I was completely numb. My body was numb. My mind was numb. Everything was numb.
I could feel myself leaving my body. It was as if I was looking down at myself, from outside of my physical being. Everything was hazy. There was no time. There almost wasn’t any space…but not quite. I still knew where I was, but only faintly.
I was drenched in heavy, sticky sweat. I was so thirsty that I had stopped being thirsty. All my beings had definitely melded into one. There was no separation between physical, mental and spiritual. I was just one single being, floating in the air, looking down at my physical representation and drifting in a weird, hazy existence. I wondered if this is what Jim Morrison meant by breaking on through to the ‘other side’.
I wondered how I got here? My mind was so fuzzy, but somehow I knew that I simply had to focus on the road ahead. Somehow I knew. I knew that I had to keep on spinning, one pedal stroke at a time. I knew that I just had to keep on moving, keep my bike inching forward. I knew that there would be an end. I had completely lost track of how far away that end was. But it didn’t even matter. I knew I would make it. I always did.
Snap. It was over. Just like that. I could see our rental car parked just ahead, on the right side of the road. Oh. My. Goodness. As I rolled to a stop, it took me a moment to come to. What had just happened? Where had I been? My mind had gone into a very far away place. As my mind became clear again, and I could feel my physical being become present, I started to come together. Wow. I really wondered where I had been.
We packed the bikes up, removed our helmets, changed our shoes, and sauntered across the street a quaint little coffee house known as Grandma’s House. It literally looks like a house. Freshly baked goods, smooth coffee, and other refreshing beverages are to be found in this little gem. My favorite is the chai tea and fresh baked banana bread. For me, the reward at the end of the hard work is always worth living for.
The ride we had just completed is, to this day, one of my favorites. Our simple naivety lead us to start the ride much too late in the day given the hot Hawaiian temperatures and high humidity. We were not used to the heat and the moisture. We should have started the ride hours earlier when the air was still crisp and fresh. But then again, if we had, then I never would have had my out of body experience. I do think that being uncomfortable is good. And I think that being able to find a way to be within that uncomfortableness is important. It can help us deal with challenges that we face, and it makes us stronger.
The route itself is wonderful fun for a cyclist, and the scenery is stunning. The road from Grandma’s House runs along the coast. The road is well maintained, and has been repaved up to a certain point. Cycling to the end of the maintained section is perfect. It allows the cyclist to experience short, steep hills winding along the coastline. At the end of the maintained portion, you will find yourself right at the ocean. I love to take a moment at the end point, look out into the endless depths of the ocean, and feel the ocean breeze touching my face. I love to close my eyes, take in a deep breathe, and let the ocean air soothe my soul.
I agree with you about needing to find discomfort. Many endurance gains are more mental than physical (Actually the definition of endure is “to suffer patiently” so it stands to reason that endurance athletes need to train themselves to suffer. Ah, so many places to visit. So few vacations available in life.
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Extremely well written I have had those “out of body” experiences on my long runs.
I loved Hawaii when I visited 12 years ago (8 days on Maui and 10 days on Molokai. Say lots on Maui but never made it to the Kula region. Your pictures are gorgeous.