Mom's gift to herself, and to others
The ascent, arduous in and of itself, was a microcosm of Coffey's 3,075-mile, coast-to-coast trek from San Diego to St. Augustine, Fla., a journey she began March 8 and concluded May 3.
"Once your kids get to a certain age, they don't need you as much, or sometimes don't want you around as much," Coffey said. "So, for me, this decision was really a combination of me turning 50, knowing everything at home was OK and just realizing the timing was good for me in my life.
Before she embarked on her 58-day adventure, Coffey realized the ride offered an opportunity to do something for others, as well as herself.
"Some of the days were absolutely blurred together, especially because the main goal on a cross-country trip is to move the miles," Coffey said. "America truly does have the 'middle of nowhere,' and I was there three times."
"I learned I'm more mentally tough than I ever would have realized had I not done this," she said. "I learned that no matter how hard it got, that I could finish the ride. It wasn't always pretty, and it wasn't always fast, and some days I would be last ... but I learned I don't always need to be the best, or at the top of my class, which was different for me than what I've been used to my whole life. But it was nonetheless gratifying."
"When I'm at work, I know I'm good at it, but doing something like this reminds me I can still learn and explore new things and still be challenged," she said. "It was a lot like motherhood in that I experienced new challenges every day. Whether you have a baby, a toddler, a teenager or an adult, you always face unexpected obstacles."
The ride up Emory Pass, Coffey said, was likely the most challenging day of the journey. Fatigued and estimating another three miles up the road, Coffey admitted she contemplated quitting before one of the members of the support team drove down and told her she had but one mile to go.
And then there was the last leg of the trip - the one she found most exhilerating.
Perhaps more challenging than the ride itself, Coffey said, has been reacclimating to everyday life.
"For 58 days, I had a set routine of getting up, eating, riding, eating, riding, eating, sleeping," she said. "Reentry was definitely a little difficult, but interesting. I mean, you go though all this physical activity and have this very set routine, and then you come home.
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