So the question everyone has been asking me now, “what’s next?”. The obvious answer is rest. For those who know me well, play some golf. As far as cycling I have no idea.
There is a part of me now that just wants to get home and go out for a ride alone, on the roads I trained on for 9 months. Knowing I am so much better now as a cyclist, than the day I left for LA is exciting but I don’t know if that means my old routes will be any more enjoyable now or not. I have no plans yet for another organized ride as I sort of jumped to the ultimate challenge without working my way up through the many wonderful cycling challenges that I have now heard about. In case ‘The Colonel’ is reading, “No, Ride the Rockies is NOT in my future”. I think for a while I just want to keep riding and losing weight so that climbing becomes a little easier in the future. I proved to myself I can drag myself slowly up many hills and mountains but it has to be way more fun if I was 30 lbs lighter. I am sure, knowing me, that something will jump out at me when I am ready and in the mood for another adventure out on the roads.
Another ‘what next’ has to be eat less. As I told lots of people on our journey that our group reminded me of a small swarm of Lycra covered locusts, eating all that was put in front of them. From Navi with her 1st 2nd and 3rd dinners to the pounds of cinnamon rolls that were consumed every morning by most including the normally disciplined Colonel himself. The first couple of days after the ride I still ordered more than I should have now the ride is over and had no problem consuming all that was set before me. However I am pleased that I do feel a lot fitter than a year a go and am determined to change my diet once I can get back to my own kitchen in Jupiter.
The ultimate ‘what next’ is getting home and starting a new routine for normal life. In some ways the ride has no doubt changed me even if it’s just something small like cleaning my bike more, eating breakfast or getting up early. Nothing jumps out at me at this moment as a permanent change for my life but I am sure there may be a few in time. I know when I work at my golf game now I have a much better understanding of how to train and make gradual improvement like I did with cycling rather than hoping for instant or short term fixes. Living life in the here and now is also something I see way more clearly now. You miss a lot of life if you spend too much time living in the past or worrying about the future. I read a quote somewhere saying something along the lines of ‘the only commodity we are short of is time’, so true. Yet to waste time has to be the ultimate stupidity as you can not get it back ever and not one of us knows how much we will get.
Talking to you has become a sort of addiction which I guess I am going to have to give up now using some sort of step down program. It seemed strange on Saturday thinking that nobody cared much if I had a great lobster dish for my dinner at Abe & Louie’s in Boston because today I’m not riding across America with cancer. For how wonderful social media makes you feel when your popular it also I’m guessing makes you feel bad when your nobody again. I returned to being nobody but don’t as yet know if that is a good or difficult thing to get used to. Finding the crowds and constant noise hard to deal with at Boston airport was not as much as a surprise as the social media but still something I wasn’t expecting to have quite the effect it did. Realizing all of these things are probably not surprising having just spent almost two months without watching any TV, riding between 5 to 8 hours mostly alone every day and spending most of my other time washing myself, my bike or my clothes, napping or writing and reflecting about life with all of you out there in my own social media bubble. The ride was and is a very self centered adventure which now has to end. Yes I had plenty of encounters with people along the way and hopefully touched others through the blog, but most if not all of that was about me and my ride. I don’t ever want my life to be all about me but to be far more about we and us.
Some of the riders did ride together as groups so I am sure their adventure differs greatly from mine. I have to say despite making some new friends and having a fair number of laughs along the way I did find my ride was quite a solitary experience outside of mealtimes, which in its own way was quite wonderful if not occasionally a little lonely. I would not change this however as I think that is how my ride was meant to be. My Big Adventure was never just the ride from LA to Boston it was and still is from a diagnosis of cancer to a bike and freedom. My journey started on a 9 mile ride to Jupiter Island and I can not tell you where it ends. I learned to ride a bicycle again by training for a long trip across the country. Now I feel able, like Forrest Gump or anyone else of free spirit, to ride my bike enjoying freedom and feeling very much alive when I do.
As I look back over the next few weeks at the many photographs, other riders blogs and all the emails I received I know I will see how much more this adventure actually really meant rather than just a bike ride. My Big Adventure was exactly that and was much bigger than I ever imagined when I sat in front of the computer and decided that I would sign up and ride a bicycle across the United States of America.
I will post a blog on Sunday and then hopefully once a week to keep anyone still interested in how I’m doing, how much we raised and tell you some of the wonderful memories I now have about the ride and riders who shared this adventure with Irma and myself.