Just a few months back, I was tossed like a ragdoll after getting hit by a bus miraculously suffering nothing more than a mildly bruised arm, a couple of shredded fingernails and destroying a bunch of expensive replaceable gear. The vivid memory drifts into my conscience while pedaling towards Cusco, Peru.
Breathe in, breathe out, focus on breath…push, pull, push, pull, coast… My legs repeat the circular motion of pedaling.
The financial loss of the accident or bus assault is the least important of the potential outcomes. I find myself grateful to new sponsors for replacing some of which was destroyed. However, all these months later, when I am passed by a big hard bus while pedaling, I can still see the blurry smoky blue color of that boisterous bus that hit me at 94km/62mph in my peripheral vision. The holler of scratching metal against my shoulder and bicycle has faded but the memory of the noise remains in my ears, near body trauma or possible death does have some lingering effects. I cycle on feeling extremely fortunate and very grateful to still be around.
Breathe in, breathe out, focus on breath… Push, pull, push, pull, coast…
A repetitive cathartic rhythm I find meditative propels me northward through South America and into Peru. The altiplano of Peru at 13,000 feet provides a spectacular backdrop of red hued mountains, Inca ruins and lush cascading rivers, a perfect location for meditative, rhythmic cycling and practicing gratitude.
“This is better than a Buddhist Vispassana retreat, more effective that sitting meditation and much more fun than an indoor yoga class, Thank you Peru”
I say out loud while leaning over the handlebars. The road is descending rapidly out of the high altitude altiplano region before climbing again into Cusco. Peru’s cultural center infamous for the Machu Pinchu Inca ruins.
“Thank you, Peru for large road shoulders AND putting up ‘caution cyclists in the shoulder signs’, what a great effort” I say while chuckling, bubbling with gratitude and bursting of new exhilarating oxygen supplies.
Herds of shaggy sheep, their lean bodies covered by a matted mass of superfluous fluff waddle across the road in search of the adjacent river’s hydration. Villagers clad in vibrant purple crinoline lined skirts carry bundles of fresh green sticks tied to their backs. Their blue and white checkered smocks protect their skirts from the falling leaves. Sombreros (hats) of every variety protect their bronzed faces from the craggy mountain’s sharp sun rays.
“Thank you to the people of Peru for being so beautiful and for wearing hats. I love hat countries and Peru is definitely one of the best hat countries I have ever seen”
I say to myself as I steer around the populated roadside. Plenty of bicycle carts congest the road shoulder, large rectangular metal signs erected by the Peruvian government provide a constant remainder to motorized traffic to stay alert and slow down, providing parochial Peruvians time to wave, smile and honk as they pass me.
Focus Retta, Focus…Breathe in, breathe out…push, pull, push, pull, coast
The mountain road begins to climb.
“Being off the bike for a month to see a dentist in La Paz, Bolivia is the best idea I have ever had. Thanks to Christian at the La Paz Casa De Cyclistes for the great stay. Thanks all at Dental Mundo, I love my healthy teeth”
I blurt out through my sparkly pearly whites to the shaggy sheep in need of haircuts.
Breathe in, breathe out, focus on breathe, breathe in, breathe out…push, pull, push, pull, coast…
Rounding the world alone by bike for the last 5 years is how I have developed my instincts to stay safe in every imaginable situation. Taking the occasional month long break and resting those instincts is how I have developed my instinct endurance. The ability to try to stay tuned on and tuned in to my surroundings at all times and being as genuinely happy as possible through the practice of active positivity.
“Thank you, well rested instinct endurance… practicing gratitude is fun, the more I practice the easier it rolls with me… this has got to strengthen the instincts” I say to the steep mountain incline. The road is a never ending platform on and of which to be grateful.