I have heard it takes less facial muscle to smile than to frown.
Similarly I suspect it is easier to be kind than not..
Today we leave Geneva on the Lake
heading into Cleveland for a two nights stay and a rest day. We were lucky that last night’s rain was not drenching and at 6 am the skies were kind enough to clear away the lingering clouds. I left a little early to get some coffee and breakfast and ended up eating two plain cake donuts after surveying my waist.
Yesterday I passed the 1000 mile mark and I suspect my weight is down about 5 lbs…why not celebrate with cake donuts…sounds good to me.
Into the Eastern suburbs of Cleveland we ride and my country mouse anxiety begins to rise but today we have a segment rider who is from the area and we decide to abandon our maps and follow him. For the first time we are battered by Zephyrs who has been so quiet this trip but I suspect he saw an orange flash coming and raised his nasty head. His breath is strong enough that 7 of us form a drafting line to manage 12 mph.
I am actually thankful that this has happened so early in the trip, it gives others uneducated in drafting lines practice for the real event… Montana.
Into town we ride to our two nights stay, a wonderful Hostel in the old section of town.
Today is a special day for me as two of my friends, riders of last year’s Southern Tier, will be meeting the group at the Hostel with baked goods, fresh fruit, and an evening meal of beer and pizza.
Now what is so special about this is that they live in Pittsburgh and decided to come up to see us and support the ride. For those of you who don’t know, Pittsburgh is not even in Ohio but back there somewhere to our Southwest in Pennsylvania…and they drove here…for us…*
Throughout the ride we are blessed with kindness from strangers along the road. But when we are met with help from former riders and friends the kindness is double strong.
Each group of riders becomes close with individual vulnerabilities laid bare on a daily basis, often under extreme conditions. The essence of belonging to a small group is warped around one’s soul and these individuals become a one, a family true to the core.
To see former riders again is so rewarding and to get help from them even more so.
Tonight as they dined with us they were thanked over and over agian for their kindness. Their response?
“ Thank us by Playing it Forward”.
How apt, that their advice is to pass the kindness on.
We now, a small group of 12 who will make the whole passage, will learn day by day to depend on each other, to be a team, and too end up family and friends…We will by the nature of our newly molded characters “Play it Forward” naturally and gracefully when the times demand…
* The beautiful young woman next to my two friends from Pittsburgh is also a friend…she drove from Blacksburg ,Virginia to make sure we 12 were behaving ourselves…