I’m back! I’ve cycled 591km, riding in either blinding rain or razing heat, I have thighs the size of a mountain and a bottom that requests I don’t sit on a bike for another week or so!
I’ve talked fourteen year-olds up and over massive hills, coped with kids who refused to get back on their bikes, spent five hours in A&E with hypothermic kids, watched with pride the quiet achievers who just get on with things without complaint while the drama queens catastrophize and I’ve had moments when I’ve screamed like a banshee when boys drifted to the wrong side of the road with on coming traffic.
I’ve also had some lovely conversations with these young teenagers who next year will be dealing with physical challenges and I hope they can draw on some of the stuff they have learned over the last nine days that no matter how hard the going gets, they can do it.
What did I learn? That I can ride up steep and never ending hills even though I hate them, that I take 20km every morning to warm up and before that my legs are like porridge but after that I find a rhythmn and the cycling is fun. That I can function without ten cups of tea in a day but I would prefer not to. That I think the Great Vic Bike Ride should be 7 days not nine ;-)
I learned that my 14 year-old son is a delight. That he loves climbing hills on his bike…he didn’t inherit that from me! That even on the day he felt unwell, he dug deep without
complaint and rode 108km and that he has tolerance and patience with his team members that is way beyond his years. I am so immensely proud of him.
We had driving rain and cold on the fourth day and nine students, all who are tiny, got mild hypothermia. They recovered quickly and less than 48 hours later we had burning heat with the temperature rocking up to 38C/over 100F. On day 8, when we had to ride 108km, we had lovely temperate day but we got super strong winds to test us.
All in all it was a physical and emotional endurance test with lots of laughs, a few tears but a great sense of satisfaction in not only accomplishing the ride but helping a group of students accomplish it as well.
On this Monday morning I am grateful for my comfy bed, my hot bath, not having to have breakfast at 5.30am and not having to line up for the bathroom! I am also grateful to have had nine days cut off from the real world. That in itself is very energising.
However, I have just realized it is now December and I have done nothing to prepare for Christmas. I have edits on two books and a short story to write so I think I am well and truly back in my real world again. I just need to wait for my brain to catch up!