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Still smiling after all that

Well my friends, I did it. I completed my 200 mile/322km bike race yesterday. There were eight people registered but only six started. There was one other woman and we kept each other company for a little while. I finished in 13 hours and 23 minutes, fifth place and only six minutes behind the man in front of me. I got incredibly lucky with the weather. The hot and humid broke during the week and it was only around 75F/24C. It got stormy in the afternoon but not a drop of rain fell on me. I heard a few people did get a little damp.

Astrid got some admiration. The RAAM race official was also super impressed that I had only been riding for two years. He was a really nice man and the whole event was fantastic; well run and such friendly people.

My beautiful Astrid

Some highlights. The car full of men who drove by shouting hooray! And good job! And pumping their fists in the air. The llama farm. The Hindu temple. The farmer standing in his driveway who gave me a thumb’s up. All the cyclists out for a casual ride who waved. The older couple out for a walk down the hill I was panting up who smiled and said, you must be a glutton for punishment – they had no idea. The beautiful rivers I crossed and lakes I went by. Seeing Bookman at the second aid station that he volunteered to staff. Seeing Bookman at the third aid station because he was worried I had gotten caught in a downpour and he brought me dry clothes just in case. Five of us cycling together for almost the first

Sunflower in my garden

50 miles, laughing and sharing jokes. My Garmin battery going dead with 5 miles to go and my just-in-case cue sheets coming in handy to get me the last little way. The song playing on my iPod shuffle as I rolled across the finish line: I Will Survive. Could not have planned that one better! Crossing the finish line.

Yesterday in the midst of it all I had decided I would never, ever do that again. Today, a little stiff and a lot tired, I’m thinking, well maybe.

The Dashwoods continue to get Japanese beetle snacks nearly everyday. You’d think there would eventually be less of them but they seem to like living dangerously and keep coming to my garden to take their chances on being eaten by a chicken.

So tall!

The bush cherries are coming ripe. So far I have picked one small bowl and one medium sized bowl and there are still lots and lots of bowls on the bushes.

I picked two carrots today. I have never been able to grow a carrot and at last I have. I suppose it was just a matter of finding the right place and the right variety.

And, it is sunflower season! Every time I look out my deck window and see them, I can’t help but smile. Sunflowers do that.