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Grand Rapids to Battle Creek, MI – 65 miles

8/5/12 Grand Rapids to Battle Creek, MI – 65 miles

Had one of the best night’s sleep in several days and woke up actually feeling rested. Much more alert. It is amazing what sleep can do for you.

We headed out for the 65 mile ride to Battle Creek. A storm had passed through the night and it was a little overcast, but clearing. The temperature was a very pleasant 75 degrees or so, and little wind. Although a little humid, almost perfect riding conditions.

The first 35 miles or so were a biker’s dream. Flat road with a slight tailwind. Smooth asphalt with a huge shoulder. Pure cruising at 15-20 mph with little effort. Very little traffic since it was a Sunday morning. There were all these gorgeous little purple wild flowers all around. I was feeling happy and grateful, and decided to have my own church service on the bike. Just cleared my mind and listened. Expanded the list of those specific prayers of blessing for individuals who came to mind.

We stopped for lunch at a Subway approx 1/2 way to Battle Creek. The final 30 miles or so, while pleasant, were a little more challenging. There were rolling hills and several moderate inclines that required some effort. The road was pretty much tree-lined, which I loved. The wind picked up a little and we encountered some cross-winds, but nothing to compare with previous challenging cross-winds. I found myself feeling very strong physically and actually enjoying the hills. Like I mentioned previously, I think RAGBRAI took me to a new level of conditioning. And after a good night’s sleep, I was feeling good. Oddly enough, Randy said he found the hills hard at times today. Go figure.

I had been fighting the intrusion of thoughts re the end of the ride, and it was starting to wear on me a little and make me cranky. As my mind wandered during the ride, I decided to stop fighting and just go with it. Accept that the end is nearing.  I found that I felt what I would describe as almost a mental release that was freeing. I realized again that I am sad that the ride is almost over and that is a good thing. Much better than feeling like you are miserable and can’t wait for something to end. Instead, happy and grateful for this amazing gift. Then I moved on to thoughts of how to carry over the mind set I have developed during the trip into my “real life.” That, I think, will be the trick.  Learning to live with an awareness of the present moment in a spirit of gratitude has been my personal goal from the moment I committed to do the ride. It was the focus of all my pre-trip planning.

Got an e-mail from McKinley. She and Patrice were less than 50 miles from entering Kentucky, and plan on reaching Yorktown, VA on August 23. Then McKinley plans on heading towards DC. We agreed to keep in touch and try to connect for lunch somewhere before I fly out. I would love to hear about their trip. When I last saw them it was in Idaho after camping at Ox Bow. I had stopped on the side of the road to dry out my tent after camping in the rain, and they came by and chatted a moment. Little did we know that we would not see each other again. They had some mechanical issues later that day and got a little behind the group. Then, I made the route change to S. Dakota and Iowa, while they continued on the TRANSAMERICA to Colorado.
We checked into a very comfortable motel that was right across the street from a McDonalds. After soaking in the tub, I walked over for one of those strawberry lemonade brain freezes. Later I met Randy for dinner, then settled in for some Olympics watching. Ended the night with Sanya Richardson-Ross’ winning her gold medal and went to bed smiling.

All in all a great day. Tomorrow we head for Hillsdale, which is approx 1/2 way to Toledo.

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