Tuesday, March 29, 2005

"Are you a biker?"

It was a common question that I heard en route to my conference in Tampa, Florida last week. No, not a motorcyclist, but rather a cyclist - in the same fraternity as Lance Armstrong, but not near as good.

The give-away? Could it have been my svelte figure? Most likely not. It was probably the bright fluorescent PEARL iZUMi sportswear that I had on. Regardless, I had to think about my answer for a split second and then I said, ...

Flashback to the winter of 2002. I had just moved my family back to Fargo, North Dakota and I was informed by one of my dearest friends, Chuck Fabijanic, that he, I and a small group of colleagues would be biking across the very depths of Death Valley and then hiking to the very heights of Mount Whitney in the fall of 2003. A few months later, my wife Di and I discovered that we were pregnant - with triplets - and would be delivering either before or around the date of the greatly anticipated bike-n-hike in the fall months. Needless to say, and without hesitation, I cancelled out on the trip from the lowest to the highest altitude in the contiguous United States...

The fall of 2003 saw the arrival of our most wonderful triplets, Emily, Hannah and Nicholas. And life has not been the same... until December of 2003... my friend Chuck emailed me to tell me that a group would be making a second trip across Death Valley and up Mount Whitney. I couldn't miss out on this opportunity. As spring of 2004 approached, I invested in a touring cycle; a Gary Fisher hybrid. That basically means it is a touring cycle design that can be used on- and off-road. The cycling learning curve for me was great as I had only ten months to prepare for the 135-mile ride across Death Valley. But I read anything and everything I could about cycling - I lived, ate and breathed cycling [for this, my apologies to my wife Di and children]. Needless to say, the second bike-n-hike came and went and I had a very memorable time [thanks Chuck and Keith]. And since that time, I haven't look back and continue to ride on...

Back to my recent moments of inquiry, "Are you a biker?" When asked, I had to smile to myself. The clothing might have been the dead give-away. But it is my passion, not my talent, that made (and makes) me respond each time, "Yes, I am a biker/cyclist." And it is the same with you, my friend. It is not the clothes or equipment that sculpts the human spirit, it's the passion.

So pick your passion: running, scrapbooking, hiking, reading, writing, etc. And then, own it. Am I a writer? It took me almost 15 years to agree to that question, but I am a writer. Am I good writer or bad writer? That is for you and others to decide. But my passion lies in the written word; for better or for worse. So pick your passion and own it. It's yours and yours for the taking. Let no one - family, friend or foe - distract you from your rightful passion.

I will continue to cycle until my legs give out and then, from that point, I will dream only of cycling. Because it's not the physical ability that decides who I am or was... or who you are or were.

It rests - and will always rest - solely in the spirit that birthed the passion.

hoedl's haven
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