The excitement fills my bones, the joy overtakes me body! The day began with a huge improvement for myself, staying with the middle of the pack for 25 miles! Only yesterday I was in the back. It was such an amazing rush that overcame me as I kept up with Tony Cambell and Kelsey Merz. Soon after we hit out first rest stop, the sweepers joined us, right as I got my first flat of the day. The flat made a loud pop then a steady hiss with the wobbling of my whole bike. What an ordeal! It was beautiful in the least graceful way. I truly enjoyed every part of that flat tire! The mayhem and chaos was beautiful. Finally, we were on the road again! As we took off this time I slowed down with Kelsey Merz and Tony Cambell and decided to stay with the sweepers. Our second rest stop was soon to be found! Sadly it was on the side of the road with no restrooms around, so we ate and refilled our waters and sports drinks and rode on in hopes of finding a facility. We found one! In the lease assuming of places, a tire shop. When I exited the tire shop, Tony was outside with ice creams from the local creamery next door. I was most gracious for my tiny bladder at that time.
As we rode on, my little legs could no longer keep up with Tony and Kelsey so I stayed back with the wonderful sweepers of the day, Tonya Strahler and Sue Farris. We, (as in I) had to get another flat! This flat was much more painful than the latter. As the day became later I became tired and discouraged, still smiling, but feeling down on myself for being so slow. Once we made it to the final rest stop I almost rode in the van after being told there was a “doozey of a hill” ahead and 16 miles left. I remembered earlier in the day, I was walking up a steep incline as I received a text from my dad, “I love you! You’re strong.” The timing of that text was such a blessing. I thought of it again at that moment and decided, “I am strong” and I rode on! The decision changed my life, forever. I will remember. I am strong! I climbed over an 11% grade today and rode the most I’ve ever ridden at ones at 82 miles. I will break that record again while on this ride, and as I ride I’ll remember I AM STRONG!