0 mile mark: I went outside to get ready to leave around 5:00 a.m. only to learn that a mist was falling. Do I go or not go? What is the weather to be like? According to the forecast, early morning storms were possible. I decided to go for it and take the chance. The worst thing that could have happened was if I had to turn around or if I had to call my wife Nancy to pick me up. It was worth the chance. Also, taking a long trip takes mental preparation. It would have been so disappointing to not ride after getting prepared mentally and physically for two or three days. Life Lesson: Don't be afraid to take informed chances. Sometimes your hopes are crushed and disappointments occur, though this time it didn't.
15 mile mark or so: It was still dark, and I took a left instead of a right. I discovered this after going 1/2 to 1 mile the wrong way. I decided to ask for help. The first two people I asked didn't know where the street was. Finally, a store clerk helped me. Life Lesson: Sometimes we get confused and make the wrong decisions. Yes, even men need to humble themselves and ask for help.
22 mile mark or so: I rode on the NCR rail trail (MD) and the Heritage Trail (PA); the combined distance on those trails was 40 miles. The scenery declared the glory of God. The forest, the running water, the green grass, the underbrush was awesome. Twice I saw a mother deer with two young deer. Life Lesson: Don't go so fast you miss all the beauty around you.
30 mile mark: I took a break after two hours of riding. I used a bathroom along the rail trail. I also grabbed a bite to eat out of my back pack. The drink and snack provided a second wind. Life Lesson: We can't keep pushing it. We need times of refreshment to restore ourselves.
35 mile mark: Rather than passing a bicyclist, I felt led to ask him some questions. I found out that he helped back in the 1980's to put benches and other tables along the rail trail. To converse with him though, I had to decrease my pace 5 miles per hour, but it was worth it. Life Lesson: Don't just walk or ride by people. You might be missing out on someone interesting. Each person has a story, and we have to humble ourselves (slow ourselves down) to learn that story.
40 mile mark: I arrived at the PA/MD line. I needed a break and my gluteus maximus was shouting me that truth. It never stopped speaking to me the rest of the trip, so I had to try to focus on something else. I get a third wind that enabled me to complete the next 20 miles. Life Lesson: No pain, no gain. If we focus on the pain, we will stop and give up in life.
55 mile mark: A male and a female passed me on their bikes. I decided to try to keep up. That competitive desire made me forget about a desire for a break. I increased my pace. They eventually pulled away, but when the rail trail ended at a park, they were just loading their bikes on their car. I must not have been too far behind. Life Lesson: God sends people along to inspire us to greater things, to push us and encourage us to strive for the greater goal.
60 mile mark: I called Nancy and she asked me if I had enough liquid. I decided to stop to buy something before I left the city. It began to rain, and almost immediately a convenience store appeared. By the time I finished using a bathroom, buying a drink, and eating a snack, the rain stopped. Life Lesson: God's timing is amazing. I don't always see it, but it is.
62 mile mark: After riding on the relatively flat rail trail for 40 miles, I now hit my last third of my trip. The final leg was up and down hills with one mini-mountain. Life Lesson: Life is not always easy. Sometimes life is difficult. It has ups and it has downs. However, if one goes up, one most likely will come down and vice versa.
79 mile mark: The home stretch. The road was flat again, but there was a slight headwind. My legs felt dead, and it felt like I was crawling. I should have taken a break and got a drink and snack, but I was so close, so I pushed on. Slowly but surely, and persistently, I completed the trip. Life Lesson: Keep pedaling. Keep going toward your goal. Don't stop. Don't quit and you will get there.
Arrived! I was wiped out, but I was satisfied and joyful. I actually completed the trip. One can learn a lot about life from the seat of a bicycle.
P.S. One thing would have made this trip better, a person or group of people riding with me the whole distance. Past experiences of group riding reminded me of the value of teamwork and how it aids one in accomplishing the goal. Life Lesson: community is so much better than individualism.