Frum Outdoorsman: Rare but Possible

The wanderings and adventures of an orthodox Jew

Mountain Biking and my Broken Heart

Posted by Frum Hiker on December 26, 2006

I felt it oppurtune time to start a little ranting about my broken engagement which occured on April 18, 2006

My own therapy:

My brand new bike is on my roof. My previous one was stolen out of the back of my car. Reel Big Fish is blaring on my radio- they sing of skateboarding, teen angst and being dumped by girls- the music takes away the pain temporarily. The wheels hum on the pavement, the trees fly by like a picket fence made of forest- the forest opens up to rolling farmland and eventually a great valley is before me. I am still in shock from yesterdays events. Is it really over I keep asking myself? Nah it’s just one big dream, I will wake up sooner or later. I am driving, good therapy, music better therapy, the woods great therapy my bike in the woods the BEST therapy. I need this bad, I feel like I am going to explode. I throw my car into third and exit the highway, ah the back roads, back roads provide with that peace of mind that there are still those Americans that chose to live away, far away from the subdivisions of monotonous folks that live day in and day out to make more and more money to redo their bathrooms and sit on the beach in Florida. Back roads contain farms and the fine rural folk that enjoy the few places where strip malls and used car lots haven’t yet been able to change zoning laws to put their monstrosities in the middle of a once healthy cornfield or right next to a beautiful river. This is to where I have come one day after my Future Wife told me June 19th 2006 would not be our wedding day- instead it would retreat back to its ordinary status of 2 days before the official start of summer. Today is April 19th, it is erev second days of Pesach and I am feeling pretty darned good- yeh I am one of those Gam Zu Latova guys I guess.

The air is crisp a bright sunshine filters through my natural canopy of half blooming trees, the winter air is retreating and in its place, green buds adorn the many trees lining my trail- of pristine, smooth, flowy–single-track. I am pumping on this trail, the Finger Lakes Trail hugs the side of this 600 feet deep gorge, providing me with many fine vantage points to stop and contemplate life at. I am speeding rhythmically through the woods, jumping a downed tree here, flowing over rocks and roots, mud is splattering my face and legs that are encased in tight black spandex. My mind is on the trail, and on the my inability to eat some protein mid-ride. Gone are the thoughts of this beautiful girl that was my fiancée just yesterday and in are thoughts of swiftly passing trees and the beautiful chasm to my right. I decide to take a break and sit on the sandstone pillars that abruptly drop 600 feet into the gorge. After one long ice gulp of water from my camelback I start to cry, its uncontrollable, I start balling- as if I am a gay man watching Brokeback Mountain- the tears are flowing faster then ever. Granted we both cried when she told me it wouldn’t work out, and I cried all night as I called my dad to- who hated the fact I was engaged to a girl 3 years older that he would be saving some mad amounts of cash by not having the wedding- and I told my brother who was happy that he didn’t have to drive in from Colorado- but this crying was half davening half crying. My will was lost and I was for the first time in my life depressed.

I love the blues, I love Jimmy Smith, Steve Ray Vaughn and Muddy Waters- but for the life of me I could never figure out what the blues were. All blues artists always sing of their hearts on fire and an uncontrollable feeling you get when the blues take over. Now I knew, I knew what they were. It was insane for one and a half weeks I was depressed. I was utterly depressed, pouring out my feelings to friends and family. For the first time in my life nothing worked. I would try to ride and I would just fall, I would try to drive, but the thoughts would come flooding in. Then one day almost two weeks after the “event” I looked out the window and decided that it was time to ride at some trails that were supposedly reopened after the mad winter snows of the lower Adirondacks. It was warm enough for shorts out, and I rode like crazy for hours. I even got lost and got out after dark. It felt great to be back, only one thing could decide whether I was truly back from the murky depressed depths of my broken heart.

I parked in downtown Albany and unloaded my street bike from my trunk, strapped on some protective gear. Immediately as if H-shem felt that I was ready to move on, I was launching off staircases, jumping onto picnic tables, being chased b y security guards, and popping wheelies that lasted for two blocks. I was exhilarated, I was more then thrilled, I was back and I made the most of it. I started going literally nuts, with regards to my outdoors self.

My more depressed, pessimistic friends were unbelieving of my quick recovery from depression. Tow of them told me to seek help from a professional because I must be suppressing my feelings and that was not “healthy”, I of course attributed my getting well to the L-rd and the woods. This therapy doesn’t work for all, but for me it has been a wonder.

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