Sunday, November 01, 2009

Thanks for reaching out

I had to do a long ride today to work out a thick case of malaise. I'm not really sure what caused it ... hormonal, maybe, or possibly because the end of daylight savings time means that darkness starts creeping in at 4:30 in the afternoon. Either way, there are just some days that I wake up feeling bad about myself, which necessitates going out into the gray morning and pounding out 40 or so mindless miles on pavement, with 10 fast and fun miles of swooping, Ewok-forest trail on the skinny tires, even if it's snaining and there's slush on the road. I almost never return from a bike ride grumpier than I was before I left. Tired, sometimes. Cold, sometimes. Wet, many times. But usually with a brighter outlook on life.

I am grateful for a couple of people who contacted me this weekend, and inadvertently helped me work through the grump. I was wedged in a thick Halloween crowd at the Alaskan last night, wearing a tiger costume with a hood and pointy little ears and looking decidedly different than I usually do, when I woman pushed her way toward me and yelled over the bluegrass band, "Don't think I'm some kind of crazy stalker or anything, but do you have a blog about biking?" She went on to tell me that she just moved to Juneau from Seattle on Tuesday to work as a nurse at the local hospital. "Your blog is pretty much the reason I came to Juneau," she said. "I wanted to get out of the city and be somewhere where the wilderness was all around me."

Then today, I received an e-mail from a woman who wrote, "I got myself in the Iditarod Invitational and it is pretty much your fault. :] I am always looking for a new adventure. A friend of mine gave me your book to read and I was hooked." She wanted to ask for some advice for the 2010 race, which she's signed up for.

I think the most any of us aspire to is to make a positive difference in the world or in the lives of others. It's nice to think that in my own small ways, I helped inspire other women to embark on new adventures. I like to think that's the difference I can help make in the world. If more people come alive, than the world will come alive.