For many of the last few years, I wasn’t really able to ride flatland. Those of you that do it can understand the intense mental state it takes. Those of you who don’t ride flat should know it takes the ultimate concentration and focus. You have to be completely in the moment. That is part of the fun but perhaps the hardest to master of all my tricks.
The reason I couldn’t ride flatland was because of a crumbling marriage. I’d try to go out and ride but after 15 minutes, I’d sit on my bike and just think. Think about my troubles. Think about her spending time with another guy. Think about my kids and how they deserved better. It got to the point where I knew when I went out, she was with him. Too often, I’d come home to find him sitting in my house. The focus was gone.
My ability to ride flat left a void in my life. I tried to fill in with riding big wheeled bikes or going to the skatepark. Those were ways I could ride and think about what I was doing intermittently with the problems at home. It was fun but didn’t let me be creative the way I had always been.
About a year ago, I went out to ride and found the zone again. While life was far from perfect, she was now behind me and so was the baggage. It was liberating to say the least. Today while I was out in my parking lot a black SUV started coming toward me. It’s always amazed me how I’m such a car magnet in an otherwise empty lot. The car came to a stop and it was her.
We spoke for a few minutes about the kids and the day. Nothing much. Then she left to go back to what was formerly our home. I took this pause as an opportunity to get a drink of water and I had been riding intensely for half an hour. I lay my bike over and sat on the frame and she was in my head again.
Not bad thoughts, not hurt, not angst. I just felt like I saw someone I knew even though she had once broken the heart I pledged to her. Today, I just felt an odd mix of friendliness and discontent. My mind started to wander back to days past, both good and bad. I was heading back to that bad place.
Quickly realizing this, I got up and hopped on my bike. A few quick cranks and a 180 had me racing backwards as I popped the back wheel up. I rolled about 4 parking spaces and set the back wheel down smoothly. Cranking the bars around backwards, the front wheel slid around and had me going forwards again. It felt good.
Maybe the trick was a metaphor for my life turning itself around, perilously balancing for a while but then I got it back under control and was now moving forward. At the time though I didn’t think of that. I was just thinking about how good it felt to be riding and how lucky I am now to have flatland back in my life.