Continuing My Gump Ride, Kathy and I decided to do another bike tour – the Twin Lights Ride through Bike New York.
For those not familiar, “Bike New York is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that promotes and encourages bicycling and bicycle safety through education, community outreach and events.” Kathy discovered the program earlier this year, resulting in our TD Five Boro Bike Tour on May 1st. We rode as “The Duffy Gang” in memory of our brother, Michael (Duffy was his nickname in high school).
On the Twin Lights Ride, you can ride 15, 30, 55, 75 or 100 miles. This time we decided to do only 30 miles – we just don’t have it in us to do more than 45 again…yet! Twin Lights refers to the two lighthouses located in Highlands, New Jersey along the shoreline:
“Situated 200 feet above sea level atop the Navesink Highlands, Twin Lights has stood as a sentinel over the treacherous coastal waters of northern New Jersey since 1828. Named Navesink Lightstation, it became known as the “Twin Lights of Highlands” to those who used its mighty beacons to navigate. As the primary seacoast light for The Highlands, New York Harbor, it was the best and brightest light in North America for generations of seafarers. Many a life and cargo were saved by the sweep of its light.”
On August 1st, I began my training once again. Now into my eighth week, I’m just about ready for the bike tour next Sunday, September 25th. Today’s plan for September 18, 2016 was to ride for 30 miles as a practice run for the tour. With my ride mapped and GPS on hand, I started out for my destination – Timbuctoo…no, seriously…there’s a Timbuctoo in New Jersey:
Here’s proof of its existence and proof that I was there:
However, I missed my turn off and got lost on the way to Timbuctoo and ended up riding 40 miles altogether. This is what flashed in my mind as I rode into the wind approaching the 30-mile mark knowing I had 10 more miles to go:
It’s when the body says, “Nope…not doin’ it…I’m DONE!” But it’s also when the brain takes over – the one that pep talks you out of your situation, the one whose endorphins are at their peak telling you there’s no pain, the one who’s going to get you home regardless of what your quads, crotch and hands have to say about it. It’s also the moment where my spirit tells me that “this too shall pass,” that it’s only temporary and that I have the ability to keep it or make it go away. I could call a cab or suck it up. That’s the moment when I think of Michael – the pain he suffered that wasn’t a choice, that wasn’t temporary and the bravery we witnessed every day despite his pain…
Here’s what I found along my detour:
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned from cycling is that getting lost is okay. Actually, I first learned this lesson when I was a student for a semester in Ireland back in the fall of 1987. For three months, in between classes I hitchhiked around the country without maps or directions. What was the worst thing that could happen? If I walked too far east, I would end up at the Irish Sea. And if I walked too far west I would end up at the Atlantic Ocean. Too far south? More Atlantic Ocean. And if I walked too far north, well, that was simple – there would be army men with guns in my face. So I never actually felt “lost” while traveling there. The same principle applies here – what’s the worst that can happen? I don’t end up where I planned, but end up finding a new place unexpected…
“Put your dreams away for now
I won’t see you for some time
I am lost in my mind
I get lost in my mind”
Lost In My Mind – The Head and the Heart
“I had run for 3 years, 2 months, 14 days, and 16 hours.” – Forrest Gump