Day 50/21 – to Cedar City, UT

Today was a short mileage day….  but a lot of elevation.  Okay, not so much elevation, but a lot considering that we are coming off of some very difficult days all in a row.  We’ve been through the desert, up and down mountains, and in the middle of nowhere, but it’s been great – really.

When you climb up a mountain, you’ll know before you start how much elevation you’ll cover.  Today, for instance we started at around 6500 feet and climb to almost 10500 feet.  So, a 4000 foot climb.  Wrong.  There’s a lot of up and down as you go up the mountain, and I like to watch my Garmin as I’m climbing and torture myself.  Climb to 7000, drop to 6800…. climb to 7800, drop to 7500….. climb to 8100, drop to 7800….. and on and on…. so you actually end up climbing way more than just the 4000 feet that the map tells you.

I spent a lot of time riding by myself today…  listening to music and enjoying the surroundings.  My Instagram and Facebook tell the story in pictures, but this journey isn’t just about the beautiful scenery and challenging rides.  I’m also processing a lot of issues in my mind while riding…  it’s been a year since my life changed so drastically and unexpectedly and it’s pretty awesome that the people I meet right now (in the present) have no idea what I’ve been through and what I’m cleaning up.  To me, that’s a sign of progress, a sign that I am ready for the next step, the next adventure, whatever you want to call it.  I’m not bitter nor angry, I’m just happy that I am where I am now….  Happy that I am seeing the beautiful life that I have in front of me and fortunate for everyone that is a part of it.
A couple of lyrics sat well with me today:

Makes me that much stronger
Makes me work a little bit harder
It makes me that much wiser
So thanks for making me a fighter
Made me learn a little bit faster
Made my skin a little bit thicker
Makes me that much smarter
So thanks for making me a fighter



As I’m driving
I’m captured by the view
So much beauty
The road becomes my muse
The heat is rising
And my hand surfs through the wind
Cool, calm, collected
Is the child that lies within

See I’m leaving today
I’m living it
Oh I’m leaving it
To change, oh yeah

We made it to the top of our climb and were rewarded with an amazing view of Cedar Breaks National Monument.  10,354 feet and probably the highest that I will be on this bike ride.  I posted a picture on facebook of some of my team mates and I on the sign for Capitol Reef National Park.  

A friend’s comment was “You look so full of joy, Matthew” and she was spot on.  I am full of joy right now.  I am loving what I a doing and enjoying the people I get to do it with.  I don’t want this trip to end!!