Day 18: Leaning in to the Curve, Santa Fe, Wrong Turns, Los Alamos, Santa Fe Again, Amarillo
A couple of firsts today.
Most miles ridden at one stretch: 176
Best gas mileage: 50 mpg.
A kind woman at the motel this morning gave me directions to my road out of town. Unfortunately, the directions were wrong. But it enabled me to visit Los Alamos and to drive a circle around scenic Santa Fe.
Back on the right road this time I was happy. I stopped, had a coffee and a sausage biscuit and felt refreshed. This is when I did the 176 miles, stopping in Tucumcari and a few more moments down historic Route 66.
It was a smooth ride for the most part. I hit a few really hard bumps and wondered how the hell my tires had survived. They are stock Dunlop Harley tires and they are filled with nitrogen, which works better than air in the tires. They are amazing.
The other thing I thought about was “leaning”. On a bike you have to lean into curves to survive the turn. (Counter-steering is a way of leaning but that’s for another post). Also, when hit by a crosswind it works best to lean into it; tacking, if you will. When I’m passing a truck I know I’m going to suddenly get the wind that’s been blocked. I lean the bike to the right. I might lean it up to 20% to the right to compensate and keep me going straight.
I’ve found that this also works with suffering. It has for mine. In the long run it doesn’t work to deny it, or ignore it. You have to lean in to it, accept it, but not beat yourself up about it. Learn from it.
Pema Chadron says: “Instead of blaming our discomfort on outer circumstances or on our own weakness, we can choose to stay present and awake to our experience, not rejecting it, not grasping it, not buying the stories that we relentlessly tell ourselves.”
It’s about leaning into our pain and suffering, accepting it and ourselves, and having compassion for ourselves. You can’t have compassion for others without having it for yourself.