Day 12: everything was beautiful and everything hurt 

Woke up feeling like the median household income for Sopchoppy, FL: low and falling further. I had a bad case of “alone in a crowded room” (just checked on my suspicion that that was a line in Alanis Morissette’s Ironic; it isn’t.) syndrome. When I get sad it’s very obvious as I only have a good poker face when joking. Otherwise when sad I have the face of an onion: transparent and will make you cry. Jack collected me to ride with him and his group of Meegan, Kelp, and David, as well as Delbert, a local B&B fan with a bike seat suspended midair over his wheel for a softer ride. 

The first 20 miles were cutting through headwinds. Delbert tried to shield me from the worst of it by riding ahead of and to the side of me, but there’s only so much windbreaking anyone can do. While trailing close behind another cyclist does help, for the most part, it’s all you. 

The second stretch was much calmer. I bike DJed the entire way, spinning for myself and anyone close/(un?)fortunate enough to hear the tunes and what words I could remember of such cycling classics as Californication by RHCP (middle school favorites are the songs lodged the firmest in my head), an unintentional Pixies medley, Hit Me Baby One More Time (with what I consider very accurate vocal fry), that song about soup and computers (???), and the most significant work of art of this new century, Riding Solo by Jason Derulo. David also led us in the long and expanding call and response chant he’s writing. 

Lunch was exciting because there were vegetables. Also hummus! Then back on the road. I was getting sad again, which made me heavy and slow, so I pulled over and talked with Jack. He was super understanding and I felt like I had a mini exorcism, getting my personality and energy back. JUST IN TIME FOR HILLS. They were rolling and pretty, but they were still hills. 

Literally around the corner from our host, I felt a pain above and to the right of my right knee. I have my pain points, and while they suck I’m for the most part cool with them coming along for the ride, but I’m not interested in inviting in their friends. I got back on my bike for the one minute to the Baptist church, then immediately lay down in a shady spot of grass. 

Shower was in a shower trailer. I was so excited about having a real shower with walls, but it was like ice, so a bit of a trade off. 

I was starting to feel a bit wobbly so dinner couldn’t come a second too soon. It was spaghetti with meat sauce, iceberg salad, garlic bread, and optionally, several pounds of pound cake. The youth pastor gave us a speech on the theme, “go big or go home” that touched on his life story, getting saved, the potentially imminent end of days (“things are looking a little chaotic. I’m just saying…”), and the plot of 3:10 to Yuma. 

This was the first day I found myself unable to walk normally post-ride. Bright side: I now know what exactly I’m lookingforward to in my old age. Although this day was a relatively short 60-something miles, everyone seemed noticeably knocked around and worse for wear. 

Talked with Kevin, who had noticed I didn’t look so hot in the morning and kindly asked what was up, about group dynamics. Then Melissa intercepted my attempt to go to sleep before 9:30 by asking if my group had done our job. All the groups rotated jobs that day without much instruction on our new task, so while Yoouunn Boouhl and I had pondered whether we had an evening portion of our new Trailer Crew responsibilities, we hadn’t come to a conclusion and he drifted off. Some awake people and I did it. Then laundry was back so I hunted for my stuff among the rubble of clothes in the dark. THEN I brushed my teeth, packed up, and went to sleep for 5:30 am wake up. 

Here’s a fun fact: Katie S. rode the entire day on a not-round wheel! 

I didn’t take any photos because my camera was full and I wasn’t in the mood, so please enjoy these hot shots of my ombré, scratched up, black and blue legs. You can’t necessarily see the bug bites, but I can feel them. Also, rumor has it my group stopped to take a photo of Jack and David jumping while wearing only safety triangles, but you didn’t hear it from me. 

    
   If this felt more like my usual long and ungettable reference-heavy writing style to you, that’s because I vanned myself today for my weird tendon pain and I’m writing this from there and not after a full day biking. Turns out fatigue turns me Hemingwayesque. 

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