Up at 6:20 am, protein bar in hand, with feet on the trail. I take a right at the boat ramp to walk through the hardwood hammock along the Suwannee River. An hour later I am rejoining the group. Their tents are already packed, but they are going the opposite direction. I would enjoy riding in a small group. Bob mentions that I might cross paths with another lone female cyclist – we are few.
Bit of a late start, but I was in no hurry for a sore ass and I can feel my leg muscles getting stronger. The first 12 miles went by easy. I stopped for a sandwich at Subway at 11:30 am in Madison, then in Greenville to refill my Camelbak. The wind was strong enough at one point to blow me off the road. Ride a bike long enough and you will encounter wind and hills – take them at your own pace.
Last night’s experience and luxury (hot shower) gave me more motivation for today’s ride. Seven miles from Monticello and the rain began to come down hard. I got storm kisses all morning. I put the rain poncho on just in time, held it for a while to make sure my phone stayed dry and then tied it close. So many trucks with empty beds drove by and only a few slowed down to turn.
Seven miles later when I reached town I found three nice people to point me west to the other side of town (1.5 miles) to the Brahman Inn. My bike didn’t fit in their tiny office and after giving my driver’s license number and credit card number I paid $40 in cash for room 107 that I had to shoulder the door to get in. I took off all my wet clothes – everything but my bra and hair tie and then called Caleb to let him know I made it.
Tried a vitamin packet in my water and instead of watermelon must have accidentally bought crap flavor – trash that idea. Junk food for dinner and, though I think how nice a warm pizza would be, I’m glad to be dry. I totalled 46.5 miles in six hours and burned 1,200 calories. I was sweating in 74 degree weather, but that obviously wasn’t an issue with the cold rain.
Lots of odd-shaped trees, small red flowers, and dead animals on the road today. I’m grateful for the introduction to riding up hills in wind and rain; it’s the best way to learn. On the road I smelled laundry and farts. The big room smells like wet and sweaty clothes. My feet are cold, my shoulders hurt, and my ass is chapped. The tile floor is covered in dead bugs. There is used toilet paper in the bathroom and a cigarette butt in one of the drawers. The walls are a mix of brick and trailer house wood.
There is a difference in riding long distances on the weekends, no matter how difficult, and riding your bike everyday, no matter the elements. I watched some random TV for 30 minutes. I’m going to call Caleb and then go to sleep. It has been a long, adventurous day.