Post-Tour Reflection

by Phil Svoboda, 1992 and 2017 Tour des Trees rider

As I engage my thinking, I am in a constant search for words to describe experiences and feelings of the events within my life. As I search for the words related to my recent bicycling adventure “Tour des Trees” I came upon this quote by William Blake: “The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way.” It is a remarkable experience to be among dedicated scientist and experts. The power and energy generated by the dedication of the many professionals was like standing in the flow of great Zen energy. There are many words of positive praise that come to mind; in some ways I become overwhelmed with choosing the right words or phrases.

I came away from 2017 version of the ride with similar emotions that I had in 1992, but naturally with somewhat less intensity as that first monumental endeavor. I met and developed new friends, learned many new and valuable lessons about cycling, gained further appreciation for trees, and rejoiced for my personal accomplishment and the accomplishments of the tour as a whole. In 1992, I shared with Jim Clark my feelings that the most difficult part of the ride was ending it. A week long bicycle ride for me is blissful and as close to paradise that I can imagine.

Thus I end with this very simple quote from Winnie the Pooh; “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

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Reflective analogy:

25 years ago a seed was planted by a couple of visionary arborists and that seed has taken root, bloomed, has been nourished in fertile soil and has become an established entity standing tall and mighty. As it continues to grow, it bears many fruits for the benefit of education and research.

An After Thought:

John Lennon wrote a song titled “Watching the Wheels.” I distinctly recall the line “People say I am crazy for doing what I am doing.” As I reflect about the adventure “Tour des Trees” I also recall the expressions that some people thought that I was “off my nut” or “out of my tree” to want to ride my bicycle such long distances. This tour combines all the best of these ideas; wheels turning round and round combined with people who have a keen interest in nuts and trees!

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