September 18, 2016
What a difference a day makes! We spent last night as a team in a pub, I left early to go to bed and the lads stayed out until midnight, having a few beers. I was sad to say goodbye to Jordan, it’s been fantastic to have him on the trip. I’ve not known him long, perhaps two years, but I’m glad to have shared the experience with him as he’s a top person and he’s contributed a lot to my life since I met him.
Anyway, I felt a little run down when I woke and we were late setting off again, I was in a mood to be honest. However after setting off I felt half decent. Also, I was absolutely delighted that the wind – which had caused me so much trouble – had finally subsided! Today was not just a good day, I absolutely killed it. 121 miles in 6h 40min, 18mph average speed, it’s not only the fastest ride on the trip but my fastest ride EVER in the year I’ve been cycling, in addition it was a relatively hilly course. I was going like an absolute train, I could have towed the RV! Thanks to everyone who left messages of support, they meant a lot and I thought about every single one when smashing those pedals.
After 3/4 miserable days I am absolutely on cloud 9 tonight, it’s the first time I have thought I might just complete this! It’s the first day I haven’t had any issues with my body, no aches, no pains, no tight muscles, just a sore arse but that’s normal! BUT, I don’t want to get carried away as I know things can change very quickly the next morning.
We now have Chris in the vehicle, he’s Rob’s cousin. So we’ve me and my cousin Matt, then Rob and his cousin. In the same way when Jordan arrived Chris is an absolute breath of fresh air! The RV is so clean you would think my mother had been! We’ve now got some chairs and a table so we can sit outside, a poker set and Monopoly. This might not sound like much but when you’re sat on saddle for 8-10 hours even the tiniest thing can cheer you up!
Today has been my most enjoyable day of the whole ride, after a few really tough days I have felt so relaxed today. We’re now setting down to play some poker! Lets hope we get more of the same tomorrow! The countdown is on!! 12 days left!
We had no signal last night so it was only about 10am, when I had been on the road around 1.5 hours when I received a message to let me know that Mark, who has been a friend since primary school, has had a baby! Little Alice Aylett came into the world at some point, congratulations Mark and Jane! The day was only going to get better after that news!
I was feeling yesterdays effort this morning but still feeling really strong. The roads are now like rolling hills, so they just go up and down for miles. I’ve now come to terms with the fact that America is not flat! I don’t really mind these hills, I’m not too bad climbing providing I’ve not got a headwind!
My dad had told me about dogs chasing him and today I had a good taste of that these past two days! Five separate experiences in total, although only 3 gave chase. One was two little dogs, I laughed that one off. Then I had an older limping dog, again that got laughed off. Then I had one which frightened the life out of me. I was approaching a dual carriage way and a dog came from the side, in front of me. I accelerated to get past but the thing was the carriageway was getting closer and I had to cross to get onto my side. I shot past it and was literally 20 meters from the carriageway. Thankfully the dog fell momentarily and I was able to check the path was clear before shooting over the road. I have no idea what they would do if they caught me, I would like to think they are just having fun but I’m not so sure! The are not contained in any way and just left to roam – and guard – their area.
The other two occasions where the dogs didn’t give chase were still quite scary to think about. One at the end looked like a bullmastiff, a large one. That was near a busy road so doubt that would come out, but it was a big one. However the worst one was on a very quiet road, I seen 3 dobermans on my right and, having been chased twice already, started to get really nervous. There were in the garden of a large property and had a kennel each, they didn’t seem to be leashed but I can’t say for sure. I would say they were trained guard dogs, should anyone step on their territory they would attack! They just sat and watched me while I peddled past, my heart rate went up a few beats!
I’ve had a bit of bad luck for a few days now, mainly getting caught in thick mud which requires me to take wheels off and unclog it. Today’s issue was hitting a country road, I had to walk perhaps 3 mile as it wasn’t fit to cycle. I could have tried to find an alternate route but we have to be careful as there’s limited signal and following the same route is essential to ensure we don’t get split up. This bad luck means I waste an hour or so, but instead of kicking off I now just sulk for a bit!
The van has been wonderful today, we had a great night last night (maybe one too many beers) and the mood is improving by the day! I don’t want to think too far ahead but should I get through tomorrow there’s only ten days left! This means we would be over 2/3rds of the way across America with perhaps 1000 miles left! On that note I’m going to grab myself a beer and get a massage off Rob!
New state tonight! Goodnight from Illinois!!!!