The Privelage of Being Alive

I am not a firm believer in horoscopes, but I do find it interesting when something written in the back of a newspaper mirrorrs your life so closely. Before leaving for NYC, I found a free will astrology horoscope that did just that. It read, “Scorpio: In the coming weeks, I would love to see you get excited about many different people, places, animals, and experiences. And I hope you will shower them with your smartest, most interesting blessings. Do you think you can handle that big an outpouring of well-crafted passion? Are you up for the possibility that you might blow your cover, lose your dignity, and show how much you care? In my opinion, the answer is yes. You are definitely ready to go further than ever before in plumbing the depths of your adoration for the privilege of being alive.”

I have taken this simple horoscope as a challenge, pushing myself to live up to its standards. In one week we have riden 500 miles from New York City to Pittsburg, crossing bridges, forging through cities, farmtowns, Amish country, and hills, riding over roadkill, changing my first flat, navigating through cues, and most of all climbing the Applachian Mountains. In one week I am proud to say that I have come very far both mentally and physically, working to push myself further than I thought was possible.

Looking back on the first week a few things things that stand out to me most are the kindness of strangers, the wild weather, and my nevereneding love for water and sleep. We have been so fortunate to have met so many amazing people who pop up everywhere in support of the cause. One woman whose house was on top of a hill came out and gave me and three very thirsty girls 5 bottles of frozen water, another man told us that as soon as we get to San Francisco he wants us to cross the Golden Gate Bridge and scream so loud they can hear us in Pennsylvania. We have also seen some of the wildest weather to hit Pennsylvania in the past 10 years, with thunderstorms, lightning, hail, and tornado warnings slowing the team down two days in a row. Finally, I have learned how important drinking enough water and getting a good night sleep are in order to be prepared to bike all day in the heat. These two things are just as important in having a bike to ride, in my opinion.

One great word of wisdom that we received this morning was to savor the feeling of hatred we have been feeling towards the mountains and their never ending climbs, because in the future, when the ride is over, we will never feel that kind of hatred towards anything again. I think that is a great way to put it, while the tough parts are very tough, the best thing about it is that this tripĀ  is a once in a lifetime experience, and we have to savor the good as well as the bad and take everything in.

I’m excited to approach the next week with a bit of energy after a beautiful rest day in Pittsburgh, and promise to blog more frequently in the coming week!

Comments (3)
  • Eileen Rock says:

    Great horoscope! It sounds like you are taking advantage of all the possibilities that you are encountering! It is amazing to me how far the whole team has been able to ride in only a weeks time! Certainly a testiment for perseverance!
    Linsey’s Mom

  • Gayle winters says:

    Maggie, thanks for blogging. I am so glad you guys are meeting such warm compassionate people along the way. It is so nice to know all the good that is still in this world! What is even more touching is how appreciative the Illini 4000 team has been. You all seem so would have to be to take on this journey and cause. To all the 2011 Illini 4000 team and previous teams…you are heroes. Stay safe.
    Lauren’s mom

  • Karen Lavazza says:

    Dear Maggie,
    You offer so many wonderful insights, it’s easy to see that you see the “signs”! I don’t mean horoscope signs, the the signs of everything being so interconnected, how life will offer up the bad with the good, and how the challenge is to learn and be grateful at the same time. You are an awesome person.
    Dory’s mom

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