Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Eastern Sierra adventure

One thing that I was so excited to do with Margarita was take her with me on one of my bi-annual Eastern Sierra vacations. My parents live in Bishop, Ca, one of my favorite places in the world that I commonly refer to as "paradise". However, Paradise is kinda tricky to get to if you are using alternative modes of transportation. I've taken all kinds of public transit to the Eastern Sierra, but never with my bike. Understandably I was nervous to bring Margarita on Amtrak this summer, and being a novice bicyclist, the thought of taking my bike apart for travel on the train/bus had my anxiety on high. Thankfully, Amtrak was super bike friendly and I didn't have to put my bike into a box. Two train cars on the California Capital Corridor were for bike storage, and even my bus had a system for transporting bicycles. The Amtrak staff were incredibly helpful too. The gentlemen who checked my ticket walked with me to make sure my bike was secure, gave me security tips, and offered literature on how to travel with my bike on other Amtrak lines. My first experience traveling with my bike was easier than I had imagined.

Not only was the trip to Bishop fantastic, the people are amazingly nice in the Eastern Sierra too. It's 15 minutes away from the John Muir Wilderness, and Yosemite is our neighbor. Now I can add to my long list of amazing Eastern Sierra feature's -- It's extremely bike friendly. There are cyclists everywhere. Young, old, expert, and novice. The bike lanes are prominent and drivers actually wave and smile while sharing the road, instead of giving you the bird like in the East Bay. Not once have I been forced off the right turn lane.


The only thing that has been difficult has been riding the bike itself. The elevation in the Eastern Sierra is (obviously) higher than what I'm used to in Antioch, and I was quickly out of breath going up hills at one of my favorite near by towns, June Lake. I was tempted to hop off my bike and walk when my huffing and puffing got intense, but the only thing more embarrassing than wheezing up a hill on a bike is walking up it. So I pounded some puffs off my inhaler and pressed on to complete a short ride around June Lake.
Population: 615  Elevation: 7,650

June Lake, before the huffing and puffing.
What I learned from this ride in the Eastern Sierra, is a lesson I've had before. Even when you are exhausted, when you think you have pushed your body and mind to the limit, none of the temporary feelings of discomfort are going to compare to the feeling of failure felt after giving up. There have been plenty of times when I have reasoned giving up because "something hurt", "something pinched", "it's too hot", "I'm really sleepy", "I'm on a time crunch". The list goes on and on. In reality I'm giving myself a way out. I'm limiting myself. And although I never think that I'm selling myself short at the time, the inevitable feeling of guilt that I get at night when I reflect on my day and see that I didn't believe I was strong enough mentally or physically to complete a goal is one of the worse feelings in the world. Nothing compares to letting yourself down.
It was that impending thought of failure that pushed me to complete my June Lake ride. Pushing through my discomfort and accomplishing my small goal felt great. Despite being short of breath, sweaty, tired, and sunburned, I was on top of the world. I stayed on Margarita over two, what were for me, monster hills. None of my physical discomforts could over shadow my "I DID IT!" feelings of success.
So, my challenge to myself, and to whoever may read this blog, is pretty simple. Just to not give up. To persevere, and push yourself a little farther every day. Have an adventure! Don't listen to the nay sayers, or surround yourself with other people who give themselves "outs". I'm all in on this new bike life adventure. And whatever adventure you are on, I hope you are all in on it too.

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