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I O Ma, I A Mo - To the Black Sea by Bicycle

The beginning should start, “I woke up and prepared…” however that night I did not manage much sleep, and between the mosquito hunts and mind storms I could count no more than a couple of hours of rest. At 3 am, before the ring of the alarm, I was awake and making the last preparations. At 3:30 I touched the street and started the long journey.

There is always the question about beginning: which rhythm should I start with? If I start too hard then I will tire soon, but to go slow I must fight the initial urge for reaching the goal. As I was pedaling that night, going out of the city I managed a self-imposed slow movement, “There must be no goal to push to, I must not get tired so soon, I must start slow.” I am pedaling with care, feeling my legs and I imagine the machine of my body filled with sensors, the mind monitoring each of them and detecting the level of fatigue. I must not push hard at any point.

As I leave the city followed by some angry dogs and leave the lights behind, my soul is getting cold; I fear the night on this road, I fear the dogs, I fear failure. Yet, if I can manage to reach the sea, what a great accomplishment on two wheels. Each moment I must be sure that I am not making any excess effort. I force myself not to know in which gear I am since this always brings about the urge to speed up, shift gears, and gain a few more km/h. I know that this time such an approach will empty me and force me to fail. As I would deplete my energy I would make stops, eat energy bars, and fuel a fast fire soon to burn out.

There should be nothing behind and nothing ahead, no road, no plans, nothing. And at each moment I must listen to my legs and breath then change the gear accordingly. I forget the computer and do not look at it, I forget the gear in which I am and only switch it based on the current state of my body.

The night is still around me on this poorly illuminated road and I pass large warehouses from time to time. I imagine the dogs guarding them and hope they are asleep. Sometimes a lone car passes as I stop pedaling and stick to the right most side of the road.

“I o ma, i a mo”, I am here, in this moment. I inhale and exhale regularly, I feel my legs in good shape, there is no goal and no speed. “I o ma, i a mo.” Light emerges at the horizon and around me the shadows disappear. As I pedal I know my speed has increased as the muscles are getting used to the movement, but until now I forced myself not to look the computer screen. I take a glance, I am at 28km/h, around 40 km into the journey. I do not know the gear in which I am and I do not want to know, there is little effort in the pedaling. I inhale and exhale, “i o ma, i a mo”.

The sun raises and I stop for a moment to take a photo. The road is deserted, the asphalt good. I grab my first pack of “papagal” jelly to eat on the road. From my last trip to the sea by car 2 years ago I remember a bad portion of the road, would that be fixed by now? The roads are not always good and such a problem could slow me down. With each pedal stroke and misplaced rock the bike and my soul would be hurt. I inhale and exhale, “i o ma, i a mo”, and from time to time I eat a jelly. There is no rush; I feel the sugar candy melting in my mouth. There is no rapid fire here, yet a steady one burning in my blood.

I am passing Ileana.