Day 19 Thursday, July 28 Bozeman 0 miles
Rest Day. This is the second day in the pilgrimage that I have taken one complete day to do everything, but sit in the saddle. Early on I was able to schedule a full 90-minute massage to begin working out some of the kinks in my legs and my left shoulder that stiffened up for a couple of days. I have done a lot of cycling over the years, but this day-in-day-out push through the mountains has had the effect of making my legs feel like recently tightened piano strings. I feel strong like a coiled spring.
The massage was essential today sort of like a car that needs an oil change at so many miles. I woke up feeling dehydrated and the massage therapist made the point too by the way I was responding to some of her work. Staying hydrated with the number of miles I am putting in, the altitude, and the heat has been a constant battle. I really should have spent the day just concentrating on my fluid intake and keeping a disciplined schedule of eating. But, I had internet issuess to solve, a couple of bills to take care of, post cards to buy for family and friends, and exploring adding more panniers to my bike for water containers. In addition, I have a great uncle and aunt who live here who I had never met and was hoping to see them.
I completed the massage, saw my Uncle Max and Aunt Shirley, unsuccessfully attacked my internet issues,visited some memories from my past, and went out for a nice dinner with my host tonight. The truth is I am not prepared to hit the road for this next leg until I feel more prepared. There are logistical issues and I am psychically tired. Bozeman is the last city of any size until I get to Northern Colorado over a week from now. I will be touring through Yellowstone and then cross a great stretch of Wyoming that will be as challenging as the mountains for the vast emptiness that will engulf me for days.
I wrote about 3 weeks before I left that it would be important for me to let my soul determine the pacing of this pilgrimage rather than a predetermined schedule (see Soul Pacing). I find myself having to face my own guidance and advice. I had planned that I would ride six days and rest one. In order to stay on schedule that is what I will need to do. Yet, today I can sense that such rigidness may get me into trouble. I have bike issues as well as internet issues that need to be solved before I go sleeping in Yellowstone and entering the Wyoming high desert. Even as I write now, I know what I need to do. The schedule has to be secondary to my safety and my good judgment.
This is my little fork in the road. I have been a person who, to a fault, will keep his commitments. I said it would take ten weeks. Ten weeks it what it will take would be my attitude. I don’t want to get behind schedule and discover that I will either need more time off, have to cut the pilgrimage short, or have to make up time somewhere down the road. As I discussed this with my host, Elizabeth, tonight she quickly dismissed my exaggerated conscientiousness and said, “What, you can’t email the church and say you need more time?” Her point was well-taken. I assume the world is not flexible before I even give them a chance.
The fact of the matter is I am pretty much on schedule (as if that matters that much). If I take another half day or full day tomorrow to make sure that all my gear is ready for another major stretch, that really is the prudent thing, the safest thing, and the best thing to do to honor this pilgrimage. And, at this point, one day is just one day. It doesn’t necessarily meant that if I take one day it will just be easier next time to take an extra day.
I can let my predetermined schedule dictate my pacing, but I will then come home without being any different than I have been. I will once again show my ability and willingness to push myself to and beyond my limits to accomplish something. I already have a lifetime of proof for that lesson. I don’t think that is what this pilgrimage is about. I think I am being stretched in new ways and it has more to do with honoring my limits rather than proving that I can reach beyond them.
And what if I do take an extra day? Will Yellowstone and the Wyoming high desert disappear because I am one day late? I think not. They will be ready for me whenever I get there. You can count on that!