Goodnight, I whispered. The words froze in the cold air. No one heard. I wiggled down into the depths of my bivy sack as if that would keep me warmer. My eyes closed and visions of my little boy cheering me on filtered in. I had seen him half a day earlier when I biked through my hometown, Canmore. “You won the race, Mama!” He had cheered. His cow bell clanging. “No honey, it is not over yet. I’m going to bike for a few more days,” I gulped back the guilt. I looked down at my GPS. It showed I wasn’t even a third done the 700-kilometre race.
Now, in the dark of night, I tucked my knees into my belly as if the curl would help the loneliness. Sleep never came.You chose to be here, Kat, I scolded. I knew it, but it certainly had me question my sanity. I stuffed the now wet glorified garbage bag into its bikepacking sack. My hands shook while I fought with the last buckle; while I struggled between being me and being a mom. My goals for the new day were not clear. The day before was incredible at nearly 300 kilometres – my personal best. Mostly I loved it. Mostly I smiled, sang and soared.
Stay in the race, I told myself. Don’t quit. It wasn’t easy. None of it. The biking, but mostly the leaving.
I lifted my head when the sky began to lighten. Its movement was minuscule at first. Blurring into blues, rich-red, then honey-gold. The sun crested the edge of the country, scooped up the morning dew and grew into an orange ball of fury, pushing me forward.
A grin spread across my face when a black cap chickadee sang, “O-oh sweet Canada, Canada, Canada.” Its call mingled with the beautiful sound I still heard of my four-year-old ringing his cow bell.
A solitary tear of slipped down my flushed cheek. My heart swelled with happiness. I laughed out loud, falling in love with the world again, knowing no one could feel so alive from the comforts of home. I changed my grip on the handlebars. I had to believe we must chase our dreams; there is only so much time to surpass our potential. The pedals spun stronger. I chose to trust that my son, and all children whose parents pursue their passion, would be proud.
Katrina Rosen – AR700 1st place - Women's Record Holder.This piece was written while pedalling a stationary bike, because there is only so much time.