I’m looking at this with very mixed feelings. Satisfaction and a growing feeling of achievement as we get ever closer to the finishing line. Not that I’m counting any chickens. Happiness at some new friendships I’ve made, including a couple of very special ones which I hope will continue after the tour. Pride at being part of a group of riders who collectively have grown into a magnificent and strongly supportive team. The collective response to overcoming the interstate puncture challenge set, for me at least, a new benchmark in teamwork. I’ve also got a few twinges of sadness – things I didn’t see or quite appreciate on the road. And some people who are no longer on the tour – a couple of folk in particular who have been in my thoughts a lot since they left us.
Of course a lot can happen in eleven days. And I am sure that my thoughts and reflections will continue to involve but today’s stage was for me, one of reflecting and taking stock. Today’s stage was also one that a close friend of mine would really have liked to have ridden. For me it had a certain English countryside feel to it and I would have enjoyed chatting about what we saw. So my motivator for riding today was my ‘absent’ friend. There in my thoughts throughout if not in person
One of the challenges I have riding in countryside like this is the difficultly of concentrating on the Garmin and the route map. It is all to easy to get so absorbed in the passing scenery and miss a critical turn. The Garmin responds almost immediately with an “off course” but if you are not looking at it then you are none the wiser. And yes, I’ll fess up now. I once went several miles before I realised the error of my navigation.
One hundred and five miles ands exactly six hours after setting off Pete and I rolled in to Marysville. This was the first of four long riding days – I can sense the possibilities of another century on tomorrow’s stage and possibly one the day after. The CV is liking this. My legs are not so sure!