So after a good night refueling on some appropriate food to prepare for another full day of riding (Mexican food, Little Debbie Donuts and beer) I had a good night of rest and woke up at 6am ready to go! Of course I was in central time zone so really to me it was 7.
So I’m going to sidetrack for a minute and talk food since I have had a few people ask what I brought and ate. Well being a little worried about food availability and also knowing I had food available I brought kind of a strange mix of too much! Not being a huge fan of GUs and all of those other fancy instant energy things I brought more sustenance type things. I brought along a snack mix I picked up at Greenlife, a couple of Cliff Bars for Kids (because they are smaller and quite tasty), dried lightly sweetened papaya because it is yummy and similar to a lot of what people pay more for as far as energy stuff goes, a couple of big Cliff bars (gingerbread spice because it is my favorite one and only seasonal) and the most important Emergen-Cs for my water. I think for me hydration and electrolytes is what I need most as I tend to make up for everything else in food otherwise. I had a lot leftover from what I brought and as you saw earlier ate total shit for dinner (I did honestly have a hard time finding anything sweet that wasn’t Little Debbie at this particular tiny grocery store) and was fine. I know what my body can digest well and what it can’t. I avoid eggs, turkey, tvp, and onions. Otherwise I’m pretty good to go as long as I don’t excess in anything.
Okay so back to my travels. I got up….yep…6am central time but 7am in my mind. I was not in a hurry as it was chilly and I knew I had plenty of daylight to make it back to my car. I dressed and wandered over to the “free”breakfast the motel had and found not much other than some raisin bran and crappy coffee. I had a little bit of both and then went back to my room and enjoyed a Cliff bar on top of that. I packed everything back up and set out.
The sun was shining, the air cold but still. It was beautiful.
I started pedaling and was quickly into a zone. I was several miles into my ride before I started to relax and enjoy the beauty around me. At that point I was really starting to take everything in and my emotions all came to me at once. I started to cry. I cried because I was happy, because I was overwhelmed, because I was proud of myself for this journey, because I was scared I would not finish my journey… there were so many emotions inside of me at once that I really cannot express it. I was almost balling in my tears with everything I felt. It really was something I needed. Bike therapy at its purest. It isn’t something I can really explain, just something I am so happy to have experienced and one of those moments in life I would not trade for anything else. It truly felt like I had a “therapy breakthrough”. It seemed as if my life became a whole lot more clear and that I released some of my pain and anxiety over things past.
I’m sure some people think that I’m full of shit for saying what I felt during my ride but I also know many others have felt the same way whether it was on bike, during a run, a hike or whatever. The fact that you know you can do something you never knew for sure you could do before is truly enlightening.
Okay, enough with the sentimental, emotional feelings and back to where I was…..I kept riding and thoroughly enjoying the bright, sunny day that was slowly warming around me.
The miles seemed to fly by as the air kept warming up and the sun shined down. Even the section with hills went by with ease. I did take some time to admire the view at the “top” (I’m spoiled by my mountains in NC).
I continued on until I was back into Rockmart, GA where I had planned to take a long lunch break. Unfortunately the restaurant, Johnnies, that other cyclists that have traveled this section have talked about had switched to winter hours and would not be open until 5. I rode around the tiny town to see what other options there were and settled on a Coke from a local store.
Next thing I knew I was almost back to my car! My energy was high and at about 50 miles in I came up behind a skinny guy on an unloaded road bike looking like he was working hard for him. I said “on your left” and slowly passed him by with my loaded down rig. He did stay on my tail drafting me so after a mile or so I pulled over at the next trail head and let him go by, I didn’t want to keep up this pace forever but it did feel good to pass him up.
Shortly after that I was back at my car! I checked to make sure my car looked okay and I decided I wasn’t quite ready to pack it up. I wanted to explore the trail a little closer in to Atlanta and add on a few more miles. So that I did. I rode in total 72 miles on Saturday and felt damn good. Over 138 total for the two days.
After I decided I was ready to pack up i headed to the nearest pizzeria and had a few slices of pie and a beer. Life was good, no better than good, absolutely fantastic.
I drove the long 4 hours home and was so happy to see my cats and house. I settled in for a good night of rest.
I really wasn’t quite over with my adventure until Sunday. I awoke and worked on some crafts and did a few errands and then decided I needed to ride. I toke the rack off my bike and headed out for a shortish loop through Leicester. 21 miles of absolutely beautiful country that I call home. I ride through there often out from my door and even though I had the trip of a lifetime in two days I still couldn’t be happier to call the mountains of NC home.