Enjoy the Journey – The Hard Work Will Be Worth It

I set off on a nice 50 mile ride this morning. Kind of a make-up for the cancelled 150 miler. The winds were out of the NNW at 24 gusting to 36. The temp at 8:00 was about 58 degrees.

The plan was to head north to Newton and then back. 50 miles round trip. It was immediately apparent that this wasn’t a great idea because of the strong head winds but we persevered. Normally a stop every 10 miles is about right but we made it just over 7 before it was time. A drink of water and a stretch did the trick and we headed west. Quite a relief even though using only half of a 12 foot wide lane was somewhat challenging with the gusts. When we headed north again it was painful. I needed a couple more bigger gears but they weren’t there. I just had to push on. We found a new water tower going up so it was a good excuse to stop and check out how the pieces fit together. That was probably only another 4 miles. We headed west again, then north again. We stopped about 15 miles in for another water break. We had a choice to keep going west but the town of Sedgwick was only 4 miles and the roads past there were probably flooded so the 50 miles wouldn’t be possible that way. We turned into the wind and kept chugging along almost straight into the high pressure system. It was going to be a nice return ride. It took forever to go just a mile and a half. Then it was 5 miles further and then 9 with sights of the next gas station and bathroom break. A quick stop at the BP station and it was a little down hill into Newton. All along we kept saying it was going to be worth the reward of accomplishment, and a nice ride with the wind on the way back.

We left at 8:00 and arrived in the largely Mennonite community of Newton. The coffee shop was closed as was the sandwich shop. It was truly a reward when we found Reba’s open. This was a nicer restaurant than we’d prefer, especially with our helmet hair and at least steady scent. Expecting the regular menu of great natural foods and scratch cooking we were greeted by the Sunday buffet brunch. The food was exceptional as usual but it was time to ride the wind back to the south.

We found the Newton streets to be exceptionally smooth on the bike tires and my sore hands. People were in their front yards greeting us as we passed. The sun was out and the trees sheltered us from the wind but we still had 25 miles to get home.

Our conversation continued the whole way back, the average speed doubled with the natural push. We passed farm fields, fuzzy worms, squashed frogs and turtles, beautiful landscapes, and a car stuck on top of a tree stump from the flooding two days before. We had time to look, enjoy, and experience the world around us. The sun was pretty warm and as hoped, the ride much easier.

It was no accident that the hard work, frequently considered ridiculous on the north-bound leg, was rewarded with great satisfaction of accomplishment and pleasure on the way back. After all, great things don’t come free and easy.

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