(2 QOMs for the day)
This day was going to be one of the best birthdays ever. MUCH better than the time I decided to run a stupid marathon on my birthday. I enjoy doing challenging physical events on (or very close) to my birthday. Even though every year I get older, I feel more alive and strong when each birthday rolls around. I'm definitely doing something right. Getting to ride my bike all day really is such a treat. It's something I love to do and I rarely afford myself the time to do it. Life is busy and there are always things that need to be done and riding my bike all day seems a luxury. I set aside time to race my bike all day, but I don't set aside time to just ride all day. This day, I get to just ride.
After another completely restless night, I got an email from my coach in the morning. He analyzed my first 2 days of effort and told me to keep my heart rate in check. Hard efforts for no more than 2 minutes. My hill sprints the day before were stupid and now I was going into another 100 mile day after 2 nights of no sleep. I didn't really know what to expect from the day because I've sworn off the Map My Ride elevation profiles from being accurate. I was told the route would be a bit climby with 1 big climb. I just wanted to pedal and enjoy the day. We had been blessed with georgous weather the whole trip so far and I was feeling very grateful that morning for many things.
We added over 2 hours of stopped time to our over all day yesterday and I wanted to keep moving today. I didn't want to stop unless I needed water or food. I had the route downloaded onto my garmin so when every one else stopped to fix a flat, I topped off my water, and kept rolling with my slow and steady pace for the day. 2 of the other guys knew I had the route so they came along with me. We rode for a quite a while and the group still hadn't caught up to us. As it turns out the route I was following took us on a round about way to US322 and the group headed straight to 322. They passed us while we were on a side street. My group of 3 had plenty of water, we were giving each other plenty of space, but still staying with in sight of each other. We radioed and told the rest of the group to keep going and we would catch up eventually. My group stopped at a convenience store right before we got on 322 for a bathroom break. My hill sprinter guy from the previous day came out of the convenience store, handed me a coke, and wished me a happy birthday. The sweet gesture was overwhelming. He trumped my crudeness from the previous day with kindness. I was in the company of a good man.
We eventually regrouped with every one at a stopping point and we all continued on as a group. We quickly came to a road closure on US322 with a detour. One of our ride leaders was navigating from the sag vehicles as he was having knee problems. We took the detour onto route 208 and waited for direction from him. He finally radioed the group and directed us to all just stay on route 208 West and it will take us right to our hotel destination in Mercer. I had been mentally prepared for a 94 mile day with only a few cat 4 and 5 climbs. With this detour onto route 208 I didn't know what to expect of the day. My legs were a little tired, I was fatigued from not sleeping, and I wanted to keep my heart rate low for the day. I am a logistician by profession and a rather calculated person. It makes me nervous when things get off schedule and when others are calling the shots. I was determined to take the reroute in stride and make the best of it in the most positive manner. This new route could possibly be better. It seemed unlikely as that would have logically been how the ride was routed to begin with. I just smiled and kept pedaling. There wasn't much else I could do. I chatted with fellow riders when they were near, but I maintained my steady pace and eventually they would roll on. I would catch them because I was keeping my stops to a minimum or they would slow down to hang out with me. I spent the majority of the day alone. I was riding my road bike in a completely foreign part of the state, rather alone, and I was completely comfortable with it. A month ago I wouldn't ever go on a road ride by myself. And here I was riding solo and really enjoying it.
|PA scenery. I was thankful for some flats today|
*Making others happy makes me happy
*Making others smile or laugh makes me do the same
*Being in the company of positive people is a situation I need to surround myself in more
*I love exercising and pushing my physical limitations and I wish I could get paid to exercise all day. Pro athletes aren't lucky. They have all earned their lot in life just like every one else who chose not to pursue the pro athelete route
*"Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is gooder and your better best." I live by this and I realize that it means I will never be content. I used to think this was great. It worries me slightly now.
*Life is a precious and short lived. Every day is a gift. You will not be healthy and mobile forever. Do the things in life you want to as soon as possible or you will regret it forever. Period.
|Met on random occurance. Determined to make it mine.|
*Others can steal your energy and soil your spirit only if you allow them to
*Some of the greatest people and things are met on random occurance
*This will not be my last bike tour. In fact, I'm thinking once per year would be sufficient
At the end of day 3 in Mercer we all went to the Elephant and Castle restaurant. It was a great time, with yummy well earned food, and delish beer. My coworkers surprised me with a happy birthday serenade and a huge brownie fudge sundae (I did not eat it). After dinner they bought a case of one of my favorite session IPAs and we all sat on the veranda at the hotel. Drinking beers, goofing off, and discussing our adventure thus far. We have covered 256 miles with 19,387 ft of ascent. Every beer and calorie consumed was well earned and enjoyed by all.
Be it noted that the night of my birthday I finally