Day 3 – Friendship Ride

New Fantastic Friends!

This day was AWESOME, AMAZING, ENCOURAGING, MOTIVATING, HUMBLING and so much more. Truth, in life people come and go

and many never will leave a mark on your spirit.  But this is NOT the case for the incredible friends who joined me on this leg of the journey. A few of my coworkers and I had been talking about my ride for some time and they decided to join me on this day.  Steve is an avid cyclist and Amy is literally the most athletic person I have ever met…ever!  Steve put the word out to his cycling group and I ended up having 5 riders complete the 100 miles and another 3 join for a portion of the ride.  It was the BEST DAY EVER!

I had 200 miles under my belt and was ready to rock and roll on another 100.  We traveled from Strasburg, down through, Elizabeth, around the Aurora Reservoir Trail which I now have on my list of places to visit with the kiddos to play in the water and ride bikes along the trail.

Beautiful Day for a Ride!

What I did not really expect was the number of long hills through Elizabeth and then returning to Strasburg. Let’s be real. I am an extreme novice cyclist at this point in my life.  I used to cycle a lot but I had kids, then more kids and then life just got in the way of doing any real cycling.  The last long distance ride I did was 16 years ago when I was 31.  I did the Seattle to Portland, also known as the STP, two years in a row. The second year I rode in it I called David during the middle of it and told him if I ever say, I want to do the STP again under NO circumstances should he allow me to do it!  But you just cannot tame CRAZY and David of all people knows this.

Day 3 – “Rookies” Ready to Roll!

This day and all these hills made me realize that I needed to change the entire rest of my course.  I lacked the power to effectively perform on the hills and my route through Wyoming would present hills 3-4 times as long and challenging. Compared to the people I rode with on this day my novice ability was shining like a lighthouse beacon! On WAY  more than one hill, Chris (one of my new found cycling friends via Steve) literally rode along side me on the hills and pushed me while riding his bike up the hill. I still don’t know how anyone has that amount of energy or strength but it was very much appreciated. Everyone who rode with me on this day came out in support and encouraged me leaving me feeling incredibly humbled.  People are good. This day was DA-BOMB!!!!  THANK YOU FRIENDS!!

 

Day 4 – Start of the Plains

BOOOOM!!!  300 miles on the books! I am ACTUALLY DOING THIS.  Not that up to this point I did not think I would complete this but not gonna lie, there was PLENTY of time during my long rides to think and every now and then I had doubts creep in.  Today was different. I had just come off a day full of friends and support and could not let their efforts be for naught!

Long Empty Roads & Miles of Fields

Wind was my friend as I headed northeast toward Sterling.  I was cruising like crazy!  Hour after hour when I looked at my speed I was consistently between 17-19 MPH.  At one point I hit a bump and my waterbottle fell off my bike, I circled back and got it then stood on the side of the road taking a few photos of the vast fields that seem to never end and the empty roadway that went on forever.  I vividly remember thinking how blessed I am to be in this moment.  As I stood there alone my phone rang, it was my dad.  He had been tracking me and saw I was stopped and was wondering if I was eating lunch. It put a smile on my face as he was telling me about how he has been tracking me each day and then would pull up Google maps and zoom in on my location to see what I was seeing.  My dad has always been a man of few words but being able to share this experience and have him actively participate brings tears to my eyes just thinking of that moment. He grew up in Nebraska and I told him I felt like I must be seeing his childhood landscape all day long. WIDE open fields full of some sort of crop that I could not identify that went on for miles and miles. And a roadway that was as empty as an unwatched cookie jar in a preschool! It was lovely….. Peaceful – so incredibly beautiful and left you feeling minuscule in this great big world.

This day was also very special as my super amazing friend Jordan found me via my tracker and delivered to me a bottle of wine! We stood on the side of the road for probably 45 minutes chatting. As we stood there a truck slowed and stopped and asked if we were OK and then he said… I am XXXXX (sadly I cannot remember his name) and I’ve been tracking your ride via the website! He works down the road and thought he would come and give me some encouragement. The amount of encouragement I received in person and on Facebook was just amazing and really helped push me to continue on.

Cool! Someone Found Me on My Tracker!

LOVE Jordan! Surprised Me with Wine and Nothing but Support!

Day 5 – Leaving Colorado

My first thought this day – after today I will be half way there! I was incredibly excited and proud of myself.

Welcome to Nebraska – the GOOD LIFE!

Riding 100 miles on a bicycle in a single day is hard, knowing each day after the day you just rode 100 miles that tomorrow you have to get up and do it all over again creates a mental internal war-zone that is straight up hard to explain and likely not many people could even understand it. However, when I make it to 500 – I am 50% complete! Mentally – this feels like you are WINNING!

Today I crossed the border into Nebraska. As I said before, my dad was born and raised in Nebraska until he joined the Navy which took him to Hawaii where he met and married my mom and finally they landed in Kingston, WA.  I was born and raised there and spent the first 30+ years of my life causing all sorts of chaos. My dad’s mother, my grandmother, moved from NE when I was a baby after my grandfather died. She moved to Kingston to be close to my family. She was the only relative I really grew up with other than my parents.  I have a fabulous photo of her at 14 years old that I cherish more than anything else I own. She was an amazing woman. She is buried in Papillion, Nebraska. Hmmmm maybe I ride all the way to Papillion???

Trains Trains Trains!

I have always loved trains.  There is something about the amount of sheer power they have that leaves you feeling a sense of excitement and danger.  Who doesn’t love that! There would be 15 or more a day that paralleled my route. The trains would frequently block the cross winds that came directly from the south to the north. When they passed I would kick it into high gear and enjoy a mini 5-10 minute cross wind vacation. Honestly, while riding alone on the road day after day, you find ANYTHING and I mean ANYTHING you can to be excited about.

As I arrived at my 500th mile – I could hardly believe it! I mean WHO does this?  Especially someone who is a complete novice and is 47 years old! 50% Complete!  500 down, 500 to go!

My FABULOUS FRIENDS made signs of encouragement for me and David secretly placed them along the entire ride! I AM BLESSED!!

WHAT is NOT to love about this sign….

 

MORE to COME!!!  Part III – Day 6, 7 & 8 Coming UP Next!