Two weekends ago I had already planned to sort of double date with close friends (a couple) in the bike club who are riding out to a B&B near Ithaca ( tenwoodlodge.com/
) to stay overnight and test out a special hot tub that is available in the suite.
My partner had mentioned that our local CyberCafe ( cybercafewest.com/answer
) has a cool band performing tonight, Answer The Muse, "a unique fusion of theatrical, spiritually inspired, transformational performance art. The music consists of originals, covers meditative chants as well as audience participation." ( www.answerthemuse.com/
) ...but THEN...
A surprise guest! Courtesy of WarmShowers.org! A couple who were traveling through our area by bicycle, started in NJ and heading up to Rochester and beyond. So I hosted them for the night at my place. I invited them to join us for a night of music but they were understandably beat and looking for a quiet night of rest. They missed some terrific music! A unique blend of uptempo yet meditative, Buddhist-based with powerhouse vocals reminiscent of Grace Slick / Paul Kantner of the Jefferson Airplane..
The couple, it turns out, had just moved to the USA from France. Very nice young folks.
I hoped to coordinate our ride to Ithaca with them so that we could all go together, but they were going to get up and go early so I didn't expect to see them when I returned to my apartment Sat. around 9 a.m. Plus I knew the bike club members who were riding to Ithaca were not morning people. So I threw in the towel figuring we wouldn't be riding with my French guests. Here they are:
But there they were, having a nice leisurely breakfast in my apartment! They were so beat from their ride to Binghamton that they must have needed some extra sleep and they didn't appear to be in a hurry to leave so I texted my bike club buddies, "hey if we could tweak our departure just a tad earlier I think we can accompany my guests as they are going to Ithaca too!"
And voila! It *happened!*
Such a lovely ride in which I alternated between, riding along with my French guests, who were extremely saddled down with their WAY heavy loads and pedaling a slower 10 mph or so, and taking liberties to ZOOM on ahead and fill my "need for speed," waiting ahead for them to catch up. I had talks with myself about pacing, thinking this slower speed may at some point become the new "normal" for me, but that's okay. Gordon from Scotland (who visited last year) crossed the USA going at that pace from Seattle to Boston...for the SECOND TIME! I lassoed my nervous thoughts about the FANY ride ( www.fanyride.com/
), reeling my awareness to be in the moment and enjoy the ride I was doing right now and realized, the FANY ride was just like the ride I was doing today, only a few of them stitched together with as many pauses as I needed. I would have several hours each day for riding. I could go as slow as I needed and still cover those miles. I realized often in the past my efforts to pedal harder, go faster, often had a strong undercurrent of needing to prove myself to myself...as being "okay" at 15-20 mph, but NOT okay if I dripped along more slowly.
Which doesn't mean I can't zoom when the urge strikes me...but to do it for cleaner purposes: to celebrate a fullness of heart! And be just as full-hearted with a 10 mph mosey.
We enjoyed a lovely lunch at Carol's coffeehouse in Owego, where a folkie was playing and singing oldies. South of Ithaca we parted company as we only needed to go as far as Danby, but our bike club member gave them a kinder, gentler tip on how to get into Ithaca with quieter roads that weren't as steep.
And again this past weekend brought two wonderful rides up through the Taylor Valley looping from Cincinnatus into Cortland and back on Saturday and a totally surprise, unplanned ride on Sunday with a bike club member who was looking for a challenging hilly ride looping from Chenango Forks to Whitney Point to Greene back to Chenango Forks. Route 206 between Whitney Point and Greene was ESPECIALLY challenging, delivering one huge hill after another with awesome descents and climbs which I was pleased to see myself nail without a walk. THIS is how to build my bicycling legs for the FANY ride! Woo hoo!
I was also pleased to find myself pleasantly mellow, but not totally exhausted after the ride. Progress!
I'll wrap up with one more pic and a quote that spoke to me:
"Life is your art. An open, aware heart is your camera. A oneness with your world is your film." ...Ansel Adams