While sitting on the plane I had LOTS of time to think and with the busyness of summer haven’t done that in a while.
As my mind wondered I was entertaining thoughts about why adventure racing and initially there are always 2-3 reasons that role of the tongue if you were to ask me. And I can certainly articulate those to you at another time or face to face
However briefly those are
1) I get to eat anything and get away with it.
2) I love being out in the “wild” and moving through it, on it, over it and only using my own physical and mental resources (& team mates of course)
3) and the faith metaphors that are rampant out there
However today I would like to add to that list. This is play for me! As a child in my hometown of Leeston I would at any opportunity get on my bike and create some adventure either on my bike or use it to get to a place & create one. Riding country dirt roads, through the bush, near rivers or walking, running through the bush, along near or on rivers and creeks. All for no other reason than to play.
My mind would run wild with creativity and imagination creating make believe worlds of adventure, discovery, hunts, & even most boys specialty… War. This would include making guns out of found perfect looking “guns”, climbing trees to heights that would freak out any adult now.
Making scenarios either by myself or with friends that would have us doing nothing more than….
The unstructured nature or it made it work. The unplanned location, destination and ending made it invigorating. The no two experiences the same opportunities made it real. Of course at the time I had no idea what I was doing mentally and how it would shape me, or no idea what I was doing physically and how it would create a thirst to do activities that would be slightly risky. Not that risk was the goal, it wasn’t seen as that and it certainly wasn’t created for that purpose.
It was seen (on my part) as normal behavior! Furthermore the words I am writing to describe these experiences don’t really do it justice either. Words cannot convey the fun I had at play. I would just do it, as saw it as normal as getting dressed in the morning.
I do remember as a child looking at adults at times and thinking “when do they play?” or when do they get to ride their bikes and pretend it was a horse in the wild west or a police motorcycle chasing someone. I wondered regularly and knew (not that I was happy about this) that adults often worked until 5 or 6pm and thought YIKES!!! When will they get to play. I knew this also from riding my bike (of course) to the bus stop around 6pm most evenings to meet my Dad as he got off the bus outside the RSA and walking home with him (thanks for taking the bus Dad so I could come meet you off the bus)
All this leads me to now understand (if only a little because of my recent enlightenment) that I need to add a 4th reason to my reasons I adventure race…
4) Because it’s play, and I like to play outside, in the bush/woods, on my bike, around, in, on rivers creeks etc
While it’s structured in a start & finish line what goes on in-between is in many ways PLAY