Pedal Another Mile

Bicycling, death, life after death.

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Another fuckit list weekend and a RAGBRAI update

So Brian and I left his house at 7:30 Saturday morning for Nashville. I dropped him back off before 3:00 Sunday afternoon. In between was 1,000 miles of driving, nasty storms, dinner, a kickass concert, Waffle House, Brian having a nasty migraine Sunday morning, and me getting a speeding ticket 10 miles from dropping Brian off.

That's the cliff notes version. In short, take away Brian's migraine and I wouldn't change a thing. Not even the speeding ticket. I was due anyway - it's been over 15 years :)

I contacted Slightly Stoopid's management company Friday morning to see if cameras were allowed because the venue website didn't specify. I have been in contact with him before over the past year - my friend Dan originally reached out to them to see if they could do anything to cheer us up last fall. After all, Kyle (one of the two lead guys of Stoopid) held up a line for 5-10 minutes talking to Billy Jo at their August 2012 concert, just weeks before she ended up in the hospital.

Anyway, I figured the easiest way to find out was to ask him about the camera policy. He said to be safe he was going to give me a photo pass. A photo pass gave me access between the barrier and the stage, where you always see security standing. It was the closest I have ever been at a concert. At one point, due to the shape of the stage, I was even behind Kyle. Brian was front row too, so all was good.

I took about 650 pics. Most sucked. I don't know what I'm doing and I didn't have a pro camera. But some did come out fairly well. Here they are. If the slideshow doesn't load the direct link is here.

Here's a video I took of a few encore songs. Sound cuts in and out because I was WAY too close to the speaker stacks :)

It was an experience I am sure to remember a long time. Another successful fuckit list item! Big thanks to Chris at their management company for the hookup!


Now onto the RAGBRAI update. They did the wristband lottery draw this morning. Every year there are more people wanting to participate in the week-long ride than there are spots available, so they hold a lottery. Not being picked doesn't mean you cannot secure one, but you have to buy it on the secondary market. Well, I got an email with my wristband number, so I am in. No stressing about getting one later :)

This is a good time to remind you that I will be covering my bike in names for the RAGBRAI ride, like I did last time. If you know someone who is fighting, in remission or cured, or who passed away from cancer and you would like to let me know their name, I will print it on a label, stick it on my bike, and they will ride with me across Iowa in July. Just fill out this short form. There are over 100 names already.

Donations to Stand Up to Cancer are greatly appreciated but not required. I am trying to reach $15,000 by the end of the ride on July 27th. $2,100 to go :) Team Pedal Another Mile is #20 on their team list in terms of amount raised. Thanks to everyone who has donated - it means so much to me :) 

Introduction to the "fuckit" list.

I typed quite a long post on the Squarespace iPad app as I flew back home from a weekend in Denver, a weekend I planned about 6-7 weeks ago after giving it, oh... about 5-10 minutes total thought.  I had such a great time, and there's nothing I would have rather done this weekend. 

Of course, the app shit the bed and with it went my saved draft. Squarespace really doesn't know what the term "saved" means. It's quite irritating. This means I will have to rewrite it all, and I am sure it won't be the masterpiece I had worked on earlier. ;) I write what is going through my head, and that's never the same...that's for sure. Oh well.

Anyway, that being said...

I think I blogged back in early March that I made an impromptu decision to go see my favorite band, Slightly Stoopid, play in Colorado. I had never been to Colorado (landing but never getting off the plane enroute to elsewhere doesn't count).  I had always wanted to see a concert at the Red Rocks Amphitheater...ANY concert. Now I had the opportunity to go to Colorado, go to Red Rocks, and on top of it all see my favorite band perform there. Things became serious when I checked airfare and saw it was $146 r/t all taxes and fees included. Hotel was cheap, car rental was cheap. The concert was sold out so the ticket price was not cheap, but overall this could be a fun and memorable weekend for relatively little cost. 

Would the old me have done such a thing? Hard to say, but I doubt it. At times where I wasn't depressed or miserable or stressed enough to actually allowed myself to dream about doing things like this, they remained just that - dreams. I'd also be worrying about things that could go wrong, and likely talk myself out of an idea like this just as quickly as it appeared. But that was the old me. The new me isn't thinking about such things. I know there will be setbacks, things not going the way I had planned or envisioned, and even outright failures in my future. It's inevitable. In fact, it's already happened to the new me. But, I am not going to let the mere possibility of something not working out the way I wanted stop me from trying. The only thing worse than failing is regret you didn't even give yourself an opportunity to fail. There's no lesson to be learned when that happens. I look at every setback now as something to learn from, not pity over. Setbacks and failures will not block my path. If they persist, I'll just forge a new path around them. Time to bust out my favorite saying again:

During those 5-10 minutes of thought the only reason to not say fuckit and go was that I'd likely be going alone. I've never gone to a concert by myself before. I've never gone on a "vacation" alone before. But you know what? I did the first five days of RAGBRAI in 2011 without knowing a single person. I thankfully have no problems meeting new people and getting along with them. Shit, if I could do it 24 hours a day for the first five days of a bike ride (Billy Jo, Tanya, and Dan were around for me the last three), then 53 hours in Denver would be a piece of cake. As it turned out I didn't have to go by myself :). More on that later.

So I booked the airfare and committed to going. My "fuckit list" was born. I had never heard of the term before my friend Tracy introduced me to it. It's different from a bucket list in that those are usually much more grand...they may take a lot of thought, emotion, time, and/or money. A fuckit list by definition is usually empty until well... it isn't. It is very impromptu and something you know you really really should do and not give much thought to. That you know you'll enjoy yourself and the memories you get as a result. You commit to it and figure out the details later. That's how I view it anyway. It's whatever you interpret it as, but it's something everyone should have. I'm now convinced of it.

I think Billy Jo would be very happy at the way I have been doing. Happy I am embracing life and what it brings. Living. I only wish I had discovered this attitude earlier. I would have liked to been a better and more positive person like this for her in the year leading up to when she got sick in September, instead of being pretty much at my lowest. It would have been nice to have given her that because I think I am much more capable at handling things now, and also because it would have showed her without a doubt that I was going to be okay. I know she was worried about me after she was gone. She gave me specific instructions of things she wanted me to do and not do, and they all arrived at the same point - do not mourn me...do not put your life on hold one minute longer...live and be happy. I'm doing that, and you know what makes it feel even better? I am doing it for me first and foremost, not solely because it's what she wanted.

Back to the trip... I booked this trip knowing there was a very good chance I'd be going alone. Turns out I wouldn't be. I introduced Tracy to Slightly Stoopid last fall with a facebook post. She loved them and wanted to see them next time they came to Chicago. Well, that was March, and she had another concert to go to that night. So, she asked if I'd go with her a few days before the Chicago show to see them in Milwaukee. Honestly, that was my first fuckit list thing - it was in Milwaukee on a Thursday night and there was no taking work off Friday. Again, I'm glad I decided to go. The show was great and we ended up front row center for it.

Anyway, it turns out that all that I needed to have a companion with me for Colorado was for her to buy her significant other (who had absolutely zero desire to go to Colorado) a new bowling ball, and for her to gather the courage to invite herself onto my fuckit list. I thought it was a great idea. We get along great - the great thing about her is that the way I look at life now is the way she's been living hers all along. It didn't take a tragedy for her to see that life should be lived to the fullest. I admire that. I wish I had been this way a long time ago. In my new life I am a sucker for quotes and sayings, that's why I love the WheelBrothers website. Tracy is chock full of them. It's impossible to not look at life favorably when you're around her. So thanks to her being in a loving and trusting relationship, her love for Slightly Stoopid, her willingness to buy a bowling ball, and above all a very healthy fuckit list, I was not doing Colorado alone :). 

Here's the pictures from the weekend. I'm sure it will take a while to load. Also, if you're on a smartphone or tablet it may not work. In that case they can be found by clicking here.

The entire weekend was awesome. We landed about noon, headed straight to bad food at Casa Bonita for lunch (but hey, there was cliff divers!). After that was a bar before heading to dinner Friday night with friends I know that live in the area, followed by a few of us walking all over Golden looking for statues for me to molest. Saturday was breakfast, then a nap, then the Coors Brewery tour complete with free beer. After the tour was a dinner that more than made up for the previous day's lunch. I tried something I never thought I'd do - I tried bleu cheese on a steak. I despise bleu cheese. It smells like the pink sawdust they'd spread on puke in grade school hallways. Surprisingly I loved it. I guess it's only gross when it's away from a hunk of cow.

After that it was time for the concert. Red Rocks was everything I hoped it would be and then some. That place has ruined me for life in terms of places to see a concert. I am not sure it can be topped. It is jawdropping. It was cold, but I didn't give a shit. Thankfully it only rained about ten minutes. Once Slightly Stoopid took the stage I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming.  After the concert we needed to eat Jack in the Box tacos, since they're nowhere to be found around here.

Sunday was a tasty breakfast (coconut pecan pancakes), we got evicted from the hotel (ok it was checkout time), and went up Lookout Mountain. Seems to be a very popular road for cyclists - there were dozens of them. I'm not sure I could make it, but I decided I want to come back and try. 1,219 feet of climb in 4.6 miles. Oof. Try, indeed.

On top of Lookout Mountain was the Buffalo Bill museum and grave site. We hung out around there for awhile and then went back down to Golden for lunch. I had a delicious burger and then it was already time to head to the airport.

That was the trip. Great from start to finish. I am so glad I decided to say fuckit. Spending the equivalent amount of money on "stuff" would not have made me as happy as the experiences I had this weekend. I can't think of a single physical item I would rather have. The experiences and memories are way more valuable to me. I am really tired of "stuff". I'm still thinning out my possessions. It's a long process but it is a worthwhile one.

In closing, fuckit lists are good. Get one. Mine was blank for a few hours. Saturday morning Brian and I will drive to Nashville where we will see Slightly Stoopid that night. Wake up in the morning and drive back. Hey it's only 7.5 hours or so each way, and my new car can get there on less than a 14 gallon tank. I think this will be the last time I see them this tour. The closest they come back in the summer is Des Moines in August. I'll likely be going there at least. The tour ends in late August on Cocoa Beach, just north of my Florida stomping grounds. I can't rule that one out either :)

Okay, it's time to end this post and find a dump to sleep in for a few hours Saturday night.

Fuckit. :)