Fun in the Sun….Or Not…

I smell bad. Everything I own smells. Every article of clothing, even those that I haven’t worn yet, have been permeated by the smell. I haven’t taken a shower for days, if a quick hose down can be considered a shower. My only comfort in this is that my personal stink is masked by the cumulative stink that is our team. It’s the kind of smell that you can’t shake, no matter how hard you scrub. Rarely do I get a whiff of it, but today I can’t avoid it. It’s everywhere. It’s in my salt-encrusted jersey, it’s in my sweat-stiffened gloves, it’s in my hair, and it’s in my socks (oh Lord, is it in my socks!).

It’s no secret as to why. We’ve been cycling through the hot desert heat for the last few days. I’ve stopped looking at the weather forecast, for fear that the temperature is only going to climb higher. Ninety-six, ninety-eight, one-hundred, one-hundred and three, it just keeps going. We’ve started waking up an hour earlier to get a head start and get some miles in before midday and draining our water bottles dry like it’s the elixir of life, which in this case, it truly is. I can’t imagine what our ride would be like without our support van. We’ll see signs on the road, “No Service 66 Miles.” Yeah, good luck finding water out here.

But there’s something fun about riding in this, some type of masochistic enjoyment from being able to say, “Yeah, I biked a century through the desert.” Because bragging about the ability to withstand this kind of heat on a cloudless, 103 mile day is cool right? Yeah, isn’t cool how much the human body can withstand?

The best part is that water only goes so far. I’ve drank at least three full, 24 oz bottles by every 20 mile rest stop plus a bottle and a half of a 32 oz Gatorade. That’s approximately 408 oz of water. That’s about three gallons.  That’s twenty-six pounds, or about 20% of my body weight.

And that’s not even enough.

You see, at about 1:00 every afternoon, a 13+ mph wind whips up. And you can put your money on the fact that it’s going to be a headwind. At 1:00pm, we were at mile 84. We had just finished a downhill ride in which we were barely able to go over 10 mph. That does not make for a fun time. At least, I’m assuming it wasn’t fun, because I honestly cannot remember the last 20 miles of our ride. I recall a brief period of delirious joy in which I soaked every bit of my cyclist clothes, from my gloves down to my sports bra, in a rest stop sink. That period lasted for only 7 minutes until the heat had returned my clothing to its bone-dry state. I recall waking up from my daze in a Jack in the Box in Winnemucca, Nevada, 14 miles later.

All in all, it really isn’t that bad. My dramatic prose is meant to allow my readers to get an idea of where the devil likes to vacation at. The ride itself is very much enjoyable, but that’s thanks to the company of my teammates. The blistering days are broken up by the frequent, on-the-bike water gun fights, outbursts of singing, and odd conversations. And I mean very odd conversations; the kind that only occurs when you’re spending every hour of the day together and you’re biking across the country. Sometimes, I wonder what someone would think if they overheard us. Then again, I don’t want to know, because that would just be another reminder of how far removed from society I am. But that’s okay, because as long as I’m living this lifestyle with the people I love, I’m fine. I dread the upcoming goodbyes in San Fran that are quickly approaching, but until then, I’m going to enjoy every minute of this, no matter how hot it gets.

Comments (3)
  • Amazing, reading this while my air conditioner is cranking!! Now you can relate to pioneers who crossed the country in a covered wagon!! Love the details!! I think you all will say there is no mountain too high!! Love you and will be glad to hear more when you get home!! After several showers and some real food!!!

  • Peggy Mayer says:

    What an amazing journey! I am so proud of you for doing this. It is something you will always remember. Can’t wait to hear all the details. God Bless the rest of your journey.

  • Shelley Moyers says:

    It is August now Rebekah & you will be home soon. I am so proud of you & each rider! Always remember this trip… changes made in each of you & people touched along the way!! Looking forward to stories even though I may have to wait a week or so for you to catch up on some much needed sleep!! God bless all involved in this amazing journey!!!

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