This morning was a challenge, to put it mildly. It was me against my brain. I wasn't riding well, and I wasn't enjoying myself. I cussed at the hills, and I had a poor attitude. There was too much heat, and I felt weak and stressed.
I reached a gas station with a convenience store. I drank a quart of orange juice in a few gulps, and fell asleep on a picnic table.
Nick and Stuart rolled up after I'd been asleep for about 20 minutes. They barged in and managed to improve my attitude. They marched onto the scene, and I could tell that their morning was in no way a disaster. I realized that mine shouldn't have been either.
I need to learn that mornings are just tough sometimes. It was about 100 degrees, so sweating and feeling a bit uncomfortable are par for the course. Shut up and take it like a man, Chris. I'm getting there.
Those dudes were thinking about going to Carbondale. I thought to myself "have fun with that..." It was a long ride that they proposed - nearly 100 miles for them, and it would be double what I'd planned personally. Matt showed up about ten minutes later, and I learned that he was planning to do a long push as well. Strangely, his morning was great. He claimed he felt good, and that reaffirmed that I needed to slap a grin onto my face and stop the whining voice in my head.
So all those dudes are riding to Carbondale, Illinois. Fuck it. I have legs, and I know how to use them.
Done and done... Carbondale it is. Stuart is awesome to ride with. We keep a good pace and attack a fair number of hills. But more importantly, he will ask people directions at a moment's notice. He's flagged down cars to confirm what road we're on, and he's flagged down people to ask where to get a good sandwich. His Scottish accent keeps everyone extra interested and friendly. It's a major boon. Riding along with a question-asker is useful in many ways.
The first thing we did in Carbondale is go to the police station and the fire station, where Stuart asked for a place for us to set up our tents. The fire station obliged, and offered us showers, too. Free camping was secured, and we were off to get food and drinks.
We got food and drinks, and then went to a bar to get more drinks for $1 each. I had several.
Back at the tent, I couldn't sleep. I got up and walked back to the bar. We had a planned rest day, so I planned to give myself something to rest about. I got dollar drafts, and put a couple bucks in the juke box. The juke box was rough... I won a small battle using TLC and RJD2, but I definitely lost the war. I talked to a cute married girl with kids - fun talking; no pressure. Great. We tried to help a girl who was passing out and peeing herself in the parking lot. It was pretty eventful, so I called my cool cousin Bethany at an obscene hour to talk about it. Gotta stay in touch, and it seems like this is how we do it.
I got to the tent around 3:30am. Once again, the day ended loads better than it began. This is becoming a trend that I'm happy with.