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Day 32 – Dover, TN to Nashville, TN

by on October 15, 2012

An absolutely glorious day. It started with an exit from the worst motel of the trip, the Dover Inn and with breakfast at the only gourmet restaurant (in fact, the only restaurant) in Dover, McDonalds, the Golden Arches. You’ll see a picture I took last evening of a rainbow that foretold of a great day today. So, off we go on what I consider the finest biking day of this tour and one of my best biking days ever. Cool start, sunny skies, good roads, minimal traffic, good climbing (4,340 ft), and whatever wind there was being a tailwind. I rode by myself because I like to and because I could savor the glorious day without stress and in silence. And then I arrived at the Hermitage Hotel, a 5 star hotel in my mind, early, room was ready, and I’m one happy guy. We have had such horrible weather over the 5 weeks so far that today was extra special. So cool. But I need to remind you that there are no easy days. It’s still hard work riding 90 miles at a good pace but that feeling of having covered the distance and be tired but thrilled to have finished within my comfort zone is special.

I wanted to take a few minutes and tell you about the “social” nature of this XC trip, especially after conversations with Cayce and my sister, Bunny. They both had the impression that our group of 15 is a tight group that spend much time together and that we are forming lifelong relationships! In fact, that’s not the case. This trip, as I’ve said before, is not fun, it’s not a vacation, it’s not a romantic adventure. It’s an epic challenge that requires that every one of us focus on our individual health and daily recovery. I can only speak for myself but I like and get along with every single person and I respect and admire every person. But we don’t really “socialize.” Our time together at meals is functional and personally, I arrive early for meals, order as fast as I can, and as soon as I finish my meal, I’m gone – either on the bike or to my room and to bed. There’s no sightseeing or casual interchange. This trip is an individual focus on recovery every day and riding incredible distances every day. It might be easier to understand if you think about the contrast of week long bike trips that you might take with Trek Travel or Backroads. On those trips, you bike every day for a week, but there’s nothing taxing about the riding and much of the focus is on outstanding accommodations, great food, wine, and cultural experiences. You spend considerable time with other people on the trip and you do form “bonds.” There is nothing in common between these week long trips and our XC 6 week trip.

Okay, let me introduce you to more people via pictures. The couple below are Christian and Jacqueline from Germany. Christian is 46 and Jacqueline younger. Christian is a very strong rider and Jacqueline picks and chooses which daily rides to participate in. The other picture is of Jim and he is in his 50′s and he recently sold his fund management firm and he’s at a transition in his career. Jim is one of the top 3 riders in our group.

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