Bye bye palms, hello hills

The day started on the ominous side. I woke up and pulled the drapes to find a rain-slicked parking lot and an overcast sky. I didn't prepare for riding in rainy weather but I had read online that it's supposed to be no big deal so long as you can keep warm. Well, up and at it I told myself and went out the door with all my stuff.

Almost like in a cartoon, the very moment I crossed the stateline into Georgia the skies opened up on me and the all-important shoulder did not disappear but it might as well have since it was ruined with grooves cut into it at regular intervals so that if a car were to pull over the tires would make a lot of noise. To ride the grooves would probably have had my teeth instantly come flying out of my head and the bike itself disintegrate. This, damnit, forces me onto the lane and you know by now how I feel about this. But neither Georgia's D.O.T. nor the inclement weather socked it to me quite like the new challenge I was about to face. Forget the wind and the rain and the sun. Southern Georgia's topography is all wrinkly and what this means to me is an endless string of hills. No one hill has so far been insurmountable but each one more enervating than the previous. A big part of my strategy in starting in Florida had been the flatness of the state which I hoped by the time I left would have gotten me fit enough to tackle the hills I would encounter. But here I am and feeling no more fit than when I started, just more worn out. The hills just suck all the energy out of me. I am, after all, hauling some 300lbs of me and stuff up a hill. Even on the little granny gear it's huffing and puffing all the way to the top. And from here the reward I get is to witness a downhill which is invariably connected to the next uphill like a textbook sine wave that extends into the horizon. By noon I was so exhausted that I was ready to quit but could not forgive myself for calling it a day so early and with so few miles under my belt so with a little reserve strength I pack away for emergencies I pedaled another 13 miles westward to Cairo where I absolutely, unequivocally could not go further and checked in at a motel. In all, a lousy 40 miles for the day and easily the most tiring yet. Both knees are swollen and are hurting a great deal as are my wrists and feet. What I really need is a day or two of rest but can't afford it so I ride on til I drop or get to the west coast.

Day 13