Sunday, 13 October 2013

Day 9 - I am unsafe....

Firstly, thank you to Lynn who took me out in Tulsa last night. It was nice to see some local life, even if I am now painfully aware that I am surrounded by people carrying guns... very wierd thought if you live in the UK.
So having got up this morning, once again determined to get an early start, when as you might have seen, I saw the flat back tyre. I knew that I had a very long day ahead and probably a bit tired from not being in bed by 9pm as I am accustomed to doing, and this felt like a bad omen for the day.
I rolled up my sleeves and with hands that don't work as well as they did last week, managed to change the tube, get the wheel back on, reattatch the panniers, have breakfast and set off by half 8, which isn't bad. It didn't feel like that though. I was in a foul temper.
Now bad moods are why its a good thing to be travelling alone. If you want to be in a bad mood, you can be cos the only person you can piss off is yourself. Sometimes you want to be in a bad mood and having someone else there trying to cheer you up, can sometimes make it worse. So temporarily happy with my bad mood, I set off. Quickly my bad mood about the start of the day evaporated and changed to a bad mood with myself for letting a puncture put me in a bad mood... still with me!

Basically it upset me that I had let this get to me. In fact I have been lucky not to have a puncture up till now. The bad mood continued and as a result  i was certain that I wouldnt get my rest day, because I thought that I would struggle to get anywhere today, given the late start. The thought of no rest day made my bad mood worse... not even my music was pulling me out of it . Basically my bad mood was further feeding my bad mood and I needed to break the cycle. I glanced down at my bands that I wear constantly (except at work-bare below elbows rule) and got to thinking what they mean to me.

This is what I came up with... 
They summarise how I have been able to get through this trip so far

Love - I have such supportive friends and family and friends who are like family that it gives me Hope that I can achieve this challenge that I have set out to do, both of these in turn give me the strength to keep the pedals turning day by day.
Sorry if it all sounds a bit OTT but this is how my thought processes were working at the time.
Once I had thought that through, the music began to filter through...

At this point my decision making was swinging between," just do 60 or so miles today and another short day tomorrow" and "go for it, get it done today and reap the benefit tomorrow".  I couldnt make my mind up as to how determined I was going to be. Meanwhile I was making my way through Tulsa and doing a bit of the tourist thing, half convinced that it was going to be a short day.

At some point I started to put the power down, my legs felt good, even if the rest of my body was breaking down. I desperately need a rest day, just to let my hands recover, if nothing else. I also quite needed to visit a pharmacy and a bike shop, to give my bike the once over before the next leg.  I also wanted to see the memorial at the least.  All this was going through my mind as I pushed harder on the pedals. There were no free miles today and it was like being back in missouri with the ups and downs

So with my hands on the drops and head into the wind, i was pushing along between 15 and 20 mph, with uphill between 12 and 14mph.  This is pretty fast on a loaded bike.
As the day wore on, thoughts of stopping short of oklahoma city started to fade.
I said, if i am at this point by 4pm, i will have enough light to make it.  i made sure i stopped every hour to snack and drink, but kept the stops short. 
The point that i had a decision to make came... and it was only 3pm. I was an hour earlier than i thought i would be.
The negative had turned into positive and a challenge to myself to get to the city. I continued to push, knowing that i had fought every mile to get a rest day and it would therefore be much sweeter.
As i neared the city, i started to relax and look around. I hadnt taken much notice of the sights up to this point and ironically the scenery seemed to improve, the closer i got to the city. At one point a searing pain went through my left thigh and i worried i had torn something so tried to tone down the pushing. Thankfully the pain subsided And i was able to continue at speed.
Oklahoma city is such that a sign announces the city limits 20 miles out. This makes the last 20miles like you are there but not. 
So at half 6 pm, having cycled 115 miles, i got to where i had been planning to spend the night, asked for a discount, got one and sunk gratefully into a very nice room.
So maybe my puncture this morning was not as some (kindly) suggested a sign that i needed to take it easy, or take the bus (Fiona), but rather having risen to the challenge, a sign that i can have more hope that i will make it. Today has given me more strength of mind 

Im very happy that i get my rest day tomorrow. I feel slightly broken and therefore I still declare myself unsafe.... just with a touch of satisfaction!