August 31 | Pismo Beach
Long-distance cycling in a group is both a study in community and a solitary encounter. The whole team quickly assumes it’s own collective personality and becomes a kind of family. The 3-5 people that you tend to ride with because of similar rhythms, cadences, and strength, develop an even closer bond.
And yet, on the road, you are alone with your own thoughts, doubts, determinations, and insights. There are also times when you are literally on the road alone.
This can happen for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, one rider will get a sudden urge to reach the next rest stop, to have a burger, or to take advantage of a tailwind, and will make a spontaneous breakaway from the group.
Other times, one rider will stop for a photo or will linger longer at a pause. And sometimes, long climbs create separation.
That happened today. I was riding in a threesome when one rider stayed back to take more photos. Shortly afterwards, we came to a long climb on which I moved ahead of my other teammate.
The climb was followed by a long, steep, high-speed descent, and by the time I got to the bottom, I was out of sight of either of my companions. I spent the next several miles alone on an open road.
It’s a place that has it’s own rewards, just like riding together does. Later in the 88-mile day, the three of us converged, ate lunch together, and arrived in camp together.
We’re staying at the Community Presbyterian Church in Pismo Beach.
Appropriate. We’re all family here.
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