Written By: Macy Holsinger and Paul Richards
Riding somewhere between 90 and 100 miles gives you plenty of time to think, unless you have the opportunity to spend that time talking with wonderful cycling companions. One of the highlights of Fuller Center’s spring ride down the Natchez trace is the chance to re-kindle old friendships and build new ones. Riders and support volunteers have traveled from all over the United States to participate in this ride. Alaska, Florida, and Ohio are just a portion of the states represented. The unique format of the trip, indoor camping and breaking into chore teams, allows participants to get to know one another on a deeper level and solidify friendships early on in the week. Then, extra-long, strenuous rides provide the opportunity to put those friendships to the test. Thankfully we can report that today the friendships passed with flying colors.
Today’s ride began considerably earlier than the previous day and was considerably wetter. Shortly after leaving Collinwood, TN the rain began to fall rather steadily, thoroughly soaking all of the riders. Thankfully, this dark cloud had two silver linings. The first 25 miles were almost all downhill and the rain stopped within a few hours. In fact, several riders made the comment that it turned out to be perfect weather for cycling: not too hot and not too cold.
In addition to crossing the mighty Tennessee River in Alabama, riders were greeted by beautiful wildflowers in Mississippi. Long sweeping descents and open farm lands were a welcome sight after the hilly, thick forests of Tennessee.
After riding so far, the evening’s accommodations felt like a local Hampton Inn. Beech Springs Free Will Baptist church of Tupelo, MS graciously allowed us to stay at their church camp, which meant multiple showers and real mattresses! On a trip like this small things become huge blessings.