Friday, May 30, 2008

Oh, the places we'll ride

Date: May 29
Mileage: 117.3
May mileage: 1,138.8
Temperature: 60

(With apologies to Dr. Seuss.)

Today is your day!
There's no work to do.
There's more time to play.
You have food in your pack.
And legs in your shorts.
And you can propel yourself.
On an adventure of sorts.
You have a bike. And you are what you are.
But as a cyclist only you can decide how far.
You think over your options, but it doesn't seem fair
You'll think, "But I always, always go there."
With your pack full of food and your shorts full of legs
You don't want to risk pedaling around in the dregs.
But this is not the day
To wallow in your abode.
The sun is out; it's time
To head out the road.

It's opener there,
Beyond the city we share.
Out the road, there are trails
That are seldomly used
Even by people as hungry
And leggy as you.
So when you find yourself alone,
In a place that's all new,
Just keep pedaling along.
Because that's what you do.

Oh! The places we'll ride!
Where the glaciers loom large!
Where the rivers run deep!
Where deer leap along roadsides,
And the mountains climb steep.
You won't turn around because you have the strength.
To go anywhere you want to - any height, any length.
Wherever you ride, you'll see beauty and awe,
Until you can't even believe all the things that you saw.

Except when you're marred,
Because sometimes, it's hard.
Those beautiful things,
Sometimes come with a cost,
And sometimes you're tired,
And sometimes you're lost.
And sometimes you're fighting
An unending wind,
Or jaw-jarring roots
That flip you end over end.
And when you're on the ground,
You're not in for much fun.
Getting back on the bike.
Is not always easily done.
The trail will keep going,
And you'll wonder what for.
There's beauty here,
But also violence and gore.
A place where you could break a collarbone or thumb.
Do you dare move forward? Do you dare say you're done?
And if you say you're done, where do you draw the line?
Go home? Take up knitting? Drink a gallon of wine?
Or stand up and keep pedaling down the trail?
Simple it's not, and you still could fail.

You can get so frustrated.
That you'll stare at the ground.
Zoned out to all of the color and sound.
Grinding on for miles without looking around.
Headed, I fear, to a place you'll feel bound.
The quitting place.
For people just hoping that the pain will end.
So they can go home, call their friends.
Sit on the couch and maybe pretend
That there is no need to ever bike again.
People just want to quit.
Quit dodging the trees,
Quit pushing until they wheeze,
Quit hurting their knees.
Everyone is just quitting.

No! That's not for you!
Somehow you'll pull through.
All the thoughts of quitting and fear.
You'll hop those bad roots.
You'll learn how to steer.
With your hair flip-flapping,
Once more you'll ride true!
With everywhere to go and everything to do!
Oh the places we'll ride!
Narrow trails riverside.
With the flow and the feel that there's no reason to hide.
All of the magical things you can do with your bike.
Will make you wonder what's not to like.
Fast! You'll go as fast as you want to go.
With the whole world willing you to never be slow.

Except when they don't.
Because sometimes, they won't.
There will be times.
That you hit a wall.
Slowness that feels even worse than the fall.
Just slow! Whether you like it or not,
Slow is something you will be quite a lot.
And when you're slow, it's a very good bet,
That you will believe your match has been met.
And you're done, forever, with nowhere to go now but down,
And you'll want to turn and head right back to town.
But on you will go,
Though the miles run long.
On you will go,
Though you feel you don't belong,
On you will go,
Quietly humming a song,
Onward beyond,
The end of the road.
Where gravel you've never ridden,
Stretches beyond Echo Cove.
The sign says "restricted,"
Which you decide means "no cars."
And you'll take this path
To places farther than far.

You'll get tired, yes,
you'll get tired yet again.
And jolted and tossed
And stopped by dead ends.
So be sure when you pedal,
Pedal with passion and grit,
And remember that cycling's
More than just a way to stay fit.
Just never forget to be flexible and strong,
And always mix up a good list of songs,
And will you succeed?
Yes you will indeed!
Joy is one thing cycling can guarantee.
Kid, you'll ride miles!
So be your name Raleigh or Surly or Trek,
Roadie or Pugsley or Kim or Shrek,
You're off to go riding!
To go anywhere you like!
Your trail is just waiting.
So get on your bike!

(For Susan)


  1. Nice jersey you are sportin'


  2. Brilliant, Jill. Absolutely brilliant.

  3. nice work, jill. that's like an entire book in one blog post! i love seuss....

    "be who you are and say what you feel, for those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind"

    i'm sure the good dr. wouldn't mind.

  4. For Susan!

    Did you have a ride partner?

  5. Damn - always topping yourself. Dr. Seuss would be honored. I cannot believe there are still two days of May and your mileage is through the roof. You rock.

  6. Amazing, thank you! WIN Susan! I'm printing this off and posting somewhere for the days I need inspiration.


    FINALLY shorts weather in the AK!! Yippeee!!!

  8. Perfect timing for me since I'm in Dr. Seuss'shome town this morning.

  9. Oh wow, those pictures make me want to take another vacation to Alaska this summer but this time ship my mtn bike up there with me.

  10. you are my hero

  11. Wow...I live in Colorado and those pictures today made me green with envy!!


  12. Is this a result of going food shopping?? Eat more often, it could lead to brillance! :-)
    Cynthia in the Valley

  13. Great shout-out to Fatty and Susan.
    Well written, as always.

    A regular reader from the Valley of the Sun.

  14. This is so great. Thanks for both the words and pictures.

  15. Awesome Jill! You need to bring that jersey to 24 Hours of Light.

  16. Fantastic!!! And you had your Win Susan jersey on.

  17. not the first, but great jersey.


  18. Excellent poem and love the jersey. I am eagerly waiting for mine but they seem to be taking forever to get to Canada. Man, I miss riding in the Yukon.



  19. Okay, it's official. I'm a wimp.

    I opted for a long sleeve jersey instead of my new Fat Cyclist jersey yesterday morning because NYC temperature was in the low 50s with breezes.

    But then again, the rivers I crossed had more traffic creating an additional breeze.

    I wore the FC jersey today though.

  20. So good of you Jill. Soak up the sun, ride on Susan! Julie

  21. you're blog for a while I have read,
    it makes me think things in my head.
    this post was splendiferous,
    better than most.
    and the pictures, nicer they make your post.
    I rode in my new fatty gear today,
    when I saw yours I said hooray!
    thanks for taking us along,
    alaskan spring sounds like a song.
    so on the net you can find
    good and bad anytime,
    but what you have here
    brings great cheer.

  22. In pink you could be the Energizer bunny. She keeps going, and going, and going.....

  23. Jill,
    Well done. One of my favorite books!
    The Doctor wouldn't mind at all.

    Win Susan!

  24. Mom gave me this book a very long time ago and I still consider it some of life's best deep doctrine. I love it Jill.

  25. That is pure gold. I have been reading "Oh The Places You'll Go" to my 5 month old daughter of late... maybe I'll substitute with this version and get her thinking about cycling early!

  26. Often after I've read my daughter a couple Dr. Seuss stories and put her to bed, I come to my computer to do some blog & news reading to clear my head of the Dr. Seuss rhythms in my head. But oh no, it's followed me here! I can't escape the Seuss!! ;-) j/k... Great post.

  27. after about 5 different people told me "you have got to check out this blog!"

    now I understand why..

    this post is one of the more amazing bits of writing I have come across in a long time..

    from one hardcore blogger/writer/photographer to another.. my hat is off to your amazing talent & athletic determination.. I know how long something like this takes...

    gosh, now I have to work on something as interesting for us fast twitch muscle fiber athletes.. dang!


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