an organization called the Fourth Street Clinic here in salt lake works to end homelessness by providing comprehensive health care and support services to homeless Utahns. a non-profit organization, it has been in existence since 1988, currently serving about 6,000 clients each year.
one of my biking buddies is a doctor who volunteers his services there on a weekly basis and also sits on its board.
along with being an important resource to utahns who might otherwise go without medical, behavioral, and pharmaceutical assistance, the fourth street clinic is known in the cycling world here as the organization which sponsors a unique fund-raising event, the I-Think-I-Canyons ride.
this cleverly named event has been the source of many jokes amongst my biking friends over the past couple years, my favorite being from a friend who had spent entirely too much time away from his wife and son, biking, in the weeks leading up to the event. when queried via email if he might want to do this ride, his response was:
the ride is a killer, beginning on 3900 south and wasatch, heading out to 9800 south then up Little Cottonwood, down and north toward the next canyon, up Big Cottonwood, down and north to the next canyon, up Millcreek, down and north toward the final of the four canyons, Emigration, then back to the start at 3900 south.
total distance of 110 miles, total elevation gain around 12,000 feet.
I have done rides like this before. and I have been tempted to do this one: what an accomplishment! just to have done it would give me an extraordinary sense of personal power.
last summer bill and I attempted a 3-canyon ride on our own, our plan being to start with Millcreek, then riding up Big Cottonwood, then riding Little Cottonwood and returning home. unfortunately the weather wasn't compliant, and the sleet and cold that chilled us coming down Big Cottonwood combined with the wet-looking, grey clouds hanging over Little Cottonwood kept us from heading up that one: we turned north and rode up Emigration instead. so we did ride 3 canyons, just not the toughest 3.
as I said, I've been tempted to do this one, just to have done it. not because it would be fun. and a week ago, I began contemplating the training plan I'd need to put in place to be ready for the 4-canyon ride on July 31st. I'd have to be hauling my but up some canyons soon.
yesterday, however, I came to the sad realization that I didn't think I'd be able to do it. unless some miracle jumps into my life in the next two weeks, I don't think my body will be ready for that degree of torture. I decided this after riding up Millcreek then coming back and riding Emigration, down to Little Dell and back. these are the mildest two of the four canyons, and I was quite depleted on my ride up emigration.
it might just be that I need a bit more rebuilding of my strength.
thus my chant changed from I Think I Can-yons to I Think I Cannot-yons.
you need to understand how significant this is for me. I don't give up easily, and I certainly don't like to accept that I might not be tough enough for something. I am deeply saddened to think that I physically won't be able to master this event.
and there's absolutely no way I would give it a try, and bail out if I couldn't complete it. I just don't operate that way.
I don't like feeling like the little train that couldn't. for years I've been operating under the I Think I Can, I Think I Can, I Know I Can philosophy, and this situation has just thrown a wrench into my system.
so I'm absorbing this, letting it sink it, accepting that life sometimes throws wrenches and curveballs and other assorted goodies our way.
but I would be accepting of a miracle, occurring sometime in the next two weeks, if the universe decides to send one my way.