Back in the Saddle

Er . . . or should that be “Back on the Foot Rests”?  Regardless of how I say it, yesterday’s return to three wheels really soothed my soul after going through a trying couple of weeks.
I have been a little more absent from the world than my recent blog posts would indicate.  I have to confess that I wrote the last two articles before Hurricane Sandy hit, and had them scheduled to auto-post during the week.  That was good foresight on my part, as the massive storm left me without power for 24 hours and without internet for the better part of a week.  All things considered, I was one of the lucky ones.  Despite sustaining some minor damage from the 70+ mph winds that tore through the Lehigh Valley, I look at what our brethren at the Jersey Shore are dealing with, and I know how much worse it could have been.
I spent the bulk of last weekend cleaning up downed tree branches, as well as cutting down two trees that have been damaged bit by bit with every storm in recent years.  They were diseased, and I decided to just take them down entirely before they damaged my property or caused someone injury.  Although my body would tell you this hard work fell into the exercise category, my mind was growing increasingly cranky at not doing anything fun.  Several weeks of cold and cloudy weather certainly weren’t helping my disposition either.
So with yesterday’s return of sunshine and temperatures in the 60’s, I eagerly accepted my friend Tara’s invitation to ride with herself, Tom and Mary up in Stroudsburg.  I realized that life really does look brighter atop the foot rests of a Trikke, as we rode through the peaceful neighborhoods in town.  Everyone was enjoying the nice day as well, raking leaves in their yards, or taking to the streets to walk or bike.  I am continually amazed at how many smiles I get as I Trikke past total strangers.  They smile, wave, say hi, and offer words of encouragement on my ride.  Imparting these moments of happiness to those around me is one of the real rewards of Trikking, and no matter how rough a week I may have had, I can’t help but feel warm and happy inside.
Like my first ride with Tara a few weeks ago, she again had that magical effect of inspiring me to ride faster and further than I’d go by myself.  After several loops through the neighborhood, she took us up some steep hills on the campus of East Stroudsburg University.  Some of these are beyond my current ability, but seeing her and Tom climb them gives me something to aim for on future rides.  We rode well into dark, and I was grateful I had recently installed lights on my T8.
When we were nearly back to our starting point, I checked the tracking app on my phone to see we had covered 18.65 miles!  Recalling that my longest ride to date was 12 miles, I should have been elated to have blown that record out of the water.  And I was, but . . . the realization hit me that doing just another 1.35 miles would put me at the 20 mile mark for the first time ever.  More importantly, it would let me reach a goal I had set when I bought my T78 back in February.  At that time, I had set a goal of Trikking 200 miles for the year.  It seemed nearly unthinkable at the time, yet after the LSM ride in Warminster, I was at the 180 mile mark.  A 20 mile ride would let me check off that goal as met.
So Tara and Tom agreed to circle the block a few more times with me.  I had held up pretty well most of the ride, but now my arms were aching, my back was aching, and it was just pure adrenaline that was moving me forward.  When we reached the finish line, I’d racked up 21.18 miles for the day!!  I had met my goal, and in the process discovered that I’m capable of a whole lot more than I ever imagined.
Thank you, Tara, for pushing to towards new heights!!  It’s always good to make a comeback, and this comeback was a heck of a boost for my mind, body and soul.
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