There’s usually a moment of realization when I leave home for the last time before something big. Something big in my life the past sixteen years has meant an Olympics. The awareness that the next time I’ll set foot at home it will all be over is never lost on me. It’s a feeling of excitement tinged with melancholy. The latter more pronounced when I leave such a glorious place like that of our home in the Wasatch Mountains in Utah.
When I left a few mornings ago there was no particular moment that left me feeling ‘this is it, the next time you are here it will all be over… what’s it going to be?’. I spent the past week savoring each early morning coffee on the deck, each ride in the landscape I find so damn beautiful, every evening meal out on the deck. There was no need to say goodbye and face the reality of this one chance that lays ahead. The knowing that when it’s done it’s done is engrained in me at this point.
Maturity allows for the ability to grasp the here and the now as a special place to embrace. I have the chance to live the goals and dreams that have meaning to me on a daily basis. This takes away from any anxiety knowing there is only one chance to put it all together. The focus I put into what I do allows me to firmly believe that this one chance will bring out the very best in me. It has this potential, at least, and this is my only motivation.
And that’s a good feeling to have as I traveled across this massive continent. There I was, homeward bound to another environment that I’ve said goodbye to many a time. That of the Eastern Townships of Quebec and our little home in the hills just north of Vermont. Some of my favorite excursions on the bike on earth are the roads that surround our ideal location.
As much as I love the desert, I do miss things about the east. Things that make me smile like the multitude of songbirds visiting our feeders daily. How each morning at about 5am an orchestra of bird song erupts in the forest. I hear the sounds of myriad birds singing and it makes me smile in my sleep. The small towns I ride through and never stop at a light to get through because there are no stoplights. The abundance of oxygen after living and training up above 7000 feet for some time. The air so thick and clean it’s like you’re drinking, not breathing, it in. The kindness and warmth of our neighbors.
So many things to say goodbye to and just as many to welcome back.
And soon enough, I will be saying goodbye to the Northern Appalachian Mountains of Quebec and farewell to Canada. The days are numbered less than fifty to the place those goals and dreams of mine will be lived out. As much as I engage in each day, I look forward to the intensity of the moment and the energy of what I live for that has already given me so much. The energy of an Olympics that I will soon find out if I am gifted once again to have earned a place in.
There’s no doubt in my mind that I’m ready. Ready for hellos and goodbyes and the continuation of this path I travel. Ready to keep my mind and heart open to the beauty that surrounds me. What a fantastic place to be in sport and in life.