We're done. We finished. The Grand Gaspé Cycling Tour is over. So how does it feel? I have a myriad of conflicting emotions.
Sad to see it end. That's the overriding feeling for me. It was such a great experience that I just didn't want it to end. We had our cycling routine down to such a well honed process that it felt like we could carry on forever. We still felt strong. We had nothing but positive memories. We loved every minute (okay nearly every minute) of it. But perhaps that's what made it such a good time to stop. We definitely ended on a high point.
A Sense of Accomplishment. We did it! When we were planning the trip, it seemed like an audacious goal. And it was. But in the process of breaking the 2,354 miles down into daily chunks, I saw it more as a journey than a number to attain. Sure the miles mounted up, but upon completing the total it felt less like a victory than I thought it would. The compilation of rich experiences now deposited in my life bank of personal history was far more meaningful than any measure of distance traveled.
Thankful. We have so many reasons to be grateful. The fact that we covered all those miles safely was truly a blessing. We traveled entirely without incident and didn't even have any near-misses. Meeting so many wonderful people was such a privilege. And our Warm Showers hosts truly took care of us during each of our stays. We finished the tour with a plethora of new friends.
Fortunate. How many people have an opportunity to do something like this? I feel so very lucky to have the good health, strong body and financial resources to spend two months on such an amazing adventure. And I am so fortunate to have a like-minded husband who is as gung-ho (some use the word “crazy”) as I am to embark on such a trip. After spending 54 straight days together 24×7, our relationship is stronger than ever.
Ready to be home. Having stopped cycling and focusing only on our day-to-day progress, I have begun to turn my sights toward home. Our calendar for the next few months was a blank slate, but already I have started filling it in. I'm excited to re-engage in the lives of our kids and grandkids. I look forward to getting together with friends. I'm ready to resume my volunteer activities and freelance writing assignments. And I can't wait to cook and bake again!
Eager to do it again. It's hard to let go. And so our thoughts naturally turn to the next cycling tour. This trip has increased our confidence in our ability to cycle long distances and handle tough conditions like hills, wind and rain. We have a better sense of our limitations and how to manage them on such a trip. And we learned a lot about how to plan as we go. I choose not to look at this as the finish line. Instead, I hope it's only the starting line.