Excitement was high this morning in camp as we packed up the tents for the last time. Kim and her kitchen team made special pancakes to fuel everyone in the final 100km. I saddled my rental bike (a city touring bike with a bell) and set out for the final ride. It was a short 60km ride, full of thoughts of the experiences of the last four months. Impossible to sum up here in a paragraph or two. It is the type of adventure that will be shared in bits and pieces over a cappuccino or glass of wine with my friends and family over the next few years. A comment or picture will spark a memory and stories will ensue.
I’ve been thinking about how to answer the inevitable questions of “How was the trip?” or “What will you take away from the experience?” and what I came up with were these three things:
–Each day is a new surprise and blessing
–Everything I need can fit onto my back
–Be present in the moment.
The celebrations started at lunch time with a gourmet food spread, local media, and celebratory pictures on the beach. In addition, the Bicycle Empowerment Network of Cape Town organized the “Big Ride In”, a festival to promote bicycle riding in the city. 500 local riders joined us on the final 40km convoy into the city and the grandstand at EcoPark. I spent the final kilometers chatting with various riders, trying to spend a few minutes with each of the other riders with whom I have shared so much.
Our group stopped just before the park and we gathered all the TdA riders to the front. As the bands played, we crossed a bridge into the park and rode under the Finish Line banner. My mom was on the left and I high-fived her as I came across the line and my cousin Chris was waiting with a hug in the family area. Bottles of champagne were popped and I was swept up in bear hugs as all the riders celebrated our journey and accomplishment!