France. Summer. E P I C.

We’re going to start this E P I C post with an E P I C song.

I promised last week that good news was a-coming…

The short version is that I’ll be spending my entire summer in France

  • doing E P I C work,
  • conducting E P I C senior thesis research, and, of course,
  • racing my bike.
  • E P I C ally.

It all started in August as we were driving to a race in New York. I mourned the end of my summer in Australia, and said that nothing could beat the months I spent riding and racing with the UQ folks. I wanted to write a senior thesis, which meant spending the summer in the United States.

Anna, aka Coach, aka Idea Machine, said, “Not necessarily.”

What if I could research? work? race? And go somewhere E P I C to do all three? Not that the United States isn’t epic. It’s plenty epic. But, well, I was looking for something E P I C. And by now, you should have some sense of what I consider E P I C. E P I C was the bike, and E P I C was racing my bike in France. France–home of the Tour de France, the Alps, the Pyrenees, drivers who don’t try to run over cyclists.

Never mind that I didn’t know a word of French. Game ON.

My Treasure Map

  1. Come up with a good interesting fascinating outstanding senior thesis topic.
  2. Find a thesis advisor.
  3. Meet with thesis advisor.
  4. Convince thesis advisor.
  5. Find grant money.
  6. Find fellowship money.
  7. Write proposals.
  8. Get support for proposals.
  9. Apply for grant money.
  10. Apply for fellowship money.
  11. Find somewhere to live.
  12. Find a way to feed myself for 90 days.
  13. Find two teams to race with.
  14. Find races.
  15. Upgrade license to be able to race in France.
  16. Make sure I have internet for work.
  17. Work out budget.
  18. Plan 90-day itinerary.
  19. Make room to watch a mountain stage of the Tour de France. In person.
  20. Make room to visit Paris, without my bike.
  21. Make sure data source is available in France.
  22. Write emails to contacts in France.
  23. Write more emails in French.
  24. More emails in French.
  25. Look up words I don’t know. Often.
  26. More emails in French.
  27. More French.
  28. Practice French.
  29. Practice French more.
  30. Learn racing terminology.
  31. Read French federation rule book.
  32. Still look up words I don’t know. Often.
  33. Purchase plane tickets.
  34. Purchase train tickets.
  35. More French.

All in the name of an E P I C summer. If I had known on that sunny day in August just how much work was involved, the MONTHS and MONTHS and MONTHS and MONTHS… the dead-ends, the detours, the setting out on a journey without knowing my destination…

Well… I probably still would’ve done it. After all, I was going for something

E P I C.

OK. So this is a lot. You might be asking, “Why?”

Why not? Have you ever known, deep down in your gut, that you were SUPPOSED to do something? Well, I know I’m supposed to go to France this summer. I just know. And the little bit of legwork beforehand doesn’t faze me. Thesis topics morph over time, but I can tell you that mine deals with doping, Big Money, and corporate culture.

17 races, 23 cities.

You know what’s most E P I C ?

What’s most E P I C is that, to make this summer work, I have to let go. Details about the trip change every day. The thesis topic morphs and grows every other week. People respond. People don’t respond. People I didn’t expect to respond, do respond. I can control part of this summer, but for the most part, I have to change with it and work with it if I expect it to work for me.

The point? The only thing you need to be attached to is change. So often, we hang on to What We Can Control. Sometimes, that Something is a thesis topic. But it could also be the way we treat that Jerk or that Person who’s not quite right, but whom we think we love anyway. We become so obsessed with the plan that worked last week, or the cleverly snide way we’re going to treat the Jerk, or that perfect afternoon with the Person who’s not quite right for us, that we completely miss the boat.

Did you see The Black Swan? To dance the perfect dance, you have to let go. Dance is dynamic–it changes–and needs the dancer to change with it. The perfect relationship, the perfect plan, the perfect summer–all of it is perfect because it changes. Accept that change and what you end up with is something…



E P I C.


2 thoughts on “France. Summer. E P I C.

  1. So yours is like the 3rd “change” theme I have read in the past two days. I could say it is a sign if I believed in signs. Oh wait….I do believe in signs. Especially signs that say: “Welcome to France! Home of the Epic!”

    Dream a size too big so you have a chance to grow into them.

    Can’t wait to get my postcard, btw…

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