Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Day 22 - Try to stop me, I will carry on...

Thanks to Dave for the inspiration for todays blog title and the song which kept me pedalling today.

This is my second version of this blog as I had no wifi last night and then technical issues with blogspot so this version is with 24 hours of hindsight.

You may remember that I had a torrid time on day 21, which led me to crawl in to oatman after dark, thankfully welcomed by monica and her family for which I am very grateful. I hadnt seen any of oatman in the dark so before I set off we had pictures in front of the painted wall.
It was lovely to meet a fellow alarm fan but once again I turned my eyes westwards. Because of the shortfall in mileage, today I had to cycle 114 miles as there is NOTHING between needles and ludlow except desert.
Thankfully the winds had died down and as monica had told me, the road to needles was good downhill most of the way. It was pretty cold and my legs didnt feel as though they belonged to me after yesterdays battering,  but as it was easy for the first 23 miles, I didnt notice the screaming yet!
I was disappointed not to see any of the donkeys that roam wild but i did see a roadrunner as it sprinted across my path, and before anyone asks, no unfortunately he was not followed by coyote!

So I stopped in Needles for a second breakfast,  knowing that this was it, until I got to Ludlow. At the subway there, I met 2 lovely women, who showed an interest in my ride and wished me well for the journey. I also stocked up on sugar for the remainder of the day. Then the hard work began. I finally saw the Colorado river, and here,  calm and serene, it showed nothing of the immense power that carved out the Grand Canyon. I realised that I had entered california,   there was no fanfare,  no grand entrance and accordingly no emotional reaction to entering my 8th and last state, very low key.

The next 40 miles were tough, uphill most of the way and pain all over. My mood was low and even if a den of rattlesnakes had stood up and applauded my effort, I wouldnt have noticed,  i was so wrapped in my world of hurt.  I was going very slowly and didnt really notice the scenery, though I did occasionally glance at the mountains that surrounded me. And so it went on, and on and on.  I despaired of making it to Ludlow and mentally prepared myself for spending the night in the desert. Then my ipod died...... things could not have been worse
Then with about 40 miles to go, I remembered the song lyrics that Dave had reminded me of.., Try to stop me, I will carry on, try to oppose me, I will prevail. A wave of determination came over me and the legs started working better... the next 20 miles were better, as I wavered between despair and determination. Im not telling you this to gain anything, rather I want to show that even when you think you cant do any more, or continue any further, you can... whatever it may apply to in life and anyone can do it.

So the final 20 miles,  determination won, and I put my head down and tried to time trial my way to the end. The mountains were beautiful in the evening light and as the sun started to dip behind them, the desert shone with a purple hue, with the outline of the mountains behind. I continued to push my legs beyond what I though I could as painfully the amount of miles left until Ludlow crept downwards. Aided by (finally) some downhill and a slight tailwind, it was just getting to the point where I couldnt see the road, when the turnoff arrived.
Now hoping that the motel was open, I crawled over to it, it appeared shut! Fortunately some kind soul directed me to the gas station, where the keys were held. I was informed that there was no wifi, but they kinda had me over a barrel, so I had no choice but to accept.
I missed updating fb and catching up with everyone from home, but 114 miles done, caught up to schedule again and I had prevailed - just.