Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Michael is Gone

So, you heard it first on the Twitter feed, but wanted to hear it explained.

In Owensboro, KY, Michael had his Mom's friend Amy come out and pick him up from the motel we were all staying at. His Mom (JMN) drove over from Alexandria to take him home.

Big bike trips like this are sometimes hard (and sometimes tons of fun). The real challenge to such an outing is not (as many assume) the physical difficulty of getting on the bike and pedaling each day. Neither is it the obstacles along the way: heat, hills, dogs. The force that enables you to do the bike trip is one of attitude and a general control over your mental state. You have to find a way to accept the things that are happening, not battle them. You have to find a way to push through the bad times, trusting that there are good times ahead. And that is not easy, especially if you are 15 years old.

I have also noted in the past that a lot more people would quit bike trips if there was a magic "Quit" button on the handlebars that would teleport you back to your living room. In many cases, the fact that you don't have any choice but to continue (even in the US, quitting usually involves biking several hundred more miles) is the only thing keeping you on the trip. In this case, Amy was nearby and could pick him up (along with what must have been a suspicion that his Mom would drive out to get him), which provided an exit.

So, yes, it sucks that Michael quit the bike trip. But on the plus side, he did bike 1000+ miles from New Orleans to Owensboro, KY, and that is a pretty impressive feat on its own.


vhittinger said...

You are right; Michael should be very proud of what he accomplished.
Mental toughness is an acquired trait. I believe that it is good practice for when you get old and really start to have problems!
I'm following your adventures and laughing as I ready your posts.

Anonymous said...

I got my child back in relatively good shape. He's taller and more muscular. He's also happier than when he left. My friend in the area, Amy, I've known since third grade. That's before Eric, Rachael, or Shira were born. I am grateful to her. The experience was an amazing one for him even if he hasn't yet gotten to that realization. What a great summer!!! Thanks!!