This I Believe

Matt - Portland, Oregon
Entered on September 20, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I never thought I’d be where I am today. A few years ago if someone told me they were going to ride 90 miles on a bike I’d have thought they were crazy. If someone had laid out parts to bike and told me to put it together I wouldn’t know where to start. But that was then, now riding my bike all the time, for miles on end seems like nothing. Putting a bike together? That’s fun.

It all started in Eighth Grade, my last year of middle school. At some point in the middle of winter, my dad suggested to me that he and I take our bikes and ride RAGBRAI, a bicycle ride across Iowa. I said, “Sure, whatever,” at the time I didn’t think too much of it. It wasn’t a completely new idea to me. I would ride my bike several days a week, but never more that a few miles though. I’d done one fifty-mile ride several years before that it was a long arduous journey and I really struggled. About mid-spring when we began training did the magnitude of this undertaking truly hit me, I became a little nervous. I wasn’t sure I could make it, I’d only ridden fifty-miles once. How in the world would I ever be able to make it a week ridding Seventy to Ninety miles every day? Despite my apprehensions I kept ridding and ridding adding longer and longer rides to my training. Hoping I would do something right, something that would get to the bank of the Mighty Miss.

Eventually it came, that fateful day, we loaded up the bikes and shipped off to Iowa. The ride began mostly uneventful except for the first time I heard Mr. PorkChop let out his thunderous cry of “Pooooooorrrrrrrrrk Chop!” that echoed through the rolling hills of the Iowa countryside. Day by day I made it, inching my way to the final destination, the town of Clinton and the banks of the Mississippi River. Finally we made it, and more importantly I made it the entire distance, despite my now, seemingly silly thoughts before.

That week has lived on in my mind ever since. Now when I’m racing, training or working at the bike shop, it is the one thing I can think about that reminds me why. That week allowed me to realize what I am truly passionate about. It gave me a reason to be passionate about it. It took me a while to realize my passion. For me, what I became truly passionate about came to me I didn’t have to go searching for it. I don’t know about others and how they found theirs. But I do know that, everyone, anyone can find something they are passionate about, and in this I believe.