin….
We all have them. I know I for sure do. That’s what being an athlete is all about. Be it golf, Rally Driving, Wingsuit Flying, Snowboarding, Running, or any other of the millions of sports, goals are what drive us.
When I think about goals I find myself reminiscing back to when I started running. Back when I was in high school, I went to an incredible boarding school named Midland School where there was I think 2,800 acres and about 100 students. This is where I first started running. I should preface this by saying that when I was a youngster, I pretty much always had a BMX bike, I tried playing little league, and also AYSO soccer but I never really took any of it seriously nor did I ever see being active as something that practice makes perfect. I always though you were either great or not. Before I get too far off track lets get back to Midland. At Midland I remember I had a cross country coach names Jose-Juan Ibarra. I think that was his name. All of us at the school were a bunch of exceptionally “out there” kids as we remain to this day so Jose-Juan had quite the task before him to convince us that we wanted to run. I truly mean that is the very best way, I am still friends with many people from that school and all of these friends are some of the best people ever.
I remember 3 things about the days on the Cross Country team:
1) Hating most of it. I don’t know if it was my allergy to authority or what, but the last thing I wanted to do was run when he told us to.
2) Breath. Jose-Juan would always stress the importance of correct breathing. Finding a breathing pace. One day I asked him what the correct pace was and he said that everyone was different but for him it was two steps in and two steps out slow and deep. I had no idea what he was talking about but for some reason that seed of an idea planted itself in my psyche back then and it now has grown to the foundation of all my athletic activity. To this day when I run I still breathe to that pace.
3) Achieving my very first personal goal.
At Midland the cross country course we held competitions on was an intense hilly dirt fire road if I remember correctly, I believe it was 3.8 miles or so but I could be off by a bit. I had such a problem running back then that all I wanted to do was one day cross the finish line running. I remember the day that I pushed myself hard enough to achieve this goal. I’m pretty sure that I never ran the whole course but for the first time I crossed the finish line running and I had been running for a good while up until that point. I remember as I rounded the bend and saw the finish there was someone from the other school in front of me and I reached deep to push as hard as I could to pass him. I ran with my legs burning right passed him and collapsed across the finish line in proper over-dramatic form.
One of the brautifrul things about the school was the closeness that the students had with their advisors. I felt so safe with mine that as soon as I crossed the finish I found myself weeping on his couch gasping for breath from how hard I was crying and how exhausted I was. So many emotions were going through me at that time but the most important one I can think back to was the feeling of completion. I had finally set a goal for myself and acheved it. It was not a goal that my advisor set, not one my parents set, not one that anyone set except for me. It was all mine and so was the victory. I remember this at times when I am feeling down and not so excited about exercise or really anything in life that I have to work hard for. That feeling was unbelieveble. I stood a little taller the next day and I felt a little lighter. The victory was mine. Thinking back that is the very first time I can remember setting my own goal and achieving it. It felt like freedom.
I took a long lapse from running and exercise after that. I would periodically go for a run but nothing serious until I quit smoking when I was 24. I could almost say that at the time I started running again out of straight survival. Quitting smoking was literal hell for me and everyone around me, so for me to not kill anyone or go on a mad eating frenzy I took up running. I started slowly, not really pushing it until I first circled the block without walking, the fire of victory was reignited. I set the goal to run all the way down the street and back…I did it. I set the goal to run a complete mile…I did it. One after another I would set running goals and achieve them. I got a bike and after I got away from all the “cool kids” I started to see what I could do on the bike, how fast I could go, how far I could go, stuff like that. Gravitating toward each other a small group of us formed of city cyclists who wanted to see how far we could push the limits of what we could do and what our bikes could do. We were riding steel fixed gear bikes so what we could do was pretty limited in comparison to what people can do on carbon bikes with gears and bakes but regardless, we set our own goals and achieved them one after another. Doing this together bonded us pretty much for life. We did so many awesome things together on our bikes and saw so many incredible places together that we now share these experiences wherever we go, even if we gon’t necessarily go together.
This is kind of the point to this post. Goals. Alone or together. What are yours? What can they do? Why do we make them? To me setting a goal is in a way taking control of my life that honestly at time feels like it is a bit out of control. I don’t mean that in a emo-ass bummer of a way, I mean to say that there are so many things that I have to do like school, homework, outside of school work, if some of us are part of groups from book groups to recovery groups there are things that need to be done to be a part of those groups, we need to pay bills, sometimes our work follows us home, for sure homework follows us home, we simply have things we need to do things to be who we are weather we want to or not. This is what I meant by my life feeling like it is a bit out of control. I guess I also mean I feel powerless over so much of my life that to set goals and achieve them is to take the power back. I find this especially necessary living in Los Angeles as I am bombarded by other people’s terribley materialistic ego-feeding ideas of what “man” and “woman” is supposed to be. Drives me fucking crazy sometimes. To set and achieve goals to me is to dig deep into my insides. It is to look at my soul and see the things that I have always wanted to do. It is to take these things no matter how big or small and to make a list. It is to then day by day go down that list and check off the things one by one. Eventually I find myself on top of a mountain that is so high and I at one point though so little about myself (this is what those “other people’s ideas” do to us) that the concept of getting to the top of the mountain made as much sense at swimming to the moon. Yet there I am. At the summit. How did this happen? Its literally as simple as one by one working from goal to goal until the impossible seems possible. What next? That is both the best part and the worst part of setting and achieving these goals. Once we have accomplished the impossile, then what? What is the next mountain I want to climb?
Well, that metaphor is not so far fetched. I live at the base of a pretty big mountain range, the San Gabriels. When I was a wee lad I would gaze up at them with wonder. At the top lies the Mount Wilson Observatory. I have driven up to the observatory only a handful of times. This to me has always been the supreme goal of my cycling and running. Again, following suit with what I described earlier, I made a list. I crossed off goal after goal from this list. Now my goal is to find and run the trail to the Mount Wilson Observatory and also to ride a fixed gear bike brakeless up the Angeles Crest Highway to the Mount Wilson Observatory slowly and very safely of course. Up and down on foot and by bike powered 100% by only my legs. I’m going to do it and I’m going to share it. As I run more trails and as I ride more amazing hills I am going to try to start taking my phone or camera with me to document this and share it. Maybe even hopefully someone will see how much of an amazing time I’m having and want to come along
What I want from you is goals. What are your goals? No matter how small or large please share them with me. Email me at email@example.com and let me know. Your goals and hearing your stories help me more than I can help myself so please do share.
I hope to see you out there some day.
“Let a man find himself, in distinction from others, on top of two wheels with a chain.”