Today we rode 76 easy miles from Spokane, WA to Sandpoint, ID, crossing into our second state of the Big Ride Across America. It must be hard for some of you to imagine an easy 76 mile ride, but all things are relative. The last ride we did was across the high desert plains and then the wheat fields of Washington with a vicious headwind trying to send us back to Odessa and their wretched locker room showers! It’s amazing though how high spirits are considering the challenges we have already faced. Everyone is hurting by now. My knee injury was really just the start. Molly, who has the most wonderful smile, the mental toughness of a lioness, and the kindest heart, has to leave us after she crashed on Day 1– requiring surgery in her hand so that she can maintain the ability to articulate her thumb. She’s hoping that she’ll rejoin us once the hand is cast, and we are hopeful as well. Others have sore muscles, sore knees, tight backs, numb fingers and toes. In spite of all of this, the camaraderie and moral support that flies about has been phenomenal.
We enjoyed our first rest day of the trip in Spokane, and filled our day with foam rolling, amateur back rubs, pints of Ben and Jerry’s, bagels, noodles, food, food, food, and plenty of sleep. We also bathed our bikes to remove the dust and grit of eastern Washington and prepared them for another day of riding.
Today’s 76 miles were mostly flat, winding along the Pend Oreille river. I was often struck by how much the rolling, evergreen swathed hills and granite outcrops along the road reminded me of my first home: New Hampshire. They were red pines, not white, and the air was decidedly drier in spite of the rain, but it was enough to make me smile (and to ease off on the picture taking for some reason!). We were rained on, lightninged on, rodeo paraded on, and sunshined on by the end. We rolled into the beautiful community of Sandpoint with smiles and growling stomachs.
As for my injury, it is improving. My hamstrings and glutes are acquiescing to my demands of more power to make up for what my quad cannot do right now. My left hamstring cramped quite a bit on the ride into Spokane, but today it was not as problematic. I was able to see a physical therapist in Spokane, the partner of Big Rider Molly, and she brought me special tape to secure my patella properly. It is magic. As soon as it was taped I no longer experience pain walking and my pain riding is diminished. I can stand up for a few pedal strokes.
Tomorrow is an 88 mile day as we enter Montana. I’d like to say I can’t wait… but I think I’d like to eat some more and sleep first!