We’ve now completed 2 weeks of our 9 week journey, covering more than 1,000 miles and more than 33,000 feet of climbing. This week we battled 3 days of headwinds, one bad enough to force us to sag at 55 miles, crossed the Continental Divide and climbed Teton Pass with 10-14% grades in searing heat. Today is our rest day. While Spencer does our laundry I get to share some thoughts with you.
This week’s op-ed from Sheila
Dear Morning you come with so many angels of mercy, so wondrously disguised in feathers, in leaves, in the tongues of stones, in the restless waters, in the creep and the click and the rustle that greet me wherever I go with their joyful cry: I’m still here, alive! (excerpt from “Then Bluebird Sang” by Mary Oliver)
We feel really good about keeping to our intentions to be present, not wishing things to be other than they are and not complaining (ie: kvetching). When I shared this goal with another rider he pointed out that sometimes kvetching helps you find a solution to an issue. That’s different because it’s problem solving not complaining about the same thing over and over in a whining voice. It’s one thing to “note” what you’re experiencing in the moment and another to dwell on it and wish it to be different. Spencer and I have helped each other with this rolling practice. I might say my butt hurts and he’ll say time to stand. We might say all the food tonight held such promise but it was all undercooked then remember they’re the yearbook kids and not the kitchen staff. It is what it is and dwelling on the unpleasant doesn’t change it or help at all.
We’ve been inspired by several of our fellow tour members. Denny from Mukilteo, WA is a 5 year lung cancer survivor riding cross country missing half of one lung. Every day is hard for him but he persists. Ric from Monroe, WA has kept a smile on his face and a great attitude despite being one of the last in every day. All the saddle time finally caught up with him and he ended up in writhing pain, doubled over and nearly in tears. But he sought treatment, missed a few days of riding and is back in the saddle with some bike adjustments. Another rider arrived for only this one week. The mechanics found her carbon-fiber bike had a hairline crack in it and it would be dangerous to ride. She could’ve just gone home but instead she used a loner bike, heavy and ill-fitting, and successfully completed the week with a smile on her face. Go Dorothy! It seems attitude IS everything.
Thanks to all the other riders for inspiring and motivating us. And thanks to all our readers for letting us know you’re there with your encouraging and thoughtful comments. They mean a lot to us.