Had I posted last night, I would guess it would have sounded a bit like, "woe is me, I road through the hot desert all day." It was a challenging day, but also had many highlights.
Driving through Arizona is beautiful. As I got closer to Tucson, the landscape became more compelling. And although the last couple hours were painful, they were also the most enjoyable.
I stopped a lot, about every 60 miles, to hydrate and give Hazel a rest. She did great.
Yesterday was day 7 of my trip. I have clocked over 2,000 miles and had 5 events. A few things I have learned:
There's traveling solo, and then there's traveling alone. Traveling solo, means that I am not accompanied by another person. Traveling alone is solo plus I don't have any of the usual non-human accompaniments - car radio, CDs, iPods, airplane and airport bustle, etc. I like both the solo and alone parts of this trip. I do a lot of thinking on the road. There's a stillness (even with the engine noise and wind and trucks whizzing by) that is compelling.
A motorcycle journey is a great metaphor for the breakthrough process. Each day, small leaps forward. To be successful, I need to push through any pain and discomfort to make progress. I also need to constantly tweak my approach (today, I am going to ride very little and try to find an open Honda dealer to get some highway pegs that I hope will reduce my knee pain).
People are wonderful and want to talk about generating breakthroughs. I have been very pleased with the interest and receptivity I have seen from the people at the events. I am very glad I am spending 40 days trying to catalyze breakthroughs.
Physical challenges are mental challenges. So, I am no Lance Armstrong, and I would never compare myself to a world class athlete. But I think I have a better understanding about why we find their accomplishments so inspiring. The mind is the most important enabler (or barrier) during physical challenges. And the strength we summons to meet physical challenges serves us in other areas of our lives. We know this from the statistics that show that young girls who participate in sports in school are less likely to end up pregnant or in abusive relationships - they are stronger in many ways.
I knew that my body would hurt on long ride days, but I underestimated how the physical pains would call forth mental strength. I assumed that Advil would be my greatest tool for coping (it is important), but it is my thoughts that have enabled me to get through the long stretches. In addition to getting through the physical challenges, I feel more confident and strong overall. Hazel is made of steel and when on her, I feel like I am too.
I need to take care of the little things. Before taking the trip, I prepared as best as possible for big problems with safety gear and safe riding practices. Now, I need to make sure that the little chronic problems don't sideline me. I have some weakness in my left hand (from clutching in heavy traffic - especially southern California), my upper arms are sore and fatigued, my right wrist feels stiff and my left knee hurts a lot while on the bike after about 30 minutes. The schedule for the next several days is much lighter, and I am hopeful that this will help me recover in these areas.
Perhaps I will feel differently after 2, 3, 4, or 5 weeks. We shall see!
Do you want to change your life? Take some kind of journey that calls upon you to stretch your physical and mental comfort zones.
Today I will stay in Tucson and do only local driving. Tomorrow I head to Las Cruces, NM and this is just a short and beautiful ride. Then I am in Albuquerque for two days. Thanks to those of you who have dropped me notes telling me about your goals and how you intend to generate breakthroughs. I love hearing about what you are up to!