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Thursday, January 21, 2010

PBP 2007 11

The journey is ending. Things are becoming blurred in my mind and I begin to wonder what quits first: the mind or the body. I determine it is probably the mind. Though my body is exhausted, I feel like my legs could continue their journey forever, but my neck is starting to hurt and I feel at times as if my eyes want to roll back into my head. I begin to dream of hot water and the smell of shampoo and soap and the feel of toothpaste for I have lost my toothpaste somewhere along the way. At one point I stop to lie down and rest in the beautiful yellow flowers that line the road only to find that they are some type of stinging plant. While it is painful, it also wakes me up and I am able to ride farther while the welts subside. I decide to take caffeine at one point, and only realize later that it was not caffeine that I took but Ibuprofen. I don't know why I brought the Ibuprofen as it would be a real emergency before I took it on a ride due to the preliminary studies about its effect on liver and kidneys when a person is dehydrated.
I realize as I write this that it was a later control where I found Johnny, during my last nap. Dave was long gone. I had found Steve Royse eating at that control as well. He looked as fresh and as upbeat as the day we left and I was feeling so very sick that I wanted to slap him. I was sitting there with all this food I was going to force myself to eat, unable to stomach more than a bite or two. I will later run into him on the road, but only after I have awakened and hammered the hills hard afraid I won't make the control deadline. I end up in a paceline with people from four different countries. The one from the US is trying to make 80 hours. We are moving at a pretty good pace and I hold on for about a half hour, but then I am spent. I also paceline with some man with a white and light blue pants and jersey. I can't remember the lettering and I am not sure where he is from, but he makes me feel good right before he drops me by looking back and nodding his head in approval. Funny how some things transcend language. Not eating has done me in again. Royse came along and swept me up off the road giving me lollypops and encouragement, and we end the ride together. I am able to keep down soup at the last control. I cry as we reach the finish line, but I am smiling. One woman comes up to tell me she thinks what I have done is wonderful, and I agree. We wait a long time to sign in at this control, much longer than anywhere else along the route. Royse talks about a party, but I insist that I just want a toothbrush and a bath and to try to eat again. I know my body needs food even though it doesn't want it.
At the hotel, following a good toothbrushing and a hot, sweet smellings shower then bath, I realize I am glad to be able to do girl things again like spread lotion on my skin. It feels so soothing. My private areas are pretty raw from the rain, the distance, and losing my butt paste along the way. I have learned so much from this experience. I think of all the people who made this trip possible, this feeling as if I am in awe of myself and what I have done. I don't know if I will ever do it again, but I am so glad I did it. So many people to get here. Eddie, Davy, the Steves, and on and on. And now I have something I can hold tightly to myself when I am feeling caged in or lonely. I hope I can remember the feel of the wind, the rain on my skin, even the smell of my wool jersey at the end of my journey. I think of the thinking errors I made during the ride and am amazed at how sleep deprivation blurs thoughts. I still don't really have an answer about the body/mind connection and which gives out first. If I ever ride another such event, I will be able to ride it better I believe. But mostly, I am glad I was here and that I did this thing. I finished. Along the way I saw many who did not. I saw strong men broken by the weather and the course, pain on their faces as they realized they could not go on. So many things that I could never write them all down. I wish I had taken the time to take more pictures. Perhaps in the future......

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