Deb and Jim and I rode from their house to mine on Thursday morning. That's about eight miles--by far the longest they've ever ridden.
When I cut off my hair and got out my bike at the end of June, I was riding alone every day. Often, I rode from my house to Mom and Dad's, which is practically next door to Deb and Jim's. When I dragged into the house and collapsed into the floor, they all shook their heads and wondered aloud how this could be good for me.
In mid-July, when I hatched the idea of getting the rest of the family riding, my nephew Brendan (Deb and Jim's son) agreed to help. We planned a trip through the Missouri wine country, riding the Katy Trail, sure that if we made reservations and committed money to the scheme, the others would join us. They did.
The first night Deb rode, I seriously thought she might have a stroke at the one mile mark. Her face was scarlet, her breathing rapid and irregular. Her neck pulsed. It scared us both.
We've been riding about five weeks now, and the difference in Deb is almost unbelievable. When we got to my house Thursday morning, she cruised up to the car and hoisted her own bike onto the rack without missing a beat.
Sunday morning, the whole crew is gathering to ride from one end of a local trail to the other--about 12 miles. By the end of September, we need to be prepared to ride as much as 26 miles a day. I think we'll make it without any problem. Collectively, we're stronger and closer than we've ever been. Every day, we share water bottles and small acts of kindness. We juggle cars and schedules. We watch the sun rise and follow each other through the woods as dusk gathers.
To quote my darling Katie at about 4 years old, "We's has'n an adventure."