Thursday, October 22, 2009

Tonight's Why

I never really know what to title these posts. Halfway through I always end up writing about something completely different than I started.

Tonight, I just got back from watching "Race Across the Sky", and believe it or not, it has made me think a lot about life, where mine is going, and what I want out of life. (yes, this will probably end up deeper than I originally intended, and who knows if I'll even post it. It's likely fate is to end up saved as a draft, like a good 90% of the other posts I write)

Either way, the movie got my brain spinning about life, the purpose, and what really matters. Its funny to think that a movie about endurance mountain biking has got me so spun out on what really matters, but it has. Everywhere you look you can see and hear different voices trying to tell you what matters in life.

I can turn on the TV and hear the media tell me I need to dress or act a certain way to be important in life. I can look at ads telling me I should buy their product in order to be cool and have any kind of self worth. I can even feel pressure from those around me to do what they do, believe what they believe, and value what they value. (While this pressure is very much unintentional and inadvertent, it does exist)

But I ask again, what really matters in this life?

After watching that movie, a few things are starting to solidify. To this day, the greatest words I believe ever spoken to me came from one of my best friends, Calvin Cahoon. Those of you who know Calvin know he likes to talk. A lot. So it only makes sense that eventually some of the most profound words I've ever heard a human say came from his mouth. Earlier this year while driving back from Leadville he made the comment "All you need in life are friends and family. If you ain't got that, you ain't got nothin', but if you've got that, you've got everything"

I'm not sure why that hit me so hard, or why it sunk so deep when it was spoken by Calvin, but it did. Maybe because Calvin knows life. Maybe hearing it from someone who has seen as much of life as he has made it all the more real.

Not long ago I was 100% positive all I needed in life was my own house (with a spacious garage) and a large "family" of bikes. I could live close to trails and open road, go riding every day, road or mountain, train, get fast, go to work, go to bed and be the happiest man alive. I was 100% positive I didn't need friends to slow me down, girls to waste my money, or family to waste my time. All I needed was my self. I lived like that for a while. Dreaming of the day my ideal life would come true.

Well it turns out I was 100% wrong. Over the last year or so I have seen Calvin's prophetic words come true. The more I think about my friends and family, the more I see a reason to live, to ride, to exist. This life is about people. Not about beating them in races. Not about getting them to buy your product and make money off them. And not even about how you can get them to do what you want them to do. But about loving them. Its about getting to know people for who they really are, and genuinely appreciating that.

I think about all my friends in the cycling world. Every single one has left an imprint on my life, just as much as every ride I have ridden has built me into who I am. It's the casual weekend rides with Mark, Kevin, and Larry, the intense training rides with Kyle, the sweet times around the fire at 24 hour races with some of the best people whose company I've ever enjoyed. Its about watching Racer smile, cause he gets to ride his bike in Moab (despite having 58 dislocated ribs) watching Craig come in after cranking a sub 1:20 on a beach cruiser, and watching Karson rally 6 inches off the ground on our homemade dirt jump.

Its about watching dear friends reach new heights, ride harder, have more fun, and being there to share it with them.

Its about doing what we love to do, with the people we love doing it with.

That is what matters in life.

Family and friends.

I am 100% confident that even if I never got to ride a bike again (heaven forbid) I could still die a happy man, from what I've learned, and who I've met.

After watching "Race Across the Sky" this all hit home. As I sat in the theater full of members of the Utah County cycling family I realized something. One thing had brought us together, and while the exact activity doesn't matter, it was a common ground we all shared, and it made us a family.

As I sat there, listening to story after story about participants in the Leadville Trail 100, people coming back to the sport after getting hit by cars or having both knees replaced (Larry, you're still my hero) and what hit me wasn't that they were back racing a 100 mile mtb race, but what knocked me over like a ton of bricks was the response of their loved ones. Watching a man tear up when he talked about his wife getting hit by a car, or watching little kids scream "go dad!" as their beloved daddies finished the race, or hearing Dave Wiens go on about spending time with his family and how supportive they are. That right there is what life is about.

Cycling is great because it gives us all something to work at, an area to improve ourselves in, and a huge sense of achievement. However, what is any of that worth if we don't have someone to share that with? What is the point in getting faster and stronger if we do it alone? What joy is there in riding our guts out, only to go home to an empty house?

As the movie ended, it showed individuals finishing who weren't in the top 10. However, by the looks on their faces, the hugs from family, and kisses from loved ones, you'd have thought they were on top of the world. And that, my friends, is what friends and family will do for you. Put you right up there on top of the world.

So thanks. Thank you to everyone who has ever let me ride with them. Thank you for sharing your conversation and thoughts, and allowing me to share mine. Thank you for being some of the best friends anyone could ever have. Thank you for letting me be a part of your family.

Now if I could just get the lousy ball rolling on getting a family of my own...


Skull Candy Mountain Team said...

Great Post. I'm always amazed at when I look back at races, I can't remember places I have finished but who I rode with and the experiences of the race. I think sometimes we get caught up in the end rather than trying to enjoy the journey. Thanks for the reflections and the rides.

South County Ciclista said...

Nicely said. It was fun going to CPK before the show.