Thursday, 23 June 2011

Day 21: An epic day of mega milestones

Day 21
Hardin Springs to Sebree 102miles

Another english cyclist, Travis, had turned up late last night, and had pitched his tent on the grass. I had pitched mine under an awning in front of the shop, and Sam and Cory had found an old fouton matress outside and decided to sleep on that under the awning.

However, during the night we had an absolute deluge at about 3am. I woke up in the morning to find Travis sleeping on an old couch next to my tent!

Had breakfast with Arnold and his family. They were going on holiday to Georgia today, so we had a nice group photo and then set off in a convoy of 4.
l-r Travis, Cory, Lucy, Me, Arnold, Lauren, Sam

Today was a day of milestones. The first one was reached pretty quickly into the ride, after a rather nasty little climb out of a river valley. When we crossed into Breckenridge County we also went into the next time zone, so gained an hour of the day! However there was no sign to actually tell us – the only way we knew is because it was on the maps.

In the morning we rode as a group, although sometimes we were strung out on the road. My extra weight seems to give me an edge on the flat and downhill sections, but going up the steeper hills I usually get reeled in again.

Travis was a little slower and decided to drop off the back of the group for a while, but then caught us up when we stopped for lunch.

A similar thing happened in the afternoon, when Travis dropped back and we never saw him again!

The big decision we had to make was whether to go to Utica (about 75miles) or go for century and head to Sebree. The advantage of going to Sebree was that we had been told about the Baptist church there which has a huge room with pool table, air hockey, showers etc, and the Pastor and his family will cook you dinner.

Most of the day I was thinking that 100miles might be too much for me after a couple of long days previously. But when I got to Utica and saw there was very little there at all, I decided to commit to the ton!

For me personally, this would also mean another big milestone – 1000miles on the road in the US.

5 miles after Utica I got into quadruple digits – it felt pretty good.

I was very glad I carried on, as the last 25miles was some lovely riding. It was pretty late in the day by now (we left Utica at 6.30pm), nut the roads were clear and pretty flat, the sun was low in the sky and the farmlands looked great in the evening light. And the sunset was pretty spectacular too. If the Blue Ridge Parkway was the most spectacular riding so far, and the descent into Damascus the most thrilling, and the last stint today was definitely the most enjoyable so far.

I was also able to get some great pace up on the flat roads, and we ended up doing the last 25miles in 2hrs.

Just as we approached Sebree the other big milestone was reached. 100 miles. It was also Sam and Cory's first ton of their tour, so we exchanged high fives as the odometer ticked over to the magic figure.

Couple of miles later we got to the Church, to be welcomed by Bob and Violet. Bob showed us our living quarters, and it was amazing. Its actually bigger than my flat at home!
We showered and then went for dinner. Which was easily the best meal of my ride so far. Huge slabs of roast pork, beans, corn bread, apple sauce and ice cream for dessert.

Like Arnold and his family last night, Bob and Violet genuinely seem to almost feel honoured to be able to help cyclists, and their help is much appreciated.

Riding with the other guys definitely helps, as I tend to push myself to go further distances. Had I been by myself I may well have stopped in Utica. The other reward for todays long stint is a nice short 60mile ride to the Ohio river tomorrow, and then taking the ferry crossing into Illinois. I cant believe how quickly I've got though the western part of Kentucky. In three days I've covered 260miles from Berea – around what I would need to do in 5days to finish on schedule!

Overall, today was a great day. Feel great to have done a 100mile day, and also to have covered 1000miles. I know that at some point I'm going to have days where I hate the trip – maybe a cold day in the Rockies or riding all day into a headwind in Kansas – but Im going to enjoy today whilst I can!


  1. congratulations on your two landmark figures!

  2. Congratulations from me, and watch out for tornados in kansas!