Last year, after J's Dad died suddenly, we started the Dad memorial ride. Somehow we all figured tht a whole lot of suffering, with your best friends, would help J feel better. It seemed to work, so we decided to continue the ride this year in honor of my Mom who died this Spring.
Unlike J's Dad, my Mom endured a 20+ year illness that was mostly caused by smoking. At age 50 she started having severe cramps in her feet and legs, which being a nurse, she ignored. The cramps were the warning sign that her decending aorta was blocked and dying.
Many years, many surgeries later she defied the odds again and again until this Spring. She remains the strongest person I've ever known, and I will never understand her mountain born determination to overcome the odds. I miss her each and every day.
J, Cliff and I set off from the Powhattan Elementary School, fittingly enough, on one of the toughest days of the year. 7:30 am and we were sweating just standing in the parking lot. Temps were supposed to hit the high 90's with very oppressive humidity, mold, ozone and of course, the treat of severe thunderstorms. We invited other people to join us, but were met with uniform protests of "too hot!"
It didn't take long for J and I to decide that we need a team car. Why should the pros e the only ones who can raise a hand and get service? Long about mile 65, when my feet and hands were swelling and we had to stop to loosen my shooes, the fantasy of having a soigneur come rub my feet got pretty intense. Cliff wasnt touching those feet, we were all pretty rank by then!
In the end we drank 3 gallons of gatoraide, 4 powerbars, 2 gus, 2 fig newton packs, 3 bags of chips, a bag of pretzels, 9 cokes, and a Propel. Guess who was drinking Propel, yep, that would be J. Hot Propel isnt tops in my books at the best of times. Hot anything is just nasty. Running out of hot gatoraide long before the next store stop was even worse! See we really need that team car!
We did manage to save two turtles, which in my book give me enough turtle points to cuss freely this week. J killed a butterfly, so I figure she's in the hole. Cliff endured us, so he gets sainthood.
Cutting one gravel road out made the ride a wee bit short this year. I figure with all the bonus miles we've accumulated in centuries over the years that we could cheat one time. It was hot, we sweated profusely, used copious amounts of butt butter, and survived to proclaim that we aren't drinking any more hot fluid ever again! It was a tough day, in honor of a tough lady. I love you, Mom.