ďRegrets, Iíve had a few. But then again, too few to mention.Ē
-- Sid Vicious
When I was a teenager, one piece of advice adults frequently told me was to do things now so when I was older and had a job and family I wouldnít have regrets. The thing is, the more you do the more decision trees you branch. Thus the more you do, the more potential regrets you end up having. The sort of regrets that make scientists and philosophers imaginations spin wild as they discuss alternative universes. If you worry about not having regrets, youíll end up afraid to get out of bed for fear that putting the wrong slipper on first will end in nuclear inihilation.
Maybe it's better to set your goal to have as many regrets as possible rather than one regret -- that you wasted your life sitting on the sofa watching other people live out their lives. Of course, in the end we really have no idea what we will regret. It might be something banal like we didnít have time to take the trash out before bleeding to death as a result of a freak highway accident. Maybe it will be that we donít have the right hat to die in and will meet Jesus in a bad outfit. Itís just something that you canít predict. No matter how much we prepare, death catches us off guard. That afternoon when the oncologist told me I had stage 4b cancer and only a thirty percent chance of survival I was shocked that of all the potential regrets I could have I only had one regret. I regretted that I never bought that carbon fiber bike.
To be honest, itís a really embarrassing regret. I have always prided myself in not being into equipment. I saw myself as the sleeper rather the showboat. And here I was, face to face with my mortality, and all I could think of was a carbon fiber bike.
Iíve come to terms with it. Iíve realized that it wasnít a desire for equipment, but a desire for that feeling of freedom obtained by riding a beautiful bike down a country road. I knew I was supplanting my despair with my bodyís decay and imminent demise with the hope that maybe buying a nice bike will make up for my physical inequities.
Hell, weíve all laughed at them: the out of shape guy who thinks he can make up for his lack of discipline with the purchase of precision componentry. And now here in the final moments, I was one.
I have to admit, I was already obsessed with the listings on ebay and the ads on craigslist, Performance, Colorado and Competitive Cyclist. Following auction after auction, reading all the listings lusting after hardware perfection. But I was doing this as motivation. I promised myself that once I got in good shape, weighed in below campy weight (which I had already sometime ago) that I would buy a really nice bike. Now it was the only way I could keep my mind off of the fact that my body had suddenly transformed into a rusty, useless Huffy overnight.
How did it happen? Why me? I will never know. All I can tell you is that I went from riding seventy miles a day to zero. One week I had seen my life mapped out to open a bike shop and return to being a competitive cyclist riding local mountain bike races and the pursuit, the next I was mapping out a plan for surgeries, radiation and chemo therapies.