by Chris Geiser
Racer #5 — Ready!
And you may find yourself
In another part of the world…
(abridged for context)
… And you may ask yourself, well
How did I get here?
Thank you David Byrne, truer words never seem to have been spoken or sung. To find yourself literally in another part of the world, where the seasons are reversed and the toilets flush in the opposite directions (I promise this isn’t 10 minutes of toilet shtick) is somewhat surreal. The strangest part — for all the flying time and distance, there is only a one hour time difference. But here we are in San Juan, Argentina. A breathtaking place in the high desert just east of Chile and the Andes. The third edition of GFNY Argentina will start here in about 8 hours time from the civic center of San Juan, making our way out of the city, and climbing gradually, gently to the Punta Negra dam where racers will cross the San Juan River, and head back to San Juan through Zonda and Ullum and heading for another loop around.
Leaving JFK on Tuesday Evening for an adventure in the Southern Hemisphere — GFNY Argentina!
This has been a fast trip — or so it seems — to a fast course through beautiful mountains, and over a dam that creates a reservoir of potable drinking water for an entire city. From the minute we arrived we could see that cycling was huge here. Cyclists of all types occupy the roadways in the afternoons when the shops are closed. The citizens of San Juan are often mobile on bicycles of every type as they complete their daily routines. The weather, coupled with the lush nature of the vineyards, and the stunning backdrop provided by the mountains make this a cycling paradise.
Punta Negra Dam — Daylight and Sunset
To be sure this is what a grad student would call a capstone project. It’s the capstone project of what has been a remarkable 2019 Season. Starting with GFNY Italia in March, racing the GFNY NYC Championship in May, the inaugural GFNY Santa Fe in June, seeing how magical the spirit of GFNY can be in Portugal, fitting a few other events in in between to keep the training up, and now closing out with what promises to be a perfect day on the bike here at GFNY Argentina. With the way the week has gone since we arrived on Wednesday, it can’t help be anything but perfect. We have been out enjoying the scenery, the people, the cyclists, and the food since our arrival. But that’s not all there is. We were suddenly struck in conversation, my teammate Adrienne and I, about how “this may not have been on the ‘list’” of places to see, if not for the race. Not because it’s not an amazing place. Certainly it is. But rather because, when we, the humans, build our so called “bucket lists” they tend to focus on things that we have heard of. Things that others have experienced, and rituals that seem to be associated with reaching a certain age, or developing a hobby/interest, or in just searching for cool shit to do.
Taking the stairs to the roof of San Juan, and sometimes, we even rode bikes!
Challenging the Bucket List Hypothesis
So let’s challenge that bucket list hypothesis for a minute. Step back from all the things that you think you may have to do to check a box, and complete a “pre-death” to do list. What if instead, we based our gathering of experience on opportunity. Continually scanning outside our comfort zones in search of experiences that will challenge, surprise, and delight. When we run out of check boxes, add new ones. Maybe that’s how you answer the question — “Well, how did I get here?” when you find yourself in another part of the world.
I am wide awake pre-race, and overwhelmed with all that has happened in 2019. As we complete our capstone tomorrow, it will afford the chance to write a recap series on all that has gone on in 2019. After tomorrow, GFNY Chile, and GFNY Ecuador remain on the 2019 GFNY calendar. With that in mind (and since we unfortunately won’t make those two races this year), we are already planning next year. Back to Latin America, France, Santa Fe, and of course…New York (sometimes you may find yourself in your own part of the world — and that’s cool too!)