I wake up and hit the gas station to resupply before hitting the road. It is a few minutes until they opened so I give Alex a call. I am just pedaling through the day. I have the normal aches and pains. As I spin, my legs start to loosen up and I am back in the groove. I am riding alone most of the time now and it becomes a blur of emotions. I am super happy climbing and descending.
I start singing and twerking on my bike. Then I am sad. The only thing I am thinking about is my pedal stroke count. I am counting to 100 over and over. I start dreaming about riding my bike everyday for the rest of my life. I really could do this everyday. I love it.
I am pretty sure I have turned my pedals millions of times to day. I really want to get off my bike and stomp the wheels and never get back on. As I am thinking of horrible things, I am pull into a campground, pass through a fence and hit some single track. This is more like it. I am not just spinning any more. When I blast out the outside, I hit pavement and turn to get to the next town. I pass a family out hanging around in the yard. They look like they are having a blast relaxing and playing. There are road cyclist out on a ride that pass me with ease and smile. I sit down to eat and take a break.
When I take my bag off it looks odd. Something is missing. I realize that something is my tracker. The only way I can prove I did the race and the only way I can be counted as a finisher. It is GONE! Panic sets in. I turn my phone on and call Alex. She asks me why I have been sitting by a creek for an hour. AN HOUR. My tracker is an hour behind me! I have to go find it. How am I going to find it? I calm down and make a plan. I will have her tell me the general area it is in. I start to pedal back down the route. 45 minutes later I call her again. I ask her for more specfics on where it is. Is it before or after the campground? Is it before or after the bridge. I keep narrowing it down and find it. I have lost an hour and a half. Plus the hour it will take me to get back to where I was. I zip tie the tracker to my seat with 2 zipties and re-attach the velcro strap. It isn’t going anywhere now. I head back out. Now that I make it to the town I was already right next to, I am super bummed. I get to the grocery store and have a craving for bananas. I eat a whole pound of them plus various random food items and a chocolate milk.
Time to hit the rail trail. Everyone has described it as a slow push through deep snow. I am from the Midwest and I am used to snow. Choose a low gear and spin until you are sick of it. Stand up and pedal. Sit and spin. Repeat until complete. I have got this. It was a slow slog for being on flat ground but the views were amazing. I even got to see a moose.
I get near the end of the rail trail where the path smoothed out and it gets tricky. As soon as I could pedal a normal (What is normal on this trip?) pace, the grass is over the handlebar height and the sun is setting. No worries. I click my headlamp on and get to cruising. The trail is running with mountains to the right and cliff that drops a few hundred feet to a river on the left. Pedal smooth and all will be well. I am zipping through the grass when I hit something with just my back tire. Large enough to be a skunk and too small to be a dog. My stomach feeling like it is going to fall out. As I tumbled off my bike into the tall grass all I can think is “I hope I hit the mountain side and don’t shoot over the cliff”. All is well. I get up with just my dignity hurt, retrieve my bike and finish the downhill.
At the bottom the trail cuts down the middle of a camp ground. I don’t have the willpower to push on. I see Steve’s bike. He is already sleeping. He wakes up enough to say that I could share the site. To bed I go, thinking about the hours I lost dropping my tracker. Tomorrow is an other day.