At exactly 6.37 AM on July 7th 2020, I jumped onto Moja my beloved Bike, waved bye to The Growler, my equally beloved Subaru Forrester, car and started cycling. A minute later, I remembered that I hadn’t tucked in my sports pants, so I alighted and tucked them into my socks. I know that I look rather goofy when I do so but I on several occasions, I almost tumbled off the bike when the lower edges of my sports pants became entangled in the bike’s pedals. And as we have learned from Will Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett, entanglement ain’t a pretty thing! That’s why they invented cycling pants, which are more like tights and hence have no wide bottom edges that can become entangled with the pedals.
When my bike’s joyous wheels rolled into the Middle Track, I adjusted my seating and readied to start fast and furious peddling. The kind of cycling where the forest’s howling slapsyour ears and sinks into your mind as you keep hearing whoooooa… whooooooa… whoooooa! Man, its a sweet feeling. Almost as sweet as that ultimate sweet feeling - when you are worshiping God and you feel like heaven is beginning to seep into your spirit. To put it differently, the whoooooooa! Feeling is almost like ecstasy but pure and pristine with zero physical or emotional mess after the deed. Haha.
Today I will finish a full marathon distance of 42 kilometers. I told myself with a smile as I peddled even more furiously, chasing the whooooaaaa! For the four decades that I have been on planet earth, I have never walked, run or cycled a full marathon distance of 42 kilometers. Yet Eliud Kipchoge, the Greatest Of All Time marathoner has probably lost count of the number of times he has covered 42 kilometers on his legendary two legs. The thought of Eliud spurred me on and set my feet ablaze. Whooooa! Ah, that delicious howl was finally in my grateful head. The wind was slapping my ears, flowing through my mind and massaging my heart.
I completed the first kilometer in an average speed of 13 kilometers per hour, which was actually very slow for Yves, my Cameroonian friend who cycles like he is racing with the wind.
In the middle of the second kilometer, a Suni antelope leaped across the track so fast that I would have missed it if I had blinked. Before my eyes could feast on its petite, lithe body, it had vanished into the forest’s undergrowth. God, I love the Suni antelope. It is cuteness personified. If you have never seen it, go to Karura Forest very early, before 8AM and the God who created this Suni might just decide to bless you with its sighting.
Seeing that Suni fired me up so much that I cycled the second kilometer in 18.4 kilometers per hour. That is Yves’ warm up speed, but hey, am just a year old in cycling and was weighing 95 kilos just four months ago in February. I was so heavy that my artist friend Mr. Green once said that a WhatsApp profile photo of me cycling reminded him of Papa Shirandula. I was offended then, but am honored now. Papa Shirandula, the great thespian who now dines with angels left indelible acting and inspirational footprints in this world before he tragically departed it on July 18 2020.
Are your own footprints the best that you have to offer to yourself and to the world? Are you leaving excellence and inspiration in your trail? Never forget that nobody compares to you, so you owe it to your Creator, to yourself and to the world to be very best that you can be.
Thanks to the whoooooa! and the fire in my legs, I cycled the fifth kilometer at 22 kilometers per hour. I was finally in Yves’ territory. However, the problem was not only maintaining that kind of speed but also increasing it. The average speed of the Tour de France riders is 40.58kph. But in my defense, they are professional cyclists who live, eat, breath and dream cycling.
What do you live, eat, breath and dream?
Apart from the whoooooa!, Karura Forest’s lush nature was setting me ablaze with energy. I even decided to ride up a steep track from Karura River to Wangari Maathai Track. To my utter surprise, I managed that steep ride without hopping off the bike, as most cyclists usually do. Indeed, it is critical to create a goal and throw your all at that goal.
If you forget everything in this story, don’t forget these six words - throw your all at a goal.
About eight kilometers later, just a few meters before Tara Path, I saw a colony of safari ants crossing the path. Their sighting unlocked a flood of memories from my childhood when I was forever entranced by the millions of safari ants that I saw back then with my brothers and sisters.
Although I wanted to take photos and a video of these ants in Karura, I decided against it since I was on a roll and wanted to keep the momentum going. Besides, nobody can stop the wind once it starts blowing ferociously, right? It only stops because it wants to, not because of the voices of haters – or ants for that matter.
Once you get going, (doing the right stuff!) keep going. Just keep going baby.
Back to Karura that morning, there was a rather sharp corner into Tara Path that always intimidated me into alighting and turning the corner on my feet, not the bike. But this time, I was determined to maneuver the corner while still riding. Which is exactly what I did successfully. Indeed, you can’t stop the wind from blowing.
Four hours later, when I rode into the presence of a tall, slender tree that goes by the Swahili name of Mnyasa and the scientific name of Newtonia buchananii, my feet were completely weary. By then, I had already covered more than forty kilometers. But the sight of this tree energized me and caused me to jump off my bike so that I could walk closer to it and hug it. Trying hugging a tree one of these fine days. I promise you that it will leave a smile on your face. And if you are tuned in, you might just hear the voice of God (or feel His presence) seeping through that tree.
I ended up finishing 45.69 kilometers in 4 hours, 17 minutes, which translated into an average speed of 10.7 kilometers per hour. Yves would probably have completed the same distance in an average speed of twenty-something kph! But give me a break, I was weighing 95 kilos just four months ago. What matters is that my cycling wind has started blowing and if I remain consistent, it will keep getting stronger. Whooooa! Oh, what a sweet feeling. One that can flow into others aspects of your life, if consistency remains the name of the game.