I guess you could say this was a camping trip.
In August of 2004, there was a 24 hour mountain bike relay at Hardwood Hills in Barrie, ON. I wanted to race this. So did a couple of other folks, so we did. A five person 24 hour relay race takes some logistics, equipment and a lot of food, so we planned.
In terms of timing of our relationship, this was definitely after date number 4, but it was also before we had officially let anyone know that we were kind of together. Regardless of all that, the race was upcoming and Hillary volunteered to crew. Brett was also roped into doing pasta cooking and general food crew work at the race.
Hillary and I wandered off from time to time while other people were riding and resting to kiss and be close. It was sweet and sneaky and fun.
The race was fun, exhausting and I think I got about 2 hours of sleep. Unfortunately some of that was right around the time of a transition and I missed a hand off at four in the morning. I still feel bad about that.
My fastest lap was the last one I did as the race was ending. I got passed by the guy who won the solo race in the last ten minutes.
It would have been a far harder event without Hillary and Brett working for us. As I found out twelve years later when I did my second 24 hour relay, that one in Arizona.
As with many of these early relationship things, I wonder now if she did this because she was trying to impress me, because it was something totally different, because she was intrinsically interested or what. It doesn't really matter, but analysis of the past is literally my only option when it comes to Hillary at this point.
So I wonder. I suppose I should have worked on this project before she died. But I was busy with her and the kids and life at that point.