Well, today I finally lost it. Hmm, actually, perhaps it's not fair to say that I "finally" lost it. There were a couple other times on this trip that I lost it. Don't believe me? Just ask Celine. Well, don't really ask her. But, anyway, today I lost it...again. Thankfully, I lost it in front of my big brother and best friend, Ryan. It certainly wasn't the first time he's witnessed me act out.
I had a totally uneventful ride planned from Twin Bridges to Dillon. There were a flat 25 miles separating me from my destination. The weather was fair, breeze was neutral and my spirits were high. I really didn't have much to worry about. Feeling confident about the upcoming ride, I chose to sleep in a bit to ensure a relaxing day.
I awoke in the "Bike Camp" with my riding partners, David and Marion, around 7:00 am. By 8:00 am we were on the road. We had different destinations for the day. They were taking on about 70 miles to Jackson, whereas I was only going to do about 25 to Dillon. Though we headed out at similar times, there was an understanding that we would ultimately part ways.
David and Marion pulled ahead, so here I was again, solo-touring in unfamiliar lands. The morning sun illuminated the ranches and rocky cliffs that surrounded me. The sun, rising out of the East, had not yet drowned out the waning moon still high in the sky ahead of me. I found myself immersed in the serene Montana scenery.
Unfortunately, it was hard to stay engulfed in the natural beauty that surrounded me. The two-lane road that I followed had nearly no shoulders. Though the vehicle traffic was light, I still had to remain vigilant of every single car that approached me. Even a ride which was supposed to be as simple as today's was still a bit complicated.
Within my first 10 miles I was blown off the road, flipped off, and passed dangerously close by trucks. Well, as I recall, it was just yesterday when some other idiot blew me off the road, then had the audacity to honk at me. In less than 24 hours I had been properly harassed by Montana drivers. In addition to all the mistreatment I had suffered on the supposedly "shared roadways," my riding partner Marion had been harassed by a town's sheriff...IT'S SHERIFF.
About 14 miles into my ride I pulled over to read some Lewis & Clark historical note. It was at that time that my brother also happened to give me a ring. I answered the phone. He was in a great mood, excited to share some good news with me. I was initially receptive to what he was saying, but then very quickly took a negative turn. It's unclear to me how I flew so far off the rails so quickly, but within about five minutes I was haranguing my brother about guilt-tripping and being selfish and, well, I don't even know what the hell I was talking about. All I know was that I was completely by myself, in the Middle-of-Nowhere, Montana, screaming into my mobile device. What was wrong with this picture? Answer: A lot.
We hung up on horrible terms. Something felt way wrong about our interaction. I felt like I screwed up. I picked up my phone and began rapidly texting my brother. Yes, texting. You know, I never found texting to be an effective means of communication. However, for some reason in this moment I was able to perfectly express myself via text. Here is the virtual dialog that ensued:
It's crazy, but I actually felt relieved after sending these texts. Very soon after sending the messages I called my brother back. He answered the phone, and within two words we were laughing hysterically. I guess that's what brothers do. They've seen you at your highs, they've seen you at your lows, but they ride with you no matter where you are. We talked it out and in no time we were back to square one.
Man, I'm glad I've got a brother. Well shoot, I've got two brothers, and I don't know where I'd be without them.
After talking with my brother I felt like my head was firmly screwed back on. It was only another 10 to 12 miles to Dillon. I remounted my saddle and began peddling. The great news was that within four miles of my dramatic pit-stop, the road widened, providing me a sufficient shoulder to ride comfortably. Ahh, it's nice how things work out. I spent that afternoon unwinding at the Dillon Public Library.
Being on the road is tough. As much as it has been an invaluable experience for me, it has also wound me up in ways that I have never known. Never before have I been forced to confront my own mortality on such a regular basis as on this bike tour. Perhaps that's the appeal of comfortable living; it deludes us into believing that our actions are inconsequential, that we can gallivant from choir to choir without confronting the gravitas of life. The only reason I have been so able to confront reality; stark, uncompromising, bold reality; is because of the support that my friends and family (all one in the same, to be honest), have afforded me.
On to the next adventure.