In a little over two weeks, I'll be attempting to cross the state on a bicycle. By myself. In five days. The thought is a little staggering. I'm incredibly grateful for my mom, who made the decision (despite my total lack of common sense) to meet me, or if necessary, transport me to, a cheap hotel at the end of each day and carry some just-in-case gear, and be at least nearby where I'm riding if needed in an emergency. That will help a lot. But each turn by turn, hour by hour on the road ... it's just me. This scares me.
As far as training has gone, the last couple weeks had been limited to short runs and strength workouts. Law school starting was crazy, for one thing. And then Alejandro and I were rear-ended with the bike rack and both bikes on the car on a trip back in August. Just a tap of the bumper, really. Everyone fine and the cars only lightly dented. But the other car hit our bikes, bending both of their tire rims and messing with my gears. So the bike was at the bike doctor for about two weeks. I have it back now, albeit with a loaner tire because we're still waiting for parts to come in.
So this weekend, I decided to make up for lost time. We were in New Bern for the weekend, where a huge MS fundraising ride took place. I didn't do the ride, but it was fun to see cyclists out and about in droves. I wanted to get the feeling of biking on tired legs. Really tired legs. So, at 6:30 am, I ran ten miles. I haven't run that far in awhile, and it was hard. Then, after a late breakfast and resting up a bit, I headed out on my bike for a 48 mile ride, using the MS bike route arrows long after the other bikers had passed through. The ride was flat, looping through countryside and sandy pine forests on quiet roads around New Bern. I hadn't eaten enough, and was hurting by the time I finally found a gas station at mile 30 to fuel up on Gatorade and an energy bar. It was a mentally tough ride. My legs were tired from the morning run, and the roads I was cycling on were completely deserted. The flat coastal area was easy to bike on, but the thing with flat terrain is there's no variety. You don't fight your way up a big hill and then fly down, wind in your face. You're always pedaling, but never hard.
Anyway, I finished the ride just fine. I think my legs will be able to keep pedaling for five days, even if very slowly. The things that worry me are small, but crucial. Hands getting sore, rear end hurting a lot, feet swelling. Keeping enough of the right foods down to have energy. I'll probably cry a few times out on the ride, just overwhelmed with the whole thing.
But I'm doing it. This is a big, even foolish, thing to try. But I want to ask people to support equal opportunities in education, with both their attention and their dollars. I'm asking something of people. So this bike ride is my ... offering in a way. Support BIKE NC to support these wonderful organizations and to support me. I'm stepping up to do something hard and a little scary, and probably painful, for a cause I believe in. And, in a way, I'm asking you to join me.
Why do we walk for 24 hours straight, or run, and bike, and kill ourselves, to raise money for good causes? Why not just ask for money? I think it's a way of saying, If I can do this crazy or difficult thing, and give my sweat and energy in a huge way, surely you can give something. The physical difficulty of someone's journey makes the cause you're supporting tangible. And with your donation, you're supporting not just a cause, but someone who believes ... and needs to be believed in.