August 09, 2011

On Leaving A Part Of My Heart In CamSur...

Last year, almost to the day, I was getting evicted from my hotel in Naga City, Philippines. I had been there for about 2 weeks, training in a surprisingly great gym and out on the scorching roads and through the villages, living off oatmeal, almonds and boco. I was writing, constantly writing things that will afford me this lifestyle again, and soon. And, I was begging anyone, everyone to help me find a bike so that I could race in my first 70.3. It was an experience that stretched me deeply. It reached inside and showed me the depths of what a stranger I was, the depths of nothing working out the way I hoped it could before everything did. I’ll never forget it, any of it - the people, the smell, the hurt, the hope — and I’m not even talking about the race yet.

Eventually, two hours after the cut off for bike check, this mechanic Erik built me a bike in his alleyway shop in Naga City. I took a cab back to the complex, checked in, slept in a second hotel that deserves its own post, woke up, listened to the YouTube of Playing With Fire about 11 times before walking to the bus, before getting to the start line, racing on a bike with no shoes or pedal grip, blowing up on the run in 100 degree heat, drinking Cobra and stumbling across the line in a 5:29.

I’m seeing posts across the internet for this year’s version and I can feel something growing inside of me, some force asking why we’re not there again, to partake in another day that last year gave so, so much. It makes me sad not being there, and I never expected to feel that way. There’s something untouched and inspired about that part of the world, at the very least for a handful of moments, at least for me. Now, it’s something rooted inside, trying to drag me back. I have no doubt it will soon succeed.

This is my life. This is exactly how I want it to be.