The weather this week has been … rather less perfect than we might have liked to have ridden through. I'm riding down the Natchez Trace Parkway with the Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure this week.
I rode on this same trip last year, and aside from one day of rain (which was almost pleasant to ride through, since it was relatively warm), we had beautiful weather. This year, however, only the first day was beautiful ... or even pleasant, really. We've been a little challenged since then by rain, cold, and cold rain.
But it's still been an amazing trip. The people who choose to embark on this kind of experience are, almost by definition, interesting people. And because the Fuller Center is such a phenomenal organization, the people are interesting and compassionate, willing to raise funds and give time and energy to helping other people.
From a purely personal perspective, though, the thing I've most enjoyed about this trip has been spending time with my family. Last year I rode this adventure with my dad, and it's really great to spend the week with him again this year. Plus, it's cool to see how much the other people on this trip enjoy my dad.
But more than that, this year my daughter came along on the adventure. We got to spend a lot of time this week riding bicycles together, which we both really enjoy. I got to ride with her on a day when she rode 100 kilometers, which was twice as long as her previous longest ride. I got to ride with her when we were sitting in a paceline going about 20 mph down the highway. It's fun to go fast.
In addition to the simple riding down the road on two wheels, it gave me joy to do a couple other things with my amazing daughter. She was interested in learning to shoot a basketball. So with our extra time one evening, we spent a while shooting hoops (which provoked a little nostalgia in some of the other riders as they remembered their dad teaching them to play basketball).
I also loved teaching her, on the day we helped repair someone's home, to use a handsaw and a hammer & chisel to cut and shape a board for the deck of the house.
But more than those things I've enjoyed being around Harper on this trip, because I get to see her as she is around other people (not just the way she is around her family). It's fun to watch her enjoy other people, and to watch other people really enjoy being around her. And I have to say, she's pretty great.
We may end up doing this ride together again next year … that'd be fun.