Let’s talk about how I have submitted an application to ride in LOTOJA 2013! And about how every time I even think that sentence, I get anxiety of the athletic variety I haven’t experienced since high school track meets. If you don’t know, and are too lazy to google it, LOTOJA is a 206 mile (!!) one-day bike race from Logan, Ut, to Jackson, Wy. (Get it? LOganTOJAckson?) So, what you’re probably thinking right now is “whoa, I had no idea that Dana was so into biking/ a serious competitive rider. Well, umm, you didn’t know that because I’M NOT!! And I am very much going back and forth between 2 modes of thinking, the first and less dominant being “I can totally do this. I’ll train like crazy, mile by mile, I’ll get much stronger, people do this, I can do this.”. . . and the second being “what the freak was I thinking?? I’ve never even participated in one single bike race in my entire life so where do I get off thinking I can start with the one that happens to be the longest single-day race in the entire United States of America? I don’t know a thing about biking! I can’t even properly change a tube. I’ve never ridden loner than 30 miles. I don’t have time to train for this thing. WHAT AM I DOING???”
So, ya, that’s going on in my brain.
And often, heaven knows why, my remedy for calming myself down seems to be the automatic question “what’s the worst that can happen?” And guys, that is not a good question for the active and extremely creative imagination that I happen to possess. There was that time my dad crashed and had a cantaloup sized bump on his hip for a couple of months. Broken bones, legs mutilated by road rash, getting hit by a car. Then there’s LOTOJA 2005 when riders pretty much rode through a freak September blizzard the whole time. Hypothermia, pneumonia, frostbite. Or–heatstroke and sunburn. Two participants died last year. I could get injured and not even be able to participate, in which case I will have wasted a lot of entry money (no refunds), be sorely disappointed, and look pretty stupid.
The idea came in the first place because my dad is a biker and has completed LOTOJA I think 6 times. For a few years I’ve been thinking that I’d like to do it someday and one day I realized that if I’m ever going to do it, this year would be a great time. Not just in the carpe diem sense, but logistically. This is the last year we’ll be living in Utah, and the last year in a long time that Tanner will have any sort of time to take care of Camryn while I train and train himself (he’s signed up with me!) Also, right now I have one child to take care of instead of . . . more. And more would undoubtedly make this kind of time commitment a lot more difficult.
So, the opportunity presented itself, and since all of the above worse-case scenarios are highly unlikely, the biggest and most likely worst thing that could happen is what really has me nervous: what if I start and can’t finish? And when I realized that this was my real fear in entering –that’s when I decided to do it. I like to consciously avoid not doing things because of fear of failure. I’d rather regret the things that I did do than the things I did not. In the words of J.K Rowling:
“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”
When I think about my life and the things I have done, the things that made me ask “am I crazy for trying this?” turn out to be the best things I’ve ever done. Or at least the most memorable?
And so, call me crazy, but I am currently in training for LOTOJA! 78 miles down and a lot more to go.