Posted by: twistsoffeet | August 2, 2011

Milestones and other things


I woke up this morning all bright eyed and bushy tailed, I was quite the eager beaver although I really do not think beaver tails are bushy but nonetheless I was. I went for a quick walk to loosen up and then packed my trailer. After packing my trailer a quick inspection of my bike showed I had a flat tire. I quickly repaired the tube and inspected the tire. I decided to replace the tire although I probably could have gotten 5-600 more miles out of it I would also run the risk of increased flats which I couldn’t chance. It was my rear tire and the one which takes the most abuse and has worn out the fastest. There is really nothing to complain about though because that tire has over 5000 miles on it as does the front tire which should get at least another 1000 miles on it before replacement. These tires were the stock Bontrager H2 tires that came stock on the bike and were not a special flat resistant or extended wear tire and the amount of miles put on them speaks very highly about their quality. Now if the new Bontrager H2 Hard Case tire I replaced it with wears as well and provides me with more flat protection I will be ecstatic.
After changing out the tire and repairing the tube I discovered I also had a brake issue which I quickly remedied by adjusting my rear brake cable. I will probably have to replace the pads soon.
I hit the road and immediately began the uphill portion of the day which is a gentle way of saying all day was uphill. At first the uphill started out gently but gradually increased in it’s angle. Still I was rested well fed and feeling pretty good so no big deal. That is until about 3/4 of a mile from the top of the biggest steepest climb for the day. That is when the headwind started, actually it had been there all day but was gentle enough that it was not a major issue, but I knew it was coming. When the headwind hit it really had no mercy. It was a full on frontal attack right in my face trying to stop me dead in my tracks or knock me over. I ended up walking the bike up the last almost 1/4 mile of the biggest steepest hill of the day, but I feel good that I made it as far as I did before walking.
I did drink my 2.5 gallons of water fairly quickly and ran out about 1 mile before reaching my destination for the day. When I entered Harrison NE I was a bit concerned about finding a camping spot. The town looks like it is almost a ghost town when on the highway but when you get off the hwy and into the town you see a fairly well maintained small town with a nice little park and a swimming pool. They do have water and electricity available as well as picnic tables with benches including some under shelters.
It is a hot day even with the wind blowing probably in the mid nineties and although there is some cloud cover now it is not much and definitely wasn’t there while I was riding. In fact I do feel a little toasty today. Hopefully it will cool down earlier than last night which was so hot it was nearly impossible to sleep until well after midnight. I need to be able to get a good night’s sleep and recover from today’s ride that because of the headwind was extremely challenging.
I have hit some milestones lately the first mentioned is replacing my 1st tire due to simply wearing it out. The other and much bigger milestone for me is that I hit the 2 thousand miles actually pedaled a couple of days ago before entering Chadron. I also had approximately another 600 miles where I was given rides mostly due to being sick and unable to ride. I am probably another 400-500 miles from my at least short term destination.
All in all I am both pleased and surprised with how my gear has held up over 2000 miles of pedaling. The tires on my bike even though I had way to many flats held up extremely well. The bike has been incredible when considering it is really a low dollar entry level bike the TREK NAVIGATOR 2.0 and was never built to withstand all that this bike has gone through to carry me and my gear for nearly 3 months. My tent is a Kelty Vortex 2 that I bought in 1996 and has now over 200 days camping in it and except for the broken pole that happened in the flood in Iowa is still performing like a champ. And then there is my poor trailer a CROOZER designed to carry a maximum cargo of 66 pounds. Even though my trailer has had to have a couple of major repairs it has really held up very well considering my starting cargo weight on it was over 150 pounds but is now down to about 50 pounds of cargo.
I am not certain if my body has held up as well or maybe even better or if it has fallen apart. What I mean is that I was very sick and in the hospital and I am not as strong as I need to be but considering how sick I was I am amazed I have been able to continue on this tour. My RA is still ever present and at times is cruel and merciless but I know if I wasn’t keeping active like this I would be totally crippled and in much worse pain.
I struggle every day to continue on this journey. I struggle with my pain and my lack of strength and endurance as well as struggling with the high heat and it’s effects on me. I have been seeing many other cyclists on tour recently almost all of them going east with the prevailing winds at there back and none of them carrying a load like mine. When I meet these cyclists the 1st word out of their mouths is WOW because none of them can imagine carrying the load I have been carrying. So I ask myself does this mean I am a huge idiot by carrying this load ? I do not think so because for this particular tour it was necessary I bring this stuff with me. Should I be proud of myself for being strong enough to pack this stuff halfway across the country ? Hell Yes, I have always liked being strong and this is a huge thing to be able to be strong enough to pack this stuff across the country.
So now I can rest easy knowing I am nearing my destination and that I have been strong enough to physically handle the rigors and challenges of this tour. Now hopefully I can keep it up and finish what I started.
I want to mention the good people I met in Crawford Nebraska. It was such a fun and pleasant experience and I thank each and every person I met there for their kindness. Last night the pastor left a bag of fresh Banana Nut Bread and a whole bunch of chocolate brownies, I know I can’t live by dessert alone but when it comes along it sure is enjoyable.

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Responses

  1. So glad Pastor Bagley left you some goodies! Also glad to hear of your successes! Yep, you should be proud of yourself! Amazing feat. Hope to one day be able to do something so adventurous and amazing (I was just telling our older son how we should hike Scotland next summer…)

    I wish we would have had some time to invite you over. Sure would have enjoyed chatting with you more. Let me know what you think of the changes in Golden!! hee hee. If you find yourself in the area again, please feel free to look us up.


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