Thursday, July 9, 2015

Day 7: Chesterfield to Sunbury

Route: Chesterfield, VA to Sunbury, NC
Mileage: 92 miles

Today was our 7th day of riding and we have made it to our 7th state!  Today's theme: extreme heat.

It started off quite pleasantly.  We woke up early after our day off and Lydia had prepped us a nice high protein breakfast while the kids played around us.  Julia and I held Tinker Toys between our noses, what's not to love? We even got a very special escort out of town.  Police and the chair of the BODs has nothing on Jon and Julia who made it a whole block and yard, respectively :)

I feel like I don't have too much to say about the ride itself.  It was pretty flat the whole time.  We saw a bunch of animals including pheasants, baby calfs and ponies (and their adult counterparts) and a bunch of vultures at the end that wondered why we weren't dead yet...and really wished we would die so they could eat our remains.

That's the real story of the day--how freaking hot it was.  As I lay here writing this, it still says there is a heat index of 98 degrees and it was way hotter today.  And, fun fact, there is no A/C at this Bed and Breakfast we are staying at.  I am laying right in front of the fan but it's going to be a miserable night's sleep.  I get nightmares when it's too hot.

Feels like night...even hotter in this room!

Anyways, back to the ride.  We were pretty much on a country road in the middle of nowhere the whole time.  We left at 8:30 and it was great to get so much mileage out of the way early.  We actually road for 60 miles straight (with breaks every hour to put on more sunscreen and get sweet tea or fill up our water bottles).  It was just so hot you had to get out of the sun for even a few minutes.  There was no cloud cover and very few trees to shield you.  Even if there were, it was overhead most of the time we were riding.

For my dad :) Ricky Skaggs!

Flat open road with no tree cover

Tea break 
Still no shade

So, Hot.

Confederate flags everywhere right as we cross into NC

So we finally stopped for lunch at a place I found on yelp, the first place in about 25 miles.  Of course we get there, and it's closed.  There was some random guy sitting outside of the joint even though it was closed and he said there was a place a few blocks further, so we went there.  More southern fried food.  Seems to be a theme.  But it was nice and cool in the restaurant and the waitress couldn't believe we were out there biking, said we were crazy.  In fact, a lot of people have told us this (starting to believe it).

We then only had 30ish miles left, which in theory should be about 2 hours.  But they were the worst 2 hours.  The sun rash on my thighs has gotten so intense, I could barely stand being in the sun.  It stung every time the sun hit it, which was pretty much constant because of lack of shade.  I put on so much sunscreen but nothing was enough.  My legs started to swell underneath it with edema. I was the GPS and I was just waiting for the mileage to tick down and it felt like it never would.  We also then had a headwind and I was mustering all I had just to get there and get out of the sun.  Every time we got to a tree lined area, my legs let out a sign of relief as there was a brief moment of shade.

The mileage was up there with our top of the trip.  The body felt good otherwise.  Muscles aren't sore, joints are doing well, it's just the sun rash that's killing me. And it stings a little but no big deal, check out my nice infected road rash from our crash too.

When we got to the B&B, the host came out to meet us.  We had been there all of 3 mins when another older couple on a bike tour rolled up.  They are riding from Key West to Montreal, they're smart to be doing it that direction where they have a tailwind and the weather theoretically gets cooler as they go! They are also probably retired and taking their sweet time to do it.  We are on a mission for speeeed!

We got showered and then set out for food.  I had messaged the host ahead of time asking if there was food around since we weren't going to be getting back on the bike.  She told us there was a gas station that had fried food and then a couple of stores down the road.  We set out on foot and first came across the gas station.  Fried BBQ at an authentic restaurant is one thing, but fried food from a gas station just sounded (and looked) horrid, so we passed on that.  The host had said there were two stores next to each other--Family Dollar and Family Foods.  She had said go to Family Dollar because Family Foods doesn't get fresh food in so often.  So we went to Family Dollar, and it was like a Kmart or a glorified CVS or something.  It had some cold cuts and other snacks but nothing delicious.  We decided to check out Family Foods and were absolutely horrified by the place.  I couldn't fathom eating food from a place like this.

At Family was scary

Read these ingredients...yikes.  What honesty.

So we went back to Family Dollar after all and bought a few things.  The turkey meat was actually pretty gross.  And we didn't have a spoon.  So really we pretty much had 4 pieces of string cheese each after a day of burning probably around 8000 calories in the hot sun.

We then came back and ate our delicious cheese sticks as I jumped on an Arthritis Foundation conference call.  I don't have cell service so quickly had to figure out how to call using google voice over the internet.

Then my next project was to figure out what to do about my legs.  So many fabulous people are watching out for us online and giving what sound like amazing suggestions.  Unfortunately, we are in the middle of nowhere (please see string cheese dinner) and none of those options were available.  So I had to think like a pro.  First, I did do an Amazon Prime order and had it shipped to our host's house in Jacksonville NC where we will be in 2 nights time.  But in the meantime, I needed to do something.  I legitimately cannot have my thighs exposed to the sun AT ALL.  So--I sacrificed a pair of my cycling shorts and cut the legs off of them to make mini knee sleeves that would essentially extend my pants down past my knees.  The rash has spread to my left calf and ankle, but nowhere near as bad as my thighs, so I figure this will hold me until I can get leggings somewhere.  People have offered to bring us things or have found stores for us to stop at along the way.  I really do have amazing people looking out for us.  And I promise once I get back into civilization I will try all of those things!

Step 1: Cut legs off shorts 
Step 2: Pull legs over knees to close gap with normal shorts.  Dance around because you feel like Peter Pan.

Step 3: Pin back Peter Pan floppy pants to make mini knee sleves!

And now, I am hot, tired, and ready for bed.  The sun takes a lot out of you.  Naturally, I am nervous for tomorrow. I have long sleeves to put on if my arms need it, but I'm really more concerned for my legs.  We have 95 miles to go tomorrow.  I would love to get an earlier start, but breakfast at this place isn't served until 8 (and we know there are no real breakfast options around!).  So we will just leave as soon as possible after that.  It's supposed to be another scorcher tomorrow.  Ugh.  Pray for legs!!

I have to say, so many unexpected people have donated to this fundraising effort.  I'm so touched.  It means more to me than you know.  Today was really tough, I seriously worried about whether I can physically do this in these conditions, but it's worth it to feel like I have connected with so many others and am raising money for a cause I truly believe in.  So if you wanted to send me a bottle of aloe or a pair of leggings, please consider donating to the cause instead.  On our 7th day and 7th state, I had hoped we would surpass the $7,000 mark -- we are close, but $180 off as of right now!  I know we can do it.  Donate here!

Thank you all for following along!!! (this mileage is wrong, it kept stopping and you can see a chunk missing--it was 92 miles and a bazillion calories burned).

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