All right, let me get this right out front ‘cuz it colored my entire day: ?I was in a lousy mood all day long. ?Tired ‘cuz I only got about 4 nightmare-filled hours of sleep. ?Tossed sleeplessly in bed the rest of the time. ?Finally gave up at 5AM. ?Got up, starting putting the bike back together. ?I’d taken the panniers off while in Moriarty to rearrange things around.
Thought about getting underway around 5:30, but it was 42 degrees outside. ?I just didn’t feel like putting on “cold weather” clothes, knowing I’d be taking them off within an hour. Plus sunrise didn’t happen until 6:48 this morning. ?(When it did, though, it was purty:)
Google had promised a relatively “down hill” kind of day.
Don’t think Google knows what the fuck it’s doing. ?Of the 80+ miles I rode, I felt like I was climbing for about 70 of those miles.
Here’s how it works. ?You spend two hours climbing at rather modest 1% to 3% grade. ?Then you hit a down hill for a few hundred feet, only to start another long climb. ?Google’s computers record the climb as minimal because you didn’t go vertically very far, of course. ?Not in comparison to the elevation you dropped.
But you spend nearly?all your time?just climbing. ?With even a 2% uphill grade, you can’t coast. ?You have to constantly pedal. ?I’m not a strong enough rider to go up a 2% grade at 15MPH. ?I get knocked back to anywhere between 6 and 10MPH. ?It just makes for a long fucking day.
Did I mention that I was in a bad mood all day?
I had written a blog post about this story. ?(Here’s a feel-very-good update to that story.) ?I pulled the post a few hours after I wrote it mainly because it just didn’t fit my blog. ?(Yeah, I know, it’s my blog and I can write about whatever I want to. ?But, still.)?? It really had nothing to do with?The Ride other than Jake Brewer, 34, died on Saturday while on a charity bike ride. ?Jake was married to Mary Katharine Ham, a columnist and writer whom I greatly admire. ?Jake and MKH have one small daughter and another on the way.
As I rode today, I just couldn’t get that story out of my head. ?Jake had lost control of his bicycle around a sharp curve and crashed into an oncoming car. ?Obviously,?no one?goes out looking to die, but the unexpected will occur.
So all day long I kept the music off and my ears finely tuned to any sound the bicycle made that “didn’t sound right.” ?I unloaded the panniers and flipped that damned bike over?six times today?to investigate everything from foreign objects in the tires to the sounds of the fenders needing some tightening.
You can bet the three or four times I was coming down a hill at 25+MPH that I had this image in the back of my head:
That bubble stopped my back wheel from turning.
What if that bubble had developed on the?front?tire as I was moving at 25+MPH? ?Would it have thrown me over the handlebars ala Christopher Reeve? ?Would it have simply made the bike unstable quickly enough for me to lose control and swerve in front of a semi moving 75MPH?
Major case of the willies, I gotta tell ya.
There wasn’t anything to look at, either. ?It was 80+ miles of this:
I got to wondering where The Great Plains start. ?I stopped at a rest stop and caught this sign:
Speaking of stopping at that rest stop. ?My two main water bottles were empty. ?I reached into the rear pannier to pull out one of the growlers to refill them.
The growler was?empty. ?Somehow the top of the bottle came loose and alllllll the water spilled out
Guess where all 32OZ of that ice water went. ?Yep. ?In the bag. ?Take a look at what was in?the same bag as the growler. ?(Hint: ?it’s the pretty blue laptop.) ?Let’s see a show of hands of anyone who thinks water and computers play well together.
As soon as I discovered it, I took the laptop out and fired it up. ?I was frankly amazed that it booted up. ?The screen is completely fucked. ?Water got behind the screen. ?I can still?see?everything, but, it’s hosed.
The USB port where I’ve been plugging in the phone to pull pix over to the laptop is working . . . temperamentally.
The sound card is completely screwed.
When I got to the hotel and tried to turn it on, it wouldn’t do anything. ?No power. ?Nothing. ?A lot of prayers, bad words, and holding my mouth just right?did?get it to boot . . . but I’m scared that when I turn it off, it may never come to life again.
‘Cuz, y’know, I wasn’t?already?in a bad mood.
Here’s something that was playing on my mind, too. ?I’m six days riding away from the half-way point, Oklahoma City. ?And I’ll let you in on a little secret: ?I don’t know which way I’m headed from there.
Oh, I’ve got it all mapped out?but if I’ve picked up on one constant about this ride is?shit changes all the time. ?Do I have to go that way? ?What if I took off from where I’m at tonight — Santa Rosa, NM — and went to Clovis, NM instead of Tucumcari? ?I’d be leaving my “security blanket” (Interstate 40), losing a better wireless connection, losing the “security” of having a zillion people around (though, would they stop if I was lying on the side of the road?). ?I’d have to rethink hotels . . . I don’t know. ?Not sure it’d save me any time?and?it’d make it more difficult to claim Oklahoma, too.
Wool gathering, people. ?Think nothing of it.