AXC - The bike

AXC - The bike

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Two Days in Paradise

Friday and Saturday, May 24 & 25.

Before I started, when I would think about this trip, this is what I would daydream that the days would be like. These two days, this was what I dreamed. 

As has been the case more often than not, the prior days had been particularly difficult, with long mileage (back-to-back 70 mile days) and relentless hills. 
(See 'Kentucky Fried Cyclist', this post picks up immediately after that.)

Then we had a rest day in Berea, KY and it was like someone pushed a reset button. I just couldn't stop thinking that as I was riding, it was as if the rest day really was some sort of reset, and things just changed after that. 
The rest day was very nice, and laid back. Different from the last two rest days, where we were hustling and bustling around. Because the camp ground was so far outside of town, we mostly just hung around. I cleaned and lubed my bike chain, did laundry, slept in, ate well... it was just a good day. 

When I got back on the road Friday, I was fresh and ready to go. 
Right off the bat the day was nicer; at least 10 degrees cooler than it had been (thanks to the massive thunderstorms that rolled through), and the humidity was much lower. The day started at about 65 deg, and topped out at maybe 70. Clear skies with a few clouds to occasionally keep the sun off. Almost everything about the day was better in every way. 
The relentless soul crushing hills from the last few days had given way to gentle rollers that were not only easier, but actually kind of pleasant. 
The scenery had changed from coarse rocky hills to lush rolling greens. Even the roads were better, with terrific back country routes, great views and almost no cars whatsoever. 
Then the mileage was much lower as well, 50 miles on Friday and only 45 on Saturday. Heck, at this point 45 miles is like having a day off! I got into camp so early on Saturday that I barely knew what to do with all the free time!

Friday's ride was just plain gorgeous. This is the kind of day where I get on the bike, pedal, and when I look around I am just happy to be here doing this, and happy to be alive. 

There were lush fields that were so green it seemed unnatural, I took my sunglasses off to make sure they weren't affecting the coloration, and the green still seemed to glow. The fields stretched off to the horizon where they were finally broken by rolling hills, rich forest, or gray-blue mountains far off in the distance. The deep, rich blue of the sky was mesmerizing in it's beauty. The cloud formations constantly changing from thin whisps to rich textured layers. 

Occationally a passing airplane would fly over, it's contrails scratched across the sky while the passengers jet from some big city to some other big city. Whatever hustle and bustle the they were going to, the concerns of 'regular life' seemed far away and unimportant

These were the days I dreamed of. Repeatedly I thought to myself how fortunate I was to have all this, to be able to experience all this. To be outside on such a gorgeous day, riding my bike and feeling my heart beat strongly in my chest as I breath in clean air tinted with honeysuckle. Nowhere important to be, and no time I needed to be there. The view was endlessly breathtaking, and changed with every pass I climbed. 

The beauty and fortune of what I was doing threatened to overwhelm me, until I breathed deeply and just let it flow through me. To breathe it in, feel it deeply in my being, and then breathe it out. To repeat again and again throughout the whole day. To be alive, and to be living, fully and in the moment. 

And when we finally arrived at Harrodsburg, KY for the night, I thought the day was done, but there were still moments to be had. 
On the small Main Street there was an old 'Pharmacy' and soda jerk shop. Now converted entirely into a cafe, but with most of the original decor intact or restored. 

After dinner we went there and took over the back deck. I had a delicious brownie sundae. 
There are two musicians in our group, and often they will treat us to some music at the end of the day. On this day, the owner of the cafe lent his guitar to one of our gang, and the other with his ukelele, played for us while everyone enjoyed their dessert and drinks. Without a care in the world. 
The music flowed through me, and once again I felt my heart swell with the feeling of how fortunate I am to be able to enjoy these moments. I sat there, and was just simply, thoroughly, happy. 

Then on Saturday I got to do this all over again. The weather was spot on perfect for riding, the roads were ideal, as if out of a bicycling brochure. The view was unmatched, all the beauty that Kentucky had to offer. We finished the day in Bardstown, KY, and I went into the town square. The town was adorable, with an old country feel, but lots of people and vibrant shops and restaurants. I stopped and had lunch at a place similar to the night before, I had a burger and a milkshake that topped off the day wonderfully. And then later, for dinner, the group took advantage of BBQ grills at the campsite to grill up chicken, steak, grilled asparagus and more. A real treat that didn't go unnoticed. The campground itself was beautiful, and we set up our tents in a terrific and spacious grove of trees. 

I slept wonderfully that night, and didn't dream of the perfect ride, I just had two days of it for real. 

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1 comment:

  1. These are the days that make the whole trip special, and you don't get them without the harder days. Not in a sense that you have to earn them, but in that you can't plan them! But you know they will come if you find a way to appreciate and commit to the trip. I'm glad you're there...and are really and fully THERE.