For the third day in a row, I woke up and had to ask what day it is today. They all run together – so much happens each day, its hard to believe it has only been one week since we began riding. Yet it is also hard to believe the first week is already over and we are already in Phoenix. So basically, I live in a constant state of confusion.
Countless firsts have occurred since I last wrote. We had our first team ride on Saturday.
Sunday we had our first official day on tour, and left from a beautiful send-off in Long Beach. We had a great day and I had another first as we rode along the Pacific Coast Highway – I climbed a hill on my bike for the first time. (really – all of my training terrain was FLAT!)
Monday we rode to San Diego, en route to which I had more firsts, some better than others. Bad = my first falls (yes, plural – there were two!) of the tour. Both occurred due to bike malfunction, as my chain had decided to have an attitude problem, so when shifting gears, it sticks or sometimes just jumps off altogether. Awesome, right? When this happened as I was climbing a hill, my reaction was too slow, and I didn’t clip out quick enough to catch myself before the bike fell flat. Frustrating, for sure, but no seriously injuries, so all is well.
Good news? We also had our first mountainous climb – somewhere between 1.5 and 2 miles. I knocked it out, and it felt AMAZING!
Tuesday was mountain day. It’s a mental game, folks – and I wasn’t about to be defeated! We started strong with incredible endorphin highs from the early climbs before we hit the “real mountains.” As a result of previous day’s chain/derailer issues that had not yet been fully addressed, I decided to play it safe and not clip in. So I rode all 87 miles without clipping in, which was possible b/c a wise friend from the 08 team recommended I got dual pedals for when I may find such riding necessary. THANK YOU Blocker!
I won’t lie – the mountains were TOUGH! I had a great riding partner, though, and when I once said I was getting tired about 70 miles in, she looked and me and said, “no you’re not! Keep pedaling!” wise words. I listened. Good thing. Only 7 miles more and we found the greatest gift we could have asked for after such a day – we got to ride down the mountain for 10 miles, coasting (with hands firm on the brakes) the rest of the way to camp. I literally screamed for joy when I saw the sign at the peak – I couldn’t believe it! I made it, and with no time to spare, as the sun was surely going to set and daylight would be lost about 30 minutes later. PERFECT! I loved every minute of that ride down, even creating a lifetime memory as I hit 50.6mph as I made my way down the mountain. Absolutely Amazing. I was in disbelief I had climbed mountains only 3 days after I climbed my first hill! Encouraging friends (on the road and via texts) and prayer got me through the day, and I couldn’t have been more thankful.
More on the rest of the week soon. Its actually really fun to try writing this, to reflect and remember, to smile and take note of the details that fill our days. Great things indeed, and this will serve as a great reminder to us all down the road. I’ll finish the week when I have time later today.