Ditch your pride and enjoy the ride!
96 miles in 4 days!
The weather threatened hurricane force winds and driving rain. 35 miles from port to port.
Rain gear a must!
Mark volunteered to sweep. No, not the deck of the barge but the riders. His job was to pedal behind and keep track of the flock. He was the "border collie" of the trip.
How could I not go? So many were opting for a canal cruise. Remembering the driving rain of 2 days earlier and the chill to the bone that even a hot shower could not suppress. I was tempted to stay behind and enjoy the other passengers...but how could I? My husband is the sweep!
The morning of the trip, I saw Mark sitting at day break having coffee alone in the salon and as I sat I ran thru the litany of reasons we should opt to stay on the barge.
He quietly looked up and just before he sipped his coffee he said..."do what you want, but we came here to ride..."
The gauntlet was thrown!
I recoiled to my room. Pulling on the wicking bike shorts and the multilayers of shirts, I wondered if I could do this. What's the worst that would happen? I'd spend the whole day being told by my husband to catch up...
I needed an intervention.
I went to Jack, our guide. I slipped him 20 Euros and rented an electric bike!
Oh, how I struggled. Days earlier I judged the elderly Germans for their electric bikes...and here I was choosing this alternative.
18 folks chose to ride. 6 chose electric bikes! I say ditch your pride and enjoy the ride. 14 people stayed on the barge...
So I had to be given some credit for attempting the next wet and windy 35 miles regardless of the electric bike...right?
First let me explain one thing. You still have to peddle. This is not a moped or scooter. I was told to keep it in economy mode by Jack. I hardly felt a difference. I was still peddling to keep up with my group but suddenly the hills were easier and the knees hurt less.
So I still peddled those 35 miles but had an economic assist.
The Wind! Oh the wind...I heard the music from the Wizard of Oz when the witch is caught in the tornado.... Trees were uprooted...debris all over the bike paths...
Head down, hands clenched, legs in slow motion churning the peddles...I was determined not to let the wind win. One of the other women on an electric bike suggested I change the setting to standard. I pondered this. She said "it makes the riding so much easier..."
I gave this thought and decided it was too early in this 8 hour day to waste the battery... I kept my bike in Econ until the wind started to push me back...
"Standard" allowed me to push thru the wind. As I passed an Ausie rider I heard him say "cheater"...
Briefly, I winced.
Then I heard "set aside the pride and enjoy the ride" inside my head. The way I figure it, I'm a 56 year old woman, 100 pounds over weight and 3 weeks recovering from major surgery...its a blessing I'm on this bike...or any bike.
Cheating, for me, would have been staying on the boat!
In the final stretch to the boat, all 18 riders were windburned and wasted by the turbulent blowing of an angry Mother Nature. We turned each corner anticipating the boat just around the bend...it seemed out of reach.
Jack told me to go full steam on High electricity to the boat to wear the battery down... Woot woot...
This was music to my ears!
The electric bikes who were in standard had run out of energy 8 miles from the boat...these are the toughest 8 miles out of 35...
The Sweep, Mark said it was a tough day! He felt beat up.
He gave me a high five and said "I'm proud of you."
"Even if you cheated..."