Caren Ware's Blog

June 30, 2012


Taking a fully loaded truck and trailer and orderly decorating a 460 square foot studio apartment required minute and maximum space planning, much like living aboard a sail boat would require.  The only similarity I had to this was the four years I lived in college dorms and those same summers in summer camp cabins or a tent.   The timing of the 4TH OF July races was triumph, and I was ready to head back to Jackson, Wyoming. But somehow, I had managed to fill the Toyota Tundra truck to the brim with another load with the “ just in case I need this” es.  The passenger seat of my truck was now filled with books, publisher volumes, school catalogs, journals and letters, and framed photos of my kids and all their years, phases, places and things we had done. They were seat belted beside me.

Behind the seat, very gingerly intertwined, were my new summer companians.  I rewarded my hard earned year with the purchase of a Cannondale duel suspension, top of the line Mountain bike ,and an equally slick, light weight, carbon fiber, electronic shifting road bike.  Ask me their exact brand models and know you are asking a girl?!.  I’ll tell you the mountain bike is a flashy, brilliant green and yellow and the road bike is a prim and styling black and white, standing there like its ready to accompany you to a black tie affair. I dubbed the mountain bike ‘MUD BUD” and affectioned  the roadie bike , “ESCORT”.

I purchased the bikes from Scott MacAfee, the owner of Don’s Bicycle Shop in Rialto.  I started producing cycling events and moved to timing them twenty years ago about when Scott took on building bikes and being the sought after bike shop of So California.  Another one that has boundless energy, he uses it well to run the stores and play husband and dad, having four kids.  I took ESCORT out on a road ride to say good bye to a triathlete and good friend.  Val and I rode from Snow Valley to Big Bear and back.  The bike did great. The rider,me, well… a little weak.

Somehow, buying the bikes at Don’s Bike Shop was my way of giving my inanimate objects a personhood, a birth. I knew what their purpose would be. They were going to be my solid company. As if the running  industry would ever think of thanking me for the events I started, and timed, and the years of services rendered.  No.  No job ever does.  So I thanked myself with my bikes.  I pulled away from the shop, the area, my now empty warehouse, and the house I raised my kids in the mountains.  The San Bernardino Mountains were in my rearview mirror.  PRIME TIME was now snuggly in a wisely moved to local and closer to the races.  The new Orange County office has easy freeway access.  My home in the mountains had been sold and was now repainted a different color and they added a decorated wood garage door.  It was now someone else’s home.

My divorce was a slash right down the middle of my entire being, like the lawyer papers read and any good judge would sign. It had been an upheaval, emotional, accusatory, and forever damaging few years.  Would that wound ever heal?  All the memories, regrets, triumphs, successes, failures, moments…raising the kids, providing and guiding had been so numbed by this past year.    Grief, inevitable grief hopped into the truck with me.  I knew I had no other choice, but to embrace this unwanted traveling champion.  But it was this grief that was making me head north.

North to Jackson, where they had miles and miles of paved bike paths, and thousands of miles of dirt roads and single track.  Where mountain ranges went in all directions and trails that would take a lifetime to explore.  Where I could put MUD BUD and ESCORT to the task of riding grief right out of me.   Where I could put on trail shoes and explore my way back into condition.  Where hiking boots could reteach me the simplicity and peace of just being outdoors.  Lord, I pray I discover Who you are again. Divorce annihilates direction.  I had to find and get my bearings.  Divorce drains esteem right out of you.  To the very last drop.  I had to inject some back into my veins… somehow.  And I had to let grief just settle right in with the conscious choice that it was not welcome to stay too long.

The phone rang.  My daughter asked if I would postpone driving away and join her for a movie before I left.  I parked my truck in the furthest end of the parking lot, embarrassed by its full load. We bought two tickets to see the cartooned movie, BRAVE.  She had seen it and thought the characters were us.  The story line was everything to do with a strained, but hope determined relationship between a character of a daughter and an instructive, hardworking, well-meaning mom who was robbing herself and her daughter of a loving relationship because she was too self-protected and too guarded to show genuine affection.  In rare moments, the mom would let her guard down and the beauty of true connection would happen.  Carrie wanted us to have that connection.  “‘See that one mom…don’t blink.  That sparkle moment.  We had those.  We can have those.  Mom.  I want that more than anything.”  We sat in her car and fought back the tears, relating all too well.

And yet, even in her car, even being transparent, hugging each other as we left for summers of growth and unknown, my walls were up.  They were tall.  The layers of bricks were built with some strong mortar.

I had some riding, and walking to do.

Be BRAVE, Caren.  Be BRAVE.

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