Since today was a 111 mile ride, we left just before the sun rose. Cool, quiet and bike lights flashing like a host of red and white fireflies. I was pretty sure that I wasn't going to get my first Century today, so I decided to just get back to what this trip was supposed to be all about.
Since I limit myself to one ER visit every five years and my diet has consisted largely of bananas and jelly beans lately, I decided I would just go for a lovely Sunday ride. And I did. I stopped and took pictures of clouds, sunrise and flowers. At the end was the 20 mile SAG stop. I topped up my water bottle and took off again. And it was another lovely Sunday ride. At the 40 mile SAG, I repeated the procedure, but it didn't turn out quite so lovely.
At about mile 45 there was a BIG honking hill that went on for freaking EVER. I got some weight bearing exercise walking up part of it and gave my lungs, my butt and my thighs a bit of a rest. At mile 48 there was a sheltered picnic area and I went there to (hopefully) call and let people know where I was. There was another group there, Bubba's Tours, they have been roughly paralleling us off and on. And Bubba hisownself gave me and my bike a lift to the 60 mile lunch stop. Linda had made salmon salad and a Thai influenced cole slaw lunch and it tasted better than anything I have eaten for a week.
It was quite warm by then and not a cloud in sight, though there was a nice headwind building up. Several of us decided to take the van the rest of the way. There is no point in ruining a lovely Sunday ride with a round of heatstroke. I had planned to ride to 60 then decide about going to 80 but I think I made the right decisions - and Bubba earned a star for his halo. If I am going to die on this trip, it better be for something spectacularly athletic, not from something stupid like heatstroke.
Now the musings.
Riding "all the miles" was never a top priority for me. Too many places that I just don't have the skills or experience for. I didn't count on all the miles I wouldn't be able to ride for reasons beyond my control. It looks like there is an outside chance that I will still be able to ride 2,000 miles on the trip, including one more opportunity for a Century.
But what if that doesn't work out? I didn't come on this trip to prove anything to myself or anyone else. I came to have fun riding my bike. And from now on, that is precisely what I intend to do. Even on the frustrating days, even on the disappointing days, it has been a pleasure to be with this remarkable group of women and share our experiences. Every day it hits home for me that we are really on 30 different trips for maybe thousands of different reasons. We learn, we share, we help each other and we all grow. It's quite amazing.