September 24, 2016
Today we hit the Appalachian Mountains, a roller coaster of climbs surrounded by a whole lot of trees. I knew this was my hardest remaining day so I had an early night ready for a early start, something we’ve been finding difficult to achieve with the late nights.
I set off with the lads snoring their heads off, they were drinking whisky late into the night. I was climbing pretty much straight away and didn’t stop until I finished 10 hours later, when I ran out of light. The climbs are short and steep and roll up and down, you don’t gain or lose much height. It wasn’t as hard as Day 2, the worst day so far, but it was still tough! I’m undecided if I would rather just go uphill for ages or have rolling hills. With the former it’s hard but your body gets used to climbing. With the rolling hills it messes your rhythm up and after a descent your legs are dead when you hit the next climb!
After the halfway point Chris and Matty decided that they wanted to ride a bit with me. We agreed that Chris would do 4 and then Matty jump on. Chris did really well, finishing on around 10 miles, and then it was Matty’s turn. Unfortunately Matty’s 4 miles were quite a bit tougher than Chris’, he was blowing like a good un! However he didn’t help himself by absolutely blasting it at the bottom of the climbs and blowing up halfway. Chris on the other hand was slow and steady away. They both did really well! They loved the descents, they both said how awesome they were and I’m glad they enjoyed it and I could share a short ride with them! I’m still trying to get Bobs down one, maybe tomo!
I was a bit sore on the hills yesterday. The palms of my hands are really sore and so too are my arms from pulling on the handlebars. My feet swell in the heat and the constantly pressure from climbing is leaving them in a bad way. I put some new soles in my shoe yesterday, that improved things. I’m still doing ok to be honest but I can feel myself having a little bit less energy than the previous day, especially if I didn’t eat well.
I was on the last hour of climbing yesterday and I started to feel a bit funny. My breathing got heavy, my HR started rocketing and my vision was blurry. I’ve had this earlier on in the ride and I panicked but today I realised I was just bonking and had no energy left. I ate some stuff – especially sugar gels – and lay down for five mins, on a gravel road in the middle of the Mountains! Five mins later and I’m back up and completed the day. The human body is amazing! What I find weird is that everything now packs up before my legs, which are going strong. I don’t get tired in the physical sense, it will be something more fundamental that’s making me stop or suffer.
I’ve only 5 days left now! I’ve two hard-ish ones for the next two days and then a not-so-bad one on day 26, which is the only ride left over 100 miles. Should I get to the end of day 26 in theory I should be home and dry as they’re pretty flat and short. Day 27 is more of a procession, like the tour de France.
Today I got to the top of the biggest climb of the day to find out that my rugby team, Warrington Wolves, finished top of the league. They’re now through to the semis in a knockout and should they will they will be in the grand final, which I’m attending the week after I’m back. Turns out the semi final is next Thursday at 3pm NYC time! Looks like we’re in for a bit of a session that day!!!
Thanks to everyone for your kind messages of support. I haven’t had chance to reply to everyone, but I’ve read them all and used them as motivation!
Five more days to go! We’re in a new State now, Pennsylvania. I haven’t been able to get the photos up as the internet is too poor!