A joyful salad because it was easy.
As defined by Webster epic is "extending beyond the usual or ordinary especially in size or scope." Or in the words of a fellow cyclist, "That ride was epic!" It implies some level of physical suffering and mental fortitude. My most epic ride involved a collision with a 1973 Cadillac and minor surgery. Crashing near the end of a 55 mile ride in August in Texas and then not being allowed to shower until you get home from the hospital two days later ensures that you will also smell epic. Small kindnesses like the guy who stopped at the accident scene and put his newly dry cleaned shirts underneath me to protect me from the searing asphalt and drove my destroyed bike to my car, the pharmacy rep who dropped dinner off for my whole family the night I got home, and my pug Piki's loving debridement of my road rash while I lounged in a Vicodin induced haze (gross, but the healing powers of dog saliva should not be underestimated) will never be forgotten.
Epic events can also be joyful:
Childbirth: physical suffering? check. Joyful? In the purest sense of the word.
Finishing an Ironman: bonus epic points when they play U2's "Beautiful Day" at the start and AC/DC "Shook Me All Night Long" at the marathon turn around. Hearing Mike Reilly say, "Ginny Lee from Fort Riley Kansas you are an Ironman!" as I crossed the finish line....second only to childbirth.
I am now closer to 50 than 40, and I think my most epic events at least in the physical sense are likely behind me, but epic can be overrated. I have learned to take what I can get---a 25 mile ride is better than no ride at all. The headwind that felt like a commercial dryer exhaust during my ride today verged on epic, and I did have to lay on the tile floor and drink a giant egg cream when I got home. Sometimes you just want the joy without the epic. And that's ok.
An epic cinnamon bun pie recipe here.