Colorado 2014 – It’s all over now….

An object in motion tends to stay in motion. Ending a bike tour is a little bit like suddenly stopping from high speed – you inadvertently perform an ‘endo’ and go flying forward over the handlebars into a crashing heap. The transition from riding every day to not riding at all feels like all of the oxygen has been sucked out of the air. Your body just doesn’t know what to do. It’s like the life-sustaining activity has suddenly ceased, so what the heck do we do now?

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Twin Lakes with Colorado’s highest peak, Mt Elbert, in the background.

Well, it’s not quite that bad, but it is an odd sensation to be touring one day and then finished the next. I have 3.5 weeks to spend with my parents. We go hiking; we eat at special restaurants; we enjoy time with my brother when he comes out to visit; we spend hours enjoying the new deck with its amazing views of 14,000 foot peaks; we carve pumpkins together for Halloween for the first time since I was 12. I try to soak up all my time with my parents, but I mostly just feel in the way of them resuming their lives together in their new home. The tour is over, my parents are busy with the house, and I have responsibilities back home in Oz to which I must return. I guess I’m ready to just get back there and get on with it.

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My folks – the people who taught me to be tough and independent and who have always provided unconditional love and emotional support for the crazy paths and adventures I’ve chosen in life. I couldn’t be any luckier in the parent department.
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Dad and I show off our pumpkins out on the back deck. The last time we carved pumpkins together I was about 12. My artistic skills are pretty nil, so I used a simple pattern. My very artistic dad did a complicated design by free hand.
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Hiking with Mom and Dad at Twin Lakes on a very chilly October day.

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It’s never easy to end a tour. I’m always ready to just keep riding and riding. I feel most at home on a bicycle, and I’m more comfortable with the rhythms of the road than I ever am in stationary situations. The adventure, simplicity and freedom that arise from riding with 36 pounds of gear, a ¼ inch closed cell foam pad and a small nylon tent, make me feel more alive, whole and happy than anything else in the world. I love being able to live in the moment – where nothing from the past nor the future matter and all of life is right here, right now. I love the simplicity of identity: I’m just a chick on a bike. My occupation, height, weight, marital status and every other socio-demographic variable don’t matter. I’m just a hungry cyclist seeking a (hopefully) soft-ish spot to sleep for the night. I love the feeling of gliding along through landscapes sculpted over billions of years. It makes me feel so whole and connected, so alive and grateful to see the landscape at one particular, tiny point in time. I love imagining its future and not worrying one iota about my own. I do not shirk my responsibilities, but for the rest of my life – or until my fingers stop working altogether – I know that I will continue to find ways to go tour. For I am a cyclist. And I ride.

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Sunset from my parent’s house.

“You must leave now, take what you need, you think will last
But whatever you wish to keep, you better grab it fast
Yonder stands your orphan with his gun
Crying like a fire in the sun
Look out the saints are comin’ through
And it’s all over now, Baby Blue

The highway is for gamblers, better use your sense
Take what you have gathered from coincidence
The empty-handed painter from your streets
Is drawing crazy patterns on your sheets
This sky, too, is folding under you
And it’s all over now, Baby Blue

All your seasick sailors, they are rowing home
All your reindeer armies, are all going home
The lover who just walked out your door
Has taken all his blankets from the floor
The carpet, too, is moving under you
And it’s all over now, Baby Blue

Leave your stepping stones behind, something calls for you
Forget the dead you’ve left, they will not follow you
The vagabond who’s rapping at your door
Is standing in the clothes that you once wore
Strike another match, go start anew
And it’s all over now, Baby Blue.”

-Bob Dylan-

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