Yesterday, the route to Harrisburg only had 50 miles and two directions on the cue sheet. Somehow, I still managed to get lost. Marah and I went more than 20 miles in the wrong direction.
The moment of realization was quite heartbreaking, but we decided to re-route ourselves and stay on our bikes instead of taking the van back to the route. Around mid-day, things started getting rough. Marah’s chain got looped and stuck in the wrong place. We were both starving and stuck in the Pennsylvania countryside. I spotted some Confederate flags.
After a couple of hours navigating through PA, my spirits began to get really low. In the moment, it was so difficult to stay positive because of the physical and mental exhaustion. All I wanted was to be off the road, out of the blazing sun, and in a shower. Mentally, I was dramatizing every small pain and annoyance. The soreness in my legs felt like they were reverberating through my body. The countryside was no longer peaceful, but isolating. I began thinking about bad decisions, failed relationships, and recent disappointments.
Retracing my memories of yesterday with a larger perspective, the views were actually sensational. We had beautiful blue skies, lazy hills, and colorful farmlands that looked like something from a picture book. In the moment, though, every hill seemed like a mountain between me and where I wanted to be. I guess sometimes you are quite a ways from where you want or plan to be. Oftentimes, challenges we face are more psychological than physical. And that’s what makes life interesting.
Today, we biked in the rain for most of the day. This made the many train tracks in Pennsylvania extremely slick, and several riders slipped on them. One rider hurt her arm pretty seriously and will not be continuing the ride with us for the time being. If you’re reading this Rachel, our thoughts are with you and I wish you a speedy recovery!
For me, today was a largely uneventful day in terms of challenge and self reflection. I was given “navigation buddies” after my directional mishap yesterday, so I spent most of today following my awesome group of Emily, Cindy, and Sascha. Unfortunately, I don’t have many pictures from yesterday (thought it was a day I would rather forget) so I’ll post some from today’s ride. We are now in Hagerstown, MD. Tomorrow, we build!