Today I made and got a wish. I was cycling alongside train tracks. I stopped by the sag car and said to Susie, “It would be fun to get a video of myself cycling next to a moving train.” Minutes later, I heard a train whistle. I looked back and there was a train arriving. I turned on the action cam and got my video. Side by side, three across, there were motor vehicles including large trucks, me in my comfortable and clean 30 inch road shoulder, and a very long train. Moving in the opposite direction was a gentle headwind.
In the town of Newton, a different sort of moving occurred. I stopped at a store to request the use of the bathroom and encountered five women employees who quickly engaged in conversation with me and learned of my quest. The women were in their 40s and one had just turned 50. She said she’d been raising children since she was 20 and all four children were now grown and launched. When I recounted that, at age 50, I had begun a PhD program, started a business, and started running, she raised her eyebrows. I saw a lightbulb going on in her mind. She said she was glad I had stopped by with my story in that moment in her life.
If my ride can serve one purpose, it would be to move a few people off of their comfortable center. Where are you comfortable but shouldn’t be? Are your food consumption and energy output balanced? Do you eat the wrong kinds of food and know it perfectly well? Do you have a balanced relationship with money or are your finances precariously propped up with credit cards? Are you in a relationship that needs rebooting? Is there a dream you are letting slide?
Expect the Unexpected, continued:
Early in today’s ride, I saw a stopped van and a man outside it. He unthreateningly gestured that I stop. He asked if I was riding for a cause and that whatever it was, he’d be happy to donate! He said he had cycled cross country last fall between chemotherapy treatments and that he refused to be defined by cancer. We talked about our trips and discovered that we were on the same route (Adventure Cycling Association’s Southern Tier Route) at about the same time. Though we had run into some of the same cyclists (an MS charity ride and a group of men in their 80s), his group and mine had not encountered each other. Still, that’s a pretty small world.
Start location: Effingham IL
End location: Sullivan IN
Distance: 74.2 miles
Cumulative distance: 2236.6 miles
Elevation gain: 1135.2 feet (pretty flat)
Special features: State crossing #7 – Illinois to Indiana, crossing into my home time zone – Eastern Standard Time
Strava track: https://www.strava.com/activities/734551068