Stories

Touring to the Moon and Back

December 26, 2019

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Touring to the Moon and Back

“My sense of happiness upon finishing the course with my dad overshadowed everything else.”

Shane Reinhard

Snafu Trifecta

In 2016, I did something I’d always wanted: a cycling event with my dad.

We could have started with something easy. But, living so close to the Rocky Mountains, it was hard to pass up the “Tour of the Moon”—a 41-miler that winds through the breathtakingly beautiful Colorado National Monument. It’s honestly one of the most gorgeous rides on Earth.

I just wish I would have enjoyed it more.

My first mistake was buying a cheap road bike from Walmart the morning of the event, which was probably assembled by an untrained employee who performed no pre-ride maintenance.

And because I waited until the last minute, there wasn’t time for a professional tune-up before I needed to be on the starting line. Mistake number two.

As if all of this wasn’t enough, I started training for the event just a week in advance. What can I say? I was a naive 20-something who thought I could handle everything with ease.

Mistake number three: check.

Shifting Down

Was I super excited to finally ride this event with my dad? Absolutely.

I was also nervous about completing its first—read: easier—section, which weaved through relatively-flat Grand Junction, Colorado.

Our course would then climb up through the Colorado National Monument, though, and I was already having difficulty shifting down into my lowest gear. And with little training beforehand, my legs badly needed all the help they could get.

Needless to say, by the time my dad and I reached the Monument’s face, my optimistic mood had turned sour.

Colorado National Monument. Credit: GoFruita.com

Sur-Passing Expectations

When we arrived at the event’s first checkpoint, I was dog-tired, knowing that many more miles lay before me. And because I couldn’t shift into first gear, I also recognized the distance was going to require a lot more effort than necessary.

Bottom line: This was going to be a lot more difficult than I initially expected.

But, I decided that I wasn’t giving up on this event; one I’d dreamed about for ages. I also didn’t want to slow my dad’s momentum, so I told him to forge ahead while I continued slogging through the never-ending climbs.

Up and up the road went, each curve seemingly leading to another climb. There were many times where I had to dig deep to believe that I could do this. Even as countless people passed the dude in second gear, I tried my best to keep pace and maintain a positive attitude.

Finally, though, I reached the summit, elated to know that the course’s final miles would all be downhill. I thanked my lucky stars! I’d made it!

I sped my way down the other side of the Monument, weaving past many other riders and catching up with my father.

I felt like I was about to win the Tour de France!

Finishing With a New Perspective

I was exhausted by the time my father and I reached the finish line. Even to this day, I’ve yet to experience the same kind of athletic tiredness.

Still, my sense of happiness upon finishing the course with my dad overshadowed everything else.

Could I have enjoyed Colorado National Monument a whole lot more? Yes. Did I savor my experience? Definitely not!

But, as I reflect on the event years later, my memories will always be nostalgic for the day I climbed “Mount Everest” with my dad cheering me on along the way to his own success.

Don’t stop the good times rolling: Tell your story here!

Shane Reinhard is an English teacher by trade, writer by night. He lives in Utah with his wife, Kirsten, and two young ones.
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