Queen of Pain
Scared, excited, not knowing what to expect I drove off into the narrow desert roads. When I pulled down Jones' visor to block the shifting blaze of the afternoon sun, a letter fell into my lap. It was from my brother. I read the heartful "go get em" "I'll kick anyone's ass that messes with you" letter. As the tears rolled down my checks I was reminded of all the others that have offered their support while I set out on this adventure. I become humble....proud of my life....and this was just the first day of it.
Having no cell service I relied on my good ‘ol atlas to guide me. Ironically, I spent my first night at Angel Lake! I can’t remember why this is ironic. My first email accountant was with angelfire and there is downhilling in Angelfire NM but still can’t figure out why this ironic. No matter, it was my first night on my own, in the middle of nowhere. Totally like my first day of school, which I embrace for comfort, along with my star wars blanket!!
My first day drive was pretty killer. I drove from Joshua Tree, heading to Idaho to my first stop on this year long road trip. In Ketchum, I would be helping with Rebecca Rusch’s Wheel Girls Camp. I had reached out to Colleen, Rebecca’s right-hand lady, after we had met at the Sea Otter Classic that spring. The Sea Otter Classic is a big bike event where most everybody in bikes attends, most. Rebecca hosts a ladies only event, The Gold Rusch Tour, which provides clinics on bike technique and mechanics along with some fun social events. Events like this make me nervous, I feel exposed and uncomfortable in my own skin but they almost always prove to be fun and if not fun at least I’d make some good contacts. I went, I rode, I had fun and I made contacts. Mission accomplished.
But now I found myself on the way to Rebecca’s hometown. The Queen of Pain, this beast of a mountain biking enduro machine!! To say I was nervous was an understatement. I was petrified. I’m an amateur rider, not a pro like Rebecca and I had never taught anyone how to ride a bike. I even doubted that I even knew how to ride a bike, properly, myself. I was so scared they were going to smell my bullshit a mile away, but it wasn’t bullshit. I care about teaching others, they had never asked if I had experience or even knew what the hell I was doing. What the hell am I doing! None of that mattered now; I was on my way, no turning back. Well, I could but really? I wasn’t gonna give in, not on the second day. Ohhhh…….What the hell am I doing!?!?!?
I still had another day before I would arrive in Ketchum. “Try focusing on today”, I told myself. Okay, today, in the moment. The drive, the drive through the Mojave preserve was the perfect start to this, hopefully epic, journey. Joshua Trees and stacks of boulders spread for miles upon endless miles. Time stood still here. It felt as if a T-Rex was about to come walking through, trampling everything in its path. The few power lines that scattered the land were the only hint of the modern world’s existence. You could disappear and no one would know it. This must be what no man's land feels like, I thought, as I drove for miles without seeing another car. This was a comfort. The driving is Los Angeles had gotten to me. I welcomed the empty prehistoric roads with open arms. I even welcomed the rainstorms, which so rarely hit the desert. Gently letting go of the death grip around the steering wheel, I drove into the wall of change.