Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Other Plan

~85 miles to Florence
~0 miles to Florence
~65 miles to Camden, car to Columbia

The ride from Florence to Columbia was 95 miles. I had originally anticipated doing it in two days, but we all know how the Universe works: It has a bigger plan and sometimes a thing we need that we don't yet know we need.

Severe thunderstorms and tornado warnings left me immobilized in Florence, there to spend another night.

I utilized the day off to rest, practice yoga, plan my route, and think of a new approach towards handling these dogs. I knew I needed to have pepper spray on hand-- just in case-- but the very idea of that felt both hostile and aggressive, and I hated caving in.

If you know me, can you imagine me actually using the pepper spray? I'd still sprint as fast as I could for as long as I could.

I bought the pepper spray anyway.

Morning came, and I gathered together all of my belongings in my two bags-- a routine I've become so familiar and proficient with-- and enjoyed some breakfast and coffee.

I was 23 days in to the trip by then, but I still wake each day with a "Here goes nothin'" mentality, because circumstances are so beyond my control and so beyond me capacity for understanding.

I'm in a constant bow, palms-facing-upward, surrender and submission of what's to come. It's still being written.

The thunderstorms had passed, and the remnants we were left with were its' strong winds.

Winds to a cyclist make for a slow and physically demanding ride, and, depending upon the severity, direction and strength of the wind, maybe another day of being immobilized. But I knew that, regardless of how, I would have to make it to Columbia that day, or else I would risk having to cancel the class that was already scheduled for the following day.

I took the ride slowly-- pepper spray in my back pocket-- trying not to physically exhaust myself too early into the ride. After the first 35 miles, I stopped to take a break in Bishopville. I was hungry and thirsty, feeling defeated, drained and frustrated by the wind.

Having fought the crosswinds all morning in a vigorous attempt to not be knocked over, I could feel ego rising at the very thought of it being too dangerous to finish the last 60 miles. I needed a new game plan.

I spoke on the phone with my soon-to-be host Erin in Columbia, and she graciously offered me vehicle relief if I could make it to Camden, another 30 miles away.

I felt both rejuvenated and grateful, with a new game plan of safely making it the last 30 miles, trying to bring the Buddha back on the bike, pepper spray still untouched in my back pocket.

I finished the ride to Camden at a slow and careful pace, grateful and surprised there were no dog chases at all this day.

I met Erin at a Revolutionary War site in Camden, and she drove us the rest of the way to her home in West Columbia. I'd be glad to rest and felt thrilled to not have to cancel the next day's class in Columbia.

We can plan and plan as much as possible, but the Universe also has its own plan as well as a thing that you're needing that you may not yet know you need.

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