Apologies, as I've been horrible about updating my blog and a lot of it had to do with the fact that the only way to subscribe was via an RSS feed and not many of my followers know how to do that. I put in the work to install mailchimp on here and I hope it works. So, for my two, count 'em, two subscribers that I can see in my reading list, make sure to e-mail me to let me know if you were notified when I posted this blog. For those of you that have not yet subscribed, which is virtually anyone reading this besides my two Guinea pigs, please scroll to the bottom and fill out the info to receive emails when I post new ones, as well as giving me a way to show how many followers that I have tuning in.
That being said, it's time for an update. I'm long over due and actually have a couple drafts that are hanging in dead space but I'll get to those later, and start giving what could be considered "live" updates more often.
The last 3 weeks have been spent in Savannah, GA, which is multiple blogs within itself. Tonight's live update has me in a hotel room, typing this on my phone at 11:32pm in Atlanta, GA. The alarm is set for 0600 and breakfast is at 0630. Then it's off to get my bike ready to cycle 47 miles with Ride2Recovery.
There's two ways to look at those numbers. A non cyclist may say: "Wow, that's a long way." While a cyclist would likely say: "Oh, that's an easy day." Here's how I am looking at it: "I haven't been on my bike in nearly 5 months...I may as well be a non cyclist. Please, just let me finish without falling back."
What inexperienced riders may not realize, is that the booty is one of the hardest things to train when it comes to long distance cycling...and if your bike isn't adjusted to fit you properly...an entire world of hurt is headed your way. Which, beings that I'm riding my buddy's bike and wearing another buddy's shoes, both of which are too big...I have a high likelihood of pain on the horizon.
Again, just one day, right? 47 miles isn't bad. Suck it up. It usually doesn't hurt until day two. Well, here's where I tell you that though I planned to be here one day, it may work out for me to ride the entire distance, nearly 500 miles from Atlanta to New Orleans. The first question you may have is Bella...where is she? Well, though I trained her as a therapy dog through Pet Partners and Delta Society, we never finished getting her certified once I moved back to Nebraska and hit roadblocks with org and the certs expired before we got to start therapy. Even so, that does not allow her on the premesis unless she's conducting therapy. Which, again, I'm sure we could arrange down the line but this decision came so quickly we had little time to decide. I was in Savannah when I got the email that R2R was starting the Gulf Coast Challenge out of Atlanta and I was simply too close not to come see the good friends that were a huge part of my life for years...then disappeared from it as I went back to school and couldn't make the challenges.
I stayed in touch via Facebook with the majority of close friends I made...but it always seemed like a past life. As if I would never link up with them again. In fact, after my divorce, the entire 5 years in California seemed to be as if it never had even happened. My time in the acting world, with Veterans in Film and Television, the Groundlings, acting classes with David Bottrel, The Improv Trick with Bill Chott and BJ Lange, my trip to Haiti, then disaster relief with Team Rubicon, Surf Camp with TeamRWB...all of these things were suddenly as if they had never happened, because I was now back in Nebraska...finishing classes that I started 12 years ago...and I felt as if I had stepped 12 years backwards. Divorced, without a home...and wishing that California had never happened, as I wanted my old life back.
Though we split amicably with a crying hug and well wishes towards each other, I hated myself for failing my marriage...and resentment built towards anything I was involved with in California, which is why I believe my mind was blocking them from memory, as well as my heart not wanting me to move back to California for fear of turning back into that man that I couldn't look at in the mirror.
I just realized that I took this another direction, but this usually happens when I'm trying to explain my state of mind so that you can understand the impact of the experience. It's also incredibly therapeutic to get it out, and a wonderful tool for me to reference later and learn by reading what I've written. That being said, you're probably still wondering about Bella. Well, she's at my buddy's house at the finish of Day 1 tomorrow. His wife is loving her right now, but we're not sure what will be the plan for the week.
Aha, speaking of realizations...that tangent above came out because I've been wanting to write about my divorce for quite some time, as well as explaining what it has done to my mental process. I'll go into more detail in an entirely different blog, yet it fits well into the "live update" as it's very important that you understand the impact of this ride.
Walking into the hotel this evening and seeing the staff and riders of R2R that I haven't seen in nearly 2 years...was the first time since leaving California that those 5 years seemed like they existed. I was welcomed with open arms and hugs. Smiles and so much encouragement as I learned that many folks have been following Bella and I's travels even though they haven't been liking or commenting. There was no judgement for the dark places I've been since last seeing them in 2014, and only efforts to try and get me to be able to ride the entire trip. This feeling...is a feeling of hope. A feeling of belonging. A feeling of acceptance. A reminder that not all in my life before divorce has vanished.
Now...how to pay attention to this. What to learn from it. How to grow from it. I believe, that it will be within my ability to push through this ride. The faith that they have in me to be able to handle it is reassuring, but I've been out of the saddle so long that I'm legitimately afraid to let them down. Not only are the legs a factor, your butt needs to be conditioned to sit on a seat for such a long period of time.
There will be pain, there will be discomfort. This is the time for me to be the man I wish to become. To suffer silently, but not as far as injury. To pay attention to my form and ride as efficiently as possible. To earn the respect that they're giving me by inviting me for the entire week.
The nerve pain in my leg throbs every day, and the injury that I have in my foot has been making me grimace for two years now and I feel it with each downstroke of the pedal. My knee is swollen from slipping and hitting it on a corner months ago...and yet...I'm thankful to even have these body parts to hurt. Many riders with Ride2Recovery are missing limbs, paralyzed, or even blind. Who am I to complain about a single achy bit of my body.
This is similar to how I started with Ride2Recovery in 2011...unsure of my body, and unprepared. Yet, finishing that challenge brought to light just what I was capable of....which was seemingly anything. I was slow and a weak climber then, but after a couple years I was strong enough to push the hand cyclists up the hills when needed. That move, from needing help to offering help was tremendous for my psyche. Starting over will be tough, but to get anywhere...we must start.
I may not be able to make the entire ride, but like a fighter talking about a title shot in the future after his next fight, I'm focusing on the fight ahead of me tomorrow. Me, oversized gear, an undertrained body, and a giant test of my willpower. I need this right now, not to prove to you that I can, but to prove to myself that I can. To focus. To drive towards a goal. To feel the hope of the future.
If I can't bring Bella and she has to stay at my bud's place for 6 days....she'll be okay. I'm going to miss her like crazy, she most likely will miss me as well...but the man she see's coming back to her after accomplishing this mission will be transformed. I know this because I've experienced it before, and I'm overdue for a transformative experience.
Now it's time for me to get to bed as it's almost 1am and I'm down to 5 hours of sleep before the alarm goes off. Thank you for making it to the end and I apologize for the tangents as I hope my writing will continue to get better as time goes on and more is let out of my thought process and translated into words. I'm doing my best to give you what I'm feeling now, why I think I feel that way, the lessons I'm learning, and how I think I should apply them to the next situation.
(plus...typing all of this with my thumb is extremely difficult, sometimes adding to the fragmentation. I'll get my Bluetooth keyboard tomorrow to bring with me the rest of the ride)
Thanks again, and don't forget to subscribe below if you'd like to stay up to date.
Rob n Bella