Thursday, July 21, 2011

Face To The Sunshine

One day last week I took Jamie for a walk at Beck Lake.
Beck Lake is located just on the outskirts of town and is actually two bodies of water - the lake proper and a separate reservoir.
This place is very popular with the locals.  It provides opportunities to walk, fish, jog, picnic - a place to enjoy the out of doors without having to travel beyond the city.
After running errands in Cody I took my dog for a long walk on a hot day.
Mostly we stayed up near the reservoir.
On such a sunny day there were a many people parked down in the parking lot adjacent to Beck Lake.
I had not walked the trail that circumnavigates the reservoir and needed some time alone with my own thoughts and my own dog.
And so we walked............
The trail quickly moves from paved to dirt, and as we made our way to the far end of the reservoir the people disappeared and it was just me and my Point Dog............
I took this picture while digging a bowl and bottle of water out of my pack for Jamie.
Looking out over the water and the mountains in the background it was hard to believe that we were still in town..............
The nasty-brown irrigation water of the canal that runs part of the length of the lake, before veering off and heading towards neighboring pasture-land..............
A very large flowering cactus...........
Jamie actually dragged me to this shelter and plopped down under the shade.
We were both very hot, had been walking for about 45 minutes, and I did not fight her.
I sat looking out over Beck Lake and James drank again before we continued further.............
The shelter roof.
I know I know.
I take pictures of random everythings...........
I called my Mountain Boy as James and I headed down to the park beside Beck Lake.
We had planned to meet there and I promised to call him when we were done walking the reservoir.
While waiting for LC, Jamie and I sat under a picnic shelter, enjoying the coolness and beautifulness of this place.
Wendys Frostys were happily on the way.
While waiting I snapped this picture of a cute little yappie wind-up dog that was running loose in the park...........
Wandering over to Jamie the two visited cautiously and briefly...........
I have noticed them recently.
Unexpected sunflowers beginning to, and then finally succeeding in blooming in the dusty, dry, and nutrient deficient soil of BLM land.
I took these pictures this morning while running (or more accurately struggling to run) in the heat.
Running is going OK.
A struggle, but a predictable and usual struggle I face each summer, and I will welcome cooler temperatures when the time eventually comes.
They say that running is 90% mental and 10% physical.
Those numbers may be a bit of an overstatement, but regardless, the principle holds true.
The principle also holds true whether it is running or biking or adventure racing or......
I remember while living in Tennessee and still early into my adventure racing escapades that there was one hill that I was scared to try and bike up.
It was about two miles long and was very steep, and for a couple of years I always found reasons not to try and bike up that hill.
And then one day I was participating in a century bike ride.
Happily biking alone I was aware of the fact that the weather was beginning to deteriorate, but was still surprised when I arrived at a sag station at a band shell in a small town and riders who had passed me 20 minutes back were now standing around under the shelter.
I propped my bike up against the railing, climbed the few stairs to the shelter, grabbed some food and a Gatorade, and then turned to look at the people who were looking back at me.
And then I asked them what they were all doing.
Surprisingly they were all waiting for vehicles to come pick them up and drive them back to the start where we were all parked.
I was surprised they were bailing on the ride because we were only 30 miles into the ride and because the weather had become very overcast but did not seem that bad to me.
Besides........I was carrying gear with me if it rained.
I grabbed some more food, walked back to my bike, saddled up and rode on, following the directional arrows that had been spray painted on the side of the road. 
On the outskirts of the small town I turned right.
I knew this town (it was in the same area that I lived in at the time), and as I turned right I knew that there was no more getting around it.
I was going to ride up the hill that had scared the crap out of me for two years.
I made it.
I made it without a problem, and after I made it, and while I was continuing on with the ride I wondered why I had been so intimidated by a hill.
It wasn't intimidation of a hill of course.
It was intimidation of the possibility of failure.
It took me another 30 miles, and the passing of promised but non-existent sag stations, and a lot of rain before I finally decided to bail on the ride myself.
How did everyone at the band shell know that the ride had been canceled and yet did not tell me?
I have no idea.
I gradually figured it out when I stopped seeing riders.
Even then I kept riding because I was riding for the joy of riding.  The course was already marked and I had planned on riding a hundred miles that day.
But eventually I ran out of food and then eventually I ran out of energy.
So on an increasingly cold and very rainy day I pulled off the road and pulled out my cell phone.
I called a friend of mine and by the time she reached me I was hypothermic from standing in the rain for so long.
But I made the hill.
And a few weeks later I made another hill - steeper and longer that took me 90 minutes to climb.
Good times.
Very very very good times................
Keep your face to the sunshine
and you cannot see the shadow.
It's what sunflowers do.........Helen Keller

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