All totaled, it's 32 miles.
I've been riding this delightful route since 1973 and it never ceases to astound with its beauty in spring, summer and autumn. But this time, this ride proved different.
Before the ride, we – Sandi, Mike, Melanie and I – attended a lecture by Dr. Joe Dispenza from the movie "What the Bleep do we Know?" I watched the movie four times when it came out three years ago!
In my life, this lecture by Dispenza proved to be one of the top five in my life. Breath-taking information on how to create your life the way you choose! Dispenza said, "To change your life is to think ahead of your environment."
He continued, "We perceive reality based on what we're chemically conditioned to from past experiences. We can only change our responses by adding new information. Learning means making new brain circuitry."
Every thought creates a chemical response in your body. If you entertain negative thoughts, your body produces bile-type chemical responses. When you enjoy positive thoughts, you create enhancing chemicals in your body. Each of us chooses the thoughts that operate in our lives.
After the lecture, the bike ride – encephalon's and endorphins
We locked the bikes onto the car top carrier. As we drove toward north Boulder, we noticed white capped mountain peaks including the grand 14er Longs Peak in the distance as it profiled into a beautiful blue sky. Temperature? About 75 degrees!
Sandi and I parked the car at the intersection this time instead of at the corral. We unpacked the bikes, locked on the wheels, pulled on our riding shoes, pumped up the tires, filled our water bottles and headed west into the canyon.
Ahead of us, we saw gray rock canyon walls sprinkled with golden aspen leaves, cottonwood and red leaved sumac growing in the underbrush. We passed a river that T'd into the road. The sun shined upon it creating a silvery sheen that stood out against the green grasses on both sides. Upon the water, gold, topaz, red, purple, brown and burgundy leaves floated along the surface.
Soon, we pedaled into the depths of Left-Hand Canyon.
"What did you think of Dispenza's statement – 'change is inconvenient'?" Sandi asked.
"It's not only inconvenient," I said, "it's arduous for most people. We all like our comfort."
"If we change our minds with new information," Sandi said, "we allow ourselves different outcomes instead of the same old things."
"I like what he said that the way to get rid of negative thoughts about the past is to force yourself to think of new and more positive ideas," I said. "Nerve cells that no longer fire together no longer wire together. That proved a great comment. I'm going to take Dispenza up on that practice. The way to get rid of old thoughts and negative connotations is to bring new ideas into your mind."
Attitude Change is a process
"Yes, create daily, rehearse daily, live with your new mindset daily," Sandi said. "I like what he said to experience new feelings of joy further conditions your mind for living as if it already happened which is a catalyst that brings your intentions into focus and create your new reality for you."
We crossed over the white water river under a canopy of golden trees. Up ahead, a few houses stood in a wide meadow in the valley. Soon, we passed through – along the banks of the river. Again, millions of leaves floated downstream as if a Macy's Day parade. Sun shined from the south while a brilliant azure sky dominated overhead. Several cyclists passed us while a few raced back down the mountain at full speed.
"This is just gorgeous!" Sandi exclaimed.
We passed Buckingham Park with folks enjoying a picnic while we began our more serious climb up the canyon road. Rock walls closed in on us while the river's white water expressed itself more violently with what I call 'white music', which is quite beautiful. The road snaked and slithered along with gray, red and brown rock rising upward in jagged formations. Evergreens grew out of solid rock which, to this day, amazes me to no end.
The Dispenza experience
Dispenza talked in front of a packed house of 1,000 people at Mile Hi Church. We arrived 45 minutes early to find the place three quarters full. We lucked out to get a seat up close – but off to the side. In this uncertain world, it's nice to know 'intellectual seekers' continue toward a better planet. Dispenza said that experience enriches the brain.
He said the TV deadened the brain. He showed where people get a 'dopamine' hit from the cops and robbers shows and other violent stuff that gives them a kick, but he said, going to class or reading a book gives a more meaningful 'kick' because you remember it. As to the TV program, you can't remember its content within a day of seeing it.
He talked about why kids must keep shooting them up and kill more people in the video games to get their 'hit' from the games. It's the same 'high' that adults get from an NFL game to see someone get their head knocked off. We're not much further along than our Neanderthal forefathers that 'fought' to survive every second of their lives.
Expect good things in your life.
Dispenza said to let go of grievances because they will kill you. Forgive everyone who you think ever hurt you or betrayed you or lied to you or did you no good. Expect good things in your life.
As I pedaled behind Sandi, I smiled at her revolving freewheel. She said, "I'm sorry – I'm going so slow."
"Why would you apologize for going the perfect speed for you?" I grinned.
"It's slowing you down," she said.
"Why assume that?" I asked. "I think you're traveling at your perfect speed for you."
"That's right," she said. "I'm riding at my perfect speed."
Memories of South America – come and go
I recalled my own pace on trip from the top to the bottom of South America. Because my two friends pedaled faster than I did, they left me behind most of the time. I pedaled by myself except for lunch and camping. I never once thought about apologizing. My cadence worked for me. When I traveled from Norway to Greece with my friend Gary, we shared a similar cadence so we stayed together.
Everyone travels at their own perfect speed.
Here and Now in Left-Hand Canyon – then James Canyon
We wound our way along the road with the river splashing through sparkling leaves that hid houses along the river. More cyclists passed us. Many raced back down the 12 mile downhill.
We enjoyed a good feeling watching riders pass us and see more riders coasting down hill with that look of sheer 'thrill' in their faces.
Soon enough, our pedaling brought us through Springdale and past Elysian Park to the 100 year old Jamestown Mercantile Café – featuring fresh blueberry pancakes. "Yahoo!" I cried out, jumping off my bike.
Jamestown Mercantile Café
We sat in the warm sunshine on the deck under an umbrella – ordered our pancakes, home fries, water and brownies. Wow, after pedaling for 12 miles up hill, we gobbled our pancakes with rich maple syrup dripping off the sides. The onions and potatoes tasted the best ever. We munched our brownies for dessert.
Other cyclists told stories about meeting people carrying pets on their rides. I jumped in and told them about meeting Stan the Romantic Road Warrior, and his cat Little Chum – on one of my cross continent rides. I told them about meeting the man who walked across America on his hands. Fun to share those stories! Adventure Cyclist will publish three of those tales next year.
As Thoreau said, "If you will endeavor to live the life you have imagined, you will meet with success unexpected in common hours."
A downhill glide
Back on the bikes, we coasted downhill. Our tummies full, our hearts light, our minds clear— we rolled through that canyon. Within a few miles, Sandi said, "Let's dip our feet into the river."
We stopped to sit by the river and dangle our feet into the cold water. We talked about Joe Dispenza and his amazing research on how to make your life, your dreams, your world— become what you choose. All it takes is a shift in perception – beyond ME.
Alaska memories – come and go
I remember once on a trip to Alaska, one of my friends had gone out into the woods to pick up more firewood. When he got back near the campfire that curled gray smoke into the cloudless sky, he said, "Hey guys! I can see my buddies sitting next to a campfire under a starlit sky, eating dinner, sipping hot chocolate, telling stories and laughing their heads off. It looks like a dream. Looks like something out of a fantasy. But, no, I'm going to walk right into the dream and become a part of it."
With that, Al threw down his pile of wood, tossed a few sticks onto the fire, picked up his drink and said, "Here's to you guys… thanks for making my dream real."
Simple awareness, optimum Joy
In the end, the joy of life, the dream of life means sharing good moments around a campfire with your friends. It doesn't get any better than that.
After our feet turned pink in the cold water, we slipped back into our socks and shoes. We hopped back onto the bikes for a gravity-powered ride all the way back to the car. A sense of freedom, life and love coursed through our minds and bodies.
As John Muir said,
"Camp out among the grass and gentians of glacier meadows, in craggy garden nooks full of Nature's darlings. Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves."
As we flew down the canyon, autumn leaves fell like golden flurries all around us – sweeping us up into their magic.
Frosty Wooldridge has bicycled across six continents – from the Arctic to the South Pole – as well as six times across the USA, coast to coast and border to border. In 2005, he bicycled from the Arctic Circle, Norway to Athens, Greece. He presents “The Coming Population Crisis in America: and what you can do about it” to civic clubs, church groups, high schools and colleges. He works to bring about sensible world population balance at his website www.frostywooldridge.com