Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Day 16: Jackson, WY, to Dubois, WY

Today's Mileage: 88
Miles Cycled: 0
Average Speed: 40-60 mph in the mechanic van with Jim
Max Speed: Ask Jim
Average BPM: N/A
Max BPM: N/A
Calories Burned Consumed: All of those SAG snacks [sigh]
Moving Time: N/A
Blog & Ride Details

My ankle felt fine when I woke up this morning, but in the shower, the tendon began to tingle and stiffen. I felt hot tears burning my cheeks as the anger began to rise. I took a few deep breaths and dipped my head under the spray of water. I closed my eyes. Inhaled. Exhaled. I recognized the need for another command decision.

I was going to have a great day.

Beth told me that the heat from the shower and the upright position probably caused the vessels surrounding my Achilles Tendon to vasodialate and rush blood to my ankle, causing the sudden soreness. She's an anesthesiologist. She knows what she's talking about. Put ice on it, she said. So I did.

I decided to do every little thing possible to make today a great day. If I was going to have to sit in the mechanic truck all day, I might as well feel as good as possible while I was in there. I put on makeup. I flat-ironed my hair. I pulled a pair of cargo capris out of my luggage and sifted through my few available shirt options. I glanced at the red, white and blue cycling jersey neatly folded and tucked into the corner of my suitcase. It was my official America By Bicycle jersey. I wanted to feel as involved as possible today. So I wore that.

Next, I needed to assemble my Achilles Tendon care kit. My suitcase and backpack usually go on the box truck, and I didn't want to take up too much space in the van. I had not packed a spare pouch or handbag for this trip, but there was my helmet. That was my solution. My helmet would be my purse. I arranged all of my ankle's necessities in my cycling helmet: ice bag (from Karen), CryoDerm Pain Relieving Cryotherapy Liquid Gel (from Barbara), Arnicare Arnica Gel (from Michael), Fenbid Forte 10% Gel Topical Ibuprofen (from Ian), anti-inflammatory medication (from Joe), and a golf ball (from Mike) for myofacsial release. Once I was sure I had everything I needed, which included one of my water bottles and a few snacks, I slipped the chin strap of my helmet over my wrist and limped out to the van.

I cannot honestly say that I was happy to be in the mechanic van, but I had fun hanging with Jim all day. He taught me a lot about the area and made really good company. I had learned more about Karen while we were in the SAG van yesterday, and I found Jim to be just as interesting. I couldn't have imagined that the people who choose to lead tours like these could even be remotely boring people anyway. I have always been attracted to those who chose to fill their lives with adventure, humor and risk (within reason).

That's why I love all of the people on this tour so much. Before my heart can fill with even the least bit of envy that they are steadily pedaling by the van when I can't, I am inspired by the simple fact that they are steadily pedaling. We are cycling across North America. Out here, the reality of what we are doing hits me in different ways every day.

And the ways in which these people are striving to make this dream a reality make me love each of them more and more. Like when Karen and I pulled over in the SAG van yesterday where Gerard and Steve were resting along the ascent to Teton Pass and asked if they were ok. Gerard smiled proudly and said, "We're just fine. We're setting small goals. Next, we're going to cycle to that road sign up there."

The road sign was about 50 yards away. Yard by yard. That's how they made 8431 feet a reality.

Or like today when Jeff was composing a song about this tour in his head while he climbed to the Continental Divide at 9658 feet and stopped at the van to sing it for us. Or when Ellen was descending into Dubois, Wyoming, this afternoon ... battling chilly 40-degree temperatures and a fierce headwind throughout the 88-mile ride, she had already been on the road for over 8 hours. When the ride leaders told her that she still had over 20 miles to go, she replied, "Oh, that's not much farther."

Later, in the evening, while many of the riders were already finishing dinner, Jeff (one of the ride leaders) drove out to check on Ellen's progress. When he pulled up and asked her how she was doing with the 15-20 mile per hour headwinds, she said, "Hold my bicycle. I need to pee."

How could you not fall in love with people like that?

More images from Jackson to Dubois:

Click here to view my entire photo album of Day 16.

The Ride Leader's Official Report:
Across America North:

1 comment:

Monique said...

Pretty darn amazing... you'll be joining them again shortly!!