What a beautiful day! I didn't have to dig too deep to start loving life on today's ride.
I got up at the crack of 7:05am, and was a little surprised to be rising earlier than a lot of the others. There's only so much sleeping in you can do when you're so intimitaly aware of the sun's position in the sky. It feels great to zip yourself out and get a breath of fresh air. I did that. It felt great.
I packed down and did the slow roll to the coffee shop in town. While there, I availed myself of all possible services. Add to that a cinnamon bun, and you get an accurate picture of the next few hours.
Then I did the thing that I wasn't sure I'd do - I went next door, picked up the compact hiking air mattress, put it on the counter and handed them my debit card. Mine. Boom. I sliced up some cardboard with my knife, and made a tight little box for my foam Z-Rest pad. Before leaving town, I shipped it home from the post office. I am a happy, happy man.
The day was perfect. A little hot if you want to complain, but my heart didn't feel it. The hills were rolling, and I spun over them easily. I got a nice rhythm - up and down, and then I stopped to eat fried chicken in the shade. I drank a Coke, and life just kept being alright.
Then the last ten miles hit. Page 59 was clipped on my handlebars, and it said there was a four-mile climb that rose 1,500 feet. Now I have a better understanding of what something like that looks like. I dropped to the granny and cranked slowly up and up for a little less than an hour. I hit switchback after switchback inching up the side of the mountain. In true mountain terms it wasn't much of a mountain, but don't tell that to my penguins. All I wanted to do was avoid completely bogging down, and I did it. I was drenched in sweat, squirting water on my face, and starting to get the chills - but I made it to the top.
I let out a couple elated whoops and sat on a big boulder in the shade for almost an hour. I stripped off my completely drenched shirt and hung it on a thin tree branch to dry out in the breeze. I ate an orange. All-in-all it was one of the best hours I can remember. I played with an inchworm, randomly changing his direction a couple times. He ain't got no job, I thought. Definitely doesn't.
I was a little torn up from the climb, but I wasn't going much further, and most of it was a screaming fast descent. Approaching forty miles an hour on a bicycle is... fun. I got to today's destination a little after 4pm. I'm staying at a United Methodist Church Hostel which is more of a pavilion with a church kitchen next to it stocked with free food. America isn't letting me down too hard right now. Yup. This'll do.
Jeff pulled in while I was reading my Kindle on a porch swing. I put my tent in the pavilion; he opted for a spot in front of the first pew.