Day 19: Portland to McCordsville-ish

“Early start for big-mile day to Indianapolis”

That’s what I was telling my new drinking buddies (& myself) at The Pits the previous night.  Neither actually came to fruition. 

Robert Burns wrote “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men, gang aft a-gley.”  Or translated into English, Most plans do not turn out anywhere near as envisioned. I found myself repeating Burns’ phrase over and again as I pounded my way down the road.

I’ve often said that I don’t make plans, because I’ll only break them. This day was a prime example.

My early start didn’t happen. The previous night’s drinks took care of that.  When I eventually did get going – after a couple of porridge-sachets prepared with the luxury of hot water – I managed to get a good pace going. Tailwind, finally!

After about 10miles of positively flying down the road, feeling like Indianapolis may yet be attainable – a 2nd 100mile day, I checked my position & progress on Google Maps.  I was on the wrong road.  And in my slightly northwest heading, I was ever increasing the miles away from the road Google said I should be on.

The thought came to me that Indiana was rather similar to Glasgow: The people are very friendly, and the streets are built parallel and perpendicular to each other.  Other than that, I mused, Indiana is nothing whatsoever like Glasgow!

Turning onto a southbound country road – with John Denver’s song ringing (on repeat) in my mind, I was now back facing the wind again. Not quite a direct headwind, but close enough and the effect was the same – like cruising down a motorway then slamming the handbrake on!

Pace slowed and motivation waned. As I’ve already said, I’ve been struggling getting going in the mornings, which is simply less time on the road and more daily-targets missed.

Of course, I can blame the wind, but my 1st fortnight was into constant headwind – with bigger hills and less training – and targets were still met. Mostly. I’m just not finding that motivation in the mornings. That or the positive effect of jet-lag has worn off.

The roads in Indiana were terrible also. World-class terrible! Deep, canyon-like cracks sometimes hundreds of meters in length, just waiting to gobble up wayward bicycle wheels.

The drivers were also getting less courteous. An unfair thing to say, given as the majority of drivers still made considerable effort to give me ample space, but the instances of drivers not doing so were becoming more frequent.

On 1 occasion, a trucker moved out a meter – so gave some space – but the wind blast as the truck passed knocked me off the road onto the gravel verge. Nothing serious, but a warning.

Stopping for a photo, I noticed my rear tyre was flat again – after just getting patched day before. Repairs made, that was another hour gone.  Until 10 miles further down the road, rear tyre was flat yet again. Rather than trying to reaffix patches which clearly weren’t holding, I swapped out the tubes and was back on the road in 10mins.

About this time, I started getting really peckish. Other than a few packets of way-too-salty cheese crackers, I hadn’t eaten anything since my breakfast porridge. I would have stopped at the next diner or gas station, but for over 20 miles, neither appeared.

Eventually I saw a large carpark where I could stop and eat some chocolate tortillas, and upon getting closer noticed a couple of benches and the sign for the New Life Christian Church – but I was too hungry to complain.

No sooner than I had started preparing my first tortilla, than a minivan turned up – emblazoned with the logo for an outdoor/off-road events company.

I chatted with the guy who got out and unlocked the church door – a fellow cyclist. And as I asked permission to pitch my tent somewhere inconspicuous in the church’s ample grounds, he said fine, but would I like a shower. He and his family would be happy to host me for the night.

I’ve realised that of my not-so-early starts, when I’m staying as someone’s guest, it’s even more difficult to get away early – so I was hesitant to accept. But he also said of the storm that was forecast. Sold!

Taking Brian’s directions, a short time later I arrived at their house and was offered their caravan as ample accommodation.

Showered and fed, I was feeling refreshed and pleased for the company. I was even happier to be inside when the torrential rain and super-close lightning hit!

Check out my ride on Strava.

Relive my ride.

john-muir-trust-logo

 

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