I've been following Subarctic Jill's 2,700-mile race from Canada to Mexico, off-road, the length of the Continental Divide, with jaw-dropping awe. She's headed back to Juneau now, a very long drive, to start her life more-or-less over. This stood out: ". . . I have a whole life to move on with. Right now, I admit I feel a little amused when people tell me they're impressed with what I've accomplished. I want to tell them that life on a bike is so much easier than real life." She was mostly alone the entire way, riding 100+miles/day, in all kinds of wet weather, and she still made it in under 25 days. Awesome.
Yesterday I was pushing my little Bike Friday pedals as hard as I could, riding from the city to Menlo Park along the ridge, when a cyclist pulled up beside me and asked if I was Jackie. Yes, I said. (Not sure how she could recognize me from the back, off my Cannondale and not in Velo Girls' kit.) She gave me her name, which I remembered, but she was in a race-team kit, and she's lost 60 lbs. from when I knew her when she first started riding, and I could barely recognize her! We went on to talk about our bikes and this and that. She then went on ahead at her much faster training pace, but then she braked and waited for me to catch up; she said she wanted to thank me for the early encouragement on the Velo Girls rides, that cycling had changed her life. Made my day.