Driving from Los Angeles to San Diego takes 1 hour and 54 minutes(without traffic). This is the route:
To provide more perspective:
For an LA resident, San Diego is on the fringe of being “far.” Great place for a weekend getaway. Not an option for a weekday commute. Both in Southern California, but far enough to have distinct personalities.
I’ve lived in Los Angeles for almost five years. Los Angeles is a dynamic city. On one end there are the impoverished areas(Skid row):
On the other end, top 0.01% wealth(Beverly hills):
And also samples of asian countries:
Little tokyo(I used to live here):
Little Armenia, China Town, Filipino town. Not gonna post pictures because it’ll get repetitive. Basically add a ‘Little’ or ‘Town to any asian country, and LA has it.
And of course, how could I forget Hollywood?
Los Angeles is like that insecure-hipster friend. She has a very dynamic, superstar personality, but can’t figure out her real identity.
Based on my limited sample size, San Diego is like the pothead, surfer friend. Less glamorous, but her relaxed attitude adds to her unique sex appeal.
I wanted to visit San Diego. But a 1 hour 54 minute drive? Ugh. Boring. I wonder, how long it takes to bike there?
12 hour bike ride? Now, that’s my shit. Let’s go!
Do you even bike?
OMG, are you gonna die?
Helll nahhh, I ain’t doing that shit.
I don’t think I’m going to make it…….
I guess a 12 hour, 142 mile(228.57 km) bike ride doesn’t appeal to most people. So I decided toss up my middle fingers and yolo-solo this ride.
People ask why I would do something like. There are a couple reasons:
- The Shallow Reason: To Validate My Awesomeness: Who else can say they’ve biked from LA to SD? Not many. This’ll give me an opportunity to brag to friends how awesome I am. Plus, this’ll validate me as a man so ALL the girls will flock to me. Muahahahaha.
- The Deeper Reason: To see what I’m truly capable of: We all think there’s a certain limit to our abilities. Our perceived circle of competence:
But in reality, our circle of competence is here:
I am fascinated by the Navy Seal’s Hell Week. Aspiring Navy Seals go through unimaginable physical training: burying themselves in freezing sand dunes for 12 hours, thousands of burpees, 4 hours of sleep in a week, hundreds of miles of running. Of course, candidates need to pass a certain threshold of athletic ability, but the most important factor is strength of mind.
I didn’t want to become a SEAL but I did want to inch closer to my actual level of competence. I did challenges like 1000 pushups in a workout, 55 mile hike in 2.5 days and 21 minute plank. I also tried memorizing every company in the S&P 500 in a day, meditating for 2 hours etc. A 142 mile(227 km) bike falls in the same family.
I gave myself two days to make it to San Diego. On the first day, I would bike to Irvine(approx 1 hour drive), crash at an old friend’s place. On the second day, finish the last leg(1.5 hour drive) and crash at another friend’s in San Diego. An incredible challenge AND I get to see my old friends.
This was my route I ended up taking:
I added as much coastline as I could to my route which meant an additional 25 miles(40km) to my journey.
Naturally, people assume I’m super fit. I’m am pretty fit but I don’t bike. I don’t own a bike. And I don’t do long distance cardio. But I knew this trip would be a test of mental strength rather than physical strength.
At 10am on Saturday morning, I ubered to the bike rental shop. The road bikes were expensive so I rented a single speed bike. I stocked up on water and snacks and prepared my ‘Epic Bike Ride’ playlist. I felt confident and ready to tackle this 142 mile(227km) beast.
I started off in downtown Los Angeles:
The biggest complaint I hear about Los Angeles, is that LA isn’t a real city. Downtown Los Angeles is small but it’s the closest thing to a “real city” in the area. Downtown is only six square miles(9.65 km). New York is 304.6 square miles(490 km). San Francisco is 47 miles(76km). If San Francisco is the sexy California city, downtown Los Angeles is like it’s distant second cousin. They’re kinda similar, but not really. They share some genes but Downtown Los Angeles didn’t get the culture genes San Francisco has.
As I slowly cycled out of downtown, I hit, the asian mini-city: Koreatown.
If Seoul and Los Angeles fucked, Koreatown would be their kid. Seoul is one of the most population dense cities I’ve ever visited. The city crams as many restaurants, bars, stores in single block. Koreatown is similar. But unlike Seoul, Koreatown has the Los Angeles genes: dirt and traffic. Finding street parking in Koreatown is like catching a rare pokemon.
People usually go to Koreatown for two things:
- Get super drunk( Korean bars).
- $10 All You Can Eat Korean BBQ
Whenever I’m in Koreatown, I am either super drunk or super full. There are no other options.
Although Koreatown is only 2.7 miles, I spent an hour riding through Koreatown due to the stop and go nature of the city.
Slowly, the Korean-stamped store signs began to dissipate. The dirty, traffic-filled streets scrubbed itself clean. Tall, white-picket fenced houses sprouted in my vision. Paled-faced, Korean girls turned into hot, PINK shorts, stunner-shade, glamour girls. That tempted me to pull over and admire, but I needed to keep going.
Let’s say this black spot is LA:
Los Angeles is HUGE. But LA is only known for Hollywood, beaches and great weather:
The narrow image people have of LA does not accurately reflect it’s true identity. But as I kept riding, I entered the first spotlight: Hollywood.
Tourists began infesting my bike path, acting as slalom poles for me to weave around. DODGE. DODGE. DODGE. I felt like Trinity in the Matrix, meticulously dodging and vrooming around these annoying tourists.
Due to my relentless focus on feeling like a Matrix badass, I didn’t notice what these tourists were taking pictures of. Perhaps cool Hollywood building and I don’t care. Hollywood never appealed to me. But I know from traveling that any new place other than your hometown is probably cool and interesting.
Nevertheless, I was getting sick of the city. Dodging people, following traffic rules. The stop and go monotony drained my mental stamina. I craved novelty: the coast and cruise control. I didn’t want to think.
After about 3 hours, I made it to Santa Monica:
The sign that you’re still in LA is that there are large swaths of people, infiltrating every piece of open space. My innate gorilla thought about bulldozing all these fuckin tourists. The human side of me said to be patient.
Let’s say LA is represented by two parents. The father was very promiscuous. He had a secret fetish for Asian women so traveled to Asia, smashin as many asian women as possible.
Result of Dad’s promiscuity:
When dad wasn’t in Asia, him and mom had a lot of free time. So naturally, they fucked a lot. Their first kids were twins:
The first born and most successful glamor girl. The type of girl that really, really wanted to become a star. And she did. The type of girl that had amazing looks when she was younger, but old age naturally deteriorated her looks. She couldn’t accept it so she continued to get plastic surgery.
2. Santa Monica:
The second born who looked up to her star sister. For most of her life, she tried to emulate her but she didn’t make the cut. She realized this in college and found her own niche: glamor and beaches.
Santa Monica was sexy but like Hollywood, too many people flocked around her. God damnit. My goal was to relax and cruise along the beachside, listening to chill music and enjoying the California coast. At the time, I got none of that. The weather was overcast. There was a shitton of people. The magnitude of another 12 hours of this started to weigh heavily on my mind.
As I cycled through Santa Monica, I hit Venice Beach.
3. Venice Beach:
The third child in the LA family. Venice admired Santa Monica but he wasn’t as driven as her. In high school, he ended up smoking a lot of pot. But like Wiz Khalifa and Bob Marley, he branded himself as the pot-smoking man of the family. People flocked to him:
Venice is similar to Santa Monica, but more hobos and bums sitting around. Less brand-name shops, more local shops. Also, lots of dudes holding up green, medicinal marijuana advertisements. But still, a shitton of people.
I didn’t pay attention to the scenery because I focused on weaving around the slalom poles. In retrospect, smashing into somebody would probably make this story a bit more interesting.
As a headache started to form in my brain, the quantity of people gradually dissipated. The clouds cleared up.. As I biked past the Marina and Los Angeles International Airport, Santa Monica withered away in the background. That’s when I struck gold.
Imagine a beautiful women, curvy body, perky tits and rounded ass, all standing in a row next to each other, allowing you unlimited eye access without calling the cops. Perpetual eye orgasms without the refractory period.
That’s the Manhattan-Hermosa-Redondo trifecta. Typical California image: amazing weather, girls in bikinis, beach houses, sipping pina coladas.
Basically this for miles and miles:
The whole coast ride was three hours of therapeutic healing. I immediately spotted the contrasting feeling of biking through the city versus biking through the beautiful coast. One sparked anxiety. The other massaged my soul.
At this point, it’s about 4 pm. I had been biking for about six hours. Hints of fatigue started creeping into my legs, but manageable. More mental exhaustion than physical exhaustion.
As the sun slowly sank into the horizon, I met my first real enemy: darkness. But darkness had an accomplice. The evil twins of the family: Carson and Torrance.
Carson/Torrance: The kids who went sour in high school. They joined gangs, sold drugs and dropped out of school. For the parents, they’re the kids the parents kept quiet about:
In Los Angeles, I could be in one area of heaven, walk two blocks and walk into a shithole. It’s like licking a scrumptious cone of vanilla ice cream then suddenly, licking a piece of poo.
The beach was the vanilla while Carson/Torrance was the poo. I’m definitely exaggerating, but the ghetto/darkness tag-team ignited my fight or flight response. More flight less fight.
My phone read 6 pm and my goal was to cycle through Carson/Torrance as quickly as possible. For women, there’s this innate fear of a gangbanger taking them to a dark alley and raping them(That got dark). These alleyways sprouted up like overgrown weeds on a lawn. And when there weren’t any alleyways, I would see stores with jail-cell bars protecting their windows. I was definitely trippin. But since I was doing this alone, it was easy to get stuck in my head, where a negative chain of thoughts would pull me into a vicious downward spiral.
Unfortunately, humans naturally stereotype people whether they like it or not. I have nothing against blacks or mexicans, but naturally, when a lot of them are congregated in a run-down neighborhood, my natural reaction is to have my guard up. And if the mental strain of passing through tourists was painful, then this wasn’t a strain. This was a mental whiplashing. Negative thoughts kept popping up in my head: Man, why am I even doing this? I’m never gonna do this again. Fuck, why am I so stupid? I should’ve thought this through beforehand.
Remember that by this time, I had been biking for about 8 hours total. My legs started to ache at around the 4-5 hour mark( during my eye orgasms). The mental fatigue of constant riding didn’t help either. But what was cool, was that my fight or flight response eliminated any soreness I felt in my legs. I suddenly acquire an unfound burst of energy. Man, if I flip this switch for my normal workouts, I’d be shredded as fuck. Wait I am.
It took me about an hour and half but the ghetto felt like an adventure itself. In retrospect, the ghetto added colorful bumps to the journey. It really wasn’t THAT bad. Evidence negative thoughts can distort reality.
I sprinted through the ghetto, past the LA river until I spotted lights.
Preppy-well dressed white kids? Fuck yes. Long Beach. Out of the shithole. A wave of relief washed over my mind and those negative thoughts vanished from my brain, never to appear again. In that moment, I felt as though I reached a new level of mental strength. You were afraid of biking through THAT? Get yo shit together bruh.
By this time, it’s around 730pm and I am feeling hype as fuck. Irvine is still a 3 hour bike ride away but my confidence is on the rise. My ache-y legs re-surfaced but my newfound confidence propelled me forward.
The next leg of the journey would be ALL coastline. From Long Beach to Newport. By this time, I’m moving out of the LA area and slowly entering Orange County. If LA is the glamorous hipster without an identity, Orange County is the good looking rich kid who grew up in an incubated bubble. Clean streets, beautiful buildings, but kinda cut off from the rest of the world.
In large cities, everybody knows that stars don’t exist. Although I couldn’t witness the beauty of the Huntington Beach coastline, stars filled the sky like acne on a pubescent teen. I could hear the warm crawl of waves crashing against the shore. It was too dark to see anything but the sidewalk. At this point, my legs REALLY started to ache and I was taking breaks pretty frequently. On most bikes, there’s this pointy thing:
This pointy thing scrapes that bone just below your crotch. For short bike rides, I don’t feel this. But 9 hours of biking? That piece of skin is burning so much that flexing my ass hurts. For a girl, this is close to where the vagina is, so does this mean they’re being perpetually fingered if they did this ride? I wonder. Nevertheless, I’ll call this, crotch-skin. For most of the journey, I toggled between riding on my seat and riding stand-up. Stand-up is often more useful for uphill climbs and generating power. Not that fast. But because my crotch-skin was burning so much, the rest of my trip would be standing up.
Some people ask me if I ever considered turning around. What I loved about this trip was that quitting was not an option. Turning around, meant biking another 5 hours back. So naturally, this never crossed my mind. But if I really wanted to quit, I could find the closest train station and just head back home. See, most commitments we make in our lives our negotiable. We would like to start reading more but we’re too tired after work. We’d like to start our own side-projects but we end up getting drunk with our friends. But if we look at other things in our lives like eating, sleeping, work. Those are non-negotiable. We don’t have a choice. Ending my trip in San Diego was non-negotiable for me. Turning back wasn’t even in the cards.
By now, it was around 9 pm and I had been biking along the Huntington coastline for 2 hours. By this time, the mixture of cool night air and constant pedaling numbed my legs from any pain. I was only wearing a black, thin long-sleeve shirt and dark basketball shorts but the constant drumming of my heart heated my body. I listened to relaxing hip hop beats as the melodic tunes pulled my consciousness into a state of relaxation. I could smell the warm, toasty aroma of the beach bonfire smores as I slowly trudged along the Huntington coastline.
My route pulled me into the city of Santa Ana. Santa Ana is unspectacular. In context of my “family” metaphor, Santa Ana is “just another dude.” He’s not an asshole but he’s just one more penis at the cockfest. Dudes who attend cockfests need to bring something else besides their penis’, whether it’s humor, hype or whatever. Santa Ana is not that person.
For educational purposes, cockfest: A party with all dudes
As I reach the outer edge of Santa Ana, I’m hitting the home-stretch to Irvine. This is when my stupidity and lack of bike experience kicks in. To get to Irvine from Santa Ana, I needed to cross a 3 mile stretch of unlit highway. If someone who’s looking to film one of those drunk-driving commercials, where those idiotic 16-year old, drunk teenagers slam into the side of a pitchblack, wilderness road, this is the spot.
I had only a small, blinking light, with a surface area of about 2 cm. As a headlight, it only allows me to see about 5 feet in front of me, max. Useless. For the trip, I used it mainly as a backlight, so cars wouldn’t hit me. But for the entire trip, there was always light, whether it be the sun, the street or the sidewalk. And remember, I was wearing a black long-sleeve and dark basketball shorts. A chameleon in the sea of darkness.
By this time, I was maybe an hour ride out from my friends place. He offered to pick me up, since it was only about 10-15 minute drive for him. I decided to choose stupidity over safety.
I had one light so I needed to decide whether to use it as a headlight or use it as a taillight. If I used it as a tail light, I would bike blind. I feared that I’d pop a tire, trip over a ditch or ride down into the prairie abyss. On the other hand, if I used it as a headlight, I feared that a car could easily slam into me.
I chose to use it as a taillight, trusting that I could use the moon, just enough to guide my path. Before, the fear of being mugged ignited sudden burst of energy to pedal as fast. In that situation, the only thing I could control is the speed I biked. But if a gang really wanted to mug me, that would be out of my control. On the other hand, the unlit highway ignited a different kind of fight or flight. Intense focus.
Most of the time, we’re stuck in our heads. We invest our mental energy on stupid things: Oh my god, does she hate me? OMG, I’m so stupid for doing that. Damnit, did I fuck up? We walk through our days pouring our thoughts into low ROI problems. We also have a notification center in our brains to let us know the opportune time to snapchat or instagram. The flurry of these thoughts start clouding our vision of the world and we downgrade the world from HD to analog. But what I realized is that when we’re not present for the everyday, how can we expect to be present when everything is on the line? And that’s the thing, everything is always on the line. Our true love might walk right in front of us, and if we’re not present, she’ll be gone. Two seconds turning away from the wheel could mean someone’s life. Our mental chatter could cause to take a step onto the sidewalk a second too early. The difference: our lives.
Biking through that unlit highway was a period of intense presence. My hands could feel the subtle crinkles of gravel. My eyes were locked into the spot five feet in front of me to avoid potholes and glass. My peripheral vision maintained an astute awareness of headlights behind in the distance. I listened for the rising volume of the rumbling car engine. As the engine grew louder, I’d pull to the side and wave the light to make myself noticeable. As the car vroomed past me, I hopped on my bike and pedalled as far as I could using the car’s headlight to guide me.
I ended the 3 miles unscathed. I felt calm and settled. It was as if I cycled through a Zen monastery. I reached Irvine but still had 45 minutes left till I reached my friends place.
By now, it’s almost 10 pm and I had been biking for 11 hours. I started to feel extremely drained and really, really wanted to find my friends apartment and relax. I hadn’t eaten much of a dinner so I was starving. The combination of mental strain, hunger, crotch pain really fired me up to pedal even faster.
I had been using GPS to navigate my whole journey and by this time my phone was on 1% battery. About 5 minutes away from my friends place, 1% flipped to zero. My phone shut off. Shit.
But because I am Jeff Li, small challenges like this don’t deter me. My friend was a childhood friend so luckily, I had memorized his cell phone number. I just needed to find someone with a phone.
Irvine is a pretty quiet city compared to Los Angeles. There aren’t many people roaming around the streets at 10pm. After about 20 minutes of roaming, I spotted a car with lights on in the middle of a high school.
For high school kids, getting their driver’s license is exciting. It signals the first step towards adulthood. They’re still too young to drink so they spend most of their downtime roaming around the neighborhood with their friends gossiping or just doing stupid shit. I found four high school girls doing exactly that. I popped up to their window and asked to borrow their phone. It’s interesting seeing the hint of social awkwardness adolescence have when they need to talk to people outside their high school bubble. A reminder of my younger self.
My friend picked me up from the high school and graciously purchased indian food for me. I devoured it.
The encounter caused me to reflect on youth friends and recent friends. During our youth, friendships form through an organic, environmentally determined process. Especially for me, when I lived in the same area throughout my childhood. I build a wealth of shared experiences through classes, after-school hangouts, etc. I was an idiot. Everyone was an idiot when they were teenagers. Our identities hadn’t really crystallized. But as we mature, we gain clarity and we can look back and see if those friendships were based on proximity, or real values.
It’s awesome seeing an old friend who has overlapping values. Because hangouts are not only catch-up sessions, but we can tie different experiences to the same values. We don’t just talk about “what our former high school crowd” is up to. But rather, we can talk about the projects and interesting things we’re working on. Plus, I had been by myself for 11 hours total, talking to myself all day. I needed human interaction.
After the first day, I had biked for a total of 81 miles(130 km). 11 hours total( including breaks). Because I decided to bike to Santa Monica, I added an extra 25 miles to the 142 mile beast. I still had 88 miles(141 km) to go. Doing the quick math, 88 miles(142 km) would be AT LEAST another 11 hours, not including fatigue and the uphill climbs to come. Shiett.
I woke up at around 8 am and my legs got 60 years older. I had only given myself 2 days to complete this trip. I went into this trip cocky and optimistic that I could finish. I was humbled. I couldn’t walk and needed to use the couch and wall as my walking stick. Taking shits were difficult.
I knew that once I got my legs back, I’d be able to pedal. But obviously, there was no way I could pedal if I couldn’t walk. So I decided that I’d wait. I’d wait until my legs came back and figure it out then.
At 2 pm, I was able to walk around, jump and even run. It hurt, but I could do it. If I had at least, 11 hours to go I wouldn’t get there till EARLIEST 1 am. I didn’t want to repeat my earlier experience of biking through the pitch black road wearing dark clothes, with only one light( which I still ended up doing). I decided to shorten the length of my trip by taking the train to Oceanside. If I completed the whole journey, I felt like I’d be taking on an unnecessary risk.
It irks me when people are driven by blind will to reach a certain goal. They want something so bad because that accomplishment would validate their sense of self. They don’t go for it strategically. They go for it through brute force. I will do whatever I can do get that girl to love me and then FINALLY I’ll be happy. If only I was rich, then finally, FINALLY, I’ll be happy. Once I get that job, i will FINALLY live a happy life. These ego-seeking validations can never be quenched. There is always more. And they often lead to stupid decisions.
For example, let’s say I was a professional climber. Let’s say a professional climber climbs 100 dangerous mountains. In order to climb the mountain, there are multiple requirements:
- The right equipment
- Excellent technique
- Extensive knowledge of the terrain
I need to master these techniques. I can’t be very good. Even if I have a 99% success rate, over 100 climbs, I’ll have an expected death of one. With one death, I lose. For an accomplished climber like Jimmy Chin, he attempted Mt. Meru 3 times. Nobody has summited the mountain before. During his second climb, he tasted the summit. But he was low on food, he saw inclement weather approaching, so he called it off. Often times, a person with the need to validate their ego will go for it, even with a tempting 75% probability. But those are losing odds.
I knew that the upcoming terrain would be in the wilderness. This meant pitch black roads. 6 hours in the dark, black clothes, tiny headlight, little biking experience. I could make it, but I didn’t like my long-term odds.
So I hopped on a train to Oceanside. Oceanside to San Diego would be about 25 miles. By visiting both my friends in San Diego, it would total to a 43 mile(13 km) trip. Even though I wouldn’t conquer the 142( 227 km) mile beast, 124 miles(200 km) is still pretty fuckin crazy.
I stepped onto the train, expecting for it to be a time of relaxation. Instead, I ended up talking to this mexican, biking hipster by the name of Esco. He was an experienced biker and had just finished a 25 mile ride in Long Beach.
We shared many of the same beliefs about adventure: traveling with no plan, accumulating life experiences, meeting interesting people. But what I took away from him, was his advice on love. I found it interesting that he met a girl that share his values. I wondered how he was able to find her. He told me, with a straight face:
“Let me tell you the one big lesson I learned through all the girls I’ve dated. Even if you share the same values, hobbies and interests, if you’re putting in $1 and only getting $.50 in return. Drop it, immediately. $.90-$.95, that’s negligible. But if you’re not getting back what you put in, it’s a waste of your time, waste of your energy.”
He didn’t answer my question but it was a great lesson that I’ll always keep with me.
The train stopped at Oceanside. Esco offered me an open invitation to ride with him anytime I came back to San Diego. I stepped off the train with the euphoria that can only be attained through building a real, genuine connection with someone.
I grabbed my bike and started pedaling towards the coast. 4 pm and the horizon started pulling the sun down. If the Manhattan-Redondo-Hermosa row causes repeated eye orgasms, the Oceanside-Del Mar-Encinitas coastline was like my eyes having hot, steamy sex with the view. Looks like this:
A picture does the scene an injustice.
The combination of beauty and euphoria danced around in my head as I pedaled down the San Diego coastline.
In LA, the density of people causes all the residents to become impatient. People start throwing some elbows to get to where they want. Hence, crazy drivers. In San Diego, the surfer-vibe aesthetics trigger a slow down. I want to enjoy the atmosphere here. Unlike Koreatown & Hollywood, the San Diego beach cities slowed me down. I loved it.
But once again, beauty of the sunset transformed into a well-known enemy: darkness. Most of the highways along the coast aren’t well lit at night. So once again, I was pedaling in the dark, with all black, only one taillight. But this time, the Torrey Pines monster was coming up.
The benefit of biking along the coastline is that there are no hills. The entire ride had been flat. The Torrey Pines hill was a 5.33 mile(9 km) stretch with 5333 ft(1625 m) elevation. Shit. My rental bike was a single speed bike so I had no gears. There were no street lights. I had to find enough fuel in my aged legs to climb up this behemoth AND my crotch-skin still hurt like a bitch.
Like I said before, quitting was never an option. So I started the climb. I would make about 20 rotations before my screaming thighs hopped off for a break. My heartrate read 170bpm. I was exhausted from my previous 11 hour day. I wore the same clothes so they wreaked of both wet and dry sweat. Dizziness started swirling around in my head and I would need to sit down on the side of the highway. Cars vroomed past me at 60mph, signalling to the left lane to dodge me.
Pedaling up the Torrey pines hill was never-ending exertion of physical effort. I never knew when it ended, but I just kept pedaling. The roads swerved so I’d pray that the next turn showed a steep downhill climb. I would feel the need to puke, but since I’d been only snacking on fruit bars, nothing came out.
Physically, I felt miserable. But I loved it. I loved the pain and sweat associated. I loved how the entire journey completely depleted my willpower. To stroke my ego, I loved how much of a boss I was to even try doing this. I felt as though I inched closer toward that outer line. But on a larger scale, I loved the process.
For someone who ultimately judges their accomplishments based only on the results, their sense of self is entirely dependent on a black and white outcome. If I earn $1 million dollars I am a success. If I don’t make it, I am a failure. If I get hired by a top company, I am a success. If I don’t get hired by them, I am a failure. The problem is that if I make my accomplishments black and white, my happiness is dependent on something outside my control. My happiness is in the hands of the customer. My happiness is in the hands of a hiring manager.
This isn’t rant on “how to be successful.” I haven’t achieved success yet. But I would say that I love taking on these insane challenges that really push my limits. And the only way I’ve been able to do that is to develop a love for the process. The goal was to complete the 142 miles(228 km). I didn’t. But as Bruce Lee says:
“A goal is not meant to be reached. It often serves as something to aim at.”
And I think it’s how we all can take control of our happiness while making better progress towards our goals: loving the process.
As the swirls of dizziness got more and more intense, my inner gorilla continued pounding a hole in my chest. Although the temperature was 50 degrees, I dripped in sweat. The extreme physical exertion vanquished all fears I had about getting hit by a car. I wish I could add more drama to this story by saying a car almost hit me. Or that I passed out on the road and got taken in by an ambulance. But I didn’t. I knew that I would make it. I knew that physically, I’d be fine the next day. In most hero’s journeys, the hero usually wins, but there’s some doubt. But this isn’t a hero’s journey. I had no doubt I was going to win.
I finally summited the peak of the hill. I stared down at the deep incline sitting in front of me.
In middle school, I’d bike to school pretty frequently. To get to school, there was always a giant bridge. The bridge had an exerting uphill climb, but once I hit the downhill, I’d become giddy at the prospect bombing this steep decline. Wind pressed against my face. Eyes tearing up. Jacket wildly flapping. I’d bend low, to reduce as much wind lag as I could. I was flying.
Looking down the hill of Torrey Pines, the prospect of bombing this hill tickled my middle school self. I had forgotten how tired I was. The 12 year old me only had one thought: Let’s fly. I placed my feet on the pedals. I did a couple mini-wheelies as if I was reving my engine. I dove headfirst. The purring wind soothed my aching thigh’s. The blur of trees drying my sweat. In the midst of my own warp light-speed, I spotted a red light. Shit. I’m going too fast. I slam on my brakes drift-marking the road. I look at the sign on my right: UC San Diego Next Right Turn. UCSD? Oh. That’s where my friend lives. I guess I made it.