My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.
My route, which brings my week’s riding (Sunday to today) to about 197 miles:
Today, as with last Sunday, I set out on my training ride with no particular plan except to start by heading generally south towards Hopkinton. That provided me with a delightful five miles of downhill riding with a tailwind. Excellent. Alas, as soon as I turned off from Route 85, I found myself riding uphill with either a headwind or gusty side-wind to batter me for the remaining 25 miles. I admit I slowed and struggled for a significant part of the second half of the ride, but the whole time I blessed whatever impulse made me switch Charlotte from studded tires to slicks. Such a difference! So much less work! The switch also meant that now I can hear all the agonized grinding, clacking, and squeaking my bike makes as I ride along, all noises covered by the whir and clack of my heavy-treaded studded tires. This map also neglects to show the two gigantic hills I climbed.
The map also cannot give you the serene experience of cruising down tree-lined, narrow back-country lanes, seeing ponds glinting in the afternoon sun, feeling the rise and fall of the road, flitting through shadow-dappled roads. Parts of the ride were beautiful, calming, the kind of riding you hope to have every day. Other parts took me through office parks (one called EMC2 even sported a church, the Vineyard Church, in one of the buildings), along major roads frequently called Main Street, past a delightfully cedar-smelling nursery advertising MULCH!, by a store called Red Bargain Barn (Red modifies what: Bargain or Barn or both?), to a stoplight where a carful of guys in their 20s rolled down their window and commended me on being green (they assiduously told me that they were in the latest Honda hybrid on their way to a green conference. I commended them, and only later realized they might have been hitting on me), and through neighborhoods populated by uncountable numbers of small, modular-looking homes. Riding neighborhood streets made me realize that I could probably take an entire 40- or 50-mile ride never once touching a major road. The houses felt endless. It also felt like I could have ridden all the way to Rhode Island — I wasn’t that far away, really. Some ride when I’m in better shape I will make that a goal.
By the end I felt tired, had drunk all my small bottle of water, and had eaten half a Luna bar. Eating and drinking on the ride worked well, keeping me feeling much stronger and better-sustained than previous rides. I will have to experiment with food, though. Luna bars take too much spit to try to eat on a ride. Also by the end of the ride my butt felt slightly sore, but probably no more so than if I had spent three hours sitting on a hard wooden bench. My back felt stiff after about 30 miles, and my legs felt leaden when I finally pulled up to our apartment. Still and all, I feel quite perky and plan on riding home from church tomorrow, which I think should fall into the 30-mile range. That will be a good follow-up to today’s ride, since I’m training to do two long rides back-to-back.
I think this may just end up being a biking blog with some other random bits thrown in for now. Until mid-July, biking will take an increasing amount of time, attention, and thought. I expect little else of interest to occur between now and then, barring disaster.
Please help me raise money for the MS Bike Tour Cape Cod Getaway. Donate today on my MS Participant page.