Monday, April 5, 2010

What a great miserable day!

Saturday when I started out it was beautiful!

The sun was just rising.

Air fresh and clear.

A few pink clouds on the horizon.

Wonderful day for a century bike ride.

At mile 17 I stopped for my Jacks donut.
I glanced at the gray clouds gathering in the west.
"Think it'll rain on me?" I asked the clerk at Marathon.

She looked worried.
But, hey, I've been rained on before.
No biggie.

Three miles later it started to sprinkle.
No big deal.
As I turned south on Indy boulevard the rain got a little harder.

And harder.
I passed a biker going the other way.
He huddled down in shorts all dressed in black and barely visible.
I was doing better than him at least.

Okay, it was pouring now.
And the wind had kicked up.
I just wanted to make 30 miles going west of the city.
Surely I could do that!

The road turned west.
Wow! It was like ramming into a solid wall of cold rain and wind!
I did about 200 feet and said - the heck with this!

I turned back - east then north.
It was awful!
Rain was lashing my left cheek like a thousand tiny daggers.
Cold daggers!

My right eye was welded shut by the water cascading down my helmet.

Half blind, chilled, miserable.
Did I mention my toes?

Usually we don't notice our toes.
They sit down there in your socks and shoes, quiet and content.

But when a chilling rain soaks through your shoes, through your socks, drenches your toes - cold and so wet they hurt...!

I couldn't think about anything other than my miserable toes.

Swinging back east - at least I had a tail wind.
I showed great dedication to this blog by stopping in the lee of a bank to take a picture of how miserable I was.
I hope you appreciate it.

Back on the wet road - counting down the miles.
Now I needed to pee so badly my bladder ached.

But I didn't want to stop. If I stopped in these wet clothes I would chill even worse.

So I grit my teeth and soldiered on.
Oh, no! 116th Street!
I have to use the sidewalk here!
Every slat in the sidewalk went straight up my bike frame into my throbbing bladder!

Finally 3 miles from home it was too much!
I stopped at Speedway. I slogged in, dripping wet to the ladies room.
I peeled my gloves off of raw, red hands.

OK. peeing felt great.
But it was miserable putting those wet gloves back on my stiff fingers.

Back on the road.
Now that my bladder was happy I realized I was famished.
That Jacks ran out about 10 miles ago.
I was so hungry I was getting dazed.

I biked those last 3 miles to home brain numb - barely able to stay upright. Counting down each tenth of a mile, each minute.

Finally, home!
I ripped off all those cold, wet clothes and hurled them in a hamper.
PB&J, yes! Banana!

Fresh clothes and back out to do another 48.2 miles.

Am I crazy?
Yes, but I will have to be tough to bike across all of America.
Mark says I will need to face all kinds of weather.
(but all in one day?)

Now I head back out west into a monstrous headwind.

Head down I tell myself - it's just 24 miles of headwind, then 24 miles of tailwind.

Surely I can do that.

The sun came out.

It warmed up.


 I think I had put on every stitch of dry clothes I owned.

Bundled like an eskimo I pushed into that headwind - as hard as I could - to go just 9 mph.

I won't bore you with the details of that last 48.2 miles. Hot, tired, aches and pains, etc....

Finally end of the day I fell across the doorstep into my home.
Lay flat on the floor.

And you know what?

It was a great day. I lived life today to the fullest.

I experienced life down to my poor little toes.

When I look back on life I forget the easy days - birds singing, blue skies.

It is the days of challenge I will always remember.

I had a great day....

....being miserable.
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