The Pettit~Files, a little gratuity for the bike and the people.
They say birds of a feather flock together, but I usually like to spread mine out alone. Out into the unknown, out past most regulars roam. I look to find definitions of things un said, and those left unwritten. Reconnect will all those ideas floating in my head, turn them into something that wishes to be said, and me as well.
In all the epitaphs that have been written by former tycoons of lives past, each seems to have a witty connect to a bike or cycling in general. For me though, the start line is the fine line between have’s and have not’s. The economic table seats us all as the gun ticks down, it is still largely a blue collar sport, the iconoclastic images and people of yore were made of iron, a solid foundation for what was to become. The men in the first tours had to know how to weld, in order to shift you had to remove your wheel, the grittyness and strength of character allowed us to morph into our current shape. Now we ride on the shoulders of giants, with electronic shifters and disc brakes but still wanting to reconnect with our warrior past, but on steeds that weigh nothing and to own one, you may need to make off like Madoff.
What is it that gets us to swing a leg over our two wheeled contraptions? The anonymity of daily life? The bills, the spouse, all the stresses of maintaining what we so desirable thought we needed at one time? The bosses, the exes, the kids or all the ugliness and violence around us? whatever it is, the sounds of the earth beneath you and the sights of nature bring us back to being whole. A rejuvenation occurs out on the single track, I’m surprised there isn’t a three am nut preaching what a mountain bike can do for the soul, and for a small denomination get you out on the trails for your redemption and salvation.
I find myself being catapulted into the greater mythos’s of the bike and the realms it can take me. I found a new appreciation for the solitude in which I seek from day to day, while still maintaining a somewhat balanced home and relationship life, my lust for the multi day, cross country, state, county and country lines has grown into a desirable crush. The quietness of my breaths swirl out into the scenery and are washed clean by my efforts and things I see. The only speed you take is the one you make, there is no race pace, no pushing for position, no talking about the start, or finish at the end of the day, just a hoping for food, soft chairs and a vista for your mind to download.
The essence of bike packing, or multi day excursions are pure for me, even in the race format, the challenge is still against yourself and the elements, but its peppered with so many more intangibles than just taking enough goods for a 3-4 hour race. Having enough soft goods to be comfortable in any situation, and if you don’t understand the term “soft” goods, then you should stop reading. There is a certain comfort in a nice warm jacket when the world has decided to go fuck mode. it’s a mix of your moms and a lovers touch, softly reassuring your beliefs in your endeavour and faith in humanity, plus it adds relief to your current situation. Having the perfect pair of socks can be orgasmic as well. Storms clash and rage, and you find yourself hidden under the arms of a pine tree, wrapped in synthetic with a little bit of something soft and fuzzy against your bare skin, that makes you think, “well,… shit-I’m alright”.
The world has become flooded with easiness, app’s, touch screen, downloadable‘s, we seek and find shelter in the falseness of things we can only see and not feel. Maybe I was born in the wrong century, but I think a person needs a certain amount of alone time, one-to rid their selves of whatever plagues or calls to them, two, too find the compassion, and gratuity in everyday life and in those they have chosen to surround themselves by. In challenging yourself alone and being accountable for your own wellbeing, shelter and food, we give ourselves some of the basic primal necessities that man has always sought. Its rough, its instinctual, there is a completeness and a fine sense of accomplishment that comes to you, and it washes you in waves of self pride.
That is not too say I no longer wish to race cross-country or marathon events, I love them. I crave to see the continued development in myself and also the accolades and podiums aren’t a bother either. Being with friends, out in the pines with tired legs and the world beside us is a place on this earth that I’ve longed looked for, and I’ve found it after some searching. I have my own set of goals and things I wish to complete before my years creep too high, and I’ve got plenty of those left. it’s the growth maybe that calls to me the loudest, there is a serene humanity to this sport that I think most pass by and miss. Watching friends become faster, healthier and conquer fears they thought they wouldn’t overcome is almost somewhat spiritual for me, I see another door open up for them, a chance for them to see a little more of what I’ve been gifted the chance to see. Isn’t that what life should be? An understanding of years, patience, belief and getting over what you thought was once impossible? I sure as hell think so.
I have a smorgasbord of events and dates I’d like to be at, and at this point in my life it’s a plan to make one of them. It starts now, saving another 20 bucks here, picking up something there, if you plan correctly, then you know what you need 7 months from now. I have been handed my own failures lately, it feels as though I haven’t lived up to my own measuring stick, not always by my own doing, some shit is just out of your hands, but you need to keep a sharper eye on what’s next and just be in the best possible situation that you can be in.
And maybe that’s why we ride? The next set of adventures, the next grouping of friends, the new pictures and times where you roll back to in your mind. Somewhere out on the trails, over the mesa’s and through the aspens is what we all seek, it’s different for everyone but its universal to us all, and that’s the bloodline of this group of peddlers, its different but it’s the same, where all drawn to the fire by our own sets of accomplishments no matter the ability, it’s the bike that brought us together, and it’s the souls who were aboard them that keeps it moving. I’ll see you out on the trails~Jonny P.