Yesterday was a great day - a long climb to start with and then a bunch of rollers. Cynthia (the other recumbent) and I were able to work together in a paceline for the first time and we were doing 18-21 mph for 20 miles or so. The rollers then became pretty long uphills and shorter downhills so we ended up riding alone after lunch, but the day was really good.
Today we started with 30 virtual flat miles and easy rollers to mile 75. The rollers turned very ugly after mile 75 and they kicked my butt! I finished my third 100+ day in a row and 5 in the last 6 days!
I did become pretty emotional today. My husband likes to say "with big events come big emotions". He is so right on with this saying. Think of the emotions that come with weddings and funerals, the birth of a child, etc. Well, that is what I felt today. It started with my sighting of my first pronghorn antelope. Several people saw them yesterday, but since I was in a paceline, I missed them. Just seeing these animals made me realize how lucky I am to be on this trip. I have gotten to see things many people will never get to see.
As I was riding along alone, I turned on my ipod and started listening to my tunes. One of my favorite songs by the Fray came on - Over My Head. This is the song that I had stuck in my head on the Mineral Wells 400k in May 2007 - the write up is one of the first blog post I ever did - look at the 2007 history if you want to read it. Well, it occurred to me at that moment listening to the song, that yes, I was over my head on the 400k in 2007, but also at that moment, I realized that I am not over my head on this trip! I am in South Dakota on my bike! I am riding with alot of different people every day and having a blast! I am truly living my dream! It is unbelievable! This brought on a strong feeling of appreciation that just came blubbering out:
I have to thank God that I am able to do this trip physically and that I even have the desire to see the wonderful world He gave us.
I appreciate my coach, Michelle Grainger, for pointing me in the right direction with my training. Without her, I would not have had the constant motivation and drills to set me up to do this trip.
I am really grateful that Lon and Susan have made it their job to take people across America on a bike. They are the greatest. I got to go to Wal-Mart with Susan in Missoula, Mt and it was amazing to see her shop for us. She would go down each aisle and talk about how much we would like this or that. She really cares about what will make our trip better.
I am very lucky to have a great group of friends with different backgrounds that have supported me and helped me train for this ride. Without this great network, I would have never made it to the start. Dianne, Nancy, Doug, Pat and Steve especially - I owe yall a lot. I would not be here without yall helping me mentally, physically and emotionally!
I really am glad I have the parents I have. They taught me right from wrong and to be proud of everything I do. They taught me that you can have anything you want in life as long as you were willing to work hard for it. I don't know if we will ever know where my long distance cycling gene came from but they had to give it to me somehow! I really love my parents!
Finally, I really appreciate and love my husband, David. He is the greatest. I love him so much. He supported my decision to come on this trip from day 1. He never doubted that I could do it. He cooked for me and took care of things I should have while I trained especially over the last 4 months. He suggested that I go to Desert Camp to train which gave me a lot of confidence showing up in Everett. There is a song I like by Dave Barnes called God Gave Me You and I think about David when I here it. Part of the words are:
God gave me you for the ups and downs
God gave me you for the days of doubt
For when I think I have lost my way there are no words here left to say, it's true, God gave me you!
David has been there for me in my ups and down and on my days of doubts and I would not be on this trip, my dream, if it were not for his loving me and trusting me and believing in me. I am the luckiest person alive for this reason alone! So, with big events come big emotions - David, I love you and miss you!
Okay, back to the day. The first part of the day was flatter green hills, but as we entered the Black Hills after lunch, the pine trees started popping up and once again you could smell a strong pine scent - Christmas in July! We had a lot of train activity and got to hear several whistles. Most of the trains look like they were carrying coal as this is a big mining state. The trains had engines on either end and sometimes two on each end. No cabooses - I don't know why, but I will ask the other train fanatics to see if they know. There were a lot of open fields - this is where I saw the pronghorns. They were all over. I tried to get a picture of them, but I don't think it came out.
Tomorrow we go see Crazy Horse and Mt Rushmore. It should be an easy day. I am only doing 45 miles so I can spend more time at the two sites.
Engine as a Caboose?
Early morning paceline
No barn today, but how bout some fresh veggies, eggs and aussie pups!
If you look really really close, in the middle of the picture, you can see the pronghorn antelope. I will try and figure out how to blow it up so you can see it better.
My Bike with the South Dakota sign - I have a funny story to tell about why I don't have a picture with me and the sign - I will tell yall about it tomorrow
Field of black eyed susan and coneflowers
Entering the black hills of South Dakota - notice the trees. My average went from 16.2 at mile 75 to 13.5 by mile 114!