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  • Writer's pictureRebecca L.

Day 18: Longest Day of the Year!

Updated: Jul 3

Thursday, June 20th, 2024

Mammoth Cave National Park to Bowling Green, KY

32.4 mi, 1,319 ft elevation


The longest day of the year started with the best thing that’s happened to me during Spokes: I got over 8 hours of sleep!! I couldn’t remember the last time that happened. With the time zone change, the sun rose at 6am, and waking up after it rose was so lovely. It was a shorter day, so we rewarded ourselves with a later start. 


I had been feeling sick the days before, but had been biking because I wasn’t feeling sick enough to take rest days. Those days quite literally made me question what I was doing with my summer. It felt like I was running out of fuel, but it was the wrong fuel anyways. I was a very old car accidentally filled with diesel. I cried on the bike, stopped around every 30 minutes, and found a new hatred for Kentucky’s rolling hills. I would talk to myself continuously to keep myself moving. I’m sure cars really questioned by decision making ability as they passed me yammering to myself at 5 mph. 


One of the perks of taking 20 breaks a bike ride is you can stare at a lot more cows.


Anyways, this is all to say that maybe it was the 8 hours of sleep, or the nostalgic Walmart bag of cereal, or the fact that today was only 32 miles, but this ride made me like biking again. I had told Sophia the day before that I needed to accept that there were going to be bad days on the trip that I couldn’t even think of. She said that I should also remember that there will be better days too. This felt like one of those days. 

Getting one of these enormous bags as a child was always so special

I felt strong on the bike, and like I was in control, whereas before I was fighting against my body and the elements to finish rides. I came to truly appreciate the power of a full stomach, which I hadn’t had since before I got sick. I rushed through the farmland, excited to feel the wind and listen to the clatter of my bike. I love my bike!! 


Biking for hours makes you aware of every part of your body. My friend taught me about full body scans this year, where you go head to toe and assess how every part of your body feels. Biking is like doing that all the time. I’ve never been so aware of my toes, or my upper back, or my medial knee, or my biceps, or my…. This makes me a complainer, but I also love how precise I need to be to feel good, how focusing and pulling my arms in will alleviate pain and make me go faster. I like the little details, like I’m optimizing a machine. Not that I’m anywhere near optimized (I’ve added another knee compression sleeve since my last blog…)

A large portion of the view during the 32 miles. I wish I knew more about farming.

We arrived in Bowling Green after 11, and the world felt so wide. The city had a lovely park surrounded by shops, including Spencer’s Cafe, which became our home base for a few hours as we did Spokes stuff, caught up on personal tasks, and stared vacantly. Here is a photo diary of our cafe squat:



Another store which I must highlight was a music and thrift store with a huge Scooby Doo section. The owners, a married couple, have been curating the selection for 8 years. 



We were in Bowling Green to hold our third learning festival, and the organization we were partnering with had organized our housing. This was such a kindness that I hadn’t stopped to think about what the housing would look like. So imagine my shock when we arrived at what felt like a Brooklyn home straight out of a Nancy Meyers movie:



The house was from a completely different world from the one I’ve been living in. Nancy Meyers’ protagonists probably hadn’t had a half pound of trail mix before lunch. Or wear the same pair of compressions socks for two days in a row. I needed to take a shower. 


After becoming a person again post shower, I pictured myself as a successful NYC business woman and dug into some tasks I had been trying to do all week. Spokes is weird because you theoretically have free time, but it slips through your fingers since you’re so tired and there’s always some kind of maintenance to do for the trip. Hours of grinding in a leather chair weren’t possible for me for the past 17 days. 


Our team celebrated the longest day of the year with some amazing Mediterranean food, including homemade tzatziki and fancy drinks.


Our fun lasted long after the sun had set as we gathered in the living room and asked each other questions, from the serious to the stupid. It was nice to make a holiday out of a small thing. Thank you to the sun and thank goodness for 9pm sunsets! -Rebecca


:)

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5 Comments


Guest
Jun 28

Way to go, Reebok! 😍Hydrate 💧Fuel 🌯Stretch 🍎Rest 📴

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Mary Lizarde
Mary Lizarde
Jun 26

We just love you Rebecca!!

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Guest
Jun 25

Hi Optimized riders! “ Keep on riding”

Bowling Green is where the American sports car is built- Chevrolet Corvette. That hallowed ground for the car guys like me. Hopefully one day Solar Car Nimbus will take Corvette’s place. Go MiT !

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Guest
Jun 24

You are so strong Rebecca!! You guys are doing so well <3 -Duha

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Guest
Jun 24

so glad you shared the video so I, too, could stare at the cow

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