Day 18: Nothing like adding an extra 10 miles to your route
Ouch. I feel like I’m going to be saying that word a lot this blog. Today was especially one of those days as it was a very humid out as we started off in Carrollton, GA on our way to our next host all the way in Auburn, AL! We started off the day thinking it would be around a 77 mile day so I hit road with my amazing team: Jackie, Dayna, Erika, and Kirstin. It was a difficult ride because of the climate and resulted in Erika having some chest pains putting her into the van early because there is no reason to push oneself to injury. After we took care of her, we started off once again on our journey to Auburn. About halfway through the day, we reached a huge milestone of crossing into Alabama and into a new time zone! Even though it was only a hour, I still feel like it affected my ride performance because I was getting hungrier much sooner and couldn’t exert as much energy as I was used too. It was also very hilly ride, but it was still a great day and my group had a great time. It was pretty difficult though because on our direction list, some of the roads we were suppose to ride on were just dirt roads for miles, so our plans were thwarted because of it. To compensate for the lack of paved roads on our planned route, we had to make a detour of 15 miles. 15 miles is a ridiculous number for cycling because it adds about 1.5 hours or more on the road and we already had a time change this day so we were going to be pushing 10 hours on the road. However, we were so motivated, we sang for the last 20 miles some of the most ridiculous songs that you probably don’t ever want to hear. We arrived at our host around 6 pm that day and were completely exhausted but relieved and full of endorphins. I crashed early because the room had A/C, and nothing feels better than curling up in your sleeping bag and feeling extra cozy after a hard day of cycling.
Day 19: Nothing like massive hills to make you feel alive
Wake up. Pack. Eat. Bike maintenance. Chores. Thank yous. Leave. Seems like it is the same routine every morning, which is nice because I like to time myself to see how fast I can get done everything. I headed out this morning with Michele, Dan, and Shawna, all of which are strong riders so it was going to be a good day to ride the 80 miles to Troy, AL. The first 20 miles or so were actually pretty hilly and I was wondering if it was ever going to end. Fortunately for me, the roads actually became relatively flat which is great for cycling. We were able to cruise around 17 MPH through those flat lands which is really fast and just means we can all get to the host sooner to relax and take some showers. What we were not prepared for is some (relatively, because I know the Rockies are coming sooner then later…) MASSIVE hills around mile 60 that stretched for several miles. It was amazing to get up to the peaks of these hills, but also a little disheartening to see in the distance a bigger hill that you must climb. We were able to crush those hills though, and it was smooth sailing all the way into Troy where we set up our temporary home in a local church. After some quick showers at Troy University, we headed to a church member’s house where it was absolutely gorgeous. It almost felt like we were on a Hollywood set of some multimillionaire with their amazing pool, ranch, and food. We felt like celebrities and didn’t want to leave except for the fact we HAD to get ice cream from Milky Moo’s Homemade Ice Cream Shop which was featured on the Food Network. It was utterly delicious and they even gave us a discount on the ice cream! It was an amazing time, but I was exhausted and crashed as soon as we went back to church happy with a stomach full of yummy ice cream.