Saturday, 5 October 2013

Day 1, its alright to dream..., chicago to dwight

?What im gonna try and do is take you on a virtual journey, so that you get what living life for a month on a cycle tour is like.
The day really started at half 6, and following a much needed shower I bagan to get my kit together. Water bottles were filled, my new phone checked and panniers attatched. Prayer flags on the back etc. It all took a lot longer than planned so didn't set off till 8am ish. Now cycled along the lakefront a few miles, just to get to the start of the ride, the Buckingham fountain.
I stood by the fountain for photos, taken by my cousin's husband matt, who was seeing me safely out of chicago, and as I stood there, still not quite believing that this was it, I felt deleriously happy with life and everything in it. In bike riding you need to recognise and cherish these moments cos 10 mins later you might be feeling the worst you have ever felt in your life. If this was how I felt at the beginning, imagine how its gonna feel in la!
So the first few miles were punctuated with stops for photos but in general good roads, not too much traffic and feeling ok. Got through the south side without getting shot at and then that moment came where I was on my own.
It wasn't long before I got into the swing of things and soon had stuck my music in an ear and was merrily singing to myself.
Having had a banana for breakfast, the first hunger pangs didn't hit till later. It was fluid I needed. It was hot and humid and I had a base layer on and no way to decently take it off, so the sweat was soon pouring.
About 40 miles in I hit the proverbial wall and stopped at a 7 eleven to stock up on lunch
The chocolate was a , istake as it soon melted but the roll hit the spot and I was soon on my way.
It took a while to get on the right road but eventualky got there and set myself up for the straight shot down to joliet and then dwight.
It was a straight shot but oroved to anything but easy.
It was about 3 that the thunderstorm complete with lightening started. Now illinois Is pretty flat and at points I was the tallest thing around, wearing shoes with metal cleats and on a metal bike. I did wonder how likely I was to be struck by lightening and although the rain was at first welcome, the fear mademepedal faster. It was just as eell I did cos just as I arrived at a gas station, the heavens opened, and im talking about a flood the road in a minute flat kinda shower, so I stayed put and waited for it to pass. Cue nice lady who offered me shelter in her car! I didn't take her up cos even getting in a car seemed like cheating! But it was a lovely thought.
The road from then on was reasonable with a good hard shoulder and the lorry drivers have been, so far, far more considerate of the space they give to cyclists than most lorries back home. It gave me a sense of 2 things, firstly how its going to be for a lot of this journey , road stretching out before me with peace and solitude and the odd car, and just howdistances on maps can be deceiving. I hot to joliet and thought not farto go, when actuallyanother 30 miles was there to be suffered. And suffer I did. The legs felt ok at this point, it was the arms, the back, the bum, and the foot, which I thought I had broken last week that hurt.
UNTIL 4 MILES TO GO.Those 4 miles were amongst the worst I had cycled ever. But strangely I gained a kinda masochistic pleasure outta it. Endurance is meant to hurt, right?
Some lovely views were passed inc a lot of route 66 stuff and photos were taken but it took a long time till I reached my bedfor the night.
I was born to burn4 down the road, its just going to beburning slowly at the end!
So highlight of the day... the start of the ride
Weight on starting , 68 kg (aftercarb loading last week
Food eaten, banaba, rol, 2 xprotein bars an dchopread  dinner, home coojed chicken
Time crashed out........ err hello!