Yet another morning up at 5 am.
My ride for the day is dedicated to Dolly McGrath.
Today, we got to pick our teams based on who we haven’t ridden with thus far. Elliot, Rachel W, Linnea, and I teamed up! But because of an early, unexpected situation, our team got mixed up with another, so I rode most of the day with Elliot, Erica, Linnea, Chris, and Nathalia (somehow still all riders I’ve yet to ride with). Not far into the mix-up, to continue the trend, one of Erica’s spokes broke.
Running way behind, we pushed on. We missed lunch and did not get directions from the lunch location, so we kept going straight until we realized we went the wrong way; we were another thirty minutes behind. Thankfully, a nearby McDonalds donated the five of us meals and Powerade. Refueled from a stressful morning, we rallied together to turn this day around.
We fought and climbed over multiple hills and mountains in the hot sun. Indefinitely should’ve reapplied sunscreen, because I got pretty burnt (Sorry, Dad!). The frustration of being so behind, with so many miles to go, climbing challenging mountains, and a lack of sleep definitely wore on me. Sometime mid-afternoon I had an emotional release. My teammates were all supportive, especially Chris, who rode by my side, listened, and offered words of comfort. This summer is all about challenging myself to a level I’ve never been and coming to peace with my past. More emotions are sure to come.
After racing the sun all afternoon, and many frustrating and long climbs, we reached the host, St Marks Lutheran Church in Asheville, North Carolina, at about 7:30 pm.
90 miles and 14 hours later, we finally got to enjoy a hot meal, sit in the air conditioning, and relax.
Today was one of the hardest days on the trip so far. My best friend, and 2013 4K San Fran alum, Julie, wrote me a letter before I left, telling me to save it for a rough day. Well today I opened it. And it was full of inspiration and motivation. She quoted one of my favorite books, Cheryl Strayed’s Wild.
“The best thing you can do with your life is tackle the motherfucking shit out of it.”
PS Sorry for the lack of pictures – it was that tough of a day.