The Opposite of Loneliness

“We don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness, but if we did, I could say that’s what I want in life…It’s not quite love and it’s not quite community; it’s just this feeling that there are people, an abundance of people who are in this together. Who are on your team.” -Marina Keegan 

I haven’t posted in a while because I really wasn’t sure what I would be posting about. I had a post in my head all about withdrawing from law school; and well since the last day to withdraw has passed, I suppose I will write about staying. But first all about South Dakota CX State Championship! 

I had planned on racing my crockett (geared bike) and only because of Sully’s voice in my head saying “bring your single speed just incase something happens to the crockett when preriding” I brought my single speed. I did two preride laps on my crockett. On the first lap after climbing a hill and having it flatten out a bit, I went into a turn and hit a bump with my front wheel, knocking both hands off my handlebar and on the way down into smacking my

Photo Credit: Chad Pickard  

handlebar with my face, by the grace of God, I was able to find the drops and save my mouth from what I imagine a great discomfort. I did the descent but realized how fatigued my hands were from the position of the hoods. Between the hand position, not wanting to break my face, and not shifting with about 6 minutes to go decided to switch to my single speed. Fortunately not much was required to switch bikes. I went up to the start line, there was one other lady and a bunch of dudes, but no other single speeders! Yes, victory would be mine. There was one big hill (the biggest I’ve seen in eastern SD thus far) and even on geared bikes people were getting off and running so figured I wasn’t at that much of a disadvantage being single speed.  

Money! Money!

I went through the finish after the first lap and thought maybe we’d be doing 3 laps total, but then they informed me there was three laps to go, oofta. The finish is flat and sends you right into two barriers with enough speed I was concerned I’d end up like the guy in the video, “Joey’s Okay” (google it) but had somewhat smooth sailing over them. I didn’t gain or lose any spots on lap two and only on the third lap did I pass someone going up the hill. I also picked up a leaf but it sounded like I was losing air in my front tire. I was sure I would wash out on the descent if that was true but also realized that the wheels I was riding on didn’t cost that much ($10) and would just ride the rim if I had to. It only took another half lap to figure out when I hadn’t gone flat that it was a leaf and I was fine. The last lap after the top of the hill I was thinking about the descent when I ran over a bunch of leaves and smashed my front wheel into a rock. Immediately I lurched forward and almost took a stem cap to the sternum, oops, don’t get complacent. Focus on right now. 

Right after finishing I was informed I won money, who knew moving to SD would have such perks!

Singlespeed queen

Leading up to the race I didn’t ride much, I took my single speed out 2 weeks ago and did about twenty miles without meaning to but the simplicity is so nice and you can just zone out, so that might be my ‘A’ bike while on the prairie. I did take my mountain bike a few weekends ago with a guy from law school who has a mountain bike, I think he might be the only in the law school with one. All the leaves had fallen so it made some descents and corners questionable but we finished mostly unscathed. It definitely made me realize how much I missed it. But the snow will be here soon I wouldn’t be doing much riding except on the trainer! 

I realized where most of my discomfort was stemming from in law school: a deep rooted sense of loneliness. I don’t mean that as in I don’t have any friends, because I do. I told Sully the other day, “I just need one person who wants to go on spirit journeys with me.” My discomfortable comes a lot from the unknown because I don’t know anyone here who has tried to train for 100 milers during law school and survived. If I stay for the second year, does it get better? Is it easier to travel? Can I have the time to go on these epic adventures? And is this how I’ll feel the rest of my life or does it get better or does it get worse? In Boulder, I felt like I could pick plenty of peoples brains in the athletic community, from nutritional habits, pros and cons of wearing bibs, what is the best route, what is a new route, race strategies, and if it’s normal to cry during a bonk. I know that I’ll find that community feeling in the legal profession eventually. I haven’t decided if it makes me feel better or worse that Even Artichokes Have Doubts.

I’m still not really sure what made me decide to stay at law school. Maybe it was enough inverted yoga poses that got more blood to my brain. I really thought I was going to leave. I have a bad habit of staying in situations longer than I should thinking that they will get better, if I just give it a little more time, it’ll change. I also hear that the first year of law school is designed to turn you inside out and most of it is spent being miserable, so I wonder if I would be having similar feelings elsewhere as well. I also worry that maybe I’m prolonging it so that I can be at peace with my decision. Like when I DNF’d at the Whiskey 50 and it took me 6 miles of trudging through the snow to cry all the tears out and be okay with the race ending at mile 13. But then I wonder how much of it is how much I hate living here and not actually law school. I also worry too much for my own good so I try not to think to far down the road. I don’t know what’s making me stay, and I don’t know if I want to leave.   

I have no classes left and now only (yeah, ONLY!) finals to get through and then a new set of skis** to christen in the Colorado Snow! 

It’s like I summoned the snow-gods!

**Skate-skis for all you nordorkers who want to go when I’m back. 

-P.S. Also if you can’t tell I’m on a bit of a kick with Marina Keegan’s writing. Unfortunately her life was cut short 5 days after graduating from Yale in 2012. Check out her essay’s and stories, I feel like she’s continuously helping me develop as a person. 

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