Sunday, April 5, 2009
90 miles to Bastrop
Oh me oh my.
Another near epic day. Okay, not really epic, but certainly one that shall be remembered years from now when I think back on this journey.
To start with, the day's ride was listed as 92 miles. And, as usual, we scoured the weather stations and weather underground and the NOAA site and any other weather source we could get our hands on to see what we had in store. The first part, the temperature, is now the least of our concerns. I mean, we look, see, and store away the 54 at 7am, 64 at 10am, 74 at 1pm and 84 at 4pm information. File it. And then we turn to the wind direction. That, along with the direction the wind is coming from are two key pieces of information. And then I hop on google maps and compare the cue sheet (which tells the exact roads and all the turns) with the map, noting which roads are headed north, east, north by northeast and so on.
Today's ride headed south at first, then east, then north, then east and then, finally south. The wind, listed as 15 - 20 was to come from the north. Gulp. 90 miles, much of it coming from the side or, for a good chunk of time and miles, right at us.
Nothing to be done about it. We got on the bikes at first light after, for me, an extra large serving of steel cut oatmeal with brown sugar, raisins, butter (a big chunk of it) and milk. This breakfast keeps me going for quite a while, both quickly and then, slowly, releasing the more complex sugars and carbs, throughout the morning.
Part 1 was lovely. We're still in Hill Country and today took us past all the postcard pictures we had seen at all the shops. Beautiful rivers, dams, limestone-lined creeks. We had a slight cross wind, but nothing terrible. Just before lunch, 30 miles from lunch actually, we turned and had a major boost of a blast of a ride, whooshing along with that 20 mile an hour tail wind. JOY!!!
Lunch. "Whataburger." Not bad. Not great. Nice to have a stop.
And then, the work started. We rode north briefly, right into the wind, and then turned east and had a wind for then next 25 miles that hit on the left temple. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. This is called slogging, not riding. It is meditation, it calls on everything I can find inside myself to keep pedaling, keep going, keep remembering that this is an important ride, and important project and to stop would be a decision I would always regret.
I kept going. Kept going. Kept going.
Sherry had taken off and then Jan did too so it was just Connie and me, trading the lead, telling a few stories, looking for signs that we were doing this hard, hard thing. And we kept it up and the miles passed and we kept pedaling and the wind did not stop and we did not either and then we came over a rise and saw seven more rises laid out for the next couple of miles and we kept pedaling and made it to the top of the last rise and saw five more laid out for the next mile and we kept going and kept our feet moving and saw more rises and rode more miles and stopped for a bite of sandwich or, for Connie, a blood check and then we rode more and some more and just a little bit more.
The two of us stuck it out. We're now here. I'm going to take a shower. Dinner will be soon.
We rode 90 miles today.
I decided that today's ride is for the main organization I am raising money for. The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance (OCNA) is behind me all the way. With the money I raise they will keep doing what they do - advocating for more funds to be spent on ovarian cancer research; helping spread the word about the importance of understanding the early warning signs for ovarian cancer; working with medical schools to help new doctors understand these things.
If you have not joined me and would like to, I would be honored to accept your donation. My goal is $50,000.00. Before the ride started I had gathered some $33,000.00. If you'd like to join me, send a check written to Jubilee (my church, which is holding the funds for me) and write Laurey Bikes in the memo line. Then send the check to Jubilee, 46 Wall Street, Asheville, NC 28801.
And thank you for reading these words of mine and for writing notes to me. They do get to me and I hold them close.
I'll tell you some more tomorrow.