My legs hurt, my arms hurt, my hands hurt, but my heart feels really really good. It was a great day. Having Allison and Jerry with me made all the difference. Just knowing they were there at the finish line kept me pedaling. I did fine to the half way mark, a rider's rest in the middle of Saratoga Springs State Park. What a spot! I am definitely going back when I have more time. We were in a shaded glade with muffins, bananas, water, juice and graham crackers (my personal favorite). It was interesting to see all the "testers" doing their thing before they snacked. At that point, my blood sugar was 110. It was 84 when we started, but I had eaten some danish before we left off so that had kicked in, thankfully. In case you don't know, 100 is a perfect score for a diabetic (give or take 20 points). I was hovering around that all morning so I was happy. I had a half a banana and a bottle of water. I didn't say too long and I certainly didn't sit down, because if I did I was finished. My legs were beginning to feel like rubber around the half way point, and I didn't want to push it. The route to the park was magnificent. We started out at Saratoga Springs High School which was a beautiful campus with great facilities. The few nearby blocks we rode through were filled with the kind of houses that Saratoga is known for. Well cared for, artfully painted with landscaping that would take your breath away. Most everyone who lives in Saratoga is showcasing their home, because it is such a tourist mecca. Rightfully so. This place is gorgeous. The rail trail passes behind such homes and it was my most favorite part of the ride. Just seeing what people do with their back yards is inspiring, and the fact that these back yards are backed up to this beautiful bike path is such a kick. For the riders and the homeowners both. We finished up that portion and turned onto some smaller roads again. The autos were sharing the lane with the bikes and everyone was careful and courteous. There was plenty of signage at this point, and so anytime I found myself alone I was certain of where we were going. All the "racers" were passing me by, which at first caused my competitive nature to get a little crossed with my calmer side. The calmer side won. "Go for it", was all I could think. I was riding as fast as Icould and competitive or not, this was the fact. We turned on to 9W, which is a two lane southbound thruway under normal circumstances. Today, it was down to one lane for the bikes, one lane for the autos, restricted speed limit. This in itself is remarkable because 9W is major, they don't shut down for everything. We rode alongside the Saratoga Springs Baths, the Dance Museum (who knew? We're going back!) and headed towards the entrance to Saratoga State Park. This is the first place I got OFF the bike and walked for a bit. It was a small incline that my bike could just not handle (not to mention the driver). It gave me a chance to catch my breath and let more riders pass me by (rider on your left!, rider on your left!). There are essential courtesies on the ride that are necessary for safety. Calling out your position as you pass a rider is one of them. I started answering back "loser on your right!, loser on your right!" and we all had a few laughs. I was having fun. What I noticed most as I was walking were the smells. The scents on this ride were overpowering, and fantastic. I think June in the Adirondacks has to be the most beautiful month. Everything is in bloom, after waiting all winter to finally burst. It is an amazing smell, and I realized that riding along side the cars in their lane on 9W that I should probably be smelling auto exhaust, but I wasn't. The smell of the flowers and the grass and the pines was so overpowering that I never even noticed the cars and the motorcycles. At the top of the incline I got back on my bicycle. As I then turned into Saratoga State Park, the route got so quiet and peaceful that I was struck by the beauty that is around us. I guess riding this long alone gives you time for introspection that we just don't allow ourselves on a normal day. Too bad for us eh? It was beautiful, trust me. Almost at the five mile mark, I got a little lost. There was a turnoff for the riders that I missed, and had to go back. I was riding for maybe a quarter mile where I realized I wasn't seeing any riders in either direction. I turned around and went back a bit and there it was, the huge red arrow in the road. I was so busy looking looking UP that I missed it. And I thought to myself that sometimes you have to look down to find the right direction. Quite a deep thought don't you think? That has been true for me. And I'm sure I'm heading in the right direction now. Back to the ride. The halfway point was great. As I said, food, drinks and lots of chatter. I noticed a few riders like me, who were going it alone. I thought about approaching someone and seeing if they wanted to join forces, but decided against it. I was kind of enjoying this time alone, and I was able to go at my own pace without holding someone back. It had worked up until now. I called Jerry on my cell phone and touched base. I knew they were working the finish line, and also worrying about me. Just a quick check in and off I went on the last leg of the trip. Heading back I was able to recognize the upcoming turns before they happened. There were alot of thumbs up along 9W because now I was FACING the southbound lane. There were tons of motorcycles because Lake George had hosted their Americade weekend (which is a meetup for motorcycles) and everyone was heading home, south on 9W. I had never before felt such affinity with bikers, until now. They were quite supportive and rooting us all on. It was fun. Back onto the rail trail, I decided to switch lanes (there were two paths) so that I could check out the back yards on the other side. Just as pretty. The last three blocks before the High School were brutal, I will admit. I was tired and my legs felt like rubber. I had never done 10 miles before, except when I was a kid. Our bikes then were our wheels, and we used them for everything. We didn't get rides back then, we used our bikes. Now I drive. At that moment, I was tired and sweaty and a little shaky. I can remember being able to push a few feet with one foot on a pedal, and swing my other leg over the back of the seat and climb on the bike while it was moving. That was a memory. That is not how I get on my bike now. Every time I stopped for a breath or a drink of water, I had to stop and think "how do I get back on?" It was a challenge for me and my arthritic knees, but I did it. Never as gracefully as when I was 12, but what the heck? Is ANYTHING what it was when I was 12? Move on. Coming down the stretch to the finish line, I could hear people cheering and clapping and cow bells ringing and I felt GREAT! GREAT! I had done it. We had done it. What a day. I finally found Jerry and Allie, and we all met up for lunch, compliments of American Diabetes Association. It was perfect. With a 66 blood sugar, I was looking for food. The courtyard was filled with all kinds of Perks for the riders and volunteers. I had a massage to die for. I have had massages before, but never immediately after working out and NEEDING it. I now understand the football massage. It works. A beautiful thing. I found out there is a school for massage here in Albany, and that is where the volunteers were working from. Amazing. We had ice cream and walked and talked for awhile. A Radio station was playing their lineup from there, so the music was great. All in all a fantastic day. We had started out about 3/4 of a mile from the school, because parking was so limited. I was not looking forward to walking back to the car. We decided I should ride back to the car and drive back to pick up Jerry and Allison. Just as we were preparing to make that split, there was the car. He had moved it earlier and was just joking. I must say I was thrilled. I didn't know if my legs had the strength to push the gas pedal, or worse yet, the brake. Good call Jerry. Thank you. We are all riding next year, and as Jerry has said, we need a team. Team Blue Line Farm. It's worth it. As for the kid in the yellow shirt with the training wheels who blew past me on 9W? Next year Pal, next year. I'm bringing my team.
To all those who donated to help me reach my fundraising goal, I can't thank you enough. You are amazing to me. I am so blessed with a great and courageous family, and wonderful friends. Thank you all. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going back to bed. . .