Trip Summary

Day 52: 2929 miles completed, 8 states, 7 flat tires, 4 flat mattresses, 40 new friends and Bruce #1, 8 rest days

Monday, April 22, 2013

Day 46: Rainbows and Unicorns

Add another 68 miles to our total. The route took us through small towns separated by miles of pine trees. Most people connect beaches with Florida, I have always remembered the mile upon mile of pines that line the roads when driving or biking through the state. Our riding day started about 7:15 and we were at camp a little after 1:00 and that included two sag stops and lunch. It is getting easier. We have bicycled approximately 2500 miles thus far with only five riding days left. One week from today we will be sleeping in our own bed – bittersweet.

Each day after we reach camp the first objective is to hydrate and then shower. Then we congregate around the beverage filled coolers waiting for our chef prepared snacks. Focus quickly turns to the next day’s weather. Other than terrain, weather is the most important variable to differentiate the day’s difficulty. Today was another wonderful day: 55 degrees with overcast skies when we left camp. Throughout the day clouds disappeared and the temperature reached 85 after we had settled in at camp. The next two riding days look to be similar and also include an unfavorable wind.

While our posts seem to paint a rosy picture, it is not all rainbows and unicorns. The other day I was ready to quit and return home. I just wasn’t having fun. My two ingredients for happy cycling on this trip are sufficient nourishment and plenty of sleep. Food has never been a problem as we will both probably return home carrying a couple extra pounds and that is not counting all the clothing that Bubba provided. Hopefully it will be rearranged.

This weekend, sleep was an issue; I needed to re-inflate our mattress Friday and Saturday nights at one in the morning. This probably impacted our fellow campers also. It was just one of those times where all the daily challenges reached critical mass.

It would be great and unexpected if everyday was rainbows and unicorns, but reality is that every day includes something that tests your resolve or provides a challenge. Every day includes inconveniences like waiting in line for a toasted bagel, frogs singing all night, or not having hot water for your shower. Most days present a situation that tests you or makes you uncomfortable: it’s too cold, it’s raining, that climb is too steep, bridges are scary, my legs are sore, waking up on the ground, or another headwind. These cause us to question our cycling and coping ability. Can we do this?

There are some instances where a combination of these challenges cause us to question our objective and sanity. Why are we doing this? These are the times that we all rely on a combination of inner strength and support from others. It would be easier to load up the bike, jump in the sag vehicle, and get a ride to camp; no one else would ever know. But we would.

There are no shortcuts to reaching the pot of gold at the end of YOUR rainbow.

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