Saturday, 12 October 2013

Day 8 - Breathe the air : It's the only thing you get for free

I didn't sleep well last night due to the bloody great big thunderstorm. I was concerned about cycling across flat land on my bike, basically serving as a lightening conductor. However the storm abated and I got up at 5 am to overcast skies and drizzle but not cold and  no wind to speak of.  Excited to make the most of this I packed up in super quick time and headed off to breakfast, to be told it was saturday and therefore breakfast not available until 7am. Such is life.

Once 7 am arrived, i jumped in for breakfast and was soon on my way. Despite it being overcast, the wind was for once with me and i shot out of miami. The road was straight, reasonably flat and aimed in the same direction all day, rising to the belief that i would be enjoying a tailwind all day.  I had a few pressing issues, one of which i dealt with as soon as i found a shop. Disaster had befallen me last night as i reached miami... my headphones had given up. I cannot, i repeat cannot cycle without music and on my spare headphones the sound of the alarm was more like, the sound of... well it might be the alarm but i couldnt tell u for sure. Fortunately the gas station sold headphones as well as guns, knives, and more pertinent to me, shots of energy juice. So loaded up with a couple of those just in case the day turned bad, and with working music again, i set off once more.
The road was wide and straight and i was able to enjoy the day. Looking at my surrounding, there were miles of fields and for the first time really since the trip began i had the pleasure of being alone on the road for stretches at a time.
For the first time, my mind could wander from the road to other things in my life... thoughts of home and family and friends that i miss, the dissertation i have to start when i get back ( second thoughts, maybe too much time to think is a bad thing). My dog radar was kept on background alert but for once did not get set off at all.
I got to the top of a hill and the sun was starting to make itself felt, so i stopped to take off a layer or two and was confronted by a picture perfect view. I paused the ipod and just stood there... admiring the view, breathing the air and feeling lucky to be alive. It was one of those perfect moments that i find whilst biking, no distractions, no interruptions, just purity. This is why i came to america, for moments like this. A friend pointed out to me that you cant appreciate highs without experiencing the lows and he is totally correct. Im not sure this moment would have been as appreciated if the last few days hadnt been rough! 
Whilst standing there i noticed a white truck stop up ahead and then turn round and go back down the road... now because i am by myself i have a radar for things like this too and my internal warning system was on high alert. 2 mins later the truck pulls up to me. Staying where i was i asked if all was alright, 
The reply i got was ' are you ok, are you lost, do you need help' i replied that i was grand and felt really bad that id been thinking the worst. They then said we just wanted to check... i thanked them and they drove off, leaving me once again marvelling at how nice peoole can be!

So once again I set off, the wind carrying me at a rate of knots. Now I mentioned the headphone problem and one I couldnt sort. Basically my hands dont work properly from gripping the handlebars for over 750 miles in 8 days. This makes things like attatching my ipod to my belt loop take up to 5 mins and you should see me trying to use a knife and fork... it is quite funny... as long as its only temporary, which it should be.  One of my fingers, the forth on my right, will not straigten of its own accord.  The other minor injury i have is my left foot. I injured it on snowdon somehow, possibly a stress fracture of one of the small bones. Whilst i am cycling along its fine... so actually all good, but today accidently put that foot down at some lights and it really was quite painful, so just wont do that again. Other than that, a miriad of bruises, achIng muscles and a bit of sunburn, actually i feel pretty good.  
The road from this point to tulsa cannot go by without me mentioning 2 more things... first is Spot, my companion for 30 miles (remember i have to keep myself entertained) Spot was a little bug who hitchiked a ride, yellow with black spots (hence the name). He kept me entertained for a while, crawling around on my handlebar bag, looking like he was catching the bus to work! (No i havent really lost it) 
The other piece of entertainment i alluded to back in missouri, the concept of free miles... i have now expanded on that. I expected an average, including stops of 10 mph. This is my baseline. If i go over that without having to pedal, its called free miles... doesnt have to be down hills, can be wind assisted. However i was going so fast today that i decided if i hit 20mph whilst not pedaling it counts as double free miles.... yeah yeah i know i sound like ive lost it lol, but it helps to pass the time.
I freewheeled into Tulsa in record time, having done just around 95 ish miles. Found the Super 8, got a discount (again) and settled down to catch up with everyone. The wifi didnt work... panic stations. I was ready to up and leave but fortunately they sorted it out but it made me slightly sad on one hand and lucky on the other... let me explain...
I like to think of myself as the kind of person who could up sticks and live in a wild place with little of no connection to the outer world... today i realised i probably couldnt and that made me slightly sad, but better than that it made me feel lucky and that is because i have such wonderful family and friends, that on this short trip, it is without question the highlight of my day, shower and bed notwithstanding, to sit and catch up with everyone by facebook and email and i feel lucky because of that.
So on that note... go outside, take a deep breath of fresh air and feel the peace that enveloped me today, then tell someone close to you about it and you will come close to feeling how i do now.
As always  Love hope and strength to all. Roll on oklahoma city tomorrow!