Last weekend I made a trip down to one of my favorite states, Arizona. For once I was not traveling to race, but to support some of my friends at the 24 Hours Of Old Pueblo. I was looking forward to some warm sunshine, a bit of time off of work and to help Team GO kick some arse. It was a bit weird to be traveling so far and not be towing the line, burying myself to collect a another lap. The pressure was off which was kind of nice and I really didn’t feel all that great, the hot sun seemed to drive nails into my head.
It is always interesting to me to travel from the High Country of Colorado, our little bubble of recreational paradise, to within 100 miles of the US/Mexican border. On the way one travels through some rather bleak terrain. Burned out rolling hills of dry sun baked grass and wind blown dust. Distant crumpling mesas, barren rocky crags. I have made the trip to AZ several times, every time I am disturbed by the world between our little bubble and the warm sunny desert. People seemed down right broken. Living amongst broken lands, broken trucks, broken glass. To say it is sad is an understatement, yet frankly who am I to judge what is a good and reasonable existence?
Every time I make the trip I look out into that landscape and wonder. I gaze at the people, walking the highway, selling us gas and cold drinks, driving new cars from their plots of shattered glass, tumble weeds and dust. I wonder what hope and dreams exist in this huge expanse of our country. I see the dogs passed out in the hot sun, chain running from collar to stake, dust and wind the only thing that moves. Everything else simply passes by at 75 miles an hour on the rolling, bumpy road, eager to get to the next place. Billboards alternate between selling “Indian” souvenirs and begging drivers not to drink.
I absorb all this, I feel sadness in my heart. I wonder what elements make existence suffer able, worth while. At what point are we simply just existing? Instead of growing, reaching, striving, trying. I hope there is love out there, surely not for us white folk with our fancy bikes passing through without thought. Is there love of life? In the eyes of the people I see mostly anger, hate, bitterness. This thought, this quandary sticks with me for the weekend, always in the back of my head challenging my own ideals, my own thoughts of positive existence.
The race goes well. My team does amazing, especially considering we came from full on winter to full on desert. I am proud of my friends for the efforts they laid down out in the hot sun. It was quite fun to sit in camp on solo row and watch the whole race unfurl. It was even more satisfying to assist them in achieving their early season goals. Good People doing what they love and challenging themselves to do it better, it is great to be a witness to such dedication.
Sitting in 24 Hour Town it is unsettling to think of the two disparaging worlds clashing in my head. To think that here entrenched in the world of bike racing, where grams and seconds are counted, drivetrains and wheel sizes are debated, sometimes with great ferocity. Where a $6000 dollar bike is not that unusual. Yet not far away, spread out in all directions it is a much different existence in a slice of of our world that is frankly being forgotten and left behind. Altogether it makes for a strange world indeed.
Thanks!!!!! Means a lot!
Awesome blog, keep it up man; motivates many riders, for sure.
As for race relations, sorry about your encounter.
I rarely respond on race issue, In people I don’t see race or skin color but some do. I don’t know if the people were mexican, mexican american or native american; either way there may be a misinterpretation or it maybe spot on. I just can’t see having hatred for clients or prospective clients, and it must be tough to scratch out a living selling cold drinks in the desert.
I was once at a New Mexico Ski resort and a White jock ski instructor pulled the hair of a Mexican American gal, for her screaming for no good reason. Actually, I would be in favor of correction, just don’t know about hair pulling. Yes, she had to shut her mouth and toughen up. But the act of hair pulling can also be interpreted as Bitterness, hatred, anger for a White ski instructor. If it was a white girl would he have done it? I don’t know, I don’t care but for some people that think in terms of race it could be interpreted as bad.
For me – people are people, good and bad, we’re all fallen. I don’t see black, white or brown or yellow; first I seek to learn if I’m dealing with a Christian (somehow). And if not, then I seek to know how warm, easy going and fun is the Spirit in the stranger I’m talking too.
Especially, on trails and at events, if they can’t crack a smile at me cracking a joke – then it’s see ya. Again, sorry about the encounter.
Michael, thanks for reading
I hope I am not making this race issue per say. I respect every color and creed, truly. Only making the point that there is a section of this country that I have passed through many times that seems depressed. I am sensitive to such things. I don’t like seeing sadness, I don’t like to see depression spread far and wide.(whether it is N.M., AZ, Israel, Palestine, Africa, Alabama, New Orleans, or what ever) It was not so much a specific encounter, so much as a general impression made through many little interactions. General, yep it does not take in every thing, but a sample so to speak. It simply makes me sad to see a big chunk of this country being forgotten, seems everyone passes through as fast as possible. Not stopping for much except gas, cold drinks, a quick rest stop. I see depth in those sun baked hills, those crumpling mesas. But most just want to get past it all….
I don’t blame anyone for being bitter, the world, our country has been awful, bitter, mean abusive. Seems the divide between folks gets bigger, common ground smaller. But we are all human. We all can be beautiful and we all can be ugly.
Sadness and depression get to me no matter the color of skin, I try to be a good person, try to let this leak out through my actions, my smile. We are all good and bad and we are all fallen. I have much respect for culture. It especially pains me to see such poverty and, I struggle for the words….apathy perhaps…. that seems to have descended.
The point of my blog post was to bring light to the divide that exists out there, not to bring attention to someone not smiling at me! (I have been to NYC and was freaked out at the lack of smiling faces!) I do live in a bubble, it is often hard to forget that the rest of the world is not like this. I guess I was hoping to expand my own thoughts and maybe some others to the fact that there are many realities existing out there.
I look white, I have bright blue eyes but I have much mixed blood inside of me. I get that people make a judgement based on how you look, good or bad, depends on where you are really. I try to meet everyone with a smile and a bit of respect. I hope I never stop doing that.
Hope I made some sort of sense with all this. Really, Really appreciate your words and response, thanks again for reading!!!