The Pettit files, the most excellent miss adventures of Jonny P~”Death and podiums, stories and such”
If life is an ocean then these days be our tides, allowing us to roll and tumble in foamy surf, washed to shore and stretch out along the bare bones of earth. Sandy beaches, sun soaked skin, lay in peace where no man has been. For each ebb and flow of moons and suns, water rises and new life begun, for every birth is marked by death, laid to the bottom , recycled to be born new again.
Every rain and flood cleans the slate, washed away and new by heavens gate. My life rolls like the ocean and I come crashing to the shore, but it is in water I feel the safest, in their arms I fell comfort, consoled by voices of where its been, I throw my own out to be swallowed whole and start new again, any fears or doubts are excepted and welcomed then a nudge to explore comes over me, and like the thought of security a family brings, it tells me if I fall I’ll only land in water and close to the surface and the warmth of sun.
I’ve spoken to my mother once in the new year, not out of any malice or fate, different lives follow different paths, not to mention I’m nearly two thousand miles away from my hometown. It’s been even longer since I spoke with my dad, but that too changes and rolls like the for mentioned lines above. With the biggest news of my new bike life, I thought it best to call and tell my parents I’ve made the cover of a national bike magazine, and a few pages on the inside. I was somewhat ridding a high, I was leading the marathon series in Arizona, the logistics of the tour divide race are somewhat coming together, I’m at peace with work, my allergies finally seem to be manageable and my love life is at a high.
Soon into the conversation and the material digest my mom asked if I heard about Jim. Jim is my grandfather I accumulated through the marriage of my mom and dad. A good time soul no doubt haunted by his past and a thirst for music and drinks, I find some solace that everyone loves a lovable loser, not to call him a looser or drunk, but I prefer to see him as I did with the eyes of a child. He could tune a guitar by ear, make lyrics out of thin air and craft just about anything with his hands, whether it be a house or something made from stones, he and his kids would hike to find. Other’s had their own version of him, this is how I’ll remember him, so a couple hours before I was set to head out to Sierra Vista for race #4 of the mbaa series my mom told me of his death and the way he was found.
I of course asked how my dad was doing, a quiet man deeply grounded but not immovable, I had made a promise to call once my weekend was over and I had hours to listen and talk. I was surprised how easily the joy that took years and timing to take were shelved once you hear of a death of someone who once held a place in your life. The euphoric feeling of accomplishment of plans and dreams coming together take the long backseat to this kind of news, and I wished I was back home down at Fred’s having dinner and drinks with just my dad, one of the few times we have just to ourselves, all differences aside, we sit and talk and enjoy each other’s company.
With my allergies somewhat contained I was still on anti biotics and not feeling my usual punchy self, I lined up with the other greyhounds on the start Saturday morning. I rode down with good friend and confidant Mike Melley, over the hours of driving and talking about our lives aloud I became at ease with the news and was glad not to be driving this one alone, in the silence between conversations, just knowing your buddy is there is a comfort, that and the fact that no question is really out of limits is damn fun.
Our friend and silly fast single speeder Beto Villegas was there and I new if I didn’t have my A game the race was his, and I was right, by a lot. I won this race last year, but knew those chances were slim to none, I was going for points for the overall, one of my goals for the season. The race started and we jostled around, it rolls flat for a bit up some double track, then a gnarly little jeep road climbs upward twice, the second pitch is a little bitch, and for some reason I couldn’t breath, so I walked it, already out of contention, I thought about quitting buy silenced my evils and told myself I’ll ride just to even get 20 points.
I had to work the next day and hitch a ride with Scott the set up guy, so I spent the next few hours disassembling the structure of what we race under, loading everything up along with all my shit, threw it in the back of a budget rental truck then we all went out to Mexican, after that a fill up, a boarder crossing and a long drive to Phoenix. I was a little relieved I didn’t have to unload all of MBAA’s belongings, I would’ve without complaint, but taking a shower and crawling into bed before 11 sure felt good after two days of riding and racing without soap and water.
I guess like most my stories, reports, rants or whatever you guys call them, this one wonders like the guy writing them, I’m a inter-personal fella, don’t talk a lot about my “feelings” but for reasons unknown to me I’m compelled to share with whomever lays eyes on these. As much as I don’t like endings, there is always one, there has to be. Death is the true constant, the largest shadow I believe we have in life, is death, not in life terms but the strangling of ideals and thoughts, wills and pride, those I believe should live and wonder in open pastures. Through the bike and this medium I find mine and continually seek to expand it, and see it in others their own, unique vibe and flare brings a smile to my face.
A lot has happened lately, another birthday shared with the best of people and a women I’m diggin, the stress of the tour divide is in full swing, racing, working, riding and living are trying to live hand in hand, but every once in awhile one of their feelings gets hurt. I’m happy I’ve slept outside over 10 days, stepped on 3 podiums, raced my first 12 and 24 hour race, got to know these people I call friends better and deepen the relationship with them and a girl. I know my biggest challenge comes in June, and even after larger one’s await. For now it’s off to New Mexico for the 12 hours of Dusk till dawn in Gallup, and the weather should be plain miserable, so maybe I can step higher on the podium? After that it’s the AZ 300, a self supported race from Mexico to Superior, on the Arizona trail, it’ll be my first adventure/unsupported bike race more of a test of divide gear and to show just what where lacking. One thing I don’t like it not having time to write, it seems I can’t get the depth I’d like to with my schedule, but I’m trying. Anyways thanks for reading, love any and all the feedback, keep exploring, keep pushing, keep loving and drinking, your long lost soul~Jonny P.