|Mason, watching with binoculars so everyone could get out and cheer me on!|
|Mason, waiting just before I got to the next-to-last rest stop|
So, most of the ride was over now, and I could say to myself, "Forty miles? I can ride forty miles!" Then, "Thirty miles? I can ride thirty miles!" And so on, all the way to the last nine or ten miles or however far it is from the last rest stop to the finish.
|I missed these arrows near the last rest-stop|
But it wasn't clear which way to go after that. Also good, because it gave me an excuse to walk with my bike talking to Don for a few meters before Cassie figured out which way to go. And so I started off, with a good run-along-side and push from Don.
Speaking of pushing: I had to push the pain and exhaustion way to the back of my mind now. I mean, I had been doing that for the last 50 miles or so, but it was getting harder.
Here's where I thought, "Well, hey, I've gone 130 miles now, 20 miles farther than I've ever gone before, so maybe this is a good time to quit. I can do the whole thing next year." But then the words of Derek, my trainer, came to my mind, as they had two weeks earlier on that 105-mile ride: "You've come this far, why are you even thinking of quitting now!"
Here's where Don realized I needed a good laugh, so he started talking about how sad he was that no one was acknowledging his pain --- his chafed nipples, among other things. I laughed so hard I almost fell off my bike, but it made me ride better.
Then here's where Jared and Mason and Jason took turns with Don running alongside me again, with an occasional push. Those pushes were great: such a relief to stop pedaling for a moment and let their momentum take me a few feet farther.
And then here's where, a few miles after that, all of a sudden, Talena's husband Greg was alongside me, jogging. He said it was just part of his PT and it was "fun." I had to laugh again. He jogged and talked to me about many things. Though we didn't get to sealing wax and cabbages and kings, we agreed that crying is not the appropriate response to pain, though it's okay for expressing emotions like love.
Anyway, a while after that, I saw a line of cars behind and beside me on the left (AABAHOM), and a line of people ahead of me on the right, because other members of Team Sandra had lined up to jog alongside me and give me some pushes, up that last hill and into the parking lot at the Huntsman.
The volunteers there had indeed left the finish line open for us. There were about ten volunteers waiting for us, and they made a big deal out of it. Thanks again, volunteers!
It had taken me 14 hours---that's an average of about 10 miles per hour, way slower than I thought it should take---but I made it. Everyone else from Team Sandra had stuck around, too, and there was lots of hugging and laughing and crying. And then we went to a meetinghouse near Don and Cassie's home and ate and talked and watched the kids play. Perfect ending for a very long day.
Finally, here's where the story ends for now, for this year. Next year, though, it will be a whole new story. I'm back in the saddle, going to keep training and cross-training and conditioning. And writing about all this on my training blog. And maybe going to get some more people to join us, some more people to contribute.