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Sunday, May 12, 2013

my happy place

Last weekend I got to do something I've always wanted to do: ride the Park Loop Road in Acadia National Park.  But I got to do one even better.  I got to ride it while it was still closed to traffic. 
Thanks to the pesky sequester, the Parks Service is opening the park late.  A nuisance for cars and a haven for cyclists.
(I am writing this post very late- a week late in fact, when our glorious stretch of sun, sun and more sun was met with this past weekend of rain.  Even looking at these pictures from a week ago makes me crave the sun although I am trying to be as grateful as the tulips in my garden for the rain.)
My friend Chris was the brain child behind this expedition.  My mom watched the girls and I took off for Bar Harbor feeling giddy as though someone had sprung me free.  Sandi was hoping to go but had to spend the day working on her senior project (ugh) and I missed her a lot.  She would have flipping loved it. 
One of the benefits to riding with an accomplished cyclist is that she can take photos of you while you pedal.  Thanks Chris!

It is hard for me to explain the sheer joy I feel when I'm on my bike.  And put me along the ocean on an empty road normally teeming with out of state SUVs and Winnebegos...I am in heaven.

The highlight of our ride was the climb to the top of Cadillac Mountain.  With no cars to contend with it was just me, with my legs rotating around and around as if through dense matter propelling me up an incline and around a hairpin corner to...another incline.  I climbed and climbed with burning lungs and a smile.  I was immensely grateful. 

I have been to the top of Cadillac many times- by foot on a hiking path mostly, but also by car to watch the sunrise (the summit of Cadillac is the first place the sun rises on the east coast) with Chris back when I was a teenager and to be a witness at Matt and Ange's sunrise wedding a few years ago. 

I have never been so lucky to be there when it is a stunning ghost town, the summit speckled with three of four other cyclists.

Talk about a reward.

Leann, Me and Chris - our cycling team for the day

A twenty five minute climb up and an 8 minute exhilarating ride down.  Thirty three miles of gorgeous completed the park loop road. I was the kind of happy that can't be contained and I smiled all day long.  I'm pretty sure when I layed my head on the pillow that night I was still smiling.

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