Today’s Mileage: 49.1
Total Mileage: 665.6
Once again, never underestimate your elevation profile. 😑 Tiny baby hills? Think again!
Today. Was. Hard. Possibly the hardest or second hardest day we have had.
I think it was a combination of a few things:
1. My legs were extremely fatigued from yesterday’s big climbs….oh, and you know…riding nearly 700 miles in the past two weeks.
2. We had some steep hills again today. S-T-E-E-P
3. I didn’t have service for most of the day and couldn’t talk to Craig or my parents or coworkers–all the people who literally help me get through the day on days like today (although just when I needed an extra push, the cutest video ever somehow came through from a friend and co-worker of her sweet little twin girls cheering me on!!)
4. It was sweltering hot.
So, we are still in the Appalachian Mountains, although I’m thinking we have one day left.
The terrain between the climbs wasn’t too bad today- usually trending downhill. But the climbs were horrible. Extremely steep climbs lasting for several miles- and they take forever for us to do. Even in our easiest gear we have, it feels like your doing 1000 lb leg presses. You barely move. In fact, I bet I could walk up the hill faster than I could ride up it.
I have created a new term that I use daily: IQB, which stands for Initial Quad Burn. Every time I rest and then hop back on the bike, I get the IQB and let me tell you, it hurts. It feels like both of your quads are cramping up…because they probably are….and it comes in a wave. You start pedaling and think it’s going to be fine, but no. You feel it coming on, and when it arrives it lasts about 10 seconds…and you better hope you can pedal for a while before stopping again, because it happens every time you hop on the bike. But, when your climbs are this steep, you can’t pedal for very long before having to take a break. It’s an endless cycle.
The curvy roads we are riding on are very tough to ride on not only due to their steepness, but also because it’s not safe to stop after a curve because the traffic can’t see you…so even if you feel like you can’t pedal another pedal stroke, you have to push through it to get away from the curve so cars have time to see you. Just when you feel like your gas tank is empty, you’ve got to dig, and you’ve got to dig deep.
We haven’t passed many towns or exciting things the past couple of days, so my picture taking has been limited. Plus, all I’ve been worrying about is getting out of the Appalachian Mountains. We are so ready for some flatter terrain.
So, like I mentioned before, you have a ton of time to think when you’re on a bike tour. All you do is ride your bike all day long, and although we stay close together, usually Mash and I aren’t so close to one another to where we can have a conversation. So, you ride your bike, snack, and think.
As we were climbing up a horrible hill today in the hot blazing sun, I seriously wondered how in the world I was going to make it anywhere today. As I was fighting for every pedal, a man sped by us in a car and yelled, “That’s a bad idea!” Trying to hold back tears unsuccessfully, my legs felt like they couldn’t go anymore, and I was so frustrated with myself I wanted to scream. I thought this was supposed to be fun.
I didn’t have anyone to talk to for encouragement (other than Mash, of course) and I felt like giving up. So, I decided to depend on myself and tried to think of some characteristics that I needed to own to make it up that mountain.
The first word I thought of: Persistence. If I was persistent enough, I would eventually make it up the mountain.
The other word that came to mind: Patience. Climbing this mountain is going to take forever at this speed, but I will get there eventually. I just have to be patient.
Then, I came up with a formula: Patience + Persistence = Progress
I might not be climbing the mountain as fast or as easily as I would prefer, but if keep on keeping on, I’m going to get where I want to be. Sometimes, that’s how our rides go.
Sometimes, that’s how life goes.
Sometimes you can’t always have what you want when you want it. Sometimes you’ve got to work your tail off to get it, and the pay off in the end is so worth it.