This morning I woke up with my eyes basically swollen shut, sore over my entire body, and the first thing I did was Google "sunburn that turns into a rash". This was because of the completely brutal ride we accomplished yesterday.
I usually try and write this blog with the intention of showing people that anyone can do a bike trip. I'm physically active but I'm not an athlete, so the rides that Travis and I do aren't completely taxing, and I feel like anyone who has the gumption and the time can do them. I might have changed my stance on this one yesterday.
Yesterday we were on our bikes for 8.5 hours traveling 85 miles, arriving at our campsite at 9:30 pm, after breaking down camp at 7:30 am.
The day started out promising because we left so early, which is quite a feat for us. We decided on the scenic route, which was plenty scenic and even shady, but also probably added an extra 1000 feet of elevation. By the time we made it back out to the highway it was noon, and that big, bright, cloudless Montana sky was ready to shine down unrelentingly for the next 10 hours.
Meanwhile, my saddle situation was not improving. I have yet to find a comfortable bike setup, so I foolishly bought a new bike saddle right before tour, thinking that it would solve my problems with the right amount of adjusting. This thinking was wrong. It was so painful to pedal that my body was tensing up trying to brace myself for every pedal stroke I took, resulting in a sore butt and a sore body. We pulled over around 2pm to discuss options.
I could overnight my old Brooks saddle, but it would cost $150 and FedEx was already closed on the East Coast because of Independence Day. I could send it ground mail but it would take at least a week to arrive. I could buy a new mystery saddle once we got to Canada and hope it fit my butt right. I could ask my friend Brit in Missoula to buy me a Brooks saddle and then drive 2.5 hours to deliver it to me. None of these options were great. Then Travis had a great idea: Let's switch saddles!
When I bought this new saddle from our friend Brian at the bike shop, he said some people have magic butts and can ride whichever saddle with no problem. Can you guess what kind of butt my easygoing, Jimmy Buffet-idolizing boyfriend has? A magic butt. He rode my accursed saddle with no problem, and though his Brooks isn't a perfect fit for me, it certainly isn't painful, so I was able to continue riding in only slight discomfort.
Which is good, because we still had about six hours of pedaling to go! I can't even remember what happened in those six hours. I know we stopped for Travis to cannonball into the river.
I remember that we stopped at a bar to refill our water bottles, and there was this great sign that my friend Ashten would love.
I know that I noticed the sunburn on the tops of my thighs and backs of my calves was starting to turn blotchy and raised, and that contact with sunlight made them tingle. I remember a giant hill on the way into the town that we stayed in, and the dismay at checking the map and realizing the RV park we were staying at was yet ANOTHER five miles. I remember that the sun was going down as we were packing up dinner, and that my feet dragged as I tried to lift them across the gravel parking lot to the bathroom. I'm pretty sure my speech was a little slurred right before I finally went to sleep.
LUCKILY today was a rest day AND the 4th of July, so Travis and I spent the day napping, watching a parade, eating fair food, napping, and eating.
Tomorrow we're hoping to get out early before that brutal sun becomes intolerable, and now with my new saddle my poor buns should be able to handle the wear.