Day #19) July 1, 2011. Morganfield, KY to Carbondale, IL: 74 miles in 5:35 hrs.
Nothing much last night. Pretty quiet compared to some of the squirrelly places I’ve stayed at. Go on the road at 6am again determined to make it to Carbondale today – with the heat forecasted at 95 for the day, so I really needed to get this pup in by noon. And then sit out the true heat of the day in a AC motel room. I had gotten route info from the Carbondale Cycling Club President, but honestly it was pretty evident that my route would be Rt 13 west all the way.
Left Morganfield and hit more rollers across nothing but farmland all the way to the Ohio River. Made it to the river in just over an hour, and damn, I had a pretty sizable bridge to cross – the Shawneetown Bridge. About 100 feet below were barges moving up and down the river. I mean at that point the Ohio is pretty sizable. Took about 5 min to cross the thing and then there I was, in IL. I’d spent 7 days and one hour in KY, and I’ve got to say that was super challenging riding what with all the climbing. And all told, I’d been doing nothing but climbing for the past 16 days, day in and day out. Those Appalachian Mts are just relentless! And they’ve put the hammer on my legs that’s for sure – so much so that I had the left ITB was tweeking again for the umpteenth time just a bit last night so I stretched for about 30 min. Worked out just fine today.
As soon as I entered IL it was dead flat – Flat, Flat, Flat! Anything that was a riser was a very long gradual false flat. Luckily the temps in the morning were slightly stunted by a low cloud bank that held the sun at bay for nearly three hours. Still, the humidity was pretty apparent. Got a really good rhythm going on the flats on this massive, lane-wide berm. Now 13 was definitely not a backroad, quite the contrary, this pup is a main thoroughfare for the cross-state traffic going to and from KY and IL. So the trucks were everywhere, but with my little lane-wide berm I was golden.
Now this is going to be my future for a long, long time – just cruising the flats and moving in and out of the saddle constantly to give my poor aching butt a break. Nowadays by about 3 hrs into the ride my arse is just crazy sore. I usually shift into a monster gear now and then to just pedal out of the saddle at a super low cadence to give my butt and my legs a break from seated pedaling. And what with my super berm that was a piece of cake to do today – not worrying about people coming up on me when I’m standing and on a narrow berm – that’s somewhat unnerving.
So yesterday I was yapping on about how I just cruise the whole ride without stopping. Should have shut my mouth, because today, once the sun broke through the cloud cover, the heat just totally went off the charts. Went through my two waterbottles in an hour. And then my mouth was just super parched. So I ended up stopping in Marion – about 14 miles outside of Carbondale – at a Burger King for a fountain coke and water. I got the Big Chug or the Big Gulp plastic cup or whatever the hell they call it, and filled it with ice and fountain coke and did my own big gulp. Then I did a water big gulp and refilled yet again for my waterbottle refill.
Felt like 100% better after all the gulping. I mean I was literally melting once the sun came out. So I really jammed hard with the sugar back in my blood and made it to Carbondale in like under an hour. By then it was downright torrid outside. Hit a Super 8 and got a great deal. I’ve been using Judy’s AARP card and then plead for “the guy crossing the country discount.” And I’m getting it! So as I was checking in I was filling up a Styrofoam cup with ice in the lobby and filling it with water. Went through at least 5 cups of ice water.
Now when I enter a town I’ve got the “Buffet and Subway radar” on at full force. That will usually dictate where I end up. And as soon as I saw a Subway, and then a Super Buffet, I knew I’d found home. Done. Hello Super 8. Nice place. No seedyness here. Did my usual wash in the sink of my cycling kit and took a shower, and then it was Buffet-thirty! This was a moderate gig, with just one big long table of choices, but it was pretty satisfying nonetheless. I totally jammed on the sushi with wassabi. I’m telling you, you get off that bike after hours of cycling and it’s game on with food! Now I had to restrain myself by deciding NOT to go back for the dinner buffet, and instead just get ONE footlong sub at Subway to bring back to the room and put in the frig. That was a guy wrenching decision, pardon the pun. I don’t want to come back home and have put on like 25 lbs of buffet fat.
I was so rocked by the heat that I just came back to the room and crashed for an hour, then got to work for the day on the computer. As usual I’ve got a trusty pillow on the chair for my poor sore arse. I’m going to have to buy one of those butt doughnuts for God’s sake and put it on top of my yak for transport!
That’s about it. I’m going to have to negotiate around E. St. Louis with the next couple of rides so that could very well put on an extra day. But I’ll take that any day rather than ride through E. St. Louis and St. Louis on a bike to get to St. Charles. So we’ll see how that works out.
Happy fourth to everyone………..Pete