New Month, New State(s), New Perspective

It’s incrediby hard for me to believe that today marks day 11 of this 72 day journey. I wish I had it in me to write the highlights so far, but the most important thing I’ve come to realize is that every single day this summer is turning into an adventure within itself and the best thing I can do is live up to the goals I set for myself by being present in every moment and leaving it at that. At this point we have less than 4,000 miles until San Fran (we started with 4,519 miles to go) and I’ve already started to fear the days I won’t wake-up with this team every morning. Within 11 days we have bonded, provided each other with support, and approached every obstacle with an open mind to do what needs to be done and get through it together. Obstacles thus far have included minor bruises and bumps, ridiculous wind trying to knock us over, and cold rain that makes you shiver to your core when you ride in it. Despite this, our team has also found huge success by means of kindness from every place we’ve stayed, unexpected food donations, and a willingness from many to share their stories of cancer with us as we work to collect more snap-shots of the American cancer experience for The Portraits Project.

With May behind me I find mysef looking forward to the first full month on the road. On the first day of June we finallly made it out of New York and crossed two state boundaries landing ourselves on the other side of Pennsylvania in Ohio! By the end of the month we will pass through 8 more states and continue our journey West from Colorado. The biggest challenge I’ve faced is adjusting to time passing. On a bike I find myself looking less and less at the clock and more and more at the miles that have gone by. What day of the week it is has become less important than knowing the name of the next town we’ll be sleeping in and how many days until our next event day. Within the first few days everyone was on the same page in terms of distance: 75 miles or less is considered a short day and typically not thought of as hard — more than 75 miles will be a challenge, but nothing we can’t accomplish. I’ve also been surprised to realize how much of the ride is mental versus physical. Of course you need strength to keep you legs moving in circles as you pedal, but believing you can do the ride is half the battle. Believing you can get up the monster hill in front of you is what keeps you going. Knowing you’re capable of standing up after a fall puts more miles under your tires.

I can’t say thank you enough for all of the support that I’ve continued to be showered with! Knowing care-packages are heading my way and that people are cheering me on helps tremendously with the 5:45am wake-up every morning. A few days ago on our way to Niagara Falls, New York I had a bit of a fight with the road, curb, and ground and dented my bike frame. Not only did this take a literal bite out of my bike, but it was a bit of an emotional hurdle as my bike has become something I’m attached to. I love my bike as much as I love my team. I’ve been in the van for a few days while figuring out how to proceed, but I’m beyond happy that I’ll be rolling again as soon as Zanesville, OH. My accident sucked, but it has affected my perspective in a positive way. My first post was about being a type-A personaity and I now find myself learning to roll with the punches. In the words of our ride leader Ben, “Stuff happens and it’s going to keep happening. What matters is that you keep going. Today will end and tomorrow you’ll start again with a new adventure.” For years I’ve seen signs that say things like “Don’t stress the small stuff,” and I’m sure most everyone is familiar with the’ “Keep Calm…” phenomenon. This has been the opposite of me for years! I think the details are the most important and often stress about getting them right. I now find myself learning that as much as you try to get everything right, it is also importnat to know that in reality every hill is just a bump in the road.
(Thank you to Kevin & Sam for that saying.)

Comments (1)
  • Amanda Brewer says:

    Atta girl. I am so proud of you I can barely express it! Keep on doing your thing girlfriend. You are awesome!!!

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