So what better, on a sunny day in this long dry summer, than Aka’s repeats. Ten the number, and in the end it would be eleven, with the last ascent a sneaky add-on as I descended down the Hutt side of the hill and rode as far as Staglands for a final climb.
4,000 meters ascended on the day, with climbs nine and ten the only ones to truly test the legs. It was mileage. No more. No less.
Days like this come and go, with the smaller moments recalled. Repeats become a blur, with the temperature increasing, shadows moving, and my bike becoming lighter as the drinks I carry consumed. And as the day unfolds the ride becomes memories of another building block towards my goal. The goal.
On this ride I’d had three smaller moments. Firstly, the elderly guy in the red Mazda. Retired I assume. And with either a keen interest in bird watching - or watching something.
He sat there all day. Halfway up the hill, and simply shifted the car twice, to (I assume) keep himself in the shade. He is often there – in that same spot – and I hope he’s had a large life, as the existence I saw was a seemingly small one.
The second was an oversized campervan making its way slowly down the hill. It was huge. GPS I assume. ‘Lost’. Or more to the point, knowing where they are going…and being told by a computer. Yep – being told by a computer that a one lane pathway through a forest is the ideal route for a mobile home to navigate from SH2 to SH1. What’s wrong with a map?? Really.
So much dependency on technology is creeping in the everyday parts of our lives. Gadgets often doing little more than pen and paper, and mistakes being blamed on a product…rather than an approach. The result of this unthinking could reasonably be expected to be the bankruptcy of creativity. Or worse yet, apathy about what creativity can give us. Which is everything – just in case you were wondering.
The third smaller moment on this ride was recalling an email from a friend in the States - we’ll call him ‘Mark’. (Because that’s his name). Mark is a cyclist. And Mark is someone who believes in God. Mark made a passing comment that this website doesn’t talk about my faith a great deal. This puzzled them. It shouldn’t have.
Life is long, and full of adventure. Life is also short, with each day needing to be embraced. And what we believe will define how everything we encounter is seen. Our beliefs frame every action, every moment, and all of our plans and desires.
‘Belief’ then, is not so much ‘What’ we believe, rather who we are.
Believe in the possibilities. Believe in God. Believe in science. Believe in superstition. Believe everything you read in the papers. Believe that the world is flat, phrenology tells use about others, and leaches are a great way to cure every illness. It is totally up to you. You have to believe though. Believe in anything you like – and understand that your beliefs must put you into a mindset where you’ll be happier on your journey, than any other journey that you can imagine.
Unless you believe you don’t deserve any better.
So on this day – 80,000kms since I started this journey – what mattered to me was being closer to the last Graperide I’ll do for quite some years. Maybe ever. What mattered to me also is the knowledge that as I cross the finish line on 6 April I cease being an endurance cyclist, and I become an ultra distance triathlete. With a warm heart, open arms, and a smile, I say “That day is welcomed”.
So to answer Mark’s question. What do I believe?? I believe. I believe in God. I believe in myself. I believe that I will live the rest of my life with my lovely wife Ruth. I believe that when I one day bury my parents, I’ll spend the rest of my life struggling to come to terms with the emotions related to having no ‘Mum and Dad’. I believe that my children will grow up and will significantly change this world for the better. I believe that everyone can succeed that whatever they put their minds to. And I believe that in Florida there exists a finish line with my name on it, and early in 2015 I will cross that finish line after completing a Double Iron. I am reminded of these beliefs every time a breath is taken, and every time my eyes blink. I see it all – everything that is yet to come. Clearly. Concisely. And just how it should be. And I’ll travel there at the speed I need to, to make this all happen.