This was a hard weekend for our family cycling team. It was the weekend that we were doing our back-to-backs. See, the rally has a list of training accomplishments that need to be done by certain dates. 50km by this date, 100km by that date, and then back-to-backs, which are two long rides done back to back, one day after the other. We decided it would be Saturday for us - or at least for Amanda and I. Samantha and Ken are way ahead, and have already completed theirs, and Erin did hers last weekend I think, because she had to be a mum this weekend. I'd been dreading it all week. The plan was to do 120km on Saturday (that's (75 miles, if you're keeping track) then go home, sleep and get up the next day and do 65 km more. (40 miles.) Now, I think that any reasonable person would be pretty worried about that, so I didn't worry about being worried, until Saturday morning, when I woke up with a knot of anxiety in my tummy - so significant that it threatened to make me dizzy at times.
It's been hot here all week, and I was worried about that, but on Saturday it was threatening rain, and so I worried about that too. We arrived at the meeting place to ride, and there were about 60 riders standing around, all looking at an ominous sky that rippled with threatening clouds.
We made light of it, said that at least a little rain would be cooling on our bikes, but people don't look up that often if they aren't concerned. We checked in, got the route straight, and started promptly at 8am. At 8:01 there was a tremendous crack of lightning, earthshaking thunder - and then the sky opened. It sheeted down on us, pounding so hard that at times I was sure it was hailing. (It wasn't.)
Lots of riders turned back at that point, but us - we didn't, because it was our back-to-back deadline, and there didn't seem to be a lot of choices around it. I could hardly see where I was going (glasses + bike + buckets of rain = CRAP) and I worried about running into the back of Amanda, or slipping, or my brakes not working... within moments I was so wet that my shoes were full of water.
It let up about 10 minutes later, but continued to rain a little, until around the 5k mark. It was at that point that Amanda had the second bad thing in her day. She checked over her shoulder for traffic, overcompensated by a millimetre, and her front rim hit the edge of a gully by the curb. If it had been dry, everything likely would have been okay, but it wasn't dry. It was very, very wet, and she tumbled and skidded off her bike, then smeared along the road for a couple of metres, before coming to a halt tangled in her bike. ( I narrowly missed running her over, which was the only thing that could have made it worse.) She was literally covered in road rash - both legs, elbows, a shoulder, her side, both hands...
You could have knocked me over with a feather when the kid got up, let go a few tears, and then got on her bike and kept riding. 115 km to go, all banged up, and she kept riding. I don't know if I would have. So proud of her.
30km later I took a scary spill on an incline and smashed the right side of my arse enough that it's still so swollen I sit crooked in chairs. I cut my leg up, just where it was starting to heal, and skidded my elbow pretty good. I'm the mother though, so I pretended it didn't hurt, but it really did.
I cried on the inside.
5km later Amanda had a flat, and by then the sun was searingly, hatefully hot... and the rest of the day passed in a haze of aches, pains and determination.
The next morning Amanda and I texted each other from bed comparing the size of the relative trucks we felt had hit us, and trying to get out of riding again. There was no way out, and we finished our back to backs yesterday without anything else happening... which was a minor miracle considering the level of anxiety we both had. Falling is hard on the soul. It was so bad at a couple of points on Saturday that I couldn't even remember why I was doing it.
And then I remembered. Fundraising. The whole point. Riding my bike to Montreal actually does nothing to raise funds without your help, and I'm ever so grateful that you all make it worth it.
(PS. While Amanda and I were falling down, across the city my sister Erin took a tumble too. I think it's genetic.)
Without further ado, this week's Karmic Balancing gifts, with our thanks.
The forever generous Debbi (Stitches of My Life Designs) went into the stash and came up with karmic balancing presents. She'll be sending Wendy W a beautiful skein of Brooks Farm Riata (mohair, silk and wool)
A beautiful skein of Shepherd's Wool is headed off in the mail to Bettina H
She's parting with a skein of Gaia Lace (40%cashmere, 60% silk) - heading off to a happy new life with Becky G.
Finally - Sunshine P is going to be lucky to get 3 skeins of Tilli Tomas - Beaded Plie.
Katherine did a little stash diving herself, and she'd like to share two balls of sock yarn (I love this stuff- but as you know, I'm a sucker for self patterning yarn) with Jean A.
The lovely folks at Miss Babs Yarn and Fibers (a source of many delicious things) have donated a $25 gift certificate that is going to Corrie S.
Dani over at Lioness Arts has very generously offered to dye up a gift. She's willing to part with four skeins (that's enough for a sweater) of her Alpaca/silk in
the colourway "Shapes in the Clouds."
Lovely stuff, and it now belongs to Aprille J.
The lovely ladies at Jordana Paige, purveyors of fine knitting accessories, have kindly donated a bag- the fabulous Rio bag, to be exact.
The family cyclists (I think this time it was Sam) pulled out Kim P's name.
By the way? You should totally take a look at the Jordana Paige Fundraiser for the Preeclampsia Foundation. They're selling off imperfect bags for $50 bucks a pop, with 100% of the sale price going to the foundation. Very nice.
Stephanie at Dirty Water Dyeworks has a beautiful kit for Dipped Infinity
and Judith F will be picking her colours and getting that bit of prettiness in the mail.
Jenny in the UK has some very pretty locally dyed sparkle yarn from her stash that she'd like to send along.
It's Fivemoons laceweight, and she'll be sending that to live with the very lucky Linda L.
Kathy A's stash offered up something lovely.
A skein of Henry's Attic Lace - 100% silk that she'll mail to Marguerite M.
Laura of Knitfacts has two sets of her amazing ringlets to send away.
Lori S and Jen H can each choose their favourite colourway.
The delightful Aubrey over at Goodies Unlimited (I personally recommend her Everything Balm. I have it slathered all over my bike gouged leg at the moment, although to be fair, her Stress-free Green Tea soap is a favourite too.) has four $25 gift certificates going out to lucky knitters...
Janene R, Cindy W, Jacqueline F and Lindsey TG are going to be her newest fans.
That's it for now, thanks for your support! Remember that everyone who donates to anybody on our family team is eligible to randomly receive a Karmic Balancing gift, and because someone will ask if I don't post them, here's the link to all our pages.
(PS. It doesn't matter how much you give - everyone has the same chance. We know that everyone does their best with what they have, and we're grateful for it all.)