Wondering what we’ve been doing out
here in the outer reaches? Ridin’!
Just so you know, each and every
day, is not a shopping spree where we pop into town refreshed, showered, and
dressed to visit the sights and talk to local people. Nada. It’s a bike ride to
get your tail across the country. If you want to sight-see, take a bus.
We wake up about 5:30 most
mornings in a mad rush to find some cycling clothes that don’t stink too badly,
get our bikes down to the start area, gobbling down some food (usually oatmeal and
some fruit for me), and get your bag loaded all in an hour.
At 6:30 (usually; sometimes
earlier, sometimes later), we leave from the hotel parking lot on our bikes to
chase the white line to the next town. Usually we arrive about 3pm (sometimes a
little earlier, sometimes later) right up to the hotel door. There’s no
skimping on miles here. If you’re going to say you “rode across America,” you’re
going to ride every inch of it.
Immediately after arriving, you
gather your stuff (bag, bike, and hotel key) and head to your room…exhausted,
dry, hungry, drained, sweaty, and in bad need of a shower. But first, there’s
your pre-shower routine that Lance and I think would be hilarious to the rest
of the world.
While we’re debriefing about the
days ride (“Did you believe that climb?” “Did you see the antelope on the side
of the road?” “Did you see the billboard at Mile 80?” “How about that screamin’
downhill?”), we’re stretching, moanin’, and groanin’. We’re applying ritual of
creams, lotions, pills, and stretches to help our ailing bodies before we
shower and eat. We laugh at ourselves when we look at what we’re doing as we
try to get our tired bodies across the country. Me, I’m smearing large amounts
of Aspercreme, then Lantiseptic, and finally Neosporin. Then there’s the Advil.
THEN there’s the shower.
Easily an hour and a half to two
hours have passed. Now it’s time to eat. Usually, since we’re walking (since butts are sore and
our legs are heavy), we go to the closest place just like everyone else.
Sometimes it’s Pizza Hut. Sometimes it’s a burger place. Hey, food’s food at
this point. Pay for it and swallow. There have been days where I’ve been
falling asleep as I ate.
Now walk back to the hotel
arriving about 6 pm, if you’re lucky. You’ve still got to prep your bike and
liquids for tomorrow. Maybe there’s enough time to make a call or get on the internet.
Maybe not because bed time is usually 8:30 pm. If you’re up past 9, you’re up
And that’s day. I’ve brought along
a book, my trusty note pad for jotting down thoughts, and my workout log. I
haven’t looked at the book or pad, and barely have time to quickly write down
the days ride information. And then it’s lights out. That’s it. Dream land as
your heart pounds through your chest wall just lying there attempting to
recover from the day’s effort and prepare the body for the day coming. (Our
bodies are SO amazing!)
As you can see, there’s little
time to read ANYthing, visit ANYthing that’s further than a few feet from the
hotel (My airline friends will understand this very well.),
We passed the one-third mark, 1200
miles, of the total distance yesterday. It was met with smiles, but the
knowledge that we still have a long way to go.
Let me list my ailments, other
than general tired and achiness such as knees and quads, to put things in
perspective. (Sorry, Smith and Jame. It’s not whining if it’s real.)
Wrist weakness from constant
shifting and feathering the brake – left side
Achilles tendon, blown up, swollen,
unable to walk and painful to ride – left side (having it taped tomorrow; could
use an Ace bandage)
Met up with The Ride Of Silence
organizer from Sandpoint, ID, JIM DOUDNA. Great guy! The guy was very sincere
about wanting to host a ride. As we talked, I could see his emotion. This ride
speaks to him. Later he took me by Greasy Fingers bike shop for a photo to send
to the local paper. Cool guy. Good guy to have as one of our organizers. I’m
very thankful for him.
Later, in Missoula, MT, Ethel MacDonald
and I weren’t able to connect. Communications were rough. She’s the RofS
organizer in Missoula and had been in a recent bike wreck. When I got into to
town (July 11), the Missoula Marathon was the next morning. Ethel was involved
with that as well. Both our allotted time was limited. I was disappointed, but
so it goes. I don’t know when/if I’ll be this way again.
We found some humor in a huge road
side billboard from Butte to Bozeman, MT, July 15. Large yellow board with red lettering:
“Testicle Festival.” Yup. Felt like they had us in mind. My wife simply wrote
back, “Must be a guy thing.”
Day 10, July 16 was Bozeman to
Columbus, Montana. It was 106 miles with a 20 MPH head wind the entire way,
slowing our speed to under 10 MPH. It was nothing short of a beating. The goal
was just to make it. Find a position and hold it. There was no attacking. We
got in very late. … Can’t we just fly to Williamsburg? (Joke. Not whining.)