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Wind Runner in Pain

I am Wind Runner. Some time during this trip it was necessary to change my name. No one really knows who you are or why the hell you are riding that “thing” across the country so why not just become someone else along the way?! Some of us put our “game faces” on before working out or public speaking. This prepping is needed to rev our engines for the task at hand. For me, I become Wind Runner. My first time being Wind Runner was to escape a series of storms through one of the many states…Wyoming I suppose. I’ve needed to become her to get over a couple of passes, get through some rough days, and to battle against more wind. Eleanor will sometimes come up behind me and say,”Wind Runner, what is the outlook?” I will respond with, “Fair my friend,” if I think the weather will hold out. Just hearing myself called that is enough to rev the engine a bit and kick up the rpms a solid 1 mile an hour or so. You think that doesn’t sound like much but you would be surprised what a difference 1mph can make.
So yesterday I wished I was Toyota Tacoma. I would have been going 55 mph watching the Oregon hills fly by with not a care in the world. Sadly, I was far from Toyota Tacoma. I wasn’t even Wind Runner.
We woke at 5 am as usual. Packing was easy because we had done a good job of securing everything to our bikes before bed because otherwise it would have blown away. I’d done some serious stretching on the picnic table in hopes that it would calm me before what should have been a peaceful nights rest. We were beside a lake with mountains around us, stars out, no fly on the tent with the weather so dry, and some fairly heavy winds that would surely lull us to sleep. Hot. Muggy. My sleeping bag was my pillow. Wind in my ears…very little sleep.
The morning ride was peaceful. We meandered our way through the Idaho/Oregon roads crossing into the Pacific time zone (finally). I liked ridiing in the back today. I looked all around and zig zagged across the road. There was no hurry. I stopped to eat some blackberries and to eye the apricots whos aroma had been leading me down the road for miles. They weren’t quite ripe yet though. Boo. We stopped at the only store before Richland (30 miles away and designated as our lunch stop). The lady at the counter was less than helpful. May we fill our water bottles? No, no water here. But she insisted that they were “biker friendly here.” I wanted to push her buttons so badly by asking in what way they were friendly but I resisted. She did have a lovely porter-jon and chairs to sit in. We downed a box of cereal and the milk that was left over. It was enough to power us through the next series of slow going hills. It was also enough to aggrivate my stomach. Up came the milk. It wasn’t projectile vomit. It was more of a gurgling overflow of dairy. Ugh. Too much detail? Probably. But it didn’t stop me from biking. I just rinsed and repeated.
Richland was a cute town. We would have only 44 miles to go to get to Bakers City and it was only 12:30 so we took our sweet time. A Veggie Burger and a big ice cream cone were enough to get me rolling again. Did I just have dairy again? Shit. I had already vowed to not have milk or cereal the rest of the trip but somehow ice cream consumption cannot, will not, be stopped. Off we go.
Off we go! …why aren’t we going? Oh, we are…just not very fast. The lady at the store said we’d have a steady climb most of the way and the last 10 miles would be worse into Bakers City. It is certain now that the woman has never been to Bakers City. Anyone, ANYONE, can tell that her description is the farthest thing from the truth.
Head winds, side winds, swirling winds, blasting winds, winds. The heat was bad enough, 100+, but the wind was enough to nearly kill us. I was nervous to ride too close to the girls for fear that I would go down and they would follow or that I would run in to one of them after being whipped all over the road. I have a hate/hate relationship with wind anyway. I’ve never enjoyed it. Even breezy weather can irritate me. If we were going to have wind the least it could do for us is decide on one direction to come from. Then we could at least prepare. By mile 60, for the day, (we had to go 84) I was ready to give up. So many thoughts crossed my mind. Thumb a ride. No, not this close to the end. Camp under that bush. There might be snakes. Walk your bike, it might be faster. That may be harder. By then I was literally unable to push down on the pedals. All I did was let them circle with the weight of my legs. I gave a small tug up every once in a while to keep the momentum going. I ate a pop tart in hopes that it would energize. NO. The girls plugged along together ahead of me, miles ahead by the time the sun was setting. I just couldn’t go any faster than 4 miles an hour. My ass was hurting, my thighs itched and burned from the mystery rash that’s been 2 days in the making. Sun poisoning or heat rash…hopefully one of the two. Both hands were going numb and I felt shocks up my arms when I shifted my weight on them. I’ll just pick a spot, hope for cell service and hope the girls don’t come looking for me. No. Keep going. Only 7 miles left. I came around a bend as the sun disappeared and the clock read 8:15. I saw a town below. That couldn’t be Bakers City! The map and that lady said the last few miles would be all up hill. Huh? P7190903Zip zip I flew down the hill. The temperature change from warm to refreshingly cool made my legs work again. Whoa, hello 15 miles an hour. How I’ve missed you! As I crested the last small hill into the city I saw Eleanor coming back towards me. She was coming to find me. Luckily she hadn’t backtracked any more than 1/2 a mile. We hit up the grocery store and debated sleeping arrangements. Hotel or behind the church? Easy. Hotel. I’ve never been so happy to arrive in a town. And of course, I bought cereal in the store. So much for not having any for the rest of the trip. I did avoid milk. I got the kind of cereal that’s best when eaten dry!


About dollybikes

I'm going across the country on my bike. Yay.

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