62 Miles of Bliss(ters)
Having followed in Henry David Thoreau’s footsteps once by living alone in a small dwelling, I did it again Sunday when I participated in The Last Gasp, a 62-mile bike ride across Cape Cod, from Sandwich to Provincetown. Turns out Thoreau once walked from one end of the Cape to the other, exploring each town along the way. And though I only stopped twice for a quick PB&J, I too discovered Cape Cod – the place where I grew up – from a whole new perspective.
Under a clear blue sky, with a slight wind (behind us, at first), I saw hidden ponds nestled beyond trees hinting at fall and sprawling cranberry bogs. My favorite sights were the well-wishers cheering from the road, encouraging my sore knees, while a smile sat plastered on my face. Dedicating the entire day to raising money for Spaulding Rehabilitation, I welcomed the rolling hills, of which there were many, that gave me time to think about the people I was riding for, and an overwhelming appreciation for the ability to do this ride.
Arriving at the finish line, we hopped off our bikes as volunteers loaded them onto UPS trucks, simultaneously unloading our tagged bags of clean clothes. Despite my desire of finding a hot shower, the well-oiled organization of the event was not lost on me. Hobbling to a designated hotel room for a brief (and I mean brief) shower, we changed and were shuttled to downtown P-town where, after inhaling a quick snack, we boarded a chartered ferry back to Sandwich. Cruising along the choppy water, the Cape’s shoreline to our left, a pod of dolphins appeared, diving in and out of the waves in unison, having a ball. Kind of like us riders, pedaling together for the same cause.
Back on land, we gathered our bikes and headed to the local American Legion for an authentic clambake. Chowder, little necks, lobster, corn on the cob, all with a smoky flavor, went down easily with the sun melting into the west. That night, sleep came swiftly, images of the day flashing through my memory on a loop, my smile still present. Days dedicated entirely to one cause are rare, our lives so often pulled in many directions. But having set aside my own To Do list to focus on this one task, gave me a sense of accomplishment much greater than crossing a bunch of things off a list. As for those responsibilities, well, isn’t that what Mondays are for?
Thanks again to everyone who donated to the ride!