Shifting Gears

I had a beautiful day today. It feels like a dream, now that I am looking back at it. Technicolor if you will, thanks to the occasional showers that have made San Diego’s hillsides vivid with green. In the unbelievable array of episodes that have flavored my life for that last few years, it is a wonder that I can tell what is real in all of this surreal.
I know today was so real, and so unbelievable, that I cannot stop smiling. I have the most wonderful secret, and I cannot stop smiling because I am about to tell the world…
I finally learned how to properly shift the gears on my bike.

It was Tyler’s idea to ride today. ‘Long weekend, you can get two riding days out of it at least’. Ughh. I was only mentally prepared for one. I thought it over..Wait, ride with Ty? We can actually go on a ride together? He is feeling good enough to want to ride with me? This sounded too good to be true. Before I knew it, we were on the road, 60 degrees, partly sunny skies, who could ask for anything more?

I told Tyler I was having some difficulty climbing up hills and I’d like to get much faster. He asked me how my shifting was. ‘Fine, I shift when I need to’. Tyler never believes me, at least never my first answer, or he reads between the lines. I love this about him. He rode in front and instructed me via hand signals, ‘Anticipate the hill, and when I give you the sign, shift in that way.’ Easy enough. I followed his hand signals, ‘Ty, this is way too easy, you’re making the pedaling too easy, I feel like amateur hour back here’. I followed him anyways. Tyler is a fast hill climber, I figured there be something valuable in this lesson.

We rode. And rode. And rode. Lots of hills. Small hills. Steep hills. Long hills. Hills that seemed to ride straight to the sky. Beautiful, stunning, secret roads with hills, lush green landscapes of hills, twisty turning hills. You name it, we rode it and it felt good. Really good in fact. Smooth, effortless, and tauntingly challenging, how I deep down always knew riding should feel. He continued with the hand signals. If I missed his signals, my legs would burn instantly. By the end of the ride, I got the hang of it. Tyler just made something really hard for me, a lot less hard. “Anticipate the change, prepare when you can, don’t be afraid to take it easy’.

I was taking ‘the climbs’ too hard. I saw something tough in front of me, and instead of backing off, and letting things ease up, I switched to my hardest gear. I felt like I was doing my best, or attacking the problem, if I was going full steam ahead. So what happens? Burn out. I’d lose steam before the peak, by this time it can be too late to shift down. It leaves a lot less in the tank for the next hill to tackle. Too much pride. Who cares who sees what gear you are pedaling in? Life’s about to throw more hills in your path than you will know what to do with; anticipate the change, prepare when you can, don’t be afraid to take it easy.

So there is our secret. The lesson behind our beautiful day. I hope it translates.

Tyler is doing beyond amazingly. The prayers are working, and I am so grateful for each and every one of your well wishes. He is soaking them up and dominating this portion of treatment.