It’s only been a few hours since we finished riding and already I must have looked at the pictures a bazillion times, as if I’m hoping to imprint the sensory experiences they attempted to capture on myself; the sounds of my favorite people laughing, wheels spinning, waves crashing, redwoods humming. The feeling of the fog settling, the sun peeking through the trees, our hearts beating through our chests as we ascended Fort Ross Road and the chest-bumps when exchanged we victoriously reached the top. The smiles and good conversations that flowed as our machines wound along the empty road. The big hugs that you couldn’t help but give when we finally stopped them from whizzing along. The rush that is flying through the countryside, along the coast on a bicycle. So many “I’m alive” moments, I can’t even count them all.
Nine friends. Sixty miles. Almost 6000 feet of climbing. Four bakery stops (two bakeries twice each, actually.) All of the things that I would pack into each day of my life if I could (and I do come awfully close many days.) This was MY birthday party – 2 weeks early – and I can’t imagine having chosen to kick off my 32nd year in any other way. It was truly the most excellent, uncomplicated, and superb celebration of continued survival.
And, frankly, if this merely surviving – scraping by on the continuum – then I cannot comprehend the opulence in thriving. Absolutely, I – like everyone else – have days where I’m frustrated with life; where I’m at, where I’m going. Where we’re going. Days when it seems that nothing is going my way. But days like yesterday wake me up remind me that the sun is shining gloriously every morning – somewhere. (Probably, over my head as a Northern California resident…even if I’m not seeing it through my own clouds.) Being able to conquer any hill and take in any view from a bicycle remind me there is a whole world of delight out there for the picking, and the only impediment to harvest is not looking closely enough. Swooping down those hills and along that dazzling coastline with these amazing folks reminded me that I’m swimming in an ocean of their love. Oh boy, am I lucky to have conspirators, beauties, jesters, prodigies, poets, and sages like these ladies (and gents!) in my world.
I’m overflowing with gratitude. What a great way to start a new year of life. 🙂
Oh! For those of you wondering why one might plan a birthday party two whole weeks before their actual birthday, the answer is simple; so that you can literally celebrate the last two weeks of one year, and revel in the first two weeks of the next. Thirty-two days of celebrating this year, friends – absolutely.
The photos here are from the ride – we followed the same route as the Bike + Bakery ride I did with a different group of great folks a couple of summers back, only this time we were wise to time our stops at Wildflour and Gold Coast Bakeries such that we got to enjoy the best of their breakfast offerings as well as warm slices of pizza and loaves of bread as we were finishing off a great day — starving of course!