The Pettit~Files, reclamation cyclist, pursuits and endevours.
Florescent garage lights flicker as my eyes hemorrhage to gain vision. The house is cold and the only noise comes from Mr. Coffee percolating the caffeinated goodness, I swipe the ipad to Pandora and now tunes fill the space I share alone with my thoughts. My lips meet the hot coffee in a porcelain cup as the rest of me attempts to awake from the fog of sleep. I know as soon as I hit the garage door button more blast of cold will cover me. It’s dark out and will be for hours, skin is exposed to bare air, crisp and cool it draws any moisture and makes me look older, I know however at 36 I’ve gained plenty of miles, most of them off the bike.
Fumbling for warmth, gloves and something to cover a bare scalp, I attempt to chug the heat from a cup for my last bit of reprieve from this lonely chill. Lumens now shoot towards my neighbor’s house and music attains my brain as cold heavy legs clip into contraptions that hold me to a machine. Everywhere my head turns, a narrow beam of light accompanies it, I wish my concentration could be as accurate.
It’s pavement for a couple miles, then the familiar trailhead. Darken empty parking lot, humble and chilly. I unlock the suspension, adjust a couple things and make my way to the rocky trials. My legs move like pistons, and my body the serpentine belt, but these glow plugs aren’t warm yet, the parts aren’t lubed and it seems a convoluted mess of things moving out of harmony. My heart thumps a faster rhythm than the rest of me want’s to, and it takes a while for the parts to find themselves and catch up, my brain however is still in thread counts and cotton.
Pockets of heat and depths of cold come and go in the hollers, every once in a while I’ll look for another light, but the better part of me knows I’m the only soul out here. It’ll be nearly 3 hours till the sun comes up, I know my music will be interrupted with emails from corporate back east, I also know I’m both doing good and evil to my body. Rocks kick up and splinter my chin, bringing me back to the realization I should pay attention and not on my finances, the sphere of life and makers mark. I stop at the next trailhead and look at my garmin held to the bike by electrical tape, it broke in the last crash and Chase bank said I can’t have another one. Coyotes and Javelinas are my only company, along with the bugs that sway in my headlight when I stop. The bike glides over the harsh earth and fully suspends me in air sprung comfort, giving further thanks to the relationships I’ve established since moving south.
First loves and fairy tales left handed diamond bands and life rolls on. I chuckle to myself, the cloud of breath hangs around my head like its waiting to be filled with quotations, instead I say fuck, where is the sun. I rumble through a bit of isolated singletrack and reach the backside of the mountain, random things sparkle in the rocks and dirt. Not all that shines like gold is golden, and not all efforts are even. The towers atop South Mountain are my only company; they blink in succession and mark their territory. I get to the top and turn back around and head toward San Juan and another random bit that doesn’t see much action, linking together sections of trail and asphalt, and then repeat the effort until finally the temperature dips a few degrees, then I know the sun is making its way to me.
I turn of the artificial light and allow the morning to come to me, set in my bones so I can feel its complete warmth, I know soon enough I’ll be too damned hot but that’s the motion of what we do. I sit on a cold rock on a good vantage point to watch the yellow orbs fingers of heat cover the valley, watch as they bend up the mountain and splash my face first then work its way down my body. I rarely during the week get to ride in the daylight, and while trying to balance life, love, money, work, events, and everything else it seems I’m more nocturnal than most. It’s a dance to ride in the dark, odd things stick out, your fall line changes in tunnel vision of light, your mind races of things you’ve think you saw. I’ve ate shit a time or two making the adjustment, “when Jonny p crashes in the woods does it make a sound” Yes, and usually the words are not sweet. Luckily barely anything is exposed so I’m just bruised but no blood.
Someone asked me what determination looked like the other day, and leaving my house before 4 am and seeing the glow of lights between my blinds and knowing its warm and cozy I imagined that’s it a little, the ability to shove off into the unknown, be humbled, emphatic, lost, confused but knowing we’ll be alright, that’s a brief description I’d give. Leaving something you know works for the betterment of us and our minds, friends and just plain ole exploration, chasing haunting fears and doubts.
I believe I’m a reclamation cyclist. Cobbled together things that were broken and forgot about, held together by glue I can’t describe and an unhealthy need to try everything. I found it early by way of getting away from situations, to be healthy, explore and come back home torn open, tired, bleeding but damn happy from an adventure, seeing rare parts of the globe. Your mind creates a wonder lust of what you saw and experienced, sometimes I’m a little wounded by seeing so many of these things alone, I’ve gathered many diamonds that have forever stuck with me. We all have crutches, shoulders and personal ambition; it’s the balance between them all that allows us to be creative. Life is for living, bikes suit anybody like a tailor fit, the further I got outside that knowledge my world came apart. We meet people that become bridges, allowing us to see and experience a different part of life, get across our own fears; this band of peddlers is the most sporadic and genius bunch I’ve met.
I really never thought of a career, never graduated college and barely made it through high school. A decades worth on the ocean, pounding nails, pouring concrete, skiing trees and riding bikes, that all sounded pretty rad to me, but understanding life doesn’t always have to be tough is a hard lesson for me to learn. In dating women they always see what could be, I tell them this is actually quite the refinement compared to what I use to be and do.
It’s not just about speed, but when we get twisted we find the purity of the effort when we swing a leg over a bike, then instead it becomes a magic carpet and away we ride. The older I get, the more happy I am to see the different scope of people on bikes, the endeavor is the same and I find a great deal of joy in that, sometimes I feel like I’m the vessel to go where they would like to, but can’t. Finding a purpose, revealing gratitude, having friends and quieting that internal mystery between our shoulders and ears, that’s a lot of the reasons I do it, it’s the only life I’ve known. Things could change in a year or ten, but the driving force will involve the machine itself, and the friends made along the way.