I had assumed the Nevada desert was flat and yet I climbed my way out of that state on last year’s adventure. Similarly I just assumed Connecticut was one big downhill to the coast after enduring the Appalachian Mountains in Pennsylvania. Today’s ridiculous ride proved otherwise.
Hill upon hill of 11-14% grade climbs with each lasting about a mile long. All told, we climbed 5,034 feet over 80 miles, enjoyed over 5,000 feet of screaming downhills, and made it to the Massachusetts border where we’ll launch tomorrow.
The day started chilly at 54 degrees, but it quickly warmed up to 80 degrees, no humidity, blue skies, and no rain – a perfect day to be on a bike.
Mark, the Math Teacher
On one of our breaks, we met Mark and his Uncle Charlie as they were about to start their own bike ride for the day. Mark has been a high school math teacher for 7 years in Hartford CT and he loves the ability to make a difference with kids. He also loved the school principal (who was most recently transferred to a new school) because of his leadership and the culture he created at the school. As an example, at every staff meeting, he would genuinely declare, “I have the best staff in Connecticut” and that approach made all the difference. What makes Mark remarkable? The amount that he cares about kids.
Uncle Charlie … a Missed Opportunity
I regret that I did not interview Uncle Charlie. When we first met, I shared with him about our project, and I assumed Uncle Charlie dismissed it when he said, “Job? I’m a school custodian about to retire and I cannot wait to bike all the time.” The conversation immediately shifted to his desire to cycle cross-country, so I withheld the invitation to Uncle Charlie to contribute to the Documentary.
I was remiss when the opportunity was in front of me because I assumed Uncle Charlie would rather talk about biking (which I think he did); however, when I interviewed his nephew Mark and did not extend the invitation to Uncle Charlie, I couldn’t help but wonder if Uncle Charlie felt slighted. I wish I had suspended my assumption about Uncle Charlie. Had I asked, I have no doubt Uncle Charlie would have had a unique perspective to offer and an interesting story to share.
I really wish I had asked him the pivotal question. Don’t you just want to know what he loves about his job as a school custodian? From our short conversation I can surmise that what makes Uncle Charlie remarkable is his enthusiasm. I cannot imagine that he could possibly turn that off the minute he gets to work - it was shining too brightly to be turned off.
(Mark – if you are reading this, please interview your Uncle Charlie and send it to me so I can do him the honor of being a part of the Documentary.)
Disappointed about Uncle Charlie, I decided to spend the day cognizant of the assumptions I was making about people and situations, forcing myself to intentionally suspend them. Interestingly, the world seemed to expand or shrink in direct relation to the power I gave those assumptions.
Contest Ends July 31
People are busy voting for their favorite contributions to the on-line Documentary - have you voted? (It’s so easy – just open a YouTube account in 3 easy steps and vote for as many as you like!)
You can also join the contest – just upload your own 30-second contribution and invite your friends to vote for your contribution when it’s posted. The video with the most likes wins the iPad.
The Documentary is growing with daily contributions! View them all on The Moxie Ride channel on YouTube: www.youtube.com/themoxieride. We have had over 2,000 views! (Here’s a picture of Noonie exhausted from uploading everyone’s videos!)
Day 34 miles: 82.03
Total miles: 2,267.08
Day 34 ascent: 5,033
Day 34 route: Norfolk to Windsor Locks to Ellington to Stafford Springs to Quinebaug, CT
Day 34 road kill count: 5
Total road kill count: 521
Day 34 interviews: 1
Total interviews: 78