Friday, June 22, 2007

June 22, 2007 (Day 13)

Today we rode from Batesville, Mississippi to Forest, Mississippi. The ride was 176 miles. You know, I have to say that basically the terrain during the last two or three days of riding has all looked the same. I wouldn’t want to insult anyone from Arkansas or Mississippi, but judging by the roads we’ve been on, they are impossible to tell apart. But it has been pretty; lots of green, lots of trees; a lot of farms, lots of livestock – (lots of livestock smells that are impossible not to notice)… The terrain has been rolling hills. Up one, down the next – and so on, and so on…

Because I sort of used yesterday’s ride as a recovery day for my knees, I felt great today and pushed pretty hard. I averaged 18 miles an hour. I rode all day with a guy named Charlie Combs. He’s a CPA from San Diego. We chatted a lot and really got to know each other. Then, Charlie, Jim (my roommate) and I had dinner this evening together.

I don’t know how he does it, I guess from his years of experience, but Lon picks really great routes for us to ride on. A lot of the riding today was on some pretty rural roads. One of the things that I’ll always remember about riding through Arkansas and Mississippi is the poverty I have observed on some of these back roads. It was really striking - and while I was riding, it reminded me of how fortunate I am.

I guess I can’t emphasize enough how a ride like this – riding hard every day without any rest days – wears down the body. I basically feel exhausted all the time. Even though I use the strongest sunscreen three times a day, I still manage to get sunburned. I use lipblock and my lips still have blisters. The sun is unforgiving to a fair complected person like me. My knees, my neck, my back, my hands, shoulders – always feel sore. Tonight I even notices that my big toenail is black and blue – I’ll probably lose it and I don’t even know how that happened. Yet still, I get up in the morning, have breakfast with this great group of guys, riders, and crew, and still somehow manage to have enjoyable days on the bike.

It’s been an incredible challenge. Probably even harder than I knew it would be. But with only four days to go, I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel - and I really think I’m going to make it. There’s a Wendy’s next door to our motel, so now I’m going to go get a Frosty and then get some sleep for our 172 mile ride tomorrow.


cfd in cle said...

Richard: Hang tough, you're almost there. It must be a great relief to be so close to the finish. Wow, could not believe how many have dropped out. Save that toenail, you can save it in a jar like Mitchell saves his lost teeth! Ick! Okay, now a joke from Philip...

What goes Ha, ha, ha....plop?

Answer: A man laughling his head off.

This should help you on your ride today. Take care.


jan-is said...

I'm so very proud of you. I've always known you to be an exceptional human being and a wonderful friend. Be well and safe.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Richard,
reading your blog is very very intense, I had no idea what you are going to go must be over today and it's looks like you'll make it, CONGRATULATIONS!!!! I hope you take a few days off, let me know if you want to read some quartets, just KIDDING!!!!!! Wowed in Cleveland, Isabel

Anonymous said...

Hi Richard,
Congrats!!! You made it! It would me nice to see a picture of your devoted family.