Downhills (or mountains) are the reward

I’ve always liked the phrase The Journey is the Reward. That can apply to raising kids, tending a garden, or going on a long bike ride. We all know that some parts of any journey are unpleasant. Kids get in bad moods when you’re tired. Weeds show up in gardens when there’s little time to get rid of them, and on long bike rides, hills show up that are longer and steeper than I hoped—or even could have imagined.

At the risk of clarifying the obvious, the journey usually makes up for the tough spots. Kids surprise parents with their love. Tasty veggies come from even a modest garden, and on long bike rides, peddling up mountains leads to going down them, with more wonders than I expected. The view is stunning, often with a mountain stream next to the road. I’ve never been a thrill seeker, but rolling down a mountain makes me one—while still cycling safe. Here’s part of a video of cycling down Hoosier Pass.

After cycling up and down a few mountains, I’ve noticed the most rewarding parts about this trip. I thought the natural wonders would be one of the best, since we’ve cycled through several national parks, state parks, and other natural wonders. I love the beauty of natural wonders, but I haven’t been too bothered by spending less time at them than expected.

Other parts have been have been more satisfying, often parts I didn’t expect. One is cycling down mountains. Another is the wonderful people I’ve met. I knew the people would be good, but they’ve exceeded my expectations. They’re from my cycling group, from towns and farms we’ve cycled by, and from the solo cyclists we’ve met. One of those solo cyclists has unintentionally nudged me toward writing a book about this ride, more on that later.

It’s worth adding that all of these people were complete strangers a short time ago. A common comment among cyclists is that strangers have been much more generous than expected. That’s in strong contrast to what the news tells us. Of course there are some bad people. There always have been, but the news makes us think there are many more bad people than there actually are.

The subject line of this blog post is probably a bit off. It says cycling down a mountain is the reward. Actually, it’s one of many. I hope anyone reading this goes on a new journey of their own soon. Some parts will be uncomfortable, like peddling up a mountain, but overall, it’ll very likely exceed your expectations. That includes a journey with large challenges, like cancer. Challenges might slow you down, but do not let them stop you. There’s even a chance the journey might make the challenge feel a whole lot smaller.

One last comment, I’m still short of my goal for raising money for cancer research, please consider making a small donation.