I started out from Los Angeles with a Bicycle Dream...riding across America. I finished in Boston 140 miles short of the grand total of somewhere around 3400 miles (I haven't added up my Garmin miles yet) and the irony was that those miles were missed in my home state of Arizona. For me, it ended up being about so much more than riding my bicycle....like many things in life, it is not what you expected but somehow it ends up being so much more. A little recap:
Developing the left quadriceps tendonitis on the fourth day out had me questioning all kinds of things. Could I make it to Boston? I had to ride part of the way to Wickenburg in the van and nursed my knee overnight, with Bruce trying to help and console. On the morning of the fifth day, my Trilogy Bicycle buddies (Gail, Jim, Kim, Malcolm, Christian and Donna) met me for the ride up Yarnell Hill (boy, was I glad to see them!) and Gail and Christian would go on to Prescott with me, but I had to SAG the last 15 miles or so due to pain. After a trip to the E.R. and on the persistent advice of all...I concluded I would ride the next two short days in the van. To Cottonwood, AZ, 43 miles, and to Flagstaff, AZ, 46 miles. It was incredibly hard to watch everyone else saddle up those days and sit in the van with ice packs on my knee. I had missed the final climb to Prescott with Gail and Christian and I had really wanted to ride Oak Creek Canyon in Sedona. Then the rest day in Flagstaff and Milly and David (TBC rules!) came sailing in to help me learn to tape the knee, buy me lunch and give out hugs.
But then, there I was...Flagstaff to Holbrook, 94 miles my first day back. Could I do it? The only thing to do was try. The Never Give Up thing. I made it. So I just kept getting on the bike everyday hoping the "ice pick pain" wouldn't come back....it didn't. For me, it became about persistence, and letting go of my ego..I really do love to go fast. but I knew if I was going to make it I couldn't do that. I dialed it back, set a nice pace and spun a high gear. I appreciated just being able to ride without pain.
The riders I began riding with became my buddies... the "four caballeros"...Peter the Wise, the One and Only Original Jim C., and Matt, the Orange Crush (and me.) My experience on the ride would not have been the same without them. All the XC 2015 riders were special in their own way...each was on a journey of a different kind, but all pulled together to get to the finish.
The support I received from everyone was overwhelming and heartwarming. Special thanks to my husband, Bruce, for his unconditional love and support, to all my Trilogy Bicycle Club riding buddies who held me up, cheered me on, and helped me to believe maybe I really could make it, and to my family and friends, especially my brother Will, who sent emails, texts, and left encouraging comments on my blog.
In the end, it isn't so much about the bicycle but what you learn about yourself. My Bicycle Dream turned out to be different from what I thought it would be. The dream of riding EFI (Every Fantastic Inch) was broken early on, but I put the pieces back together and it turned out better than I had envisioned.....Joanne coined it best at our final rider dinner: "my imperfect ride became perfect."