In under three weeks, the goals were to bike a lot, do some hill climbing, and eat better in order to prepare for my upcoming bike trip. It would require that I pull out my kick-ass time management skills in order to do these things on top of continuing my post-MPub job search.

One week later, I’ve been on my bike nearly every day, intentionally tackled some decent hills, and lost seven pounds. (Really? Did I have a lead pipe in my pocket last Tuesday?)

I’ve always been an overachiever.

The woman leading said bike trip also noted that the terrain would be “within [my] abilities” given that I had tackled Oregon City on a full bike earlier this spring. That was encouraging—until I remembered just how much that climb wore me out.

Catching glimpses of wildlife after choosing the long way home, doing 40-milers with people I’ve always wanted to get to know better, and reconnecting with long-lost acquaintances have been some of the beautiful by-products of this process. On one outing, my riding partner diagnosed a mysterious mechanical issue I’ve been having, and even introduced me to the woman who fixed her bike when it was having that exact same problem. Kismet!

All the hours of biking have also yielded much reflection. First and foremost: being around positive people who take care of themselves makes a huge difference. Left to my own devices, I have a healthy amount of self-doubt—so it has been refreshing to get out in the world for a break from my own inner monologue and chat with new people.

As my mother recently reminded me, I likely won’t have a chance to do a trip like this again anytime soon, so it’s important to make this one count. How better to do that than by preparing properly, so I can enjoy the sights of beautiful Florence, Oregon, rather than desperately searching town for the strongest painkillers I can get.

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