bike beyond _ 01 | day 20: f–king hills.

Hi, my name is Abbey. Remember me? I TOLD EVERYBODY I was going to blog about my adventure biking across the country this summer…. and then… I didn’t.

sry.

BUT I’M HERE NOW. Or at least for right now. Not sure when I’ll be back, but as things on the road get a little more pulled together and we get stronger at riding, time and energy will be more readily available for this blog thing. For the time being, it’s taking a backseat to living and enjoying the moments. I promise I want to share ALLLLL OF THIS SUMMER with you. But first, I want it for myself. If you’re on Instagram, I’m doing a decent enough job of keeping some Instagram Stories up on a regular basis — good little snapshots into our day-to-day lives on the road. Follow me at — @ambrau.

As of today we’ll roll past the 1000 mile mark on our way to Carrollton, KY from Cincinnati, OH. 20 days of riding and 8 states (+ Washington, D.C.). I’ve ridden all but 4 of the days in which I was on the van team. There have been plenty of lows and highs (literally and figuratively). Since I’ve been so behind on this blog life thing, I’ve also been trying to think about the best way to get you caught up on ALL THE THINGS that have happened so far. Quick day-by-day snapshots? Just photos? High-level overview not broken out by days? Day-by-day moving forward? And, I’m still not sure how I want to do that. But, you’re getting a post today because today, I did. not. finish. 

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[gif selected specifically for my girls back home texting me Bachelor in Paradise updates in group chats during rides… thanks for keeping me up to date and in the know, ladies]

We were due for an 88 mile day battling the hills of Ohio and Kentucky through a weather forecast of 80-100% chance of thunderstorms. Sounds fun, right? I wasn’t fazed. Our ride group rolled out first into the rain and killed a bunch of solid climbs before the first water stop. Streets were rolling up and down and up and down — the downhills providing a nice break for the legs. And, I was feeling pretty good — taking things one hill at a time. The rain had stopped and the humidity was on in full force. Yummy. THEN the downhills stopped. And so did I. We found a solid stretch of non-stop climbing on a two-lane winding road. I was using everything in my power to continue to put one foot in front of the other, on the easiest gear, just thinking about breathing in and out and moving forward. I could feel a line-up of cars building behind our group, as I slowly slogged it out, waiting for an opportunity to pass that wasn’t coming soon enough. I was watching my bike computer count down the miles by .1 until the next turn when I knew I could stop and take a break and let cars pass. This climb was killing me. It felt like the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Despite the past few days of feeling so strong and how I know I’ve made progress on hills, something was just weighing me down and quickly getting in my head. We pulled off just before the next turn into the driveway of a country club. I stopped and bent over my bike to try and catch my breath and I just couldn’t. And then the emotional struggle hit — the feeling like I physically couldn’t accomplish this thing… this stupid hill (it’s JUST a hill! we still have to go through CO!) just kept getting louder and louder in my head. I was just trying to breath and get past it. Coincidently, the team lunch/water van was right behind us on that hill (nice block to all those cars that would have tried to speed past us!) — they also pulled over when we did. As soon as one of my teammates came over to see how I was (clearly aware I was not in a good headspace), I lost it. You know how that works? When you’re kind of fine but kind of not and you’re just barely keeping it together and then someone is like, “are you okay?” and in that moment you don’t give a f–k where you are or who see’s you and you totally break down? Yeah. That was me. At 23 miles.

So, fast forward a few minutes… I decided to join the crew in the van and call the day — at least until lunch. I didn’t have the guts yet to actually hit “save” on my Garmin. It’s so final when you save a ride and it uploads to Strava for the world to see. Well, you can guess what happened after lunch. Why do you think I’m here now writing this post? I hit “save.” We had 8 team members continue with the ride until the thunder/rain-storms led to unsafe riding conditions. Major props to that crew for rocking as much of the ride that the universe would allow today.

I like to tell others that not finishing is absolutely okay. And, IT IS. But…. it’s also really hard to tell yourself that. So, despite that half of my head is telling me that the hills are only going to get harder and the air thinner and the temperature hotter and how could I survive THAT if I couldn’t do today…. the other half of my head (and maybe part of my heart) is telling myself that it doesn’t matter if today sucked, it was an off-day for training, I’ve had a few really strong and awesome days in a row and not a ton of sleep and it caught me today. AND, IT’S OKAY. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, right? Or really, it’s a 4200-mile-ride-across-the-freaking-country-and-you-need-to-stay-healthy-and-strong-and-rested, not a sprint. And, I mean, who likes sprinting anyway?

So, I ate an extra cookie AND a donut at lunch (eat your feelings???), then I SUPER bolused ALL THE INSULIN to cover that fun. Then I took a hot shower and now here I am telling you all about my fun morning. Things are good and tomorrow will be a new, 60-mile hilly day for me to sweat away the unnecessary donut+cookie combination I consumed. The team is in a hotel tonight (#bougeybiketour) and I’m going to hit up a Walmart and get some new flip-flops (#blessed) since I tripped up some stairs and broke mine two days ago.

 

I’m going to work on getting this this rolling again — at least some pics, right!? I really didn’t think my first post would be 1–THREE WEEKS into the ride, or 2–about the worst day I’ve had on the trip so far. But hey… I’ve never blogged before and I’ve never ridden across the country on a bike. So, who knows what could be next.

 

We’re heading to LOUISVILLE tomorrow! 60 miles and home-stays with some local amazing families ready to host this crew.

Bye for now…
-a

 

PS — pics coming! Eventually…. 😉

 

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