I was packing, and I was on the phone with my sister.  I was putting things in my bag that I  never thought I’d own, never mind worry about leaving behind.  Things like chamois cream, or energy gel, or tire levers.  The whole time I looked for my black and white cycle shorts (because they are my lucky ones – I’ve never fallen down wearing them) and my anxiety was coming to a terrible head.  I’ve been frightened this whole time, but I’ve managed to hold it together. I’ve had little mantras that I tell myself, to keep going.  I tell myself things like that I don’t have to do this well.  I just have to do it. That you guys donated a ton of money, and that this is the exchange. You do your best, and I do mine.  I have to be honest. Almost none of it makes me feel better. Erin tells me it’s going to be fine. I know I should believe her, because she’s done this before, but I sort of don’t.  I busy myself with organizing my stuff and try agreeing with her, but I’m trying not to cry.

After the flurry of phone calls and I’ve filled a big hockey bag with stuff to take to the trucks, I go to bed early, but I can’t sleep.  I’m on the edge of sleep when part of packing day dawns on me.  In the morning we’ll put all of our stuff on a truck, and then you go home and sleep.  The next morning we all meet downtown at Queen’s Park, group up as riders, and leave – all 300 of us.  The trucks with all our stuff leave after that, and drive ahead to our first stop in Port Hope – this is our route, if anyone is wondering…and that’s when we’ll see our stuff again.  That means that I suddenly realize that I have to put my purse and shoes and stuff on the trucks in the morning, and won’t see them again.  I have to get up to put my shoes in, and twenty minutes later I was up again to find other shoes to wear while I pack my shoes.  I almost fell asleep, and then got back up when I remembered that I shouldn’t pack all my bike shorts, because I’ll have to wear some until I get to the trucks. The whole night went like that.  I don’t know if I’ve told you, but part of the crazy on this whole bike trip, is that all 300 riders camp each evening.  *You ride, unpack, set up camp, sleep, clear camp and  repeat from * for six days. It’s nuts.

This morning I woke up  (or is it really waking up if you’ve been awake for hours?) and did the last few crazy things.  I packed my camping stuff, and Sam’s camping stuff and there was another flurry of texts and calls as we made sure everyone had everything… and then we headed down to "Packing Day." 

At packing day, you make your way through "financial" (where they make sure you’ve raised your minimum – we breezed through that. (Thank you knitters!) and then through "forms" where they make sure that you’ve filled in all your health forms. (This is Canada, so all we have to do is make sure the rally all has our provincial health numbers.) Then we got our jerseys (everyone wears matching jerseys the first, second and last days) and then they assign you a truck, give you two bins, and you  put all your camping stuff in one, all your yarn worldly goods in another, and the "Rubbermaid Wranglers" load it all in, and that’s it.  You’re done.  You’re officially ready for the rally – or as ready as you’re going to get.
We all stood there, took a deep breath, reflected on the realness of the whole thing, and then somehow weren’t ready to let go of each other.
We did the only reasonable thing and went to brunch.  (We’re Torontonians. Brunch is huge here.)

We talked and laughed, old hands and new riders, and said encouraging things to each other.  Everyone eventually let go- we did a few last organizing things, helped each other with a few bike dilemmas (Ken managed to get my pump on my bike, which was great, because it kept me awake the night before.)  Now we’re all alone, each in our own houses, and I don’t know about them, but I’m afraid. 

I made myself feel better by refining my sock-in-progress bike system…

and went around the block to make sure it worked.  (It does – and it also holds my iphone, which I’ve figured out how to blog from, so if fair winds are with me, I should be able to update from the road. If not, watch my twitter feed, on twitter if you’re on it, or on the right in the sidebar if you’re not.)

Now I’m here, and I’m supposed to have a dinner that’s "carb loading" but I’m not sure what that means, and I’m as ready as I’m ever going to be, and today about a hundred people told me I was ready… and I’m still scared. I feel like if anyone thinks I can do this,  they’ve just fallen for some crazy glamour that I’ve wrought, and really, I am as bad as I think and….and that tomorrow morning I’ll find out what I’m made of, and I hope it’s half as good as everyone thinks.   It helps that I have two daughters and a sister with me, because surely we’re made of the same stuff… but tomorrow morning at 9am,  300 people trying to change the world a tiny little bit will ride out of Toronto, and we’ll just see what happens after that. 

Thank you for all your crazy donations. It really made it worth it. Even if I suck, you guys have made this whole thing a success.

(PS. I’m going to try not to suck.)

201 thoughts on “Almost

  1. I’m so inspired by you taking on such a commitment! Have a great time, and enjoy your huge accomplishment! Have fun!!

  2. I remind you of something Winston Churchill said: If you’re going through hell, KEEP GOING!
    p.s. You’re not going to suck. You’re going to do your best and really, isn’t that all anyone can do?

  3. I’m training for a sprint triathlon next month & I can’t tell you how much I admire what you’re doing. The work you’ve already put in & then going though the end. A huge task. Bravo!

  4. You’ve done the hard part – all the early morning and late night training rides through rain, cold, heat, bugs, etc. You have 300 people to watch your back, your family nearby, and a community of fiber junkies who are filling the route with as much positive energy as we can send your way. You’ve done it! And by next Sunday, you’ll feel such a sense of accomplishment you won’t know what to do with yourself!
    I believe.

  5. You might be scared s**tless, but I’m totally impressed that you can, once again, write a terrific blog post, one that “puts the reader there!”, with narrative arc, descriptive and telling language, with wry and clever humor (even of the semi-morbid kind – really, you’re going to be great!), can just appear to churn this out effortlessly while under great stress and feeling anxious. THIS, my dear, is the sign of a great writer. I bow low. (-:

  6. Well, first, you don’t suck.
    And second, what’s the purpose of this exercise? To raise money and awareness,right? You’ve done that. Even if, gods forbid, you fall off your bike every kilometer of the trip, you have done the stuff that is needed to make lives better.

  7. You know, Stephanie, one of the things I most admire about you is that you put your money where your mouth is. You don’t just talk about helping others, you get out there and do it, in whatever way you can. Bravissima! (Just added a few more stitches to the big blanket of caring you are spreading out into the world.)
    will be thinking about you and your team for the next week.

  8. Even if you wake up tomorrow with a horrible head cold and puking your guts out so you are unable to ride – you don’t suck. You have motivated us to help, and you’ve motivated your co-riders to go forward. You’re inspiring. You cannot possibly suck. Please try to have some fun. Look at the view. See if you can glue some sparkly things on your helmet. Smile.

  9. Here’s a tip: Put a good sized gob of Vaseline underneath your bike seat, right at the front. It will be conveniently placed so that when your, um, lady bits start to feel like they are on fire, you can, whilst still pedalling, reach under your seat with one hand, get a smear of vaseline, and then discretely stick your hand down your bike shorts and apply the soothing balm. Really. I’m not being dirty. This is how long distance cyclists survive.

  10. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Feel the fear, then do it anyway.” Or was that Lady Jessica of the Bene Gesserit? I get the two confused 🙂 In any event, Qapla’

  11. The people dealing with AIDs who are benefitting from your ride will agree, no matter what happens, you DO NOT suck.

  12. Holy Cow the donations are awesome, knitters are awesome and you are awesome!! Have a great ride!!

  13. Don’t worry. The part you haven’t done is the part that makes it work – riding as part of that big group has a special energy to it and it does make a big difference!! I saw that bit on Twitter about underpants – and while you don’t wear them riding, you will want them after, so including them is good! And also positive, since you’re anticipating being off your bike somewhat! Seeing your sock knitting solution explains why you crash – try riding without knitting, less crashing that way! 🙂

  14. I agree that money and awareness have totally been brought to the attention of a whole lot of fiber folk, and we are all rooting for you, no matter how you do. You have already accomplished more than most!

  15. I’ve been reading this blog for years now, and one thing I’m certain of.
    If you put your mind to it, you, Stephanie? Can. Do. Anything.

  16. Eat spaghetti! You won’t suck. It’ll be hard, but you’ll do it. We’re all right there with you, you know.

  17. Don’t worry. You can do this. You have an excellent team, a wonderful and supportive family, and the combined power of a million or so knitters wishing you godspeed. Wishing you fair winds and good weather. Ride on!

  18. It will be fine, especially the day when you get to do laundry. What a weird set up when laundry is something to look forward to.
    I believe (and anyway are you going to let your sister beat you?)

  19. Dear YH,
    You won’t suck.
    Plus you have pretty yarn to look at and inspire you to finish out the day so you can knit a commemorative bike sock.
    Good luck,
    Love, Nikkapotamus

  20. You are making yourself crazypants!
    So a bit of unorthodox advice: Cry. Cry a lot. Cry for every scared thought you are having and every nerve that is stretched too thin. Cry just a little bit more.
    Now Stop Crying. Every single “what if” has been exhausted and mentally purged. As you rehydrate know that you can do this! You’ve trained, your surrounded by a great team that believe’s in you and you are going to have FUN!
    Go forth and change the world!

  21. The sock in progress bike system is perfect. You will want to knit a few rounds during breaks to take the edge off, as you put it. You can’t suck. You have done so much for such a good cause, suckiness is out of the question. Just be safe.

  22. Carb loading – pasta. Lota and lots of pasta. And you’ll be fine. You’ve always done your best and this experience will be no different.

  23. You’re wonderful! Remember– the actual riding isn’t as important as your wonderful generous gift of heart and effort. Do your best–your family and the blogosphere are both already impressed!

  24. Bravery is being afraid and then going ahead and doing it anyway. If you weren’t afraid I would worry about your common sense. You’ll be surrounded by people you love and strangers who want you to succeed – we all have faith in you!

  25. What they all said! You will be great. We love you for all the good you do in this world.

  26. Yeah, I think Anita up there at 7:15 has the right idea. (Or at least, it’s what works for me when the brain-bomb goes off and I can’t get it settled) Plus, a good cry will help you sleep tonight. You are so ready for this, and I can’t wait to hear about the journey! Safe travels. 🙂

  27. Of course you can do this. My goodness, writing well (which you do, *very* well) is a helluva lot harder, (but possibly less painful.) Stop obsessing on fear, dear. My guess is you haven’t hit that magical “Go to hell” age of 50 (or so) when you honestly will worry about everything a *bit* less. You are going to be awesome!

  28. You don’t know how you’ve inspired me. I know I never could do what you’re doing, but I know you can. Thanks for everything.

  29. You’re going to be just fine. Once that scared feeling goes away, you’re going to fly.

  30. It’s okay to be anxious and scared, Steph, but you are riding with the greatest group of people and they will support you. Just think how well you should sleep after riding all day and how good you will feel after achieving this goal! Good luck with the sock, and don’t forget the sunscreen.

  31. I’m considering making our family motto “if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing badly.” I doubt you’ll do badly but chin up!! Have fun!! Life is for the living!!

  32. I have every faith that you will do well in this. When the group goes through Kingston, I will do everything in my power to be there to cheer you all on. I’ll be the one with the knitting bag, & the box of kleenex because I always cry when I am happy & proud.
    Remember-“Knitters Rule”-you’ve taught us all that!

  33. You won’t suck. You can do this. You don’t think so right now, but you’re going to amaze yourself, and when it’s all over, you should be SO proud of what you’ve done. (Same thing I thought after I ran my first 5k. Now I’m training for a half marathon. I’m scared spitless but I. Want. This. And I know you want this too. Don’t think. Just do it.
    You’ll be GREAT!

  34. You’ve said that you’re scared a number of times just in this day’s blog alone. I hope you really mean apprehensive because true fear should be honored. But if you are expereincing true fear and you think there is no way out, the best you can do is to distract your mind from repeating fearful thoughts. Do it by distraction. Do it by force if necessary. When you say your mantra, deeply concentrate on the meaning of each word to the exclusion of everything else. Keep you wits about you. Pay attention to whatever is happening at the time and don’t drift off into a fantasy, however momentary. Take it easy without criticizing yourself. Its just one mile at a time.

  35. Cry if you must. Let out the fear. It will make you fall off your bike. Fear is not knowing how things will turn out..but that is okay. Just don’t hold on to it. Acknowledge it and then….get on your bike and RIDE!! You don’t suck…because you tried this at all makes you unsucky…

  36. Oh Stephanie, good luck and good riding! I love your honesty about your feelings about this… the brave aren’t unafraid, they are willing to work through their fear. You are an inspiration to me!

  37. Some wise person “Yoda” said there is not try. Just do. Or something of that nature. That is what has worked best for me when I’m over thinking things. To stop thinking and just doing. And carbing up means bread, pasta, whole wheat is best, and fruit and veggies and I would add some legumes to this combo as well and some fats.

  38. You. Will. Not. Suck. It’s riding a bike for gawd’s sake. Sure it’s riding a bike a long way but that’s just mileage. It’s not like you’ll be on a unicycle, wearing a clown suit, knitting lace from an 18 page charted pattern, while riding a long way. You know how to ride a bike, you’ve trained hard to ride the distance, your family will be with you, the Blog will be with you, and you are F*&^ING FANTASTIC.
    It’ll be hard but you’ve done plenty of things that were harder. You’re strong, healthy, and brave. You have a bajillion knitters thinking of you, pulling for you, and sending you “be safe and don’t fall off vibes”. You probably have more fan support than a good number of the Olympic athletes do right now!
    Whether you finish or not (and barring injury, we know you will finish. You’re too competitive not to; Exhibit A – Heater Wars), we’ll all be proud of you. You are gonna kick ass. All ya gotta do is keep pedaling.
    P.S. High fives to all the family! Have a safe ride and a great time!
    P.P.S. The on board yarn is the coolest thing I’ve seen all week!

  39. Good luck to all of you, and thank you for doing so much to ease the end-of-life suffering of so many! May all your landings be soft ones!
    Can you knit and ride your bike? I never could ride without holding the handlebars… so knitting would be out of the question.

  40. Godspeed, Stephanie,
    While I’m sure you will give this all you have, I’m worried that the amount of the pledges and the responsibility you feel because of them might spook you into absolute insanity and lead to an injury. Please, please, just do the best you reasonably can, and NO MORE. To put it in familiar terms, no Christmas gift knitting -five sweaters and a lace shawl in three weeks- kind of craziness. I’m not saying this because I expect you to fail. I definitely do not, but I have been a blog reader for a long time, and I think we can agree that you don’t always recognize your limits.
    Your good friend Ken, though, knows you, has been this way before, and I’m betting you can trust him to take care of the novice and give good advice, so rely on him and try to have fun.
    Also, have someone take a picture of you knitting on the bike.
    May the wind be at your back all the way.

  41. Best of luck, Stephanie, and to your whole team. If you believe you will get through this just fine, then you will. Focus your energy on what you want to achieve, and not on what you think might, or could, happen and you will achieve your goal. I promise you this works.
    You know you can move thousands of us knitters (and crocheters and even non-knitters), so believe you can do this – we do!

  42. My comment is kind of like being on the other side of the fence. What’s the worst that could happen? You fall off and get back on. You’ve already done that. Not finishing? Just not going to happen – you’ll be able to draft off of everyone else.
    I like to think that the yarn you are carrying is a token of all the love and appreciation from your readers. We’re right there with you, whether the sock (or whatever) gets finished or not.
    Keep those legs churning!

  43. Go Stephanie Go! I’ll be saying a prayer tomorrow morning in Mass for all of you to ride safely!
    You (the whole team) *can* do this!

  44. hi stephanie!!!
    i’m a fellow squammie and we met last month…i will say now what i said then, “i am in awe”…i wish you all the luck in the world…you CAN do this!!
    if you need a knit-fix i can bring mine down and you can pop off a few rows for me…you will be less than 1/2 mile from me when you’re at grenville park in johnstown…they’re right, fantastic swimming…
    sending good vibes your way…:-)

  45. You will do great! With all the positive cosmic energy being sent you way, it is impossible not to.

  46. You can do it, and you will do great! I love your yarn-transport system — I’ll bet you’re the only one with that on your bike!
    Have you heard of RAGBRAI? It’s the annual bike ride across Iowa. It’s a week long, about 475 miles (750km, maybe?), takes place the last week of July, and has been going on for 40 years. Most of the riders camp every night, too. I’ve never ridden it, but my now-61 year old cousin has for at least 15 years. Your ride’s advantage over RAGBRAI — you should have better temps — they had some temperatures of over 100F this week!

  47. Godspeed! Fair seas and a following wind! All that stuff. We’ll be cheering for you.

  48. I did this at age 57 after not doing serious bicycling for 20 years and carrying quite a bit of extra (baggage) I’d picked up since then. It wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t pretty but it was great and I did it so I don’t really think you have too much to worry about.

  49. Stephanie, I am so excited for you and the crew – and of course, all the 300. This is just as exciting as the anticipation I’ve felt for the start of the Olympics (and that was quite exciting today!) You’re gonna do great! Love and blessings for the best riding ever. I will keep up with your Twitter posts here on your blog. 🙂

  50. I believe in you and admire your courage. Remember, courage is facing your fears and moving forward regardless of them. That’s exactly what you are doing.

  51. You will not suck!
    All the worries you’re going through now are your way of ensuring it. Trust me – I’m a knitter.
    You WILL NOT suck!

  52. Dear Stephanie, I’m absolutely sure that you won’t suck. At all. Why? Because you’re a knitter. Riding a bike is not unlike knitting. If you can knit a baby blanket big enough to cover a double bed, stitch by stitch, then you can ride 600 km, meter by meter. Take them one at a time, and you’ll be fine. You will also be surrounded by people you love, who will encourage you all the way, just like you’ll encourage them until you reach Montreal. You can be darn proud of what you are doing. Not only did you raise, you personally, almost $50,000 for a beautiful cause, but you are also riding almost half a stage of the Tour de France each day. You can be sure that we, the Blog, are very, very proud of you. Have a great ride and have fun! I’ll try to be among the welcoming crowd next Sunday.

  53. I’m so proud of your commitment. Trust me, I know how you feel! You will do great, I promise!
    Know that I’m praying for you down here in Oklahoma.

  54. bless you and yours! I’m proud of you myself and I’ve never even met you…ride well!

  55. You’ll be terrific! Here’s my nickel’s worth of unsolicited advice—
    Cry a little bit if you feel like it–it will steady your nerves.
    Eat lots of spaghetti tonight, and get as much sleep if you can. (To get more sleep, DON’T LOOK to see what time it is!) If you don’t sleep much, don’t worry–you’ll sleep plenty tomorrow night.
    The Vaseline-under-the-seat deal sounds like a good idea, and remember to drink plenty of water.
    I’m sure it will be a lot more fun that you think it will, and the blessings of many, many knitters go with you.

  56. you will make it. when my husband and i were dating, we did bicycle camping–your bedroom and kitchen are on the bicycle, no sag wagon. we took two of our very best friends with us one trip (best, because they still answer our Christmas letters). we camped at tick city Idaho one night — not a real town. we named it that because while we were cooking dinner on camp stoves, we noticed all the ticks in the sage brush looking at us that later survived the laundromat in the next town. our lady friend on this trip was NOT a camper, or an athlete. she was the secretary for our grad school adviser, and trying to get the two of us married and she made it.
    now….it was a couple of months afterwards before she talked to us again…..
    you are doing so much more with your fundraising!!

  57. Go, Steph! Go with love, with prayer, with the heartfelt wishes for success that come from all of us who consider ourselves part of your extended family. Go until you can’t go any more….and then go until you reach the finish line. Go, and go, and go…..!

  58. I am in awe of your perseverence and courage. I know you will do your best, and whatever that is it will be enough because you did your best.

  59. ‘the greatest failure of all is to not try’…..this was a poster where my girls had gymnastics….you have already tried and won…now is the time to enjoy the ride. Have fun.

  60. You can’t possibly suck. By agreeing to do this you don’t suck! We all think you rock. Try not to be nervous and remember what all the moms of Olympians have told their children…”relax and enjoy the moment”! Hope you enjoy the heck out of it!

  61. You are awesome. Whatever you do (or don’t do) now, you have already done enough. We all are both in awe of you, and behind you all the way!

  62. I don’t usually comment but had to chime in with encouragement and love from my small portion of The Blog: You will be fantastic! It will be fun! (and hard – I won’t lie about that, I’ve done long bike rides before, but it’s rewarding to finish or even just to reach your personal limit, which is always farther than one thinks). You are wonderful for doing this fundraising and you have already kicked ass with all that training! Best of luck Stephanie, may the weather gods smile upon you 🙂

  63. You are going to have an amazing time. It’s not about sucking or not sucking, its just about being present for the experience and being part of something to help so many people. Don’t give up on yourself and you may be surprised what you are capable of. Practical tip: if you feel like crying or like you can’t possibly keep riding, have something to eat and a little break.

  64. I’ve never commented here, but I am so inspired by your courage this evening. Best of luck tomorrow and in the days to come. It’s only this girl’s humble opinion, but just getting on that bike tomorrow is an incredible success. I hope you enjoy yourself and kick that rally’s you-know-what.

  65. You have a sock in progress bag for your bike? That is the color of awesome! I could see that getting a lot of use during downtime.

  66. You will all do great. Pace yourself. Enjoy yourself. Look around and take it in for all of those who aren’t with us anymore.

  67. I just went to your fund raising page and gasped out loud with a big smile on my face. You can’t suck because you’ve already accomplished something awesome. As much as the ride is important -and given your heater wars history you’ve got serious perservenece and competitive issues-what actually matters is the amazing success you’ve had in garnering support for people who need it. The rest is just a bike ride. I wish you an easy and painless one!

  68. Carb loading usually equals pasta, but remember beer is loaded with carbs too.:-0
    You’ll do fine.

  69. You are going to be just fine. We’re all so proud of you; just agreeing to even give this ride a try shows us all what a wonderful woman you are and what an amazing family you have!
    We’re all riding on the back of the bike with you, Stephanie, cheering with love and pride. You are awesome!

  70. You are going to do marvelous. For 6 days your job is to *ride as much as you can, knit, get into camp, knit, set up your tent, knit, shower (which will feel AMAZING), knit, eat a lot, knit and feel very, very proud of yourself. Sleep. Repeat from *. Welcome home and congratulations!!!

  71. Fair wind and fair weather
    To a knitter that’s clever
    She’ll ride on forever
    To Montreal straight through.
    You are awesome!

  72. You’re changing the world, even if you suck, which you more assuredly do not. Fly like the wind riders – we’re with you in spirit. Safe travels to all!!

  73. You most certainly do not suck, and you most certainly are a winner, because you care enough to do this so that others will benefit.

  74. May the pavement roll out behind your tires easily enough to keep you confident, but with enough struggle to make you feel the enormity of what you are achieving.

  75. Three years ago I couldn’t swim front crawl, not a single stroke. Then I decided to train for a triathlon. Now swimming in the San Francisco Bay is one of my favorite things. Last year I met a woman who also was afraid of the water and learned to swim to train for a tri. Today she finished a half-iron (70.3 miles).
    With the right motivation, we can do anything.

  76. Steph, the biggest of several big reasons I’ve read your blog for seven years now (wow . . . seven years!) is this: you ARE real. You are extraordinary because you are, quite simply, an ordinary person doing her best. We all suck in one way (or many) . . . but the fact that you’re transparent about so many of the things you struggle with; that you’re so funny about so many of them; that you’re brave enough to be open and kind . . . you’re going to do just fine, and we’re ALL behind you. :o)

  77. You will do fine, even if you don’t feel like you will/did. After all, you’ve raised how much money, which is already done and now all you have to do is survive till Saturday. You haven’t died yet and I doubt you will between now and then. True, tomorrow isn’t guaranteed but let’s just ignore that. 🙂
    I agree with the other commenters who say cry if you feel like it. It’s nature’s pressure valve and you will feel so much better afterwards. If I may wander into TMI territory, my husband was hurt at work in May, and I’ve been dealing with a lot of stuff. I finally couldn’t take it anymore and spent half a morning just crying. Sobbing. He held me and then once the waterworks were finished he… helped me relax. I tell you it was like the weight of the world was lifted off me, at least for a while. Get Joe to snuggle you through a good cry; you will feel loads better.

  78. I’m so proud of you and of all the knitters and the wonderful fundraising! Very best of luck to everyone involved in the ride. No matter what happens on the ride so much good has been done.

  79. Steph, you are going to be just fine! You have so many all over the world who know you’ll do great. Thank you for what you do.

  80. Your fear is totally normal, as is your need to cry. You just need to hang in there until you get your feet on the pedals and get underway. The fear is only in the waiting and, once you start out with the group, fear will give way to the exhillaration of doing what you’ve trained so hard to do. You’ve done things that are much harder, both physically and emotionally. You can do this – you just have to live through the waiting.
    Let Erin, Amanda, Sam and Ken look after you – it will be a gift that you give them. And know that Your Blog greatly appreciates your making it possible for each of us to add our stitch(es) to this blanket of caring.
    I believe. Many blessings along the way!
    PS: I still can’t believe I’m knitting socks, and the first one is already 12cm/5inches long. I feel like such a ….. Knitter.

  81. You can do it Stepho! we’re all with you, buoying you and your family up! And you have the Olympic bikers as good mojo too!

  82. We love you even if you suck. Even if you fall. Even if this is the last hard thing you ever want to try. And we love you because we know you won’t suck. And we hope you don’t fall. And because we know you’ll never stop trying hard things. Because you are a rock star.

  83. Safe travel to you and your family. You are doing a great thing for a great cause. Your sacrifice is appreciated by many.

  84. you won’t suck. of that i have no doubt.
    i will try to ride too over the next 6 days and keep you in my thoughts and heart and prayers.
    best wishes – you are wonderful.

  85. It’s good to be scared-worried-frightened…this will keep you aware and upright. Think of it this way…many of the thoughts and feelings you’ve shared are very similar to what someone that has been handed a life threatening diagnosis goes through..their journey will be longer than yours and thanks to you going outside your own comfort zone and taking this bike trip on, sharing with the yarn addicted, if there is one more person in remission standing on the sidelines to cheer the bikers next year, it will truly have been more than worth it. Now if your bike got yarn bombed on the way so much the sweeter. I’m very proud of you. Sock in progress? Ha! Superhero cape in progress! You go girl!

  86. Ma’am! You will not suck! You will rock! You will own that bike like it is the hardest lace pattern that only you can do! You go out there, and you do something amazing, and you represent us knitters in a way that only you can! And we will be with you heart and soul! May the yarn be with you!!!!

  87. Good Luck! Have some fun and make some great memories with your wonderful family and friends!

  88. I’ve done a few events similar to this one, and trust me… the anticipation is much much harder than the actual activity. You will do just fine. You are an inspiration to us all. YOU GO GIRL!

  89. go, Stephanie, you are gonna rock it! 🙂 safe ride for all you guys, and have fun!

  90. It’s the wee hours and I can’t sleep, so I’m using the wakefulness to send you all the good thoughts I can pack into a cross-continent wave. You’ve packed your shoes, you’ve made the decision to get on the bike in the morning, and you’ve got your yarn sorted…shoot, honey, you’ve got this.

  91. I wish I lived even remotely near the route of your ride because I would be by the side of the road waving a skein as you pass by.
    Nobody’s expecting you to be the fastest rider in the group; nobody cares if you’re “pulling up the rear” in the pack; and nobody will blame you if you have to crawl/limp into the “wagon” because you can’t pedal any further. Honest.
    Imagine the stories you’ll be able to tell your grandchildren (not too soon, I hope) about your training and this ride! You are already a legend in your own time, and in our minds.

  92. I love the sock-in-progress bike system! Every bike should have one. I hope you and the team have fun and a minimal number of falls. You are all awesome for doing this.

  93. Good luck to all of you!! Am sure you will do wonderfully. You’ve inspired me to sign up for a half marathon in October….

  94. Your best is fine by me! The fundraising is the main thing, and you definitely haven’t sucked at that! You will have so many of us with you in spirit.
    I didn’t realise that you are camping for the overnight stops – that makes the ride even more impressive! If I were cycling that far, I’d want a proper bed at the end of the day! So I’ve donated a bit more for the extra privation!

  95. Courage is being scared – and then putting the fear behind you, and doing it anyway. (Me – I’ m terrified of heights, but I still go mountain walking). You can do it! Best wishes from this side of the pond…shall be thinking of you.

  96. You’ll do fine. You’ve trained and you’re ready. From where I live near the St Lawrence River, Toronto is four hour drive west and Montreal is a two hour drive east. When I think you’re going past (I’ll check your twitter) I’ll go down to the knoll by our town beach and wave! Love the sock/bike system. You can knit at every rest break (-:

  97. LOVE, LOVE LOVE!!! The sock in-progress bike system!! Can’t wait for the photos of that one!
    Let us be the mother as you undertake this great adventure…just do you best; your best is all you can do.
    You don’t need to win this race; just go along for the ride! You can take this opportunity to appreciate your body and all that it can do for you. You can take this opportunity to know that you are brave and strong enough to “do something that scares you, everyday” for the next 6 days!
    I admire you and your commitment…now go and make some memories with your family that will last a lifetime!

  98. Dear Steph: doing your best is automatically “not sucking.” Please have a good time! Because we all know that you’ll do your best!

  99. One push of the pedal at a time–and remember to breathe. Breathing helps with the jitters! Let those butterflies in the gut take wing, and they will pull you forward. Have fun–really–have fun!

  100. Stephanie and her Team have raised $153,534.46 so far – over 14% of the current total of $1,090,364 raised!! Stephanie’s total is at $47,943.00 – GO, KNITTERS, GO!!!!!

  101. A few years ago I participated in a marathon to raise money for the Leukemia Society of America. I am a couch potato and the day before the run I was terrified. The marathon was through the woods, and I asked one of the organizers what would happen if I could not finish. “You will” she told me. Yeah, all good to be positive but what happens if I can’t? “you will” she responded. Yes, but I am scared I am going to be left alone out in the woods and I need to know what happens if I can’t finish! She looked at me calmly and only said “you will”. I didn’t appreciate it at the time but I did when I made it across the finish line. It’s okay to be afraid, but YOU WILL make it just fine.

  102. My mantra, when I did a 25 mile (40 km) walk was “Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming…) Dori is a great motivator. You’ll do fine. Just keep riding, riding, riding….

  103. You have a sister, a best friend, two daughters, and THOUSANDS of knitters with you 🙂 *huggles*
    You’ll be great 🙂

  104. Go with our love, our prayers, and that old Irish blessing—“May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back, and may God hold you in the palm of His hand”.

  105. Wow! I am so impressed with your accomplishments and your dedication to training and fundraising -“sock it to ’em!” seems appropriate at this time!

  106. Steph,
    Lois said it well…and so I repeat.
    Go with our love, our prayers, and that old Irish blessing—“May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back, and may God hold you in the palm of His hand”.
    Following winds always, hard tires, keep spinning in a low gear, you will get there!

  107. I find few things as inspiring as those meeting fear head on with grace and self-awareness…maybe only those that do it to make the world a better place. You have my respect and my heart. Ride well, ladies!

  108. How many Canadian winters have you made it through so far? For my money, if you can do that, you can do anything!
    Go, girl, go!

  109. I can relate to being scared. I’m walking a half marathon in 2 weeks. And I’m scared I won’t finish, even tho I know I’ve trained way more than enough. So I’m with you and I know it will go great for us both.

  110. When I get myself into one of these terrifying situations I remind myself of a favorite quote:
    Lesser people than you have done harder things than this.

  111. Steph, you admitting your fears and weaknesses humanizes you in a great way. I’m proud to admire a woman who is willing to admit her house isn always clean, that hard knees have been permanently scraped up for months, and who is frankly scared of not living up to people’s expectations because believe it or not I’m like that it you switch a few things up in that list.
    Thanks for being someone I can look admire in this crazy world that’s not trying to prove she’s got it all together

  112. The hay is in the barn!
    This was my mantra on the day of my first marathon. I wrote it in sharpie on my arm.

  113. I cannot believe you have KNITTING ON YOUR BIKE! You crazy girl.
    You will be fine. I will be praying all day that you never fall once EVER EVER EVER and that you will enjoy yourself immensely and
    so be it!

  114. Ahhh, you will be so much calmer knowing your yarn is near….why it even makes me feel calmer FOR you. Good Luck!

  115. I think all that angst and adrenalin is necessary to get onto the bike for that many days. I know you’ll do fine in spite of your worries and fear.
    You’re doing a wonderful thing—and you all are in my prayers and thoughts.

  116. By now you’ve gotten past the “begin: the rest is easy” part. Wishing you all all the very best as you go. Thank you for doing this.

  117. The first day will be easier than you expect. The second day will be hard. The third day you’ll be in the groove and it’s all downhill from there– each day gets better. You can do it! Don’t be surprised if you’re too tired to knit. Having the yarn along will cheer you up anyway.

  118. I have read this a day late, so you are now out on the road! Good luck, you can totally do this!
    I am totally loving the SIP bag. 🙂 Ride well and safe.

  119. “If your nerve deny you, go above your nerve.” – Emily Dickinson.
    I believe in you Steph! Be Safe

  120. You are awesome and while you might not be the best rider, you have one of the biggest hearts.
    I need your SIP bag. It would make a huge difference to me biking all over the Boston area.

  121. So, this quote is originally about running, but I think it applies here:
    ‘The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to Start.’ -John Bingham
    Seriously. Even signing on the dotted line to do something like this is a-freakin’-mazing. Be proud. When you are done, limp proudly and tell everyone you meet how you earned that limp.

  122. Have fun! It’s like knitting, one foot down and then the other, over and over. And no purl stitches! (I don’t mind purling at all but some folks do) Cycle on! But have fun doing it.

  123. ohmigosh! I seriously hope that you are *slightly* over-dramatizing your worry about this whole thing. I’m sympathy hyperventilating trying to hold down an anxiety attack just reading! I would have made my donation even if you weren’t planning on peddling around the block, because you asked and you are pretty good at picking out good places to make donations. So… breath with me, now…

  124. Good luck! The training was the hard part. You’re going to make us all proud. Thanks for sharing the experience with us.

  125. Hey,
    You shouldn’t be scared, you should be proud! Look at all you’ve accomplished and you haven’t even begun! Nobody is asking you to be a world class athlete. You are challenging yourself while helping others and so far you’ve already done both. So if on this ride you think you can’t handle another day or you just want a proper shower, remember how beautiful Canada is(I bet it’s beautiful, I’ve never been) and that you’ve got thousands of knitters out here that already think your pretty impressive. Plus, I bet this whole experience will provide some good material for a future book? Oh, and I’m sure you’ve already inspired others to do something challenging to raise money for a cause as well. Pep talk complete.

  126. You’re freaking amazing!
    Long rides are like knitting sweaters, take it one stitch/pedal at a time.

  127. Stepahnie – You are amazing and awe inspiring. It’s fine to be nervous. In fact, it’s normal. I just did my first 8K with 10 days notice and no training. My son had to push me up the last few hills, but I did it. You have trained, you have the entire knitting world behind you, your family and friends surround you. You will do great. The fact that you have attempted this and your goal is to not suck (and you won’t) is marvelous. You will do so much better than you expected or even imagined. Congratulations on living life to the fullest! Best wishes for a wonderful ride. I’m proud of you.

  128. As an Olympic contender in “Worrying”, I have had you and your team on my mind alot lately. Just know you are not alone out there, either physically or spiritually/emotionally. I am absolutely boggled at the thought of what you are doing, but I can’t wait to virtually “greet” you as you come out the other end. God speed, God bless, Ride on!!

  129. It will be awesome. I ran my first half marathon last weekend. Saturday night or very early Sunday morning, I laid awake thinking what the hell were you thinking!?!?! I was horribly unrestrained due to injury. It all came together and I had an awesome time! Good luck!!!

  130. Coupla things:
    * Aren’t you glad you are doing this with a team? Wouldn’t it really, really suck and be horribly lonely to try to do it all by yourself?
    * Even if you fall off and break your leg and have to drop out to go to the hospital and have surgery and pins in your bones and be in a wheelchair for eleventy-seven weeks, think of the stories you will tell your grandchildren.
    * No matter what, you tried your best. No one can do more than that.
    * Please tell me you are not going to attempt to knit or blog WHILE riding. That way lies… disaster.
    Now go break a [metaphorical] leg!

  131. Stephanie:
    For what it is worth you made me feel better about how nervous I am about the high school marching band camp starting tomorrow for 100 teenagers which I am supposed to help run for the next two weeks(plus get them all stuffed into uniforms. I am armed with knitting. 🙂

  132. I looked at the photos before I read the post, and when I saw all those rubbermaid bins, I thought: Steph is REALLY overpacking if she’s taking that much knitting on this trip.

  133. You’ve trained. You’re committed. It’s go time. You can do this. It won’t be easy, but you can do it.
    Well done, you, on the fundraising. I wish I was a popular blogger because we were dead chuffed to raise $7200 for ovarian cancer research recently. Would’ve been thrilled over the moon with the numbers your team raised.You are well loved and admired and you are cycling for a very worthy cause.
    Keep the rubber to the road!! Love from Seattle.

    and think what an adventure that sock is going to have.
    Hugs and uplifting thoughts,

    I believe in her, and I believe in you.
    May you go out in joy, and remember how many thoughts nd blessings are with you on your way.

  136. OH, Steph, you couldn’t suck if you worked on it full time. Who else would think of knitting a sock and texting during a grueling bike ride? And I know you’ll do it, too!
    Took a friend up for a short flight today and kinda wished (only kinda) that we were in your area so relaxing and confidence-building thoughts were that much closer to you.
    You go, girl!

  137. Good luck! Just keep putting one foot in front of the other and you will get there!

  138. Even if you are dead last, you STILL don’t suck. You are one of 300 people that CHOSE to do something (for others, no less), instead of NOTHING. No way in the world that could suck! Now, buck up, put on the big girl panties and get on that bike and show us how it gets done!! KNITTER STYLE!!

  139. Eleanor Roosevelt supposedly said that you should do something each day that scares you. (Although she was a knitter, I doubt she was talking about Estonian lace.) You are doing something that scares ME. I can’t imagine riding a bike a mile, no less hundreds of them, on real roads, no less. You are doing us proud.

  140. I think you should swap with Sam – it is TOTALLY possible to knit on the back of a tandem (trust me I’m an expert?) although probably not at speed :-p
    (so nice to have the lovely van people trucking your stuff about though, not having to drag it all around in panniers – but your sock luggage is very cute).

  141. You are doing good in the world. That means you already succeeded. You will be carried by all the thoughts and wishes of those that you share with each week. The Blog will be cheering, and all because of the awareness YOU brought.Because of YOU, thousands more people know about this race for this cause WORLDWIDE that had no idea it existed before. You are far from sucking…you are a champion.

  142. I LOVE the sock in progress bike system. I think I need to look into one for my bike. Good to see you survived Day 1. I have no doubt you will see sucess by the end of the week!

  143. Awesome…Love the bag and of course you have your essentials…sock in progress. Your great biking all that you do. I really need to get my bike in shape to ride again.

  144. Nothing wrong with being scared, and nothing wrong with a good cry before you set out (though it’s a bit late for me to write that). Eases the tension and adrenaline so then you can just go do it without wasting energy fighting normal feelings. At least for me in such situations.

  145. Steph, if you suck, it’ll be okay. There is pretty much zero chance that you will suck (look at how much you’ve done already!) but if you suck, you suck. That’s it. You’ll still be you, you’ll still have your awesome family and friends, and we’ll still all be cheering you on from the sidelines. It’ll be fine.
    And you guys are gonna rock.

  146. You know the adage about not running with scissors aimed at your heart? The same should go for knitting needles and biking.
    I know, realistically if you crash you are going to launch right over the handlebars without coming anywhere near those needles, but even a small crash could result in a needle impaled thigh.
    Which would suck.
    Consider putting the needles behind you, it will not be as cute, but safer.

  147. Just read your blog. This is crazy. You are crazy. Crazy is amazing. Crazy people do stuff that changes the world. I’m with ‘Knitting in Mind’ on the needles though. Dying by your own sword while changing the world would kind of suck.

  148. You will never, ever suck! You will be awesome — even if you fall off your bike you will be awesome!
    Best of luck!!

  149. I felt exactly the same way the day before I ran the NYC marathon, nervous and almost crying and wondering how the heck I had gotten myself into it. But friends are what got us into this, friends will get you thru, and you’ll have this incredible feeling the rest of your life when you’re thru, like you can do anything you set your mind to. It’s a very cool thing.

  150. Excellent effort for an excellent cause! my DH rides in the tour de pink for YOUNG (under 40) breast cancer patients (Young Survivors Coalition), so we totally get the agony of fundraising, riding, and the balance of knowing the cause is worth it. many congrats on a job well done. (he said to ask how the H#LL do you manage to knit while riding?)

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