Orchids

So it’s been an age since I wrote anything in the blog but I have some time this afternoon so here I am. On Monday, I did 5000 m, half my total goal. I hurt less than I was worried it would. Total time including stops was about 13 hours of total time with about 11.5 hours of moving time. I was quite happy with that. On my actual ride there will be people around to help me and so I shouldn’t have to stop and do things like filling bottles so I should save some time.

I suffered a bit, I thought a lot, I overcame a bad weekend with Gabrielle’s broken leg, and I had an amazing experience.

As of Sunday night our whole family was way behind on sleep with the weekend being so crazy. The weather was threatening rain. I had to prepare for the ride. In all, I wasn’t coming into this ride from a very excellent place. However, it had to be done so I got it started at 0710 on Monday morning.

56 laps, 180 km, 5000 vertical meters, and 13:08 later I was done. I won’t bore you with a lap by lap description of the ride but I learned some really interesting things:

  1. Foxes are really cool, and I didn’t know we had them in the city
  2. Seeing a snake on your bike ride is kind of neat
  3. Very few cyclists returned the wave that I tried to give everyone that I could. We are a grumpy looking bunch
  4. It’s really cool when total strangers cheer for you.

Lastly I want to share an amazing experience that I had during the ride. 13 hours of just turning the pedals gives you a lot of time to reflect on all your life choices, how much you hate climbing hills, how you should have trained more, how much your back hurts, and so on and so forth.

MSPring2009-42
Yellow Lady Slipper orchid (photo mine)

On my very last climb, lap 56, I noticed something that I had failed to notice on the previous 111 trips at one particular spot. On the climb was a little patch of Lady Slipper orchids.

Orchids are pretty amazing plants: they are parasites that feed on fungi in the soil to provide them with nutrients. They are beautiful, intricate, and delicate plants.

The reason I’m writing about orchids is that before my mum developed Alzheimer’s she was a devoted amateur botanist, and she was particularly interested in the orchids of Alberta.

We talked a lot about writing a book about them and got as far as me taking a number of photos and beginning some research. I never look at orchids without thinking of my mum, and there are dear to me.

It was amazing, at the end of 13 hours of living in my own head to have a reminder that I am doing this ride for something so much bigger than myself and my own ends. It was a good and humbling reminder of why I am doing this.

The fundraising total is $12,835 – please consider donating here and let’s get the total up to $15k.

PS, stay tuned for a final plan on the logistics and agenda for the day.

 

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