Adrift in the bay one warm summer day, on a boat, reluctantly tied-up to an old man and the sea, I asked a spiritual question; “What do you feel, in your soul, when you drag the teeth of your rake through the dying life of the bottom?” Words flowed so easily from my doubtful image of this old man that I was instantly showered with guilt. “We are all connected,“ he responded. “The Sea, the sand, my boat, this bay, and all of the world that surrounds us. So when something flourishes, or when something suffers, I feel it. You feel it. We all feel it. And that’s why you are here, tied-up to my boat, balancing that camera on your shoulder…” His answer will forever stay with me because regardless of our consciousness, the old man of the sea is right. We are all connected. Boy, had I read this man wrong.
If we were all sitting in a circle right now, confessing to our demons, one I would reluctantly share is that I am a procrastinator. Trust me it’s an unfortunate trait to have. You do your homework as the teacher takes attendance, you don’t pay $150 tickets until they’re in the $1,000s, and for countless legitimate reasons, your racebike is never ready by the season opener. But I like to think of traits like I do rules – they are meant to be broken. So this 2019 season I actually started preparing for, for the first time in my life, the year before. November of 2018 my bike was disassembled, its motor delivered to that man behind the curtain in the Wizard of Oz movie, its parts were ordered and finally there I sat in the blissful winter glory of preparedness.
…and then it happened. Somehow I found myself rushing again, building a bike in the last minutes of the last days before round 1 again – unprepared, missing Friday practice, racing with just a handful of laps under my belt when everyone else had days. Again. Only as much as the scenery looked the same, this time it all felt different. Why you ask? Because regardless of the fact that I was there again, unprepared, this time I was not there alone. And not just due to my own mistakes. And that’s the theme that carried on all season.
But such as racing teaches you, that’s life. And such as life teaches you, that’s racing.
I have made poor choices and paid their resulting prices. I have had setbacks and chose to rebuilt anew. I have broken things this year that do not ever break. Multiple times. I have been broken by things that some doubt ever happened. I went into this season fixated on racing with superbike-like horsepower. I am finishing this season simply hoping my bike runs like it was built to.
But bare no doubt, and have no fear, regardless of one or all of these challenges, we are going racing this weekend. And I can barely wait. …Why you ask?
Because like the old man and the sea reminds me daily, “We are all connected”. I enjoy this. And there is no place I feel more “connected’ than in racing.