The RIDE THE DIVIDE Movie is now on Netflix streaming (rock!!!) – finally watched it last night! It was, of course, awesome and only solidified my desire to do the TOUR DIVIDE mountain bike race in the next couple of years. (For those who aren’t familiar with it, the Tour Divide is a 2700 mile, off road, self-supported mountain bike race from Canada to Mexico held every June. It makes the Tour de France look like a walk in the park.)
What really struck me, though, was the emotional impact that ultra endurance and adventure undertakings take on us as human beings. For those who aren’t used to or don’t enjoy utter solitude, it can be quite a jolt to familiarity. And even for those like myself who thrive on the solitude and feelings of being small in a big, big world… it’s still not easy.
Emotions are a tricky thing and there’s something about endurance sports that teaches you (very quickly and sometimes quite harshly) a lot about yourself. Endurance sports are often so powerful because they are, in so many ways, a metaphor of life. I was very much reminded of this dynamic in watching Ride The Divide.
I can only speak for myself, but I particularly appreciate the perspective that becoming an aspiring adventure athlete has given me. Not only about myself and what I’m capable of, but – perhaps more importantly – about my own little but powerful place in a big and beautifully frightening world. That nothing is guaranteed. That we must value what time we’ve been given and use it wisely. That we are rarely as important as we may sometimes think we are. That small actions repeated consistently and with stubborn persistence can add up quickly to create big impact.
These are simple but powerful life lessons I have learned from endurance sports that I will ever be grateful for. I know that there are many more I will learn as my adventures continue.