Tuesday, October 16, 2012

canyons and cookies

last saturday, for a number of unimportant reasons, I decided to ride up two canyons, first one, then another.
city creek became the first, and I wanted millcreek to be the second.  however, as the snow level was 8000', the sun was hiding itself behind a solid bank of gray clouds, and I got chilled descending city creek in the rain, I decided to save narrow, shaded, steep millcreek canyon for another day.  instead, emigration became canyon number two.
by the time I finished city creek, pedaled back across the northeastern foothills, said goodbye to john (who voted that one canyon was enough), and approached the mouth of emigration, I had warmed back up and wasn't ready to let my riding day be over.
but then something mysterious happened . . . about a mile up the canyon, the "Idonwanna"s hit.  Idonwanna be climbing this canyon, I'd rather be done.  I donwanna keep riding, I wanna go home.  my legs hurt, I'm tired, I donwanna.  
for a solid mile I tolerated my complaining self, trying to convince it that I was happy to just be outside, doing something.  suggesting to it that it should be grateful it's healthy enough to ride, that it should be grateful for decent riding weather, that it was really just a small chunk of the day.
I donwanna, my legs hurt, I donwanna go all the way up this stupid canyon.
then I tried bribery:  think of the yummy cookies waiting for you at home, remember you get to go out to dinner tonight.
I still donwanna.  pedal pedal pedal, heartrate climbing, pedal pedal pedal.
it took another two or three miles before I stopped complaining, whining, moaning to myself.  determination won, became stronger, and helped me reach the point where it became slightly more than just a challenge and slightly less than pure fun.  I kept pedaling.

so here's the thing.  it would have been so easy to not ride that second canyon.  first of all, to not even start it, and second, to have turned around a mile up when the Idonwanna's were screaming inside my head.  but I stuck it out, and reaped the rewards of the beautiful scenery, the joy of the descent, the extra eighty minutes of fresh fall air, and the extra cookies I got to eat when it was all over.  at the end, I couldn't stop thanking myself for being the jerk that wouldn't let me turn around.

stick-to-it-iveness doesn't come naturally;  it's something one cultivates.  it's a part of commitment and determination, of character.  it's what allows others to depend on you.
and it doesn't come easy.  I battle myself constantly, but have learned over all these many years on earth that I am a better person for not letting myself slide.
or rather, for only letting myself slide after I've climbed enough first.

so the moral of the story is this:  if you say you're going to climb two canyons, then climb two canyons.
and then enjoy your cookies.


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