I'll refrain from going on about the fifty year anniversary of MLK's speech. I'm sure you'll hear enough about that today without having to read through a blathering post from me. Let's just say it's significant on a much greater level than anything I slap up here on this forgotten bridge abutment of the internet.
I'm trying to put my thoughts in order to close out the Leadville Saga. It's not easy. A year ago tomorrow I ticked over the miles for my biggest mileage month ever at 610+. This month I'll be lucky to hit 300. A year ago today I was two weeks out from the Alpine Odyssey, my redemption ride after failing at Leadville, and a potential chance to get back into the race for 2013. I was wrestling with my demons hourly. On top of everything else I was in occupational misery, hating my job, hating the feelings of powerlessness I felt in life, and I was looking for an escape, an out, a post-apocalyptic utopia...
Here I am. I've been working the new job for eight months. I've found my own personal biketopia. And I went back and finished the Leadville 100.
Nothing is perfect, but the view down onto my future is much improved. There's a lot I want to write about. We've been having some very good Transition Powell County meetings. I think this effort is going to be very profitable. Mandy and I have noticed there are quite a few runners and cyclists out there and maybe its time to try and get some kind of local organization to work toward bike/ped advocacy. Last night I remembered some of those dreams I'd had projecting into an imagined future where I was able to move back home. Now I'm there.
This might sound out of the blue and crazy but I had this idea about starting a consulting firm to work on sustainability initiatives. I imagined a company that could retrofit existing buildings, work on building new LEED certified buildings, and that could design and build natural and repurposed material residential structures. Centered in my hometown of course. With a broad-brush philosophy and a strong commitment to local resilience...
A long time ago I realized that the most important thing about attaining your dreams is to keep them close and never let them fade. Refine them, delve into them often, and incorporate them into your ever-changing world view. And when opportunities--no matter how small or seemingly inconsequential--arise, whip out that dream and apply it liberally all over the place.
A very long time ago I decided I wanted to be a climbing guide. I wanted it more than anything else I'd ever wanted in my life. It took me a few years of patiently moving my pieces around the board until I saw the opening I needed. I dove through the window of opportunity, and within a year I was doing exactly what I had dreamed of doing. Within two years I was self-employed as a guide and heading down a promising path into the future.
I won't go into what happened (9/11 for one), the pitfalls (no clue how to run a business), the eventual ending of that era of my life, but I will say that for about six years I got to live that dream in a very fulfilling way. It was fulfilling enough that while I miss that lifestyle and often wonder if I could ever do it again I don't pine for it; I don't constantly seek a way back into that dream. It was enough to satisfy the dreamer for a long time.
There is a similar satisfaction in me with my effort at Leadville a few weeks ago. I want to go back--it was an amazing experience--but I don't have to go back.
I think I'm struggling now to figure out where I want to go. I'm trying to figure out what my dreams actually are. What is my personal vision? I'm temporarily in dream limbo. I'm also okay with that. I think my little brain needed a long rest.
But threads from my dreaming past are beginning to weave back together in ways I couldn't have imagined. Old dreams are resurfacing but with a different patina. Efforts that had seemed to produce no fruit when they were executed months or even years ago are sprouting with new blooms.
Remember that Sustainability Management program I went to? I blathered on about it here because it involved a 40 mile RT bike commute to Boulder. I might actually end up being able to put that knowledge to good use. All of the energy that went into that effort might begin seeing a positive return on investment.
I've been planting seeds and dropping hints since before we moved back for some ambitious ideas for transforming my home county into a more bike/ped friendly and generally resilient place. Some of those seeds are showing signs of growth. More watering is needed, more fertilizing (subtle pun intended), and more cultivation. And finally I think I'm at a point in my life where I am able to nurture the seeds into towering trees.
My point to you, and lesson for myself, is that worthwhile things take time, and it takes longsuffering patience to see your schemes through to fruition. It's very much like an organized endurance mountain bike race. You train and train and train, but you end up having to wait for that training to pay off as the year ticks by. And if you fail outright then you have to train and train and train and wait and wait and wait for another year to go back and try it again. Patience builds endurance. Endurance pays for all.