and the emotions continue

3 04 2009

I will tell you right now that thinking about writing this post already has me choked up.  We had an absolutely amazing day today.  The emotions of the day ran the gamut.  We started the day in Cedar City, Utah.  The town that had gone all out the night before did it again.  Steve, the president of the Chamber of Commerce who met us last night came to the hotel to lead us to our start location.  When we got there the Southern Utah University cheerleaders as well as a large crowd were waiting.  We went inside and a local high school choir greeted us by singing the national anthem.  I have heard this song thousands of time in my life and have never considered myself highly patriotic, but there rendition was the most beautiful that I have ever heard.  I don’t know if there was a dry eye in the place and even Phil’s dad John was crying despite being from New Zealand.  Before heading out on our bikes the choir told us they had a little more in store for us.  They sang a Maori song for Phil that ended with the young men breaking into a native Maori Haka.  If that wasn’t enough, they sent us off with a “leaving song” that has been sung in Cedar City for over 75 years that they personalized for Phil.  Again, more tears flowed.

What we thought would be an easy day was far from it.  What looked like a little blip on our daily readout was a climb to over 9900 feet.  It took about 2 hours to get to the top but the scenery was well worth it.  The climb gave me plenty of time to ponder the events to date.  This has been one of the most incredible journeys of my life.  Most of you probably think I am looking forward to a week from now when I am done.  For the first time today, I felt quite saddened by the fact that my journey will end in Denver.  I feel like I have started something that I am going to stop prematurely.  Despite sore, swollen legs, I get up each day looking forward to who I am going to meet, whose life I may have a chance to inspire, and more importantly, who is going to inspire me.  I find myself trying to figure out when I will finish the journey to the east coast to feel the sense of completion.

Philosophy aside and since I am making a long story longer, we spent much longer in the saddle than we intended.  We had a brutal headwind that was taking away our will toward the end.  For the first time on the ride I found that I did not want to be riding … I was tired, irritable, and wanted to be done.  We finished late again, but within an hour of having dinner with our “team”, my resolve was restored.  On paper, tomorrow looks favorable, “only” 75 miles with a lot of downhill sections.   As of today, 660 miles covered, 30000 feet of climbing, 2 sore, swollen legs … and one enlightened spirit.

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