September 9, 2016
Day 7 was a disaster. I set out early towards the airport to pick Jordan up, the lads were planning to set off in a few hours. I felt really good, perhaps the best I’ve felt all trip. Around 30mins in I got a niggle in my knee, I get these all the time and they generally pass, however this one didn’t. It got progressively worse to the point where each turn of the pedals was leaving me wincing from a shooting pain.
It was only a short route, 105 miles with a 30 mile climb at the start, but at 25 miles I was really struggling. I was really quite upset, but it was obvious I was doing more damage the longer I continued. I got in the van and iced it up and we drove to the airport. Naturally we were all really worried and the mood in the van was quite low – not really ideal for Jordan’s arrival.
After picking Jordan up we headed to a bike shop. My cleats had been wearing for some time and I stupidly hadn’t changed them. Once we took them off they were literally worn to an angle. The shop assistant said he wouldn’t be surprised if that had caused my injury.
We had a nice first night in the van playing cards and were in bed relatively early ready to see what day 8 would bring. I struggled to sleep.
I was up again early, setting off 2 hours before the lads. I was bricking it and the mental battle was stronger than ever! My knee was a bit sore but nothing like yesterday, the climbs were the hardest bit. Once the lads caught me at 30 mile I was struggling a bit but nothing a few ibuprofen wouldn’t sort out!
Jordan decided he was going to get a bike and they all headed into a town to pick one up! He rode the last 25 mile with me which was brilliant. It’s tough riding on your own with nothing but your own thoughts. Matty asked me what I think about all day when I’m riding, if I’m honest all I think about is stopping!
We’ve entered a new state, Colorado! Apparently this is the first state where you can legally smoke weed so Rob’s getting a bit excited.
I’m absolutely delighted I’ve had no real issues today, I can make that 75 mile back no problem in the next 3 weeks! I have to say after around 6 hours less riding yesterday I feel as fresh as a daisy despite my dodgy knee. Injuries were inevitable really – I had never done over 4 consecutive 100 miles – but I’m praying we have no more.
We’re all in a good mood today, currently in Dinosaur, Colorado!!
Day 1 (day 7)
The time for me to meet up with Shane and the boys had arrived, I woke up early in my hotel feeling worse for wear after a night with mixed drinks, but excited about finally meeting up with them and speaking to Shane only exacerbated that being the spring chicken he is.
While waiting at the San Francisco airport I checked the RideForTheChild live tracker and saw he was about 70 miles from the airport but he was travelling at 55mph, I figured he must be flying down a hill somewhere but knew I’d be waiting at the airport for a while based on a 15mph average. I touched down in Salt Lake City a short while later and was surprised when I heard straight back from him that they were waiting. I saw the behemoth coming and nearly took down the bridge but soon I was aboard a solemn RV, where Shane delivered the classic line, “It’s not good news.” He explained that he had to give up at 20 miles due to a sharp pain in his knee, I could see he was hurting not only because of the knee, but a defeated look that he couldn’t finish riding that day. And so the journey began.
We had a brief look around Salt Lake City and found a cycle shop where Shane picked up some stuff, but their bikes started at about 3 grand sale price so it wasn’t much good for me. While we were there I looked on Craigslist and found a second-hand bike shop not far away, so we paid a visit on the way. We went in and found a guy repairing bikes with what must have been 300 hundred semi-complete bikes piled up, I thought we had found a winner. Looking more closely we saw a road bike in decent condition, probably quite old but looked somewhat useable with a bit of TLC. I asked him the price looking to pay $200 tops and he comes back with a $500 price point, I thought he was pulling our leg, but he wouldn’t budge! He tried to flogging us some old beaters without wheels or a seat and said they were a steal at 300 bucks but I decided at that point I don’t think we were going to be doing business. It seemed unlikely I’d be able to pick anything up at the price range I was looking for so I accepted the fact I probably wouldn’t be doing much riding!
After we drove to a very empty RV park near a reservoir and set up for the night, it was great to see how smooth they did everything; electricity on, water connected, it was like clockwork! They had been up early and so had I so we all had an early night.
Day 2 (Day 8)
The alarm went off for us to wake Shane up, and to my surprise it was bloody freezing after sweltering in the sun all day. Due to this he has to wrap up in the morning, so after stocking up with water and supplies he was on his way. We were really worried for him and hoped that his knee felt better, but only time would tell. We waited around and went about the morning routine, folding away beds and disconnecting from the park and left about 1 and a half hours later to catch him up.
I was really surprised how far he had gone and how long it took to catch him, I assumed that was a positive sign if he was going at this pace, but I also knew Shane. Turns out I was right and he asked us for an Ibuprofen when we stopped, but did also say it’s subsided. Later that day I asked in a supermarket if they knew anywhere that sold bikes as a last ditch attempt after Shane’s recommendation of a scrap shop didn’t work out, he recommended Altitude Cycles in Vernal and so we headed there after leaving Shane.
We went in and because of its location they didn’t have many road bikes, 3 in fact, and starting at $800 I didn’t have much hope. After looking at one of the bikes, and speaking with the shopkeeper he gave us a great deal when he learnt about the cause and challenge being undertaken. I decided it was the only realistic way I’d have a chance to cycle across some of America, and with Shane confirming he actually wanted me to do it I purchased a brand new Specialized bike! My hope is that I can sell it either in Kansas City or they can carry it to New York and sell it there, so if you’re looking for a great deal, get in touch!
After meeting up with Shane, I didn’t hesitate to get ready and on the bike! I still wasn’t really sure what I was getting in to, but I wanted to give it a go. There were only 13 miles or so left till the end of the day but it was no easy feat. The combination of heat and relentless hills really do take it out of you. I honestly don’t know how he’s got this far. When we reached the RV, they decided to ride towards the RV park, another 12 miles (I felt a bit swindled!) and he was still wanting a race! He obviously won quite handily.
It’s been an amazing experience so far and I can’t believe how fast it’s gone, and it really puts some perspective on what they are doing out here. There’s a lot of support work required and Rob/Matt are really into the swing of things now, and just 25 short miles makes it clear how much of a machine Shane is.