Thursday, July 1, 2010

Hard to believe

It's been almost two weeks since completing the Pedal Petal. It was not easy. The first 30 miles, starting from the Oregon Gardens in Silverton, were  hills, but they weren't as bad as they could have been. My head was my worst hurdle. I kept thinking how unprepared I was, how tired I felt, how unsure I was that I could make it. The downhills into Silver Falls were fabulous, and they lifted my spirits even though it was really cold. My teeth were chattering.

But when I got to 50 miles, there was an osprey circling over the rest stop, crying out that we were too big for it, that we were scaring its fish. And I just got off my feet, sat on a huge rock and rested a bit. The next rest stop was mile 63, and I knew I could make another 13 miles. So, I kept going.

The fields were chock full of crops: onions, wheat, strawberries. Workers bent double to peak beneath leaves and pick the fruit by hand. One small group of workers turned to me, right as I passed. I waved, and they straightened up, laughed, and gave back a wave. Another great moment came when a man, who looked like Rasputin with forked gray beard and Cossack hat, a very stern expression on his face, trudged up the road. When I waved at him, his face burst into a smile, cracked open, and he laughed. Many people who have never seen a recumbent bike think it is a merry machine.

At the very end of the ride, I was not so merry. In the last half mile I knew there was a hill, one of the steepest of the ride, and I yelled out in dismay. But this ride, unlike the last century, I did not walk. I made it.

And two weeks later, I'm a bit stunned that I rode a 100 miles. Why do I do it?
--to test myself because I know there are so many tests ahead
--to explore the edge
--to know which things matter (workers laughing, the smell of onions, the texts from Cheryl encouraging me)
--and more.