Wednesday August 9, 2023
Carson City, NV->South Lake Tahoe, CA
43 mi, 3500 ft elev gain
I spend a lot of time these days just laying down and thinking.
I think a part of being an MIT student or even just a person on this earth, is the need to feel productive. Biking 60-100 miles per day, and building foundations for hands-on learning in underserved communities? No, not enough. Surprisingly, I think, the most productive part of my days have been the time I take to just sit and think.
Before coming onto this trip, I thought the biggest "accomplishment" would be the physical fitness or getting close to new people, but I think the biggest gift I'll take away from this will be the time I've had to rest with my thoughts.
I find myself, after a ride, or on a day when everyone is out trying to sightsee, or everyone's on their phones, or even when I'm tired mid ride, if I put my phone down and just do nothing, and be with no one, I get one of the most satisfying experiences. Naturally, my thoughts will drift towards whatever is worrying me like my life and career and long term goals or those stressers in the back of my head, but also the things that I'm grateful for, and in this time where I have no obligations to anyone or to get anything done, I can work through these thoughts or life questions in my head. I like to think that some people, like those Einsteins or mathematicians or the people MIT admits write about being, are the same way about math and physics problems as I am with these thoughts. And I think, something still about being on the road or this entire experience adds to my ability to think productively. Meaning even during times I have had the opportunity to regularly sit and think, eg when I'm home between semesters or gigs, I haven't been able to do so in this way, maybe I end up spending all of my mental capacity taking an online course on a new subject or watching trashy tv/consuming social media or maybe it's just that I just don't have intentions of sitting and doing nothing and thinking. Of course, there are days on this trip, especially, now that I think of it, like entire rest days where I don't bike or sightsee, that I plan to just sit and do nothing but I don't get much time with my thoughts because Instagram or Internet rabbit holes end up taking precedent.
Anyways, I'm a little bit nostalgic-worrisome that when school starts, I won't have this anymore--the space and intention to sit and do nothing except effortlessly think.
I'm not sure if everyone reading this understands what I mean when I say do nothing but think, apparently some people when they sit, they don't think they have any thoughts? And also, when I say "think", it's not like exptremely hard intentional thinking that is exhausting, it's just what seems to happen with my brain when I sit and do nothing. No meditation techniques, no obligations, just sit. And the thinking just happens.
I think about friends, family, life, career, passion, maybe things that you tell your therapist about? and often end up figuring out a little more of my life and what I want to do. Which I think is the purpose of these summers between college terms--with whatever the kids do, internships, travelling, crazy bike trips, whatever. Do you think/sit and do nothing like this? Lmk in the comments.
Anyways, I wanted to tell you guys about what we biked on yesterday, we had the best host in Carson City--Tod, thank you!!!! Tod is a retiree who fell in love with the chill mountain lifestyle in Carson City and built a beautiful house he hosted us all in to retire in. We stayed there last night, and this morning, he sent us off on his favorite mountain bike trail to our next stop, Lake Tahoe! Note that we do not have mountain bikes--our gravel bikes have much thinner wheels, lighter and larger frames, meaning less traction and mobility for the rocky and Sandy and bumpy trails of a mountain bike. But it still worked, and Tod came and rode the entire 14 miles through the forest. I was chugging along slower, and even though Tod had to get back down the whole trail before sundown, stuck with me in the back until we all got there!
This sort of biking is way different from what we're used to--we usually bike on paved (ie like the highway) roads, and when we do hit an in paved road, it usually is kind of straight, but this road wasn't even a road! Just a couple feet wide of mountain bike tracks that twisted and turned through the trees.
I remember thinking during this ride that this might be the best ride yet. It was a grind but it felt more of a cardio workout then legs, even when climbing the mountain because I was at my lowest gear, and it just felt fun. Kind of reminded me of skiing. So much fun.
The car greeted all of us, and Tod, with popsicles! Then to avoid the almost $6 gas prices, Andrew Kat and Duha went back to Carson City to fuel up, on the way snagged some in-in-out (Vin ordered a double double for take back via the van) and then picked us up two Costco pizzas ($20!!! But they don't have combos anymore :'( and also I really wanted a smoothie but didn't get one :( ) for dinner. Meanwhile, the rest of us biked to our Lake Tahoe campsite that the Tahoe Boys and Girls Club were teaching out tomorrow generously provided us with. The lake was so so pretty. So blue. Yay. Haha. It was a nice lake.
David, the MIT alum who started the Tahoe STEM Academy which hosts STEM Camp at the Boys and Girls club stopped by to say hi, and graciously provided us with showers as well. It's really cool to see MIT people out in the real world, haha, they're the best.
Ps, bad service but hopefully ill upload pics later
Pps, uploaded on the hotel wifi--thank you Station House Inn! And boys and girls club of Tahoe and all of the incredible groups and people who make this space for all of the kids of Tahoe possible