Door County Century Bike Ride

9/9/12

         You won’t believe where I am right now! I’m driving back to Luther from Door County, WI. Ten of us made the trek out to Sturgeon Bay, WI this weekend to participate in the 50 mile Century bike ride. Our friend Andrea has ridden the ONE HUNDRED MILE, so she recommended we all do the 50 mile together. We arrived at Andrea’s house late Friday night and were greeted by an adorable dog (Milo) and two generous parents. We all fell asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillow that night, except for a few of the guys who slept outside in the tent, who were a tad cold and uncomfortable. (But leaving their tent to come inside would have been emasculating…)

            Saturday, us girls arose to the sun streaming through the glass doors and the boys trickled in, sleepy-eyed, one by one. That morning, I ate the most delectable breakfast I have ever had the privilege of consuming: breakfast omelet, cinnamon buns, and perfectly moist pumpkin bread. I don’t think I have ever been that satisfied after a meal. Then our crew split up into homework doers and Frisbee-golfers. I made the adult decision to do my homework. So we biked over to the a town coffee shop, which was decked out in cleverly constructed decorations: a chandelier constructed with old glass, silverware and teapot handles and spoons bent into hooks. What a nice ambiance to study in! (Luther/Decorah has some pretty sweet study spots too, but this was new and exciting.) Once we had made some headway, we biked over to the town pub for another delicious meal and, from what I soon discovered from the guys’ glued faces to the hanging TV screens, 4 simultaneous football games. Then we biked over to the bay, and some how, even on this cold evening, I was one of the few people convinced to jump into the arctic water. I was still proud of myself for having done it, as I rushed home shivering. We finally arrived home and bundled up under blankets. We played card games and watched youtube videos as the delicious smell of lasagna tickled our noses. We gobbled down a delicious meal while planning out the next day’s ride. The road bikers (more efficient bikes) would try to stick together and so would the mountain bikers (the less efficient, slower bikes). There would be three stops where we would all meet up no matter what…

         But things didn’t work out quite as cleanly as we’d planned. Our friend Gryson was having a particularly hard time on his mountain bike, so he left the first rest stop early to get ahead of everyone, in an effort to not slow the group down. As we peeled out of the rest stop, we noticed a fork in the road and started to follow the path that most of the other bikers had taken (the 70/100 mi. fork), but were abruptly stopped by a few people who saw the tiny sign pointing to our 50 mile path. We couldn’t help but wonder, “I wonder if Gryson took that path…” ‘Hope not!’ we all thought. But as we passed mile marker after mile marker it quickly became clear that Gryson had chosen the wrong fork, and we would have to find him at the end of our race. “Poor guy!” we continued to say as we rode along…This whole time he had been looking forward to riding this with us, and now not only did he have to do it alone, but he had to ride for far longer than he’d expected, and he had no way of finding us! But some spark in us told us that Gryson wouldn’t give up, or that he’d find some creative way of letting us know what was going on. He is a man full of cleverly constructed surprises. And boy did he live up to that standard on this Sunday afternoon! He sent a message to a several bikers as they passed him, struggling up hills with his heavy mountain bike. He told these guys what we looked like and that they should pass the following message along: “I took the wrong turn way back at the first rest stop but I am coming!” And sure enough, this message got to us! At the last rest stop, we awaited him eagerly. And sure enough there he was, exhausted and with a look of defeat on his face – but nevertheless, there, finally.

         Gryson was our hero of he day. Not only did he overcome the frustration of having a terribly slow, inefficient bike, but he biked an extra EIGHTEEN miles in an effort to try to catch up with us (many of those 18 were very hilly I will point out), AND he managed to arrive at the rest stop at almost the same time as a few of us, which means he had to have been hauling very fast just to catch up with us. What an amazing feat to accomplish, for all of us, but a truly EXTRAORDINARY feat for Gryson. Now for another week of school…!

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