Friday, December 15, 2006

Being Tired

There are several types of tired. I remember times I have been so tired, I feel like I've been run over by a truck upon waking up. These days I'm pretty tired, the kind where I just want to sleep all the time...ok, I always enjoy sleeping, but this is the kind where I never feel rested. But my favorite kind of tired (yes, there is a favorite) is the kind I felt after biking 575 miles across Montana.

Being a seven day ride, there were many moments of extreme exhaustion. We rode in all kinds of weather: head winds in blazing sun, head winds in rain turning to snow as we crossed the continental divide, side winds, and sometimes tail winds. We rode many miles over all kinds of roads: flat, up hill, very up hill, down a bit, asphalt, cement, some gravel.

We slept in tents, but that was some of the best sleep I've ever had just because each day we would ride into camp on sheer will power.

The best day for that kind of ride was Day 4. Route Length 90.7 miles. Highs in the mid 80s. Elevation gain 2600 feet and most of that came in the last leg of the route.

We had ridden our bikes nearly 70 miles and then hit the "straight up" section. I rode approximately 4 mph as I labored along up this "Hell Hill". I didn't dare stop for fear I would never get going again. I was exhausted. It was an incredible effort just to keep my legs moving. I kept remembering something someone said about the ride in general, "Its not hard; you just have to keep moving" or something like that. Meaning it all came down to will power in end. What ever - It was dang hard.

After what seemed like ages, I reached a crowd cheering me on, telling me I was almost there, encouraging me, willing me on. I kept moving, slowly, steadily. Finally I reached the top. Others were there, getting pictures, holding their bikes over their heads in triumph. I thought there was no way I could muster the energy to lift my arms over my head, let alone my bike.

But when my friends finally crawled to the summit to join me, we were all so thrilled to have made it to the top, and knowing the rest of the ride was down hill to camp, somehow, from somewhere we rallied energy we didn't know we had, hoisted our bikes above our heads and smiled for the camera!

That was without doubt one of the most difficult and gratifying parts of the ride. And quite possibly the most exhausted I've ever been. But what a wonderful kind of exhaustion it was.

Then the next day, we got up and did it again. :)

- Chel

2 comments:

Mike said...

Wow, I have never ridden a bike that far or long. Congrats on this. A real achievement.

Emily said...

WOW. That's incredible! When I grow up, I'd like to be like you, and there is complete sincerity in that.

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