As of today, I’ve ridden my bike 1,071 miles. That’s hard for me to wrap my head around. I’ve been on my bike seat for 5-9 hours a day for 2 weeks, yet I can’t quite grasp that I didn’t fly or drive to Fort Collins, like normal. I RODE MY BIKE HERE. From Kansas.
It hasn’t been easy- as hard as you can imagine it might be, this ride has been harder…and I’ve vented all of that on Facebook. So much so, that some may think I’m only seeing the bad and the hard. But this is definitely not the case. I make sure I notice the good and the incredible too. “Be here now” is a favorite little mantra of mine. In most of what I do (I can’t say ALL, because I still work on it everyday) I try to be present and observe all the feelings I have- the excellent and the not-so excellent. This post is dedicated to some of those excellent experiences I’ve had so far.
Biking at 3, 12 and SOMETIMES 30 miles an hour I get to see the land in detail. There are rolling hills and cloudless skies that go on for miles. The rainbow of wildflowers that line the roads. Butterflies fluttering alongside me. Lone trees in expansive fields. Wheat swaying in the wind- putting a perfect image to the phrase “amber waves of grain”. Noticing the gentle changes in landscape as I inch West – wildflowers and corn fields give way to cattle grazing pasture, then the cacti and sage brush slowly appear. As I climb into higher elevations the scent of evergreen hangs heavy in the air and the aspen groves with their white bark and heart-shaped leaves start to appear. When I can muster the energy, I take pictures of things that take my breath away, and feel a small sadness that the photo fails to capture the magnitude of what I’m seeing.
Exploring #smalltownamerica in a big way. Tiny towns from 20 to several thousand. Feeling like I’ve stepped back in time. Sitting down to lunch at mom and pop diners and snacking at roadside hole-in-the-wall joints.
Experiencing such incredible hospitality from complete strangers that has moved me to tears. Over and over and over again.
Meeting and riding with 4 really awesome people from all over the globe! (Virginia, Australia and two British chaps)
Pedaling for 9 days across mostly flat land and then seeing the mountains rise up in front of me.
Staying in the coolest old Assay office (turned primitive bunk house) in Guffey, CO. In fact, the entire town of Guffey was quite the sight.
Riding my bicycle through, over and around the Rocky freaking Mountains!
I set out on this trip to ride solo through as many states as I can- hoping that I’d somehow find myself or realize something big. Well, I haven’t ridden much of this ride alone and I certainly haven’t come to any great conclusions about life but I do have some perspective. A friendly follower of my Instagram account shared some words that have really stayed with me: “So here’s how I see it. In life, stuff happens. In the years ahead when it hits the fan, you’ll think back to a 90 mile day in a 100 degrees with wind and 100 square feet of shade all of which were full of nasty, biting flies. It totally sucked, but you did it and then you got up the next day and did it again. After you conquered that you took on the hills and they were a whole new ball game. With this in your “been there done that” background you will know that you can deal with stuff. Even if when you decide enough is enough you have proven to yourself and a whole lot of friends that you’ve got guts. You have the total right to be proud of whatever you accomplish…”
So with that being said, if I didn’t ride a mile further, I would still be proud of myself for embarking on this epic, amazing adventure. All of this just amazes me; that I can do it. That I’m doing it and that tomorrow morning I’m heading out for more. Stay tuned.