Strawberry Festival & the Ride to Nashville

May 8, 2010

So we’re 2,200 miles into this trip and I still haven’t figured out how to start a “new ride” on my Garmin without downloading the old ride onto my laptop. As a result, my rides for 5/7 and 5/8 are both going to be on this blog, but will be different “Laps”.

Strawberry Festival

My life is currently separated by two lovers: my midnight lover and my daytime lover. The midnight lover is a 0 degree North Face Snowshoe synthetic sleeping bag. It keeps me warm, and generally well rested. We seldom fight. My daytime lover is a completely different beast. Her name is KITT, which some of you may recognize as a nod to the cheesy eighties television show Knight Rider. Most of the time I love bicycling along country roads with KITT. We’ve seen much of the country together, and I wouldn’t want to have made this journey with any other bicycle. But there are those days when the idea of getting on a bicycle is very undesirable. No day has that feeling been more true than today.

My day usually starts with me waking up around 5:30, looking at my watch and being relieved that I can sleep for another hour. I relish that twilight between the night and the day, because I know as soon as its over, my life will start moving faster.

At 6:30 my alarm goes off. In the next 30 minutes I will pack up my sleeping bag and mat, pack my duffel, get all that stuff into the cargo van, be changed into my riding clothes and had a morning bowel movement (sorry for the details, but it actually takes several of those first 30 minutes). The cargo van ideally leaves at this time to start marking the route.

In the next 30 minutes, I will wolf down some breakfast, inflate my tires, check my bike, change into my biking shoes, put my flip-flops in my backpack and my backpack in the lunch van, fill up my water bottles, grab power bars, put on sun-screen, and basically do anything else that needs to be done to be ready for a day of biking.

At 7:30 the cargo van should have contacted the rest of the support team, telling them its ok for us to start riding. The support team reads over the day’s route, talks about water and lunch breaks, and informs us on anything else that needs to be done. Then we’re off.

There. That’s my morning detailed in 4 paragraphs. Today was the first day where I woke up and my legs felt totally dead. Yesterday was a long, hot, hilly day and my legs were not interested being back on the bike. Luckily, today was also the shortest day in our route, biking approximately 12 miles to the town of Humboldt, TN, where we were to participate in the 73rd West Texas Strawberry Festival Parade.

I could force my legs to comply for 12 miles, then I just had to look like I was enjoying myself for a few miles while we biked in the parade. It was actually fun, especially when Roshan got out in front and started dancing for the audience. Many of the women were hooting and hollering at him shaking his bootie with his spandex shorts on.

It’s amazing how at the times when my spirits are low, the days when I start counting down the days until I’m finished with this trip, I’ll be treated to a day like today. Our ride today was approximately 60 miles, the majority of which was along the Natchez Trace Parkway, a 400-mile swath of perfection from Mississippi to Nashville.

Ride to Nashville

The Parkway like a little piece of bicycling heaven: a high quality road virtually empty of traffic with beautiful views of forests and grasslands. Hills provide a chance to stretch out the legs, and the excitement of fast down hills. The world is green again, and fragrant with the perfume of local wild flowers.

Today’s ride was probably the nicest ride I have ever been on, and did a great deal to undue the frustration, exhaustion and general low spirits that I’ve been experiencing. Tonight we’re sleeping at the First Baptist Church in downtown Nashville. Nashville is a city still reeling from the floods a week ago. It’ll be interesting to see this city in disaster mode.

Milan to Humboldt & Hohenwald to Nashville by embricate at Garmin Connect – Details.


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