Today’s mileage: 35.2
Total mileage: 1,176.5
Something this trip is teaching me is that no matter how much you plan ahead and have an idea of how things are going to go, plans always have the potential to go awry….and we all know Murphy’s Law…
We planed on doing an 80 miler today, and only made it to 35 miles.
We had trouble getting up this morning since we stayed in a hotel last night. Super comfortable bed=just a little bit more sleep. We were obviously super tired, and I didn’t sleep that great because I was dreaming that I was looking at my map all night long. 🤦🏼♀️ By the time we got started, we were only about an hour behind the time we normally start– no biggie.
In the first 6 miles of our day, Masherra got a flat and had to repair it, and her front wheel wasn’t spinning freely and was making weird sounds, and despite all of our efforts to fix it (messing with the latch and skewer, brake pads, etc) we decided it would be best to just call a local bike shop to see if a bike mechanic would drive out and look at it. We didn’t want to mess anything up worse than it already was and decided to play it safe. He came out and fixed everything free of charge.
By the time we got back on the road, it was 11…and we only had 6 miles in. We usually try to get about 40 miles in by noon, so we were super behind. Although we were aggravated about being super behind, we were also glad we were able to get everything squared away on Masherra’s bike while we were still pretty close to a bike shop. Better safe than sorry.
The terrain was super flat for a while, but we had a strong headwind all day long. We have been able to maintain 14 mph or so on the flat stretches we have been on, and today we were only averaging around 7 mph on the flat stretches. You feel like you’re working twice as hard and only getting half the distance. The wind really catches on our panniers,
After a while, we ended up riding on a gravel road for about a mile. It was an interesting change of terrain!
We started encountering more rolling hills, which we weren’t mad about. When you’re riding flat, you have to constantly pedal; when you’re riding rolling hills you can coast some.
We weren’t making very good time due to the wind being in our face all day. Combine that with the heat advisory and it was a really slow day. Everything was really getting to me today. I felt like a pack horse being loaded up with one thing after another, and just one more thing was going to be the last straw.
There were no gas stations or convenience stores. No shade. We were running out of water. When we found a tiny splotch of shade, a man on a 4-wheeler saw us and drove over to make sure we were ok. He told us there was a grocery store right up the road.
As we were heading to the grocery store, we heard another 4-wheeler come up behind us. I thought it was the same man, but it was a lady we would soon learn was Christy (I gave her the address for my blog, so sorry if I am spelling your name wrong!!)
We were feeling pretty defeated until Christy came along. We talked to her in a gravel parking lot for a few minutes. She told us how her husband had seen some cross-country cyclists ride by, then she told us to meet her at the grocery store, so we did.
I was feeling really defeated today, but when she called us “cross-country cyclists”, that put the wind back in my sails.
I’m a cross country cyclist. I’m can do this and I *am* doing this. All 107 lbs of me has hauled my 70 lb bike from the coast of Virginia to Missouri, crossing the Appalachian Mountains. I’ve got this.
We went inside the store and got the best turkey sandwiches we have ever had, a bag of chips, and a huge soft drink in a big styrofoam cup.
We chatted with Christy for a while. She is also a cyclist; she has done a ton of rides all over the country, including in Colorado. She had also done some long rides from state park to state park here in Missouri. She told us about her accident she had a while ago. Someone hit her while she was out for a ride.
She was in the hospital for a week and, to be honest, is lucky to be alive. It was inspiring when she told us that she didn’t let that accident stop her from riding. She still rides. 😊 She told us sometimes things happen, but you just have to get back on the bike and keep going.
We talked with her for quite a while. She offered for us to stay at her house, offered to run home to get us anything we might possibly need. She physically filled up our water bottles for us.
As we went to the counter to pay, she told us that our meals were taken care of.
I knew there was a reason we crossed paths with Christy today. She was just what we needed. She will definitely be added to our list of all the TransAm trail angels who have helped us throughout our journey thus far.💚
We rode to the next town, which was only about 7 miles down the road. On the way, A couple of cars passed me as I was about to come down a hill, and they all slammed on their brakes because Masherra was going up the next hill. I had to throw on my brakes suddenly and didn’t have time to shift into an easier gear to ride up the next hill. It was hard to get going again without putting stress on my chain, I had to hop off my bike really quick and ended up cutting my leg (don’t look if you don’t like blood).
I’m pretty sure my leg looks like that at some point every day. I wish I was kidding. 😂
We arrived in the town we are staying at, being pushed along downhill with an amazing tailwind that we needed all day. The next town after this one is 50 miles away, so we are kind of stuck. Despite several offers to camp in peoples’ yards, we are stealth camping tonight.
At the end of the day, I saw this sign in the bathroom. I could so relate to it and I laughed.
Ready to wake up, hop on the bike, and try again for a better day!
As some of you know I’m pretty stubborn, and I do pretty much everything with purpose…..
Time to persevere…some more. 😂