We're biking across the United States to raise money for Gallaudet University's Personal Discovery Program, a 501(c)3 charity. If this is your first visit, please read our welcome page and how you can help page.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

wind the ultimate demoralizer

After my Century (I just wanted to mention again that I rode 100 miles) yesterday, I was not really in the mood to ride today. I think I got punished for my lackadaisical attitude... we were greeted by the wind in our faces.

I remember posting before about how difficult it is to ride in the wind. I thought maybe the weight had something to do with it, but no, it really is just the wind. It is an invisible monster just waiting to push you along in the wrong direction. I read (and heard from other people) that the wind moves generally in an easterly direction. Well, so far we have a lot of wind going north to south, south to north (sometimes switching in the middle of the day from one to the other), and east to west. Hmmmm I am wondering when this general west to east wind is going to push us along our route. Maybe we have upset the wind in some manner (if anyone knows how to make amends please let me know). We also had another road closed (meaning: a detour) today.

That makes three road closures on our trip with large detours on unsafe biking roads. At least today the detour was moving in the right direction (by "right," of course, I do not mean with the wind) for our route. We ended up on some roads that are not very fun to bike on. More than once I got buzzed (way to close for comfort) by a semi truck. We are so lucky to have Mary and Larry following us.

Heather and I rode together for the first 45 minutes (until we were back on route sort of) of the day. Then we always (ok, almost always) stop and stretch. After that I take off and she follows more slowly behind me. Mary and Larry caught up to us just as we finished stretching. After making sure we had not broken down they went on ahead to wait for us up the road. The wind was blowing so hard I was maxing out at about 12.5mph, I have no idea what Heather was averaging. I ran into Larry and Mary again a little ways down the road. The deal for today was we would ride until noon then head down to Janice's (Heather's aunt) house. By the time I saw Mary and Larry I still had a good 20 miles to go to reach my goal of the day and it was already 10:45. I decided I was exhausted and ready to give up for the day (no, I did not stop but I really wanted to) and crawl inside the camper and sleep. I kept going knowing that as soon as Heather reached them they would all pile into the camper and head down the road to look for me.

With this knowledge in my head and relief following close behind I took off. If any of you have ever seen the movie "Gattica" you may remember the line "I left nothing for the return trip" (this was at a point when the imperfect brother beat the perfect brother in a swimming competition and the genetically imperfect brother just went all out and left no reserves for the return swim) Well that was my thought as I left them. I figured I would either reach my goal, they would catch up with me, or I would pass out from total exhaustion and then they would catch up with me. Before Heather and I separated in the morning we designed a signal for me to let her know if I wanted to stop or keep going as they drove past me. Thankfully we got to choose door number two, they caught up to me before I fell over from exhaustion. I had gone an additional 15 miles or so, and man, was I tired. I am glad we had that signal arranged because they pulled over about 100 feet from me.

After loading my bike, Heather and I crawled into the camper (with seat belts attached because it is the law in Kansas) and promptly fell asleep. Although I am not sure if sleep would accurately describe the experience, as my arms would continually shoot out to the side to catch myself from falling over as the camper swayed in the wind. It still felt good nonetheless.

We made it to Janice's and Heather started the laundry while I went to work on the bikes. I really think I got the better end of the bargain here. The laundry is just now finishing but the bikes (washed, adjusted, tires trued, and oiled) have been done for a while. It will be really nice to start off with a fresh set of clothes all smelling pretty and stuff. Heather and I spent a good deal of time paying bills (we had our mail sent here) and organizing our stuff. My new saddle will be here tomorrow I am looking forward to playing with that.

After a great lunch, dinner, and dessert, we are full and happy. I think I will spend some time now trying to update our blog since I have a computer and an internet connection here. Hopefully we will have many more pictures added and the map updated by tomorrow.

I hope this all finds you well and as happy as you want to be.



mom said...

Heather and Dana: I want you to know when you said you were going to do this trip I thought you two were nuts. Who in their right mind would even WANT to bike across the US? Now after traveling with you for several days I am still wondering...who in the RIGHT minds would want to bike across the US? But, I do see the determination and strength you both have and am jealous of the wonderful relationship you have with each other. Such patience and perseverance! It has been wonderful traveling with you two and I really hope we can catch some of those "good" winds when you start biking agin. Love, mom

Natalie said...

Hey! You put the track our progress and pictures down the page. Move 'em back up!!

Kathy said...

Enjoying reading about your sucesses (and some troubles too). I looked at your photos too - where (what state) is the Dam in?
Also, how much farther are you on the map?

Keep up the good work,