Tunnel Hill to Marion: 63 miles
Total Distance: 3035 miles
Days in the saddle: 55
Thoughts on today: Let’s get the obvious over first. I just reached my 8th state. Woop-di-do.
I don’t know if sarcasm translates well over the blogosphere, but I was really trying in that opening gambit. Really, I was. (no, really)
Yes, it’s great. And yes, this is therefore my first three-state week (Illinois, you were a little quickie weren’t you.) but that’s not what I want to talk to you about. Nope.
Nor do I want to talk to you about how today I had to get a ferry. A two-minute ferry ride over the Ohio River, which separates Illinois and Kentucky.
Nor do I want to talk about the fact that I’ve hit 3000 miles*
Nor do I want to talk to you about Marion United Methodist Church who have hosted hundreds of cyclists in their beautiful building over the years and can now add one more Englishman to that list.
No. The theme of today was the excruciating, wearying, energy-sapping effects of heat, humidity and hills.
Let me just say this. Today was not fun. Today was not enjoyable. Today was a slog. And not a Matt Prior ‘come in at 400-5 and do some wrecking’ slog. No, today was a gruelling, sweating, low-gear, heavy breathing, glasses-clouding, leg-aching, mind-thumping slog. It was not my longest day. It was not my hilliest. It was not the hottest either. But today was the day my legs decided to strike. Today I knew I was up against it before I had set eyes on my bike.
But what’s a guy to do? I’m in Southern Illinois, in the middle of nowhere, with nothing to do but get on my bike. My legs moving slowly. Or rather, even slower than usual. Up and down. I never thought I wasn’t going to get to my intended destination. But at times I did think ‘why am I here?’ or ‘what am I doing?’.
I guess the good side of that is today was the anomaly. That this is the first day I can remember that hadn’t been flooded in positivity. And that even today I can sit down and share a joke and a laugh with some some West-bound cyclists. Even today has been extraordinary; going into my eigth state, completing 3000 miles, going on a ferry and staying in a beautiful church with the backdrop of a beautiful sunset.
This too shall pass.
*actually, come on, 3000 miles! Come on! That’s pretty impressive no!?!