Serena Bishop Gordon
I love to write and I love to ride bikes.
I used to work in fancy office building, wear suit pants and crunch other people’s numbers. I worked for Enron, then Adidas. I learned a lot, about what I didn’t want to do.
I went to work for Patagonia and was exposed to how the other half lives. The smarter half. The half with less money, more flannel, and brighter spirits. I wanted to be part of that half.
I left for a grand adventure, a boy named Ben, a six month stint as a snowed-in winter-caretaker and a thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail. I called it a sabbatical. My mom called it crazy.
Ben and I moved to Bend 7 years ago.
I learned how to ride a bike and my whole world changed.
Now I work for The Conservation Alliance.
I ride my bike as much as I can and ski the rest of the time.
I am now part of the other half. The half with less money, more flannel and a brighter spirit.
I will never go back.
Serena Rides – Serena Bishop Gordon
Last night was race #4 for of the Thrilla series and it was quite unique – it rained. I overheard Kevin say, just before the race began, that this was the first time in 10 years that it has rained for a Thrilla.
Racing in the rain is special for so many reasons, but the one that stands out for me is the display of passion each racer exudes as they pedal their bike through the rain, sand, and mud – and for what?
Why do we do this?
Why don’t we stay home with a good book and some comfort food and watch the rain fall from the coziness of our well-heated homes?
Why get covered in wet sand, just to go home and cover the entire house with this sand?
Because we love to race bikes. PERIOD.
At some point in last night’s race, I passed a woman full of passion and strength and determination. I saw her a few turns ahead and smiled to see her racing in the rain. As I went to make the pass, I gave a few encouraging words and she said to me, “You are my inspiration.”
These words caught me off guard. I was overwhelmed with gratitude and knew at the moment why I race.
It is for reasons greater than local glory, and greater than the goal of some higher level of accomplishment. Is for a reason greater than myself. It is about the community, and being a part of this community, and offering something to the others who share this space. At that moment, when Kathy spoke those words, with heaving lungs and beating heart, that I was reminded why I started this whole silly thing called bike racing. Because there is something special shared among those who toe the line, those who head out in the cold and the rain and dark.
It is something that no words, at least not mine, can do justice.
It is something deep within that rises to the surface at the most improbable moments, taking us over our edge, pushing us further and faster and harder. And this something is beautiful. Awesome. Strong. Unstoppable.
Kathy, you’ve got this something. I am so proud of you.
Our mailbox isn’t too full these days. We don’t get much
junk mail, we pay our bills online, I subscribe to just one magazine. But we do get a catalog from time to
time. Most of them are full of beautiful
pictures of far away places, smiling faces, and outdoor apparel. They all
attempt to be profound, new, exciting. Few are.
Today, one such catalog succeeded in their quest to inspire;
not through an image of a soaring vista or a beautiful person, but through the
In the pursuit to create not a sale, but an admirer, Ibex
was spot on.
It started here:
Make it with
intention. Make it Better.
What a simple, yet incredibly compelling way to live.
Live with intention.
The inspiration continued as a fingered through the
next few pages.
FORTITUDE WANTED: INQUIRE WITHIN.
I am a Shackleton junkie. I continue reading.
Today, when you read the advertisement the Ernest Shackleton
posted searching for men to join him on his arctic expedition, it reads like
MEN WANTED FOR HAZARDOUS JOURNEY, small wages, bitter cold,
long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful, honor
and recognition in case of success.
It could easily be that start of some arctic expedition
buddy movie, a slapstick romp through glacial isolation, hunger and
absurdity. But it wasn’t. It was real. We
take inspiration from that journey precisely because it was so completely
To be up front with a passion for adventure, to be at ease
with the uncertainty of an unknown journey is an intentional and vibrant way to
live. Today, life is hard to make simple, to make intentional. Today, Shackleton’s advertisement is too long
event to be tweeted out. You have to cut off the part about honor and
recognition to get down to 140 characters. Today, people don’t have time to
read the want ads in search of a sharp call to live with purpose. Yet the
journey is still there. Success still
isn’t guaranteed and while there aren’t pop-up ads beckoning for a meaningful
life, choosing to organize the years around outdoor adventure does still mean
rewards aplenty. The soul of Shackleton’s ad lives on every time we look at an
unknown journey, at the risks of an outdoor challenge and say, without
hesitation, “Yeah. That looks good. Sign me up.”
How true. How real.
Mary Oliver asked, “ What do you plan to do with this one
wild and precious life?”
A big question, one loaded with expectation and wonder. A
question I cannot answer fully on this day, but one I am working toward
answering each and every day of my life.
It is my objective to live with intention. To pursue my goals and
dreams wholeheartedly, to follow the advice John Steinbeck so eloquently shared, “You can only
fight fate so far and when you give in you are strong because all your force
flows in one direction.”
I sure hope he is right.
For the last six months this has been the wall next to my
bed. I see it each and every day. I think tomorrow I will take just a moment
longer to read the words a second time.
|Photo: Brian Nelson|
I think this image says it all. PURE AWESOME!
The Blitz to the Barrel did it again and took the title of BEST RACE OF THE YEAR!
Erik and his All Access Crew blew every expectation out of the water.
“Everything is so PRO” I heard one of the racers say as we headed up to the Wanoga Trailhead. “We even have our names on our race plates.” Even the smallest details were dialed.
|Photo: lasala images|
After a rocky start, I battled back to finish 3rd and held my own when it came time to chug the beer.
And to cap off an awesome event, I stood on the podium with some amazing women. I was so honored to race well, at home, with these fine ladies.
Big thanks to Erik, Kyeli, the Eastland Clan, the All Access Crew, 10 Barrel, and our amazing community!
There is no better place to live, race and train!