The tour is over, but it is most definitely not the end of its effects - those continue to reverberate through my life in many ways. I am a different person now and that is sometimes an unsettling feeling.
Unsettled is the best word I can find to describe myself right now. I want more out of my life, but I am not quite sure what "more" means or how to go about it. I am making steps into bike advocacy in my local community, I am signed up for a century ride at Tour de Corn, I am enjoying the few miles I have put on the bike since I got it back on Tuesday and I am still plotting handlebar adjustments/alterations that would let me do long distances without my hands going numb.
But. The "bubble" has popped. No longer is biking the ONLY thing I have to do all day. Of course I realized that aspect of the tour would end in St. Augustine, but now I am struggling a bit with how I am going to fit riding into the rest of my life. I don't know that I am willing to settle for the old routines but I don't have new ones in place....yet. The 200+ mile weeks will probably be very rare and I'm not sure that's okay with me.
The real issue isn't so much the miles, but the quality of the experience - I got spoiled on the tour with a plethora of riding companions, some (most) of them stronger than I, some more my speed. Now I ride mostly by myself. Cycling is interesting in the way it is a solitary experience that you can share with others. It is also like a lot of other fitness activities, having other people participate is motivating. The routines of the tour were also helpful - you got up, put on your riding clothes, packed and loaded your bag, got your bike ready and once the snack table was out, you could start riding. That routine won't always work here, so I will be developing new ones. I am hoping that my community activities will lead me to more riding companions as well as making this a more bike friendly town.
One thing I know for sure. EVERY dollar I spent on this tour was well worth it. I continue to see the value in new ways every day.