From the Nosco ride 2023
The concept of time has long fascinated me—its paradoxical nature, how it seems to accelerate yet also decelerate. From a young age, I found myself entangled in the enigma of time. The anticipation of forthcoming events, be they swim meets, bike races, lacrosse matches, or exams, could stretch days interminably. Yet, these moments, once commenced, would pass in an instant. This dichotomy, the slow approach versus the fleeting event, often prompted me to ponder our perception of time.
Time is invariably our silent companion, yet it is also deeply entrenched in cultural contexts. My annual visits to the Nosco ride highlight this contrast; there, time appears critical, an essence to be savored. In contrast, at home, time seems to lay claim to me. A common refrain echoes this sentiment:
"There is simply not enough time in the day!"
Despite our allocation of twenty-four hours, the perception of time can be deceptive. A mere four minutes at the threshold of my training can seem endless. The question remains—why is this so?
On November 3rd, I participated in Jack Nosco's annual charity ride for the second time, serving as a sherpa. My experiences since the first year, influenced by Jack, have deepened my understanding of time. He brought to light the profound struggles some face with the time they have left and contrasted it with the transient pain of a strenuous climb, a poignant reminder of life's battles.
As a psychologist, deeply fascinated by the intricacies of human thought, I yearn to unravel how we become so ensnared by time. Although cultural influences are undeniable, they need not dictate a life ruled by time. We can choose to embrace a culture that regards time as a treasure, a purveyor of quality and serenity, rather than a source of stress and challenge.
ack has always epitomized selflessness. This year, Kellie approached me with a spark in her eye, proclaiming that it was high time for a surprise to honor Jack's unwavering generosity. We brainstormed a slew of ideas, seeking an unforgettable gesture, something transcending the ordinary—a tribute not confined to the static pages of a photo album. Jack's heart has forever been with the community, and that was our inspiration. Thus, we orchestrated a surprise gathering, a testament to his spirit, complemented by a heartfelt video montage brimming with gratitude and treasured anecdotes of the camaraderie he fostered.
Securing early dinner reservations required a bit of crafty persuasion on my part, but I managed to entice Jack and his family with the promise of an evening at the beloved Tarantula Hill Brewing Company. Unbeknownst to him, over twenty-five friends and loved ones were poised in eager anticipation, surrounded by an abundance of delectable fare. The moment he stepped onto the patio, greeted by exuberant cheers, his stunned expression was priceless—a memory etched in joy, notwithstanding my own playful banishment for orchestrating the ruse.
In that moment of collective celebration, it was crystal clear: we are not ruled by time. Indeed, we have the power to carve out moments for what truly matters, seamlessly weaving extra hours into the tapestry of our days. Our dedication allows us to rearrange our lives, transforming time from a relentless foe into the very essence of life. In doing so, time accelerates, yet each second is imbued with deeper appreciation. It becomes not just memorable, but profoundly meaningful—an enduring sentiment that lingers long after the minutes have passed.
The Meet Up
The following morning dawned with a special air of anticipation. The remarkable aspect wasn't just the collective willingness to make time for an incredible ride, but also the global tapestry of participants—it wasn't merely local enthusiasts; we were a congregation from across the globe, gathering to meet for the first time or to rekindle old connections. Zwift has played a pivotal role in transforming the moments we carve out of our busy lives into bridges of connection. This platform enhances the community, making time not only irreplaceable but expansive, allowing it to evolve into a stream of positive essence. It transcends the mundane, lifting the weight we often associate with time.
As Jack and I made our way to the main hotel, the experience of meeting individuals in person—those we usually encounter as avatars—was surreal. Throughout the year, these avatars represent people who, in an extraordinary twist of virtual fate, feel closer than ever before. We have woven a family out of time spent together in the digital realm, infusing it with genuine significance.
I ponder the nature of this time spent together. Although facilitated by Zwift, it holds profound meaning. It's part of our livelihood, and when the opportunity to meet in person materializes, it's priceless. Over the course of several days, time seemed to accelerate, yet, in those moments of greeting, embracing, and conversing, it slowed to a crawl, becoming more than memorable. Time stood still, refusing to blur into obscurity, instead crystallizing into distinct memories etched indelibly in our minds.
On the eve of the grand ride, we convened once again, this time to honor the beneficiaries and to reflect on how Jack’s endeavors to aid others have blossomed. His narrative, no matter how many times recounted, never wears thin for me. It prompted me to muse once more on the unique role time plays, even amid repetition. If the subject were something as tedious as the technicalities of a dilapidated mechanical wing, repeated exposure could indeed become time-consuming and morph time into a sluggish, burdensome crawl. However, Jack's story is different—it's the kind that captures the heart, and no matter how often it’s told, I find myself immersed in it.
As I sat there, my gaze wandered across the room filled with individuals who have been the pillars of the Nosco Ride for a decade and a half. Their rapt attention was unwavering. Despite likely having heard Jack's tale countless times, every retelling was a moment treasured—they smiled, shed tears, and shared laughter. In those instances, time transformed; it became more than just passing seconds. It is interwoven with their very being, and for a moment, time seemed to dissolve into the ether.
How perplexing it is that time could appear to vanish. How is it that we can spend an hour together, and clocks become irrelevant? It’s remarkable how a sense of community and collective focus can dispel the stress that often accompanies our perception of time, allowing us to harness it to our benefit.
The awaited day arrived, and with it, the peculiar dance of time began. Long rides and arduous climbs were interspersed with moments of joy in the company of inspiring individuals. Such challenges reframed my perception of time, urging me to reconsider its flow. It's curious, the way time unfurls—quickly enough to escape your grasp, yet deliberate enough to etch indelible memories. I've come to believe that community and daunting challenges are instrumental in transforming time into an essence that you harmonize with, rather than battle against.
Witnessing riders ranging from novices to seasoned professionals band together, traversing the same roads and pausing at the same rest stops to offer mutual support, fills me with a profound sense of flourishing. My perception of time dilates, becoming expansive and seemingly weightless. Yes, there are moments when we watch the clock, aiming to reach a certain place before nightfall. Yet, those time checks don't intimidate us. They don't loom over us as an oppressive burden but linger gently in the background, a thought simmering on the back burner.
We are faced with a choice: let the pressure of time encumber us, slowing our mental pace, or opt to make it as light as a feather, quickening our mental stride. This is no simple decision. Sometimes, I find myself halted at the roadside, deliberating. For instance, just two days before the ride—and Jack's surprise party—I opted to tackle the 80-mile Nosco route. In the final stretch, the weight of personal deadlines began to press upon me. The worry of not arriving in time to shower, eat, and prepare was palpable—I couldn't afford to be late.
During a brief pause, my contemplation of time's burden became acute. There I stood at the crossroads of my decision: rush through the remainder of the journey or embrace the lightness of being and simply flow with it. Choosing to disengage from the ticking clock, I continued at my own pace, recalling the numerous occasions when everything worked out despite my fears. In a state of serenity, I even found the time to remove debris from the road for the upcoming riders. To my surprise, I returned with a full hour to spare. It was an epiphany—although the risk of lateness and stress is ever-present, shedding the oppressive weight of time can bring clarity.
On the day of the grand ride, the concept of time was indeed put to the test. Yet, I observed many embracing the choice of lightness, choosing for themselves, all the while keeping in mind the beneficiaries who fight for every moment of their lives. It was nothing short of awe-inspiring.
Time has evolved to be both an instrument and an obstacle in my journey through training, ultra riding, and my professional life.
My relationship with time has always been complex. There were moments when I felt it dominated me, leaving me powerless. It cast shadows of fear over me. During my hospitalization for an eating disorder, time crawled by agonizingly, permanently etching a clock in my consciousness. I struggled to transcend its limitations and to harness its value. As a child grappling with suicidal thoughts, understanding and navigating time was daunting. Acknowledging our individual connections with time requires vulnerability, but having navigated through its multifaceted nature, I now comprehend how to wield it in shaping my identity. Time's influence is not solitary; it is a tapestry woven with community, consciousness, and experience. It is defined by challenge and colored by love, passion, and determination. It shapes who we are and who we aspire to be.
Sometimes, we may feel unworthy of our time, or doubt its worth to us. My manifold responsibilities and passions could make others believe they are incapable of extending their own time. On days when my schedule is open, and life's demands are absent, I find myself disoriented by the abundance of time. But what is time, truly? Each person's time is unique and valuable, even in moments shrouded with uncertainty. I am eager to delve deeper into our existence and how we evolve with time—not merely as a species, but on an individual level.
I may never fully decipher the enigma of time, yet I am learning to cultivate peace with my own through cherished moments with loved ones, pursuing my passions, and challenging my perceptions of time. I aim to look beyond the mere numbers on a clock face or a watch. My aspiration is to encourage each of you to mentally catalog your experiences with time, to discover what genuinely resonates with you. Let us all open our minds to the expanse of time, not just as a measurable quantity but as a qualitative presence in our lives.
Now, in honor of Jack, I thought it would be a great opportunity to slip in another fun variation of banana bread.
Muesli Streusel Banana Bread
inspired by the one from Feasting on Fruit.
For the Banana Bread:
- 3 ripe bananas
- 1/4 cup almond milk (or any milk of choice)
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 cups oat flour (you can grind rolled oats in a blender or food processor if you don't have oat flour)
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar (or any granulated sweetener)
- 1/2 cup almond butter (or any nut/seed butter)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the Muesli Streusel Topping:
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1/4 cup chopped nuts (such as almonds, walnuts, or pecans)
- 1/4 cup dried fruit (like raisins or chopped dates)
- 2 tbsp seeds (like pumpkin or sunflower seeds)
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- A pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and line a loaf pan with parchment paper or lightly grease it.
2. In a large bowl, mash the ripe bananas until smooth. Stir in the almond milk and lemon juice, and set aside for 5 minutes to curdle.
3. Add the oat flour, coconut sugar, almond butter, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and vanilla extract to the banana mixture. Mix until well combined.
4. Pour the banana bread batter into the prepared loaf pan, spreading it out evenly.
5. In a separate bowl, combine the rolled oats, chopped nuts, dried fruit, seeds, cinnamon, and salt for the muesli streusel topping. Add in the maple syrup and melted coconut oil, and stir until the mixture is thoroughly moistened.
6. Sprinkle the muesli streusel evenly over the top of the banana bread batter.
7. Bake for about 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean.
8. Let the banana bread cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely.
9. Slice and serve the muesli streusel banana bread once it’s cool. Enjoy as a delightful breakfast, snack, or dessert!
Note: Store any leftovers in an airtight container to maintain freshness. This banana bread can also be frozen for longer storage – just be sure to wrap it well to prevent freezer burn.
Hope you all have a wonderful week and as always...
Be Kind, Do Fearless