Friday, May 15, 2015

Failure is Success

Sometimes you don't know if you can do something.  Making the attempt poses risks of different types.  Sacrifices, time, possible costs.  I'm not one to back down from a challenge, and I am often willing to take big risks.  Failure is likely, but so is success.   And sometimes in failure, one can find success.  One can test theirself and learn new things, and even be forced to lean on others for help.

On what began as a quest to challenge myself, I was rewarded with the chance to lean heavily on a community of people in order to make it home safely.

The day started fine.  I was tired but feeling good.  I was aware that I had not ridden my bike much but I figured that I could take it easy and ride the 280 mile Blue Ridge Mountains Loop in 3 or 3.5 days.  I had over 12 hours of daylight and was confident.    As I mentioned before, I also have not been riding my bike consistently.  Nose to the grindstone, getting the shop in order,  getting the summer ride program going, helping the local school with a playground grant, and being a dad/husband.

I road down the parkway, through Bent Creek and up to Bent Creek Gap.  I was feeling great.  The morning was uneventful.  Drinking and eating on schedule.   This trip I was trying out some new nutrition.  It had been great on shorter rides and I wanted to test out how some liquid nutrition would work for me.

The forest is so lush, and green,  creeks flowing everywhere.  No worries about water refills.   As I pedaled up and down on FSR 1206, my thoughts continually turned to my family and other life stuff.  I had bailed on the P111K to do this ride which was cool.  The kid's last soccer game was on Saturday which was cool too,  I had the ok to skip it.  But I couldn't shake the guilt for not being there.  Easy enough,  I'll just do two days of the ride and then figure out how to get home on Friday night and be there for the game on Sat.

After roughly 50 miles, I took a right on Hwy 215.  A roughly 8 mile climb with over 2000ft of elevation gain, up to the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Training grounds for George Hincappie. 

I ate, continued to drink and started going up.   Still feeling fine.  I was excited that I was feeling so good and excited about camping out tonight.  I was also still trying to figure out how to get home in time for the soccer game.  If I could, I wanted to avoid getting picked up.  I didn't want the family to have to take time out of their day. 
I climbed up and it got really hot.  The Garmin said 85 degrees.  I stopped a couple of times to cool off in the water trickles running down the rocks.  I rode on the wrong side of the road to take advantage of the shade.  I wanted to take a nap.  I just needed to get over the top then I could coast for the long ride down the other side.  I dug deeper and kept going.  This hill is grueling. 

I didn't feel good.  Ok,  I decided to make my way to Davidson River Campground for the night and head back home in the morning.  That would solve my current dilemmas.  I ground my way to gap and the Parkway.  Sat and sipped some water and ate a little.  I was nauseous.  And then I made a miscalculation.

I could not remember how much climbing was between 215 and 276.  It turns out there are 4-5 climbs.  Had I known that for certain, I would have headed back down 215 to At The Ridge and camped there.  But, I didn't and I thought I could make it.  The next 25 mile consisted of me resting, drinking and eating some gels.  I had no appetite.   I pulled off onto a grassy patch and wanted to nap.  I felt a little better so I kept going.  I finally made it to Hwy 276 and headed down.  18 miles to the campground.  I was out of water and watching for a creek to fill up in.  Just past the Pink Beds/Visitor Center, I found a creek and stopped to refill.

Water and Nuun,  I sat on the side of the road sipping.  I had pushed myself too far.  I laid down in the grass after checking to make sure there was no poison ivy.  I closed my eyes and relaxed.  I looked around for a place to camp.  A car drove by.  I could hear it turn around.  It pulled up and a lady asked if I was ok.  I was not.   They offered to call 911,  I nodded.  The kind couple stayed with me for the 20 or so minutes until the ambulance arrived.  The lady asked if I was familiar with healing touch and if I would be okay with here practicing on me.  I consented.  I was in no condition to refuse help of any kind.  We waited.  Small talk.  I explained my situation and gave them my diagnosis.  Info was relayed to 911.  The lady continued healing touch.  I continued sipping Nuun.

By the time the ambulance arrived I was feeling ok.  Nauseousness gone.  Able to stand with only mild dizziness. I declined services and got a ride into Brevard where the wife and kid picked me up to take me home.  The bummer is that by the time I got to town,  I was feeling fully recovered from the dehydration/nauseousness.  But who knows,  it could have gone the other way and I could have dug a hole too deep to get out of.

The wife and kid picked me up and were excited to have me home. 
I failed at the loop,  but I chalk this ride up as a success.  I live to tell about it and give it another go.  I will complete this loop at some point!  I have a family who cares about me, and was treated to care by total strangers.  I believe in things that cannot be seen and believe that the lady practicing healing touch was as she said "of the Holy Spirit", and it saved me an expensive ride to the hospital.  I try to live a life of faith, I try to "love my neighbor" on a daily basis.  I receive such love everyday with the work that I do.  I am always excited by the little and large contributions that people make, affecting our community in a positive way on a daily basis. 

Love life, go big,  fail,  succeed!

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