Sunday, July 15, 2012

Day 16. Certainty is my enemy.

1 bowl of chili.
1 pizza.
2 orders of onion rings.
2 bottles of water.
3 loaded burgers, with side salads.
3 ice cream cones.
4 beers.
6 hard boiled eggs.
6 grilled ham and cheese sandwiches.
18 cans of coke.

Miners Grubstake in Atlantic City is one of the few places that I can think of where three smelly, dirty strangers in matching spandex can walk in and place this order and the hostess won't bat an eye.

Atlantic city is a charming little town of about 50 people. It is situated perhaps 10 miles off the highway, on a dirt road at one side of the Basin. Tomorrow, we will ride 214km in intense heat and dryness, across the great void to Rawlins. As we have approached this point, my anxiety has grown. Despite the fact that it is relatively flat and non-technical, the Basin is, for me, the most psychologically daunting stretches along the route.

Normally, I would assert that uncertainty can make things more difficult than they need to be.

Uncertainty is a vicious enemy.

Not knowing where you will sleep, how the terrain will be, where or when you will get food. Uncertainty tortured me last year. It also kept me going. My naiveté allowing me to hold out some hope that it would be ok. That I could make it. That, somehow, the road ahead could not be as bad as that which I had just survived.

There have been points along this second-time-through where I have thought that if I had known how hard the road-to-come would be last year, I wouldn't have found the courage to keep going. Now, even though I have done this before and, therefore, I know that I am capable of doing it, I worry.

Certainty is now my enemy.

I have felt the gravity of the Basin draw me for days now; the gravity and tension has grown stronger as I approach it. I imagine the continent folding in on itself as I make my way through it. As I naively attempt to pass through again, I imagine the basin swallowing me whole; the emptiness smothering me as I sink inside of the void.

Mother nature did not intend for a cyclist to take this path.

How can I feel this way about something that I know that I can do? How does it have this power over me? But what can I do? There is no escape. The gravity is too strong. I must do it.

We are camping in a teepee in front of one of the town's 3 bars. The faint sound of country music that is emanating from the building is interrupted occasionally by a woman's voice shouting '3-2-1!!' as the men inside challenge each other to an old fashioned arm wrestle. A couple of drunks just walked out and peeked in the teepee, commenting that we looked like mummies. 'There's a mummy. And a daddy!'.

At least for the moment, my anxiety is replaced with a giggle.
Sent using a Blackberry that I'd better not lose.


Blogger Cesar Martin said...

Tori, I don't know you personally, but I know Kate, Craig and lots of your friends. Now, reading your blog from last's years GD and this year is a treat, it is an inspiration for me.. I hope to meet you one day, I hope to ride the GD one day. Keep writing and riding. Cesar Martin

July 16, 2012 at 10:08:00 PM MDT  

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