A little and a lot

A little and a lot sums up my weekend – and the week previous, really.  A little knitting, and a LOT of Bike Rally.  Being on the Steering Committee really is more time than just being a rider, or a Team Leader – although that took lots of time last year, and I was already working pretty hard this year, when last week, through a series of events, I became a Team Leader as well.  Ken has graciously agreed to be my Co-lead, so I know it will be as fun and easy as it can be.  The same combination of events that led to me becoming a Leader again also culminated in a rather epic weekend. One where I swept two rides, back to back, in the rain. The first one was Saturday, and while the early half of the 94km ride was beautiful, if as hot as Satan’s armpit, the afternoon was epic. The skies opened, and it rained, and rained, and rained in huge thunderstorms, and twice we pulled off the road to cower in transit shelters, waiting for the storm to lighten enough that it was safe to ride. The roads flooded, my shoes squished, and every time I sat myself down on the bike seat, the rainwater soaking the padded parts of my shorts was squished out and ran down my legs.  It was disgusting, and fierce and I can’t tell you how long it took.  Forever.  Joe came and picked me up at the end and I shivered all the way home, sitting on a grocery bag in the car so that I wouldn’t soak the seats. (That didn’t work.)

whitesocksnot 2015-06-01

I took that picture in the car. Those socks were white when I started.

When I got home, I had a much needed bath, leaving a startling amount of road grit and dirt in the tub behind me, and pulled together a family dinner for my lovely daughter Amanda, who turned twenty-six this weekend.  Then I think I knit a single row on the blanket, and fell asleep on the chesterfield, sitting up, needles in hand.

Sunday morning dawned very rainy and cold, and at 5:30 am I got a text from my other half on the Steering Committee, and the two of us went back and forth about whether or not we should cancel the ride. Was it too cold? (A high of 8 degrees.) Was it too rainy? (100% chance of light rain all day.) In the end, we decided to do it, and both drove over to make the magic happen.  We were the lucky ones yesterday – we were sweeping in a car. Every long training ride has four sweeps. Two on bikes that bring up the rear so nobody gets left behind, and two in a car who answer the emergency number, help riders make tricky turns, keep everyone on track and help with flat tires, or riders who can’t continue.

support 2015-06-01

That was David and I yesterday – and as wet and cold as we were for the day, the riders were so much worse off.  David and I decided that the best thing we could do was make it as easy for them as possible. It was too cold and rainy for them to really work from their maps, so we’d drive ahead, and I’d leap from the car, and go stand in the road to signal all their turns. (Wet and cold are bad enough. Wet, cold and lost would be so much worse.) It was surreal to see how dedicated they were. Just surreal. One of the hardest rides I’d ever seen, and they all just put their heads down and did it.

My knitting was in the car with me, but I didn’t knit a stitch all day – I was in and out of the car, reading maps, trying to locate them, or running alongside the cyclists shouting their next direction to them. By the end of the day I was exhausted and cold – but not nearly as exhausted and cold as the riders, and I had completely run out of ways to tell them how impressed I was with their crazy moxie.  Last night was a repeat of the previous evening. A hot bath, and then I fell asleep with knitting in hand, unknit.

Today I’m catching up.  I had a big sleep last night, I’m spending the day at my desk to deal with everything that didn’t get done while I was getting rained on, and tonight, if I can stay awake, I’m knitting the everloving daylights out of that blanket.

See you tomorrow – I hope you can understand the delay on the Karmic Balancing gifts – I’m so tired. I’ll get to them tomorrow. Thank goodness all this is worth it.

48 thoughts on “A little and a lot

  1. That was some vicious storm. I’m glad you all weathered it safely. And you are right, it is SO worth it. Nap. Then knit.

  2. I would like to point out just how bad the karma would be if we expected you to do Karmic Balancing Gifts today. Take the day off from it as karma’s gift to you!

  3. Keep on doing what you’re doing, how you’re doing it!! Karma knows that Karmic Balancing will happen when its appropriate!

    You are just so many kinds of awesome!

    • Dang it all — missed the apostrophe in ‘it’s’! OMG, the Grammar Police will be after me now!!! (insert wry grin here, because I’m usually one of the GP :p)

  4. I am trying to get myself back in shape after trying to ignore my arthritis for too long. I was just sitting here thinking about NOT taking my daily 15-minute walk. Thank you for kicking me in the arse about that by describing your weekend. 🙂

  5. I so admire your grit in riding in such lousy conditions. Don’t worry about the gifts. Just get enough rest. We’ll still be here waiting once you wake up.

  6. Oh, goodness. You were _riding_ in that?
    I had a ‘day off’ from training on Friday, and it kind of turned into a weekend off because being out in torrential rain just looked like more than I wanted to handle.
    I am impressed.

  7. Steph, you are the best Karmic Balancing Gift of all – to the riders, and to The Blog.
    We love you; don’t push yourself too hard. We can wait.
    Off to make a second pledge; you deserve it.

  8. If karma’s in quick turnaround it had better spend itself on producing the most glorious Toronto-Montreal ride ever — sun and no bugs and early evenings knitting with beer and poofy, ever-filled air mattresses. I just planted two tomato plants, and I’m knackered.

    • Yes, please! I biked both days, but with about an hour’s less rainy riding on Saturday. Totally skipping the rainy ones until the rally now.

    • with you rams…I planted 3 hydrangeas and a bunch of hosta plants yesterday and I can barely move today!! I talked to a friend today who’s riding from Seattle to Portland shortly, and I told him I’d be sitting “on my keyster” in a knitting retreat. His response…..”trade ya”!!!! You rock, Stephanie – stay safe

  9. Very impressive – sounds exhausting. Throw a beach towel and a wool throw blanket in the trunk of the car for the next time you get picked up in that kind of weather.

  10. Steph, I am impressed with your determination in the rain. A nice gentle rain is sort of nice in the summer but a heavy rain is not and toss in the cold, misery cometh. I have done 100+ miles in a gentle mist of rain in No. Vermont when the noise gets damped and the swish of the tires keeps the rider company. Road grit still gets all over but there is a nice something to the quietness of biking in the rain.

  11. I’m sending up a good word that your cycling dedication in horrid weather now will be rewarded with lovely weather come time for the rally.

  12. A few years ago, a good friend did a charity bike ride from Great Ormond Street Hospital in London to the equivalent children’s hospital in Florence, Italy. They were crossing the Alps, at the top of a pass, when a thunderstorm appeared overhead. They were the highest thing around. Nothing for it but to lie down in the (full) ditch next to the road. Nice.

  13. All those AIDS patients who are going to get the help they need because of your and the other riders’ dedication, I so hope they’re reading your blog and knowing that we’re all cheering all of you and all of them on at every bike peddle stroke along the way. I am in awe of what you are doing. Thank you thank you thank you.

  14. New item for the bike ride…one of those mylar space blankets. My first half marathon ever finished in the rain, and that is what they wrapped around us to prevent the hypothermia that sets in once you stop generating heat.

    Bless all of you for riding in such weather…and I hope that this means it will be drive for the “real ride”!

  15. You are amazing. I think all of you who trained in the rain this weekend can now be secure in the knowledge that you have the true grit needed for this adventure! (at least that’s what it looks like from my comfy chair.)

  16. Steph, thanks again for all you do! I wouldn’t have made it through the Sunday ride without the support.

    Steph’s not exaggerating about the turns – there was someone out there waiting to guide me at every. Single. Turn. Then, about 5km after I started to really feel the cold, I turned the corner to find Steph and David waiting with hot drinks for all.

  17. I’ve done precisely one fundraising ride, a mere century. It’s probably been a dozen years ago now. If I’d had a lead, or someone on the sweeps like you, I’d still be doing them. Never doubt how much you are appreciated.

  18. ….just keep at it dear. It will be NY Sheep and Wool before you know it. Summer will be over and…the snow will be back. Then we end the year with Christmas knitting. It never changes…except…for me..I am starting my winter knitting NOW. Got caught last year and I paid!

    See you at the finish line!

    bjr

  19. Clearly the karmic gifts can wait, the dedication you and everyone shows never fails to blow my mind.

    Rest well and luxuriate in long baths.

  20. Who was it said “you must never forget who it is you’re knitting for”? Was it knitting Rules? EZ? Rachel Herron’s EZ alter ego EC? In any case, you don’t have to knit today because you’re working so hard to make the world a better place for us all. May all the sharp pointy sticks be in your team’s saddlebags and none in the path of everyone’s tires.

    • Oh, and I went to StevenBe during the awkward gap in a family wedding between ceremony and reception yesterday, broke my piggy bank, and publicly announced that everyone knows that souvenir sock yarn doesn’t count. Thanks are all to you for this unassailable line of logic. My husband was delighted because he won the bet with cousins about how much I’d spend and what I’d get.

  21. What a fine leader – to stay with the pack, leaping in /out to provide just what they need. Brilliant idea. And, thank you for everyone for riding for this cause.

  22. Please tell the team that they have people across the world who think they’re just incredible people. There’s that Mother Theresa quote about how we can’t all do great things, but we can do small things with great love. You guys are doing GREAT things with GREAT love.

  23. Thank you for posting this. I just recently found your blog, which caught my eye for the knitting. I’m in love, though, because I love riding as well 🙂 I’m just a casual rider for the moment, mostly due to lack of time. I hope when our daughter is 26 I’ll be out there as fiercely as you are 🙂 You inspire me 🙂

  24. i have to hand it to you, doing the bike rally so many years in a row. i did the AIDS ride from Minneapolis to Chicago, and it was really hard. i never did it again.

    i thought it was really odd that you did not have clipless pedals and shoes. they make a huge difference. i was afraid of them at first, but i got used to them and only fell like a tree a couple of times. i’d highly recommend them. the only trouble now is that my feet have grown, and you need the shoes to ride on the bike. i have to find another pair with the same kind of clips.

  25. i teared up just thinking about the sodden mess of the Saturday ride. you’re a fucking champ, and that’s all i have to say about it. stay strong (in between the occasional tears of frustration)!

  26. Every year you write a post that gets my fingers moving to donate…
    BOOM.
    Thank you for all you do, not just in the knitting world.

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