>Today was character defining. My ‘behind’ was in the saddle at 6 am. Around noon I found myself doing a sprint away from another ankle biting dog. Only to be completely drained. The day, up to that point had been FILLED with rolling hills. And being self-contained, it was wearing on me.
I roll into Excelsior Springs very fatigued. Hot. And ready to be done. The town was one big giant hill in every direction. A test in itself. From this point, I knew there was 27 miles to go.
I was mentally prepared tho. I’d heard that hwy 69 was new and had a great shoulder. So I thought I’d be rolling into Cameron, where I had a prearranged bed to sleep in, with energy to go again tomorrow. That dream was shot out of the sky after the first 5 miles on 69 provided me with less than 5 inches of shoulder and heavy traffic. So heavy that at one point a over sized semi buzzed me within 2 feet. The suction was enough to scare me into hyperventilating. Then to tears.
I was crying. MAD at myself for lack of planning. HOT, hottest day of the year…heat index at 105. And tired. My breath felt restricted. Calming down to prepare for each hill only to cry once I reached the top. Cars, trucks and semi’s still flying by.
I pull off into the shade at a convenience store. Sign says 22 miles to Cameron. 22 miles to air con. 22 miles to a shower and bed. I sit on the blacktop. Drop my head into my hands and cry. The tears formed pools in my sunglasses and drip from my cheeks. I’m Frustrated. Pushed to the limit. Tired and drained. THIS IS INSANE, WHY AM I DOING THIS?
Call my support crew, they tell me to stop if my physical condition can’t go further, it’s too dangerous. I contemplate hitchhiking. Still crying. I taste the tears/sweat. I taste my own failure. Failure of the days goal, of my lack of planning. I sit there. The clerk comes out to smoke, twice. Think it was to check on me mostly. What to do? Call for a ride? Hitchhike? Camp here? Ride on?
Earlier, I’d decided that character is defined not when you get yourself into a situation, it’s defined when you figure out how to get yourself out of that situation. I look down, grab a RB energy shot. Go to the restroom. Look at myself in the mirror. I CAN DO THIS. I CAN. 22 Miles. 22 MILES. I chug water.
The entire 22 miles I was repeating 22 miles in my head. Screaming it out loud as I crawled up the hills. I pumped my arms for semis to honk, feeding off of anything positive. I raced along. Faster than I’d gone all day. Using anything and everything I had in me. A test. 22 miles, I see the 18 miles sign. 22 miles, there goes the 13 mile sign. 22 miles. 22 miles, 8 miles to go. 22 miles, I see the water tower. Another hill. Legs are tight. My body is entirely sweat. Sweat is dripping from my knees, its forming on my forearms. I dump water over my head to cool off. Heat index of 105. It’s 2pm. 22 miles and the man outside says “keep going, you’ve got a mile to go.”
And now I’m here. In Cameron. Have had the shower. Washed my clothes and about to eat a steak. Isn’t it funny how far we can push ourselves? Positivity can do wonders. Less than 70 miles to Iowa!