This has become a week of more substantial goodbyes. The two women of greatest importance in my life beyond my mother and aunts died. Judy Demerath a week ago at 76 and Nan Archer today at 84. They took leave each in different ways, but did not cling desperately. There was a grace about each. I am thinking of them and their families with love and appreciation.
And I will keep going.
Today’s ride was one of my longest ever. I set a goal when I began today to keep riding without putting a foot down for an hour. Then, I stretched that to two hours and 20 miles. Then three, and finally four hours and 45 miles later stopped for lunch in Williamsport.
A good two hours later, I hit the trail again for another 25 miles to Hancock, MD.
The rain tapered off this morning, and the towpath started to drain, but it still felt like “mushing” my bike along. It’s difficult to sustain more than 11 mph under these conditions. Late in the day, I rode onto Hancock on the Western Maryland Rail Trail. On that paved surface, I was maintaing 14 mph, and that was at the end of my stamina.
As has been true each day, as darkness fell, the rain kicked up in intensity, til I was laughing away my resolve to camp. So tonight I am dry in a Super 8, imagining that tomorrow will finally bring some sun–or at least dry weather.
I am excited to reach Cumberland tomorrow, and I look forward to the tunnels and even higher terrain that awaits.
There is a very great and positive energy that one finds in the people one meets on the trail. Jay, and Dave, and Mike were inspirations last night and today. It is good to think of living in a world of these people–people who are keeping going and not bowed by adversity. People who choose life as an adventure.
I can see that I have not yet truly adopted that posture. Not for wont of role models–Nan and Judy exuded that energy. And I can see that it is not at all too late for me.
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