Goodness knows I've ridden lots of miles alone and with others, in planned, organized rides and spontaneous rides, far from home and in my "hood", in the remote of the desert and on the interstates across the country, and everywhere in between.
But! This Week 5 of PAC Tour's Desert Camp will long be remembered as my favorite multi-day ride. I've pondered on what made it so and I'm not sure I have a definitive conclusion. I can tell you what some of its characteristics were, but in the end, I feel certain the heart of this memorable week has most to do with my own heart. And with most things of the heart when one tries to analyze "it", "it" loses some of its magic and sacred beauty. That said, I feel compelled to do my best to capture some of the week's essence as triggers for my own memory of this glorious week.
- Perfect weather all week--mid 70's, negligible winds, and no rain, but rain's a rarity in the desert anyhow,
- About 500 miles for the week of riding.
- About 65 riders and crew,
- Hubbed in Sierra Vista with nearly-a-century ride/day (ah the joy of not needing to load up the gear bags daily),
- Friendly nutrition, i.e. I was able to manage my nutrition more easily (food allergies/intolerances) hubbing in one place in a hotel with a refrigerator and microwave and in a town with restaurants a step or two above fast-food.
- Informative lecture/discussions each evening by coaches and accomplished endurance cyclists
- My roomie, Carol Bell, and I were a great match on and off the bike.
- Riding these Southern AZ roads felt like a celebration. They are now "my" roads, not just roads I come to visit once a year. Since I can now visit them anytime, riding with 60+ other riders I felt like I has sharing my home with my friends.
- Speaking of friends, I probably knew a quarter of the riders and crew so it was, indeed, like a homecoming.
|John Prince, Carol Bell, and Dan Aaron|
|Carol Bell and Me|
- Jim Kemper also rides recumbent so it was fun to share the roads with another bent.
- I enjoyed riding alone sometimes, riding with others sometimes, and having choices about how far I rode each day including sometimes going off-SAG.
|Jim Kemper, Carol Bell, Me, and Gary Duvall|
- I had a host of issues with the carbon seat on my bike which, in turn, created a host of problems on the seat of Susan. But, with the help of Lon, Jim Kemper, and John Prince we solved the bike seat issues. And, with the help of Barb Bohaty (Massage Therapist) and my own work-on-self I was able to manage my personal "seat" issues. Nice to know that "issues" don't always have to be ride-stoppers.
- I think sometimes when I've ridden PAC rides I've felt intimidated, that I wasn't good enough, strong enough, fast enough, just wasn't enough since there were always amazing cyclists who have a portfolio of amazing accomplishments. But this time I felt like I was enough; I didn't have to prove anything to anyone including myself. I've ridden 10,000 miles with PAC Tour; have ridden 12,000 miles/year for the last half-dozen or so years; can climb every hill and mountain Tucson has to offer me. I am enough just as I am and that is a huge victory. That doesn't mean I will not continue to improve my performance, but doing so will be for the complete joy and gratitude of doing so, not to earn a spot at the start line or around the table.
And so I ended the month of March with 27 days of riding and 1,357 miles. A good month's work of joy.