It's been an abysmal year so far in real estate so when the opportunity for a little R&R came my way, I had to think about it. On one hand, I needed a break from the day to day stress. On the other hand, when you're budgeting your pennies, spending a couple of hundred dollars on anything other than the necessities requires a second look.
In the end, my sanity won out and on Friday I left for a 35 mile bicycle ride with 14 other women affectionately known as the Biker Broads. We range in age from 48 to 70-something and nearly all share a passion for tennis. But this annual trek to Creeper Trail in Abingdon, VA is as much about the ride as is it is about spending time with this amazing group of women. Last year, the Biker Broads numbered 21, but because of various scheduling conflicts, this year's entourage was slightly less in numbers, but not any less fun.
Creeper Trail was once part of the Virginia-Carolina Railroad Company and connected Abingdon and Damascus, Virginia. The concept of a railroad began as early as the 1880's but it wasn't until 1900 that it became a reality. Then, in 1977, the railroad track was dismantled and over time it was transformed into the popular recreational trail that it is today.
We split the 35-mile ride into two days and at the end of the first day, we make no bones about the fact that joints hurt, muscles are sore, and we all acknowledge that a bicycle seat, even when it's called a "comfort seat" is not our friend. In between the two rides there's plenty of shopping, napping by the pool, eating and partying.
Each day, as we guide our bikes along the trail, sometimes we ride side by side where we can talk and enjoy the incredible surroundings and comfortable companionship. But other times, the path narrows and we ride single file. The similarity between this bicycle ride and life is not lost on me. On this ride, as in life, there are times when we ride alone, doing our best to navigate a sometimes narrow and challenging path. But in front, are the women who have gone before us, showing us the way; pointing out the stones and divots that can trip us up. And behind us are the women who "have our back" in the event that we should falter.
At the end of this year's trip we all gathered at a park near the bike shop where we had a picnic before splitting off into our various car pools and driving the 3 hours back home to Brevard, North Carolina. The long picnic table was filled as we feasted on the snacks and goodies that we had all brought along to share. But more importantly, along with "pass the pimento and cheese", and "who has the chicken salad?", were the memories and friendships that had been formed over the past two days.
Over the next year all our lives will change, just as they changed from the year before. And today, I'm back to work in the whacky world of real estate. But I will retain the memories and the sense of solidarity I have found with this special group of women and will look forward to next year when the Biker Broads hit the trail once more.
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