“B&D Crossing” reads the sign above the door of the only store for miles around. Two picnic tables rest along the wall. One lined with lightly loaded mountain bikes. The other with dirt-stained stinky cyclists halfway through a race across the state. “Oh no,” I moan as I slowly rise from laying on the bench. I walk towards the wood line and I stain the once green grass a colorful rainbow of dried mango and gummy snacks, the only food I had left on my last-ditch effort to reach this outpost.
“There’s an abandoned house next door with a couch on the front porch. Why don’t you go over there and sleep a bit,” Donna – the “D” in “B&D Crossing” – kindly suggests. With my stomach still in torment and unable to accept food, I trudge next door with my bright orange bivvy and curl up on the dusty, moldy couch to finally sleep. When I wake, it will be dark and I will be hungrier than I have ever been in my life. A bonfire in my gut ready to consume any fuel thrown upon it.
The day before my distress, I pedaled up and over mountain after mountain, through rivers and streams as deep as my knees. I pedaled through a thunderstorm after sunset and I kept pedaling on through the night ignoring the searing pain of chaffed privates and trench foot. Trench foot! My feet were so water-logged and tender by morning I could not stand or even pedal. I thought the gooey white, wrinkled and swollen skin of my feet would peel off like an overripe orange exposing the pink flesh beneath. An hour-long nap in my bivvy at sunrise dried my soaked skin restoring my vigor and allowed me to pedal on to the puke station. Continue reading