I woke at 4:30am eager to go, but had decided to wait until dawn. I will finish reading a murder mystery while taking a bath and waiting for Caleb to wake. I’m excited; this is an adventure. I’m also nervous of getting tired too easily with all the weight – 80 pounds in bike and gear, most of it food. I’m hoping for little rain, less traffic, and lots of photos. I will eat a slice of potato bread with peanut butter for breakfast while trying to cancel our internet. Apparently they were willing to take their modem back, but forgot to stop our payments. This will cause me to leave later than planned.
I leave around 8:30am and not even half a mile from the house I almost get hit by a suburban-driving cell-phone using woman. Getting to the top of Wonderwood Bridge (good incline for a noob) in gear 1-2 felt great. After eight miles I’m riding in the right direction, but not sure of the right road. I stop at 10:30am for a calorie refill. Six miles later I will call Caleb to make sure I’m heading towards the bike-friendly bridge. While at the gas station a car pulls up and this guy deems it necessary to turn up his music to roll a blunt. I ask him to turn his radio down and he asks if I’m a cop. Really?!
I rode up to a hospital at a dead-end trying to turn onto the Acosta Bridge. I turned the corner onto San Marco from Prudential and my back tire went flat. I spent 30 minutes dealing with it myself. The bike was heavy and dirty but luckily I brought nose wipes to get the grease off my hands. Finding the hole was easy, but I couldn’t get the patch to stick and Caleb didn’t think he could explain it over the phone – am I that mechanically uninclined? Duane, a nice man on his lunch break, offers to help me and then other people stop too. A bus driver sat for a while and watched – my bike is in pieces; I’m not riding the bus.
Duane put copious amounts of glue on an area ten times the size of the hole and then took his lighter to it. I thought he might scrape a hole in the tire he was trying so hard to make it work. I thanked Duane for his effort and let him on his way. Caleb showed up at 2pm and repeated the patching process to no avail. We should’ve just put a new tire on it and let me keep going, but at this rate I had already lost three hours of today’s travel time. We head home to replace the tire and remove half the weight in the panniers. I will go with my Camelbak, no other water, few ounces of applesauce, and only 4,000 calories in protein.
Caleb will drive me to tonight’s campsite and decides to make a family night of it. I will lose 50 miles today, but still have time to make them up. We make it to the campground after 9:30pm and I set up the tent. I rode 18.2 miles, averaging 7.4 mph, and burned 480 calories. It’s proving to be a rough start. I want to succeed at this (as a strong, independent woman) but I also want my husband there to share the views and moments with me – and change my tire. Time to enjoy the comfort of the sleeping pad, that I won’t be taking with me, and the presence of my husband for one more night.