Well now I scouted out my route which was basically staying along the I-10 corridor, when we last left Serenity, her journey had taken her in the middle of downtown Boerne, TX. Although I should have started in Boerne, I didn’t start there. Instead I drove in my truck a little bit further to the next city close to I-10 which was Comfort, TX.
I had gotten a late start on things because I decided that I wanted to have some breakfast in my stomach and that was about where half of my breakfast ended up, the other half ended up on the floor. I wasn’t paying attention and managed to flip my plate, which by the way landed back on the table minus my food. Guess what, it is a mess to clean up egg yolk from carpet but that was what I had to do before I left for my ride.
Waking up early and prepping things the night before is probably one of the most efficient ways to start off my trike ride but guess what….I didn’t do that and so things were quickly going wrong. So dumping my breakfast on the carpet, had to fill up my water bladder, packed a sports drink and 2 protein bars; normally that would have been great for a 30 mile ride which would have put me in Kerville, TX which was the next big city along I-10.
So by the time I get to Comfort, I have to struggle to get into the convenience store parking lot because two nice motorcycle clubs were taking their potty break at the same gas station so I had to wait in line because mother nature decided that I needed to take care of business before getting out on my trike.
I pull up along a street where there is public parking and close by a house so hopefully my truck won’t get stolen. Then as I’m unloading my trike a gentleman comes over offering to help which was great but I really didn’t need any help and when my trike down it ended up putting a hole in my leggings but that is okay because the majority of my legs were covered.
So you’re probably thinking, why in the heck is she wearing leggings, sure it wasn’t exactly hot when I started the ride but it has nothing to do with the temperature, it is more of protection from the sun. I have special leggings that have 50 SPF material and so I wear those but on this part of the ride I did not have my sleeves yet.
I’m trying to be a good ambassador for cyclists so I talked with the gentleman and his family for a few minutes and even spoke with the man whose house I was parked by, then was stopped by a couple of other people before I could get out on my ride.
So off I went, obeying all of the traffic laws and getting a few odd stares as I jammed to my tunes as I rode out of the city. It was a wonderful and great ride and I was really enjoying myself and stopped in Kerville, TX where I ate half of my protein bar, drank part of my sports drink and re-applied the suntan lotion besides taking a much-needed break. As a matter of fact, I was feeling so good that I thought that I would continue on down the road to the next city and then I decided, ‘Hey, why don’t I just keep on riding about 15 more miles to where this road joins back up to I-10 and then ride back!’.
Well you know what they say about the best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry, well let me tell you that this one really went awry. Let me to elaborate; you see the city that connects back up to I-10 is a very small city called ‘Mountain Home’ and guess what? There were hills that I had to climb to get to this location, only I didn’t realize just how steep those hills would be nor did I realize how drained my body had become.
Remember me spilling my breakfast on the floor, well I burned through the half eaten breakfast and burned through the half eaten protein bar as I was 7 miles away from Mountain Home. Well on other rides I remember that if I just kept on pushing then I would be able to make the 7 miles with no problem, I might be tired but I figured since I had been climbing so many hills I would be going downhill on the way back. Believe me, I was really looking forward to the return ride.
So I struggled making it up the hills, downshifting and doing my best to at least keep my speed above 2 mph but it went down to 1.4 mph going up a hill and it was getting harder and harder each time to climb the next hill. Finally I reached another sign that said Mountain Home – 4 miles and I figured I could do this but then I started noticing that the clouds were beginning to gather overhead and turned the sky a little bit darker…okay so it was turning them a lot darker.
I only managed to make it 2 more miles before I felt my legs start to quiver from exhaustion. So when I reached the top of the next hill I stopped and took a few moments to rest. By now the clouds were really getting dark and I could have sworn that I heard thunder which really put the fear in me for my safety. So after a few minutes of rest I pushed off and started my first downhill but had to hit the brakes several times because of traffic and since it was wiser to be defensive instead of offensive in riding, I pulled over to let the huge 18-wheel trucks go by me on the little 2 lane road that had a small shoulder on which I was riding.
Then I noticed that as I was going down a hill my bike computer rigging started slipping, could be the bumpy road I was flying down doing 27 mph (quite a bit faster than going uphill) didn’t help so I had to stop and pull over and try to secure my computer because I didn’t want to lose that. Two more times I had to pull over and make adjustments to the computer to hold it into place and 27 was about the fastest that I was able to travel on the downhills.
So by now the sun was setting as I reached the outskirts of Kerville and I still had some ways to go before I made it to Comfort. I didn’t get started until about noon on my ride and I should have known better than to start a ride so late but I figured it was only 30 miles (or at least that was what I originally planned to do), I can do that in no time….WRONG!!!!!
I was doing my best to pedal as fast as possible but my strength and endurance was rapidly fading. I stopped in Center Point, TX because I found that I was falling asleep and I needed to wake up. This was very bad because my body was drained and had almost no energy and that was why I was sleepy. I kept on pedaling and that was taking all of my energy but because I was having trouble staying awake it meant that I was putting myself in even bigger danger.
I pulled over and finished the last half of the protein bar and then ate the other protein bar and drank all of my sports drink. I was very concerned for my safety because as I had got up from my trike, I felt my legs starting to collapse underneath me and I was having a hard time standing up. I quickly sat down on one of the cement stops in a parking lot and that was there I ate and drank my stuff trying to get more energy going.
About 20 minutes later I noticed that the sun would be down in less than 30 minutes and I still had about 8 miles to ride. I dusted off my bottom and got back on my trike and started to ride, determined to get back to my truck as quickly as possible. It helped for about the next 5 miles and then I was once again fighting to stay energized for the last 3 miles. That was about the time I noticed that the power on my bike computer was getting low, my speaker had run out of power and my front light was beginning to fade. So now I scared myself into picking up the pace and riding harder.
By the time I had reached Comfort, TX city limits, my throat was killing me from singing, mind you it was a good thing no one was riding with me because I was singing off-key, I had to sing to keep myself company as I was finishing up my ride. It had started getting cold again because the sun was down and now my light was barely on as I continued pushing on.
Finally I came to the cross street where my truck was parked and I turned in just as my front light went out, talk about good timing. So I continued for the two blocks until I got to my truck where I just sat there for a few minutes. It took a concentrated effort not to break down and cry with relief but I realized it would have used up too much energy and I still had to drive home 47 miles…after I found a bathroom.
I struggled out of my seat and struggled getting the truck bed down and that was when the owner of the home came outside. I was afraid that I was making too much noise trying to get the truck bed down because it was sticking and I had to bang on it from the inside of the bed of the truck. The home owner was an older gentleman who said he had been worried about me and he was about to call the police and ask them to be on the look out for me. He said he had just finished looking up the State Trooper number just in case I was on the roadway. I put on my biggest smile because it warmed my heart that this stranger was concerned for my safety. I thanked him and I wanted to ask him if he could help me put my trike in my truck because I barely had any strength left but it was my trike and my responsibility. Also he was slightly hunched over and I figured he must have had a bad back so I just thanked him for being so concerned and pulled away from the spot in search of a local gas station where I could get some type of snack to keep me going.
I went back to the same gas station/convenience store I first pulled into only there was no motorcycle group this late. Oh did I forget to tell you that it was now about 8 in the evening, well that was what time it was when I finished. I grabbed another sports drink and drank that and water on my way back to San Antonio.
Once home I fixed myself a New York strip steak, baked potato, green beans and about a half bottle of wine. I soaked in a Epsom Salts bath to stave off any leg cramping and then got ready for bed. I knew that I was going to be sore so I popped a couple of ibuprofen tablets and went to sleep right away.
There is a very good happy ending for this part of the story, the next morning when I got up, the full meal did wonders for my body and my spirit and I felt great. My knee was a little bit sore but since I would be going for my massage in a couple of days I knew I would be okay, but actually I was doing rather good because I was downshifting and not pushing myself.
I did learn a couple of things and that was if I ever ride this far again in one session, I need to be better prepared. Taking a protein bar is not sufficient and I need to start drinking more water. So once I finish climbing a hill I will do my best to remember to drink lots of water to keep me better hydrated. Maybe I should also take some nuts along for the crunch factor. I wish that I had taken more time to get out my camera because there were some cool things to see along the ride but maybe another time I’ll go back and snap some shots.
Also I’m more aware of the exhaustion stage and I know what to expect next time so I can always pull over and try to remedy that point with food or drink.
So I really pushed it big time on this ride and although it was tiring and pushed me hard, I managed to hold on and make it back safe and sound.
As I stated it was a big push for me and it exhausted me because I wasn’t properly prepared so let’s see if that taught me a lesson. So the big news is that this was the furthest I had ever rode in one session on my trike or on a bike. I rode 65.15 miles.
I’m very proud of it but most importantly of all I’m glad that I made it and kept my head and got back to my truck. There were so many little things that made the ride nice but most of all it was what I had accomplished that me feel good about what I had done.
So until my next posting,
Happy Trails To You !!