Celebrating Onward

What does it mean to celebrate onward? After the Race Across America, my body broken and my sense of immediate purpose gone, a profound emptiness began to creep into my life. I enjoy acting like the superman my friends think I am, but getting back on the grind was a real struggle.

But I’ve got a trick. Knowing that my suffering and joy are temporary, on the bike and off, I don’t dwell. I choose to celebrate life anyway. It’s easy to celebrate when life is good, but if we can celebrate when life is at its gloomiest, there will always be a light to guide us out.

 Maria Durana - 2016

Maria Durana - 2016

RAAM was the ultimate challenge for me. Biking 22-hours a day, an entire crew dedicated to pushing me to overcome the road, the elements, and the demons in my own mind. But afterwards, even with my success, it was like I began to deflate. I wasn’t biking or writing. I barely kept up with friends. I had projects in the air but without any energy to pump into them, they began to stall out, one after another. Ever been there?

Then one day, I monkeyed into the driver’s seat of my car and stared at the steering wheel. I’d been driving to work for three weeks straight. For the past few years my commute had been a highlight of my day, the perfect opportunity to let my mind roam free jump as the miles slipped away beneath my handcycle and me. Nowadays with my hands were still frozen like claws, having suffered from pain bordering on nerve damage during the race, the thought of biking was an agony in itself. But I felt empty.

I had to make a change.

So do you know what I did?I called my boss, told him I’d be late, headed back inside, pulled on my bike kit, jumped on my handcycle and started pedaling. At first I felt like a car with no oil lubricate its engine, but soon that familiar glow began to grow.

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Here’s the naked truth.

We all need healthy routines. They’re what center us. A good bike ride with some dance-your-face-off blasting in my headphones is one of mine, and whenever possible, I embrace it. Rain or shine. And even though every movement hurts, I can take always take it slow and carry on until my next challenge looms on the horizon.

It’s only been a week since I left my car in park, but real quick, let me just say:

I AM BACK!

All routines come with their share of grit. Don’t shy away from it. Celebrate onward and you’ll find yourself… unless you find someone new instead. :)

-AJK
24th Just 2018

“Live With Heart”