The Pettit Files~The most excellent miss adventures of Jonny P~You Gotta believe
The word Believe as defined by the dictionary:
1. to have confidence in the truth, the existence, or the reliability of something, although without absolute proof that one is right in doing so: Only if one believes in something can one act purposefully
2. to have confidence or faith in the truth of (a positive assertion, story, etc.); give credence to.
3. to have confidence in the assertions of (a person).
4. to have a conviction that (a person or thing) is, has been, or will be engaged in a given action or involved in a given situation: The fugitive is believed to be headed for the Mexican border. EXPAND
5. to suppose or assume; understand (usually followed by a noun clause): I believe that he has left town.
I have a sticker taped to my bars with the word “believe” on most of my bikes, usually the ones that accompany me on soul searches; the ones I usually talk aloud to for hours at a time while we’re both lost following torn, sweaty maps, cursing myself with a broad smile on my face. I haven’t always been reliable, as described in the first definition, but on the latter I act purposefully in the belief I have, and I trust I’m doing the right thing.
I look at it in the pre-dawn hours of training rides, on hot stretches of road, and on race courses while I’m searching for some kind of rhythm. When I think all is turning to shit, I look at the simple word, calm myself down and believe in myself. Religions, groups, gangs and relationships clamber some kind of foregone belief that without something to believe in, their world would begin to crumble to apocalyptic crisis. And while I find religion amusing and the good people that attend, maybe my short studies in geology are pragmatic to those that read wildly in the bible, but sometimes I think it’s a lack of self believing. They choose to follow, instead of strike out on their own, chase dreams and roads others have deemed a waste of time to follow. And much like some of my conversations with my far better half, sometimes a team is a weakness. Going solo builds an unbreakable backbone and I usually run myself ragged. At wits end with my own self, and on the border of crazy when I return, I find I want to be in good company and near the voices of friends and the faces of those I love and respect.
I don’t fancy myself much of a leader, but in this reincarnation of a life I’m building for myself it has become obvious that every now and then you have to be one. Leading an open and honest life, people want to be in or near the center of excitement, to share in the times they don’t want to experience personally but yet want to feel all that you went through. I guess on the short end of it, I’m fine believing in myself, but when others start to, the thought of letting them down, or coming up empty, is not a pleasant one. Believing in this course of life has introduced me to some of the finest people I’ve ever met. They help incredulously, selfishly, nudging, pushing me to do and be better, expand and grow and I’m gracious for their time, commitment and offerings. Sometimes it feels like I don’t deserve their friendship, and also, the lately one-sided relationship I find myself in. Years of turmoil and bad loves had lead me here, and soon I’ll lead others down Americas rocky spine along the great basins, mountains, trees and barren roads in the great divide.
I believe I’ll finish. I believe I’ll leave an undeniable mark on the race, the places I pass through and the lives I’ve been introduced to. I believe that what lies within us is no match for lies before us; it’s a fragile ego that needs life to breath, and the brashness to dream, and the reality to do so. I believe this is what I was meant for, broadcasting from the hollows and the dreary, for me to live and others to do so vicariously. Transporting places to paper; and in the lines it comes alive, breathes with tenacity, smelling of pines, dirt, snow and my desperation. It conspires to drip off my brow and down onto the bike; compelling fingers to type, and forever being relived and told to those that had no idea about a bike race of such magnitude and audacity.
Taking a queue from my fishing days, I’ve nearly stopped riding. I’ve been going steady on the racing circuit since January, my body beat, infections spawning in my lungs and sinuses, muscles achy and fatigued, a feeling of tiredness just looming. So I’ve adopted a sloth like lifestyle, eating gas station food I’ll find on the divide, sleeping, and focusing on maps and bike prep. Some of the strongest looking guys proved to be purely shit once out on the ocean. I’m allowing my wounds to heal, and building up a giant urge to ride my bike, so once pointed south in Banff- it’s on.
My leg feels the best they have in months; and my skin is no longer as tightly pulled across my body, but I’ve got 2800 miles to work that out. I’ve put on nearly 10 pounds, allowing myself to over-indulge in everything I won’t have the chance to for a month. I’m on holiday before I go to prison. My mind has been so spun up about the race, the logistics, the money, the food, the bike and Taylor that it’s burning and urging to kick it’s own ass, and I’m stoking the fire to smolder till Antelope Wells.
I have a healthy respect for the route, huge snow packs are going to make this an epic edition of the race. But for now I’m smothered in graciousness for those that have come into my life. Amber, the shop, the roommates, Mike and Jesse Rice, those that stopped by and began with a quick conversation are opening doors I’ve never looked to knock. I believe I’ll do fine. I believe that as long as I know where Taylor is, he’ll be fine. I believe I’ll ride my body into the ground, and burn moments and still shots to memory. I believe that the sheer power of friendship can spark a life for a drifter in the middle of nowhere Arizona. Finding love in the depths, having my life change and be the change for many others. I thank you for allowing the many characters I have to blossom and grow. For all of my faults people have stood by me, not in front of me. I believe.
Last night we showed the Ride the Divide movie outside of the shop; only a few people showed up but it didn’t matter. We sat in chairs and sprawled on the concrete of the sidewalk, bikes lined up along the block building, food and beer spread throughout the crowd. In the warm breezy Phoenix night a handful of good solid people got a glimpse of what we’re about to do, looked over our bikes and gear, sharing together the hopes and dreams of all of us. To me it was beautiful, plain and simple.
In the words of George Mallory who forever changed the landscape with the three words “because it’s there,” I believe he too was following his truest path. You all have allowed me the opportunity to challenge myself in what is billed as the worlds toughest bike race, and I couldn’t have done it without all of your help. I look forward to the next step, the travel, the stories and friendships along the way.