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Heading out early, rain threatening, we had to retrace the last 6 miles to get out of the rain forest. Any fantasy that I had that the trail would have dried out was quickly thwarted. Wthin 100' of starting the trail, deep swallowing ruts of mud and water brought me to a standstill to avoid falling into the abyss, as Dave powers through, of course.
So Dave wins. He gave into my urgings for flatter roads (I assumed DRY TRAILS); so we had 16+plus miles of flat muddy trails, and now I'm grateful to head to higher ground😊.
But before I finished pedaling the rain forest, I saw 2 deer crossing the path 50 feet in front of me. They stopped long enough for me to stop and grab my camera and zoom in and get a pixelated photo. They stared and I stared. A little payoff for the mud and guts.
Once we hit the pavement I was breathing a little easier. Around the first bend in the road we faced a looong bridge with traffic zooming along. Dave confidently speeds off amidst the traffic. I eyed a walkway that barely fit me and the bike, tried it and figured it was more of a balancing act than riding in the traffic. So now I had to cross the constant stream of cars, get up and on my bike (that is STILL a challenge with all the weight) and move forward without swerving into the path of traffic. More guts. I'm hoping by the end of this trip that my confidence starting and stopping, clipping and unclipping bike shoes on the new bike will have grown.
The hills are immediate, but today they are high but more gradual, so more doable for me. Though constant. Our goal was 50 miles, Warrenton, VA.
By 2:00pm my bike shorts were chaffing. That is a nice way of saying I was focusing more on the pain between my bike seat and my body than anything else. I knew I could stop, apply lots of chamois cream, and change to more comfortable shirts. But that means getting naked on the side of the road and there was no bush or tree cover along this stretch of road. I kept riding a few more hills looking for a changing spot. And then there it was, a perfect changing "room" complete with red door.
It was at the top of a hill, important cuz I have to start at the top, not the bottom or on an incline or else I can't get started again. God takes care of the details. Smile.
Continued on. The rain was falling harder now so finally opted for donning rain gear. About 44 miles in, my energy just totally gave out. I ate a banana, that helped, but not enough. I called Dave to get directions for the last 6 miles. He had already arrived an hour earlier and was hanging out dry at Starbucks. There was still one final big hill that I succumbed to walking, just too tired. Traffic plus rain plus exhaustion. I was looking for a motel.
Now, so everyone is clear, Dave does not do motels. There was much protesting on his part. Much. I could not be swayed. My choice was 4 more miles of riding hills to a state forest with no official campground, or a Howard Johnson. I told him he was welcome to pedal on and sleep in the woods but I was staying in a glorious 2 star dry motel that was 1 mile away, all down hill. And I did. And he joined me.