There is a book titled “Antifragile”, in which the author makes the case that in order to refine and improve a thing, it is essential for the thing to experience disruptions, chaos, and volatility. In some cases this can shake the thing that has become too comfortable out of complacency, and in others it forces the thing to adapt to new circumstances, but in almost every circumstance, disorder is a catalyst for improvement.
During an unpredictable and unsettling 2015, where I abruptly left a long stable work place, amid heaps of uncertainty about what was next in life, I had been scooped up to travel with the Raleigh-Clement cycling team.
Those four months with Raleigh-Clement gave me an incredible opportunity to travel to, and ride in, some really fantastic places. It also gave the opportunity to learn differing aspects of being a mechanic, the chance to see how professionals live their every day life and their race day procedures, and form relationships with some really great people. Coming from my prior situation, the apt word for the experience would be cathartic.
The most valuable thing the entire experience offered me, was perspective.
I had the opportunity to grab a couple backpacks of clothes, and step outside of everything in my life for four months and contemplate what I missed, what I desired, what do I want to experience in life, and what was I going to do about it. I felt like a nomad, driving a caravan 24,000 miles around the country, spending my days stoically pondering how I got there, and where I was going.
One night I found myself sitting alone in a bar in Flagstaff, reading a book called “The Man Who Walked Though Time”, which is the penned journal and collected thoughts of a man as he walks without human connection the length of the Grand Canyon. Coincidentally, Flagstaff is quite near the grand Canyon, so I decided that night, around midnight, that I should wake up at 4am and go read the last chapter at the canyon, in the first light of the morning.
I parked in darkness in the small town of Tusayan, and rode the last handful of miles up to Mather Point in complete peaceful silence, passing herds of wildlife so silent they could have been ghosts.
Arriving at the rim, I was awe struck. What an incredible sight. My face may have moistened.
Once I got around to reading what I came to read, in the place it was originally written, a paragraph grabbed me. It read: “You cannot escape the age you live in, you are a product of it. You have to stand back from time to time and get your perspectives right. But then you have to come back and resume the task of contributing in your own way to your own age.”
It was hard to leave the canyon that early morning. Through reading the book, and then having the experience that day, the canyon had left a significant impression on me, and I was one step closer to figuring out what I wanted, and how disorder would further refine me and my future.
I was able to put my finger on one of those itches I wasn’t able to scratch while living on the road that day. I missed the creative and creation process, and I missed the ability to intimately know a place and landscape, and develop a comprehensive understanding of it.
I am so excited to tell everyone that Liz and I will be moving to Denver, where I will be joining the amazing people at Elevation Cycles. We can’t wait to explore endless new and captivating environments, spend weekends hiking in National Parks, challenge ourselves in new situations, build off of the work we have behind us, and create new adventures going forwards.