The ocean never forgets

In the mountains with friends after the Tour de Nantahala. Fall 2007.

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate,

It was cold Sunday morning. I descended a hill on my bike.  The first sharp grip of fall around me, the first flush of warmth I’ve felt leaving my cheeks in months, and the gradual gentle release of it’s grip as I pedaled each additional mile. A few crisp leaves scattered in tumbling red and orange. But most of summer’s life still clinging.

Same bike. Different rider, I suppose. But still that same unfamiliar voice. My mind somewhere back where it started. Or already ahead an entire season. Absent in the difficult present.

I read once that the ocean never forgets where it’s been*. This morning I felt that way. I felt peaceful knowing that each of you will remember me this way.

I started training for this season in December, in the cold. With it’s first signs of return I rolled ashore again, tired and lost, beginning to remember. One of the only constants in my life. The changing of seasons. Those difficult mornings between summer’s racing season, when it’s easy. When short sleeves are enough. And the knowing that it will all return again.

We stopped for a cup of coffee mid-ride. Took it slow. We sat on a bench and sipped our coffee while I made up a conversation between two workers, a busboy and a waiter, at the Country Boy diner. Their lives seemed interesting. Perhaps only in their unfamiliarity.

I’ve started tapering.

Two weeks until my final race of the year in South Carolina. And enlightenment. A return to the darkness that keeps me coming back. Then rest. Then rolling out to sea again.

I love you,

– Daddy

* William Least HeatMoon “Blue Highways”