Plants First, Fish Next

The original intent of this journal was to chronicle the trials and tribulations of the struggling twenty-something, as I searched for love and happiness in the small city-burb of ManchVegas, NH. Now, I'm thirty-something, I've found love in many forms, happiness in even more, and now the struggle is just... well... life. And finding time to do the million and one things I want to do- including writing.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

FatAss 50K (on a bike) Part 2

I check back on my group when I'm in front - everyone's looking good, so I ride ahead up this hill, challenging myself and knowing that they're alright.  Occasionally I see us from an outsider's eye: two or three runners on a cold winter day, and a biker with a silly striped hat.  I find it alternately absurd and fantastic.  I know there are people driving by in their SUV's, kids plugged in to the DVD player in the back, looking at us like we're crazy.  I know this because I used to be those people (sans SUV, DVD, and kids).  It's ok.  Either something will move them and they'll come around, or they won't.  I'm glad I came around.

One of the fun parts of going on any kind of trek, especially one that puts you in immediate contact with the world (as opposed to behind the window of a car or train, etc.) is seeing things you would never have seen otherwise.  Gross things, like riding over freshly killed chippies; random things like a glove stuck in a snow bank; awesome things like a FOUR TIERED SNOWMAN (seriously, that this was kickass).  I personally cherish those little sights and experiences.  Like cairns, they remind me that I'm on a path, creating mental landmarks and a framework for the journey.

Side note: Henniker must have an awesome sign maker, because almost every business, office, or establishment had a carved and painted wooden sign hanging out front.  It was very "old timey" looking, and I'm sure someone in the Henniker planning department is super proud of him-or-her-self for making businesses get them.  Mr. or Ms. Planning Department Person, well played.

Avoiding traffic in Henniker was a challenge.  The roads are narrow, there's a big long hill, and for some reason EVERYONE was out in their cars on Sunday.  Actually, traffic was pretty heavy almost half the time, even in Hillsboro.  The runners could move to sidewalks when they were available, but that wasn't a great game plan for me - the ice and snow was too unpredictable under my wheels, and (because I am stubborn) I wasn't wearing a helmet.

Entering into the Gould Pond area the second time, all the runners are tired.  I'm cold, my quads are a little stiff, and my butt is totally saddle sore, but I'm still feeling pretty good over all.  It was unspoken, but everyone could feel the mood dropping.  Instinctively, we all took turns doing our best to keep things light, keep everyone moving forward, keep minds off of hurting feet or aching legs.  Sherpa exclaims that the last 6 miles in Hillsboro to be the LONGEST SIX MILES EVER and he's not wrong.  I knew I was feeling better than these guys, but good GOD it took forever to get through that neighborhood!

That last turn back onto Bog Rd. was magical.  One final hill, and at the top is the house.  We all wearily trudge up the driveway, looking forward to warmth (I *didn't* get frostbitten toes, thankfully), bathrooms (whatever moves you forward, right?), couches and kittehs.  Beef stew, "Turkey Beans," tea, water, chips, and an assortment of other belly warmers were consumed over the next few hours.  We said goodbye to Sherpa as he went home to his fiance, and gladly sank into the comfy cushions in the living room.  I've never been so content to drink tea and watch football in my life.

With all the fun I had, all the things I saw, there's nothing quite like the joy of completion.  I can never really relax until the job is done.  Even though I was stiff and cold, I felt great.  The state of my body was a testament to my day: completing 32 miles on my bike, however slowly, spending the day with friends, being out doors in this beautiful state, challenging myself.

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