Although I am retired, I hold down several different jobs, depending on the season. Sometimes, it's learning: generally to do with either internet development and/or photography. In this season, cycling is becoming a rather full-time job. We were out for the best part of six hours today, covering 71 kilometres (44 miles), enjoying lunch at Windcliff (see yesterday's photo), and coffee (also by the lake) in the grove.
Unlike yesterday's chill and the trifling 60k that we rode then, today's longer ride occurred in splendidly glorious weather: shorts and no jackets. It was absolutely wonderful. We pedalled for over 30k on the road that you see to the left, that and almost identical other roads. What a fabulous treat!
At times I even found myself praying, or something that must pass for it in my experience. It went something like this: "Thank you God that I can still pump my legs, for I know that I will soon be able to pump them no more. Thank you God for letting me feel the warm breezes on my face, for I know that I shall not feel them much longer. Thanks you God for letting me see the green trees, ploughed fields, and blue sky, for I know that I shall not see them much longer."
Tis enough that I pumped, felt, and saw today. My cup is full. If you don't believe me, look to your right, my friend, at one of the many flowering trees that we cycled by. And look on Cuppa's blog for lilacs which adorned the pathways and fragranced the air. How does life get better? Would a million dollars make it better? How about living in a castle? I think not. Today's treasures were beyond price, and, behold, I dwelt in the castle of the almighty today.
If I can break out of my euphoric hyperbole for a moment, let me tell you about my brush with the wall. We were just over 35k out, had been riding for several hours, and had just turned around to ride into the wind. Cuppa asked me if I was feeling alright because we hadn't ridden so slowly for a long time. Macho me replied in the affirmative, but as I contemplated this later after lunch, I realized that I had not been fine. In point of fact, after several hours of exertion, I was running on empty and hitting the wall. I needed to refuel my body. After I did so, my speed picked up, even though we had put even more miles behind us by that time.
There is another reality that I am having to face now that we are extending our distance. That's the reality of living with an arthritic hip. After several hours of pedalling, I found that I had to begin getting off the bike fairly regularly to stretch my hip. Then, I would be good for about another ten kilometers or so. Small price to pay for such joy, however.
Tomorrow must be a day off. I have appointments, and our bodies need to rest regardless. I trust that we'll get out on one or two more excursions before we leave for Butterfly's next week, where I hope that pleasurable adventures await, for I am told that there are good trails thataway. I must attend diligently to my summer job after all.