I will start with a shout out to Ira. You have ruined my biking protocol forever. There must be something inherit in bikers that, when they see a bicyclist ahead of them, they will attempt to chase them down. On my normal route today I saw a soloist about a mile ahead so I went from Clydesdale mode to racehorse. Soon, I caught up with the rider and as I galloped past, in an homage to Ira, I exclaimed "I come in peace"! We both laughed as I left him in my wake. (Okay, I'm mixing my metaphors again). Ira you rule!! "On your left" when passing a biker has been deleted from my biking protocol.
On another positive note, my intention was to meet with the XC10 riders in Champaign. But, because of other commitments it looked like I would not be able to do this. So, I drove to Springfield because I knew the current group would be there. When I arrived, I saw Tracy in her familiar role. She was in the support truck doing who knows what to be sure the riders needs were addressed. When she saw me we shared a hug that showed a genuine respect for our shared cross country biking experience. I inquired about her back, which she injured during last years ride and she indicated she was doing okay. I later found out that even after two surgeries she still experiences back pain daily. Of all the people I have encountered during my life experience, Tracy is one of the most committed professional individuals I know. Her positive nature and unbound energy are amazing. She also explained that this year's expedition was one of the easiest crossings her company has experienced. I explained that the XC09 group used up all the bad weather, brutal headwinds, and other negative karma so the yin/yang of the universe allowed the XC10 group to "gloat" about "great weather conditions", "strong tailwinds" virtually the entire ride, and other lamentations that the 09ers could only dream of. For all intent and purpose, the current riders should thank our group for their relatively easy crossing. To be honest, I would not trade our experience for the world because of all the obstacles we had to overcome; bike accidents, incessant rain, constant head winds (Delhart TX. is still embedded in my memory bank) cars (motorcycles) hitting bikers, food poisoning, hemorrhoids, broken bike parts, etc. to name a few. That which does not destroy us makes us stronger!!
On another positive note, after talking to Tracy, I waited for Barbie to arrive. When she saw me she greeted me with a big smile and hug. I remembered her from last years ride as an individual that exuded a positive attitude, a friend to all, and a very strong rider. While the XC09ers embraced Barbie into our group, the current riders had already formed their cliques when she joined them, and she indicated she would often have to ride alone. On this particular day, two riders actually rode from Quincy to Springfield with her. I met one of them (can't remember his name) and indicated there must be something wrong with people who would not like to accompany a pretty young woman on a ride across the country. (Hey, how sexist is that?!) Anyway, Barbie shared some of her current trip experiences and indicated she would be leaving after the Champaign leg, but would finish the ride to Boston next year. I wish her all the best. I also wish the XC10 folks continued good karma. Barbie, I pirated this pic from your blog. Hope you don't mind. Talk about a rose and a thorn! Those of you who would even question which is which need your eyes examined!! Enough for now, I rambled enough.