In the early nineties, I turned from running to cycling after hurting a knee. Today I passed 235,000 miles on a bike. I am sure there are bigger numbers out there, and yet I have to say this is a huge number of miles, and hours on a saddle. I can't imagine bragging about this, as a matter of fact when I mention the number of miles I have put in, I often get a look of something along the lines of: "What is wrong with you?" Well, I don't know.
Mileage was never a goal. In the beginning I just wanted to do a hundred mile ride. I trained for it, bonked and learned along the way, and did it. For reasons that I don't understand I just kept repeating it, perhaps like an addict trying to recapture that same feeling, and in the end realizing that you just never do.
It is an accomplishment, as is taking the next breath. We just do. And while 235 was never a goal, still I wondered if I would feel anything different than just get me off this bike and out of this heat. God only knows how I ended up in Arizona to finish off this "career." The real good news for my desert experience is my family who are wonderful people. The rest, the heat, and the times we live in, I could say I could do without. But that is like saying I could do without some of those miles. It would lack the fullness of life, the resolution of duality without which we never reach realization of who or what we truly are.
Duality is our biggest stumbling block. This is good, but that is bad. I am a good person, but that person is not, particularly when that opinion involves politics, race or all other bias. It just doesn't work. The result, our present task, is the times we live in. I don't know if cycling has contributed to any sort of resolution for me. I still tend to be the same hard-headed nut that I have always been. It has, however allowed me to do something, all those miles, without questioning whether it was good or bad. It just was. I just kept going. It is a sort of something. Of course, I could bring up the Buddhist concept of emptiness, which implies that nothing stands independent of other things, but rather all is interdependent. As is cycling. I could not have managed without support, without food and water, without decent equipment, and on and on. One good example, I used, at least, eight different bikes over this course.
It also occurs to me that this is, perhaps, a good stopping point. Maybe not entirely giving up cycling, but maybe just the counting, one of the flaws of this whole process. Maybe just take the computer off the bike. Ride for fun, and when I feel like it, like a free man, not possessed by the numbers. My body is beginning to show some signs of breaking down. It is likely indicating that this obsession is no longer productive as Yoga might be. But I will miss that demon possessed being that threw himself out there day after day, who competed, despite nerves and feelings of less than, against those who were much better, sometimes successfully. That guy was tenacious. But aging is just that, like shedding skin, the loss of aspects of our self that no longer serve or function. But then where is this self that I call me or I anyway. Oh, life, and by the way, I did not feel a thing unusual when I finished, just moved on to a cooler indoors.