Here we are, decending down the backside of Mont Ventoux. I’m shivering so violently my whole body shakes, I had been climbing for the last hour and a half and now that sweat dried in the cool wind. As I navigated around another switchback I was reminded of this great Steinbeck quote that essentially says that farmers never remember the good seasons during bad ones and never remember the bad ones during good.
Descending a mountain is the same way, each switchback slowly melts away the memories of pain and slowly (but surely) you forget how you got there at all.
The pleasure erases the pain.
I feel cold before I notice I am alone.
Hours before we were together, laughing and smiling, the sun hitting our Vitamin D deprived skin. We climbed as fields of cacti gave way to barren desert and we sucked air that inexplicably tasted like sand. But that was all hours and many thousands of feet ago, and now I am cold and miss my brother.
I like to think of pain as a beam of light: focused, intense and beatable. I like to imagine myself in a room alone with it, letting the beam pass through me then laughing mirthlessly and asking more. It’s beatable because it’s defined and predictable.
I wish I could say I let cold sweat run down my legs and slipped my hands into the drops, climbing beautifully, respecting the mountain with my best effort. I wish I could tell you that I stared at the beam of light and was warmed by it, but this was different. The light had hit a prism, reflecting and refracting pain in every direction. So many things were hurting, so many things were wrong that I didn’t want to win, I just wanted to quit.
I start thinking about how nobody ever tells you how appealing quitting can become when you are on the limit; reminded of when I used to be a wrestler and sometimes in the middle of a hard match, I would fantasize about quitting. It’s easy to think that all I had to do was relax the shoulders and count 1, 2, 3 and it would all be over. It is the warm comfort of quitting that makes resisting it so important.
I feel a hand on my lower back and am snapped back to reality. I’m freezing, 27 miles and 7,000 feet into the accent up Mt. Lemmon and that prism-like, unfocused but ubiquitous pain is racking me. Dylan rides next to me and I can’t tell if he is grimacing or smiling. We ride on in silence and while we aren’t exactly winning the fight against the mountain, we aren’t losing it either, and sometimes that’s enough, that’s enough.
find happiness in the cold.
A few months back, J. Lindeberg had their Saks Fith Avenue debut. To mark the event I asked a few friends to suit up and come to the party on 5th Ave. Thanks to Collin Hughes, Josh Woods, Mike Abu and Dylan Nord, y’all look great.
Dylan last night after the Peleton Photo Annual launch at the Rapha Cycle Club
Happy Birthday to my little brother Dylan. It’s all a bit more fun with you along for the ride. tailwinds.
photo by aaron
Dylan Nord in J. Lindeberg.
Dylan and I skipped out of town the other weekend, packed a car full of tents and bikes, rode till we broke and showered in rivers. Read his take on it here, it’s better than I could do.
Dylan and I pulled on our Daddy Long Socks and did some Sandy hunting yesterday.
Dylan Nord turns 25 today.
The best thing about Dylan is he lacks the capacity to be a bad person. Every single time you need him, or need him to step up he is there. There aren’t many of those people in the world and I am damn proud to call him a brother, friend, teammate and co-founder.
Things get sticky at 23%,
Find some freedom @DeuxNorth (Twitter & Instagram, see more here)