Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Desert

I have recovered from the ride. There are a few things that I have learned through this adventure of mine. It is not a good sign when the ride you are doing--105 miles--is more miles than you have ridden in nearly a year (if you add all the mileage up). So, to say that I wasn't prepared for this ride is an understatement. I also learned that it is not generally a good idea to tackle a long ride in a place where they farm wind for electricty--we were lucky on the day of the ride but there was some wind. I also learned what friendship means. I rode with my best friend Chris. We have been best friends for 22 years. She is the one person outside of my family whom I would move heaven and earth to help. She is an incredible woman and an incredible athlete. She had never ridden a century before this past weekend, but she runs marathons and rides her bike often--much more often than I had since my last century in 2005. I must confess, since my last century I have only ridden my bike outside about 10 times. I had no place out there riding 105 miles on Saturday. But I was out there and my best friend Chris who could have finished the ride in about 6 hours stayed with me the whole ride. She encouraged me when the pain was so intense I didn't think that I could pedal another stroke. I rode for her as much as for myself. I know that she would have quit with me if I would have said that I could not physically go on. I know how much she wanted to ride a century. She trained for it. I could not and would not quit for her. That brings me to my one more thing that I learned. There is nothing that I cannot do. I rode through the worst pain of my life. I knew after 25 miles that I was not ready for the ride, but I continued. I would not quit. I took breaks and stretched, but I pushed my body beyond what I thought it was capable of doing. I might have pushed to hard--my left hand is still a little weak and I cannot quite move my pinky all the way. I think we all want to know what we are made of and I am happy to say that I found out.

I also learned that I absolutely hate the dessert. I am sorry for all of you dessert lovers; but the dessert is ugly. It is scenic, I will give it that but I could never live there. I need signs of life. I need green and lushness. But it was a nice trip--it was warm and it had that going for it. We did get to go to Joshua Tree and that was really great. I am posting a few photos from our trip.

1 comment:

Anne said...

I have to agree with you about the Mojave desert -- I had to live in Lancaster, CA for six long months when Isa was a baby. We couldn't get out of there fast enough!

But, I have to say that the Chihuahuan desert can be very beautiful -- although it took me a few years of living in it to really appreciate its beauty -- which lies more in stark shapes and subtle colors. I found that I had to look more closely to find the natural beauty in the desert, but I definitely found it. For example, if you crush the leaves of the creosote bush between your fingers, it smells like desert rain, which is intoxicating. And after a wet winter, the spring desert in bloom with hundreds of different varieties of wild flowers is gorgeous.

In the Chihuahuan desert. The Mojave -- feh!