Brokeback mountain biking

Not that I needed any more convincing but it is becoming amply evident that camping and I were not meant for each other. I don't regret last night's stay. What beats free? But I have to be honest and say that the quality of rest for the amount of exercise I'm doing is inadequate. Everything was fine as could be up until about 10pm when the winds picked up and made me feel like I was inside a giant vacuum cleaner. I got out and secured the corners to make sure the outer layer wouldn't blow off. When I got back in I felt something wet. It turns out that my juice bottle which was meant as tomorrow's breakfast had spilled because the lid was not on correctly. After saying a couple effenheimers I cleaned up the mess as best I could to settle in and breathe the fumes, for there is no better word for it, of artificially flavored raspberry lemonade and contemplate how such an unconvincing smell can come out of a lab concoction into the CEO's boardroom and meet approval for the market. Whatever.

Since I was too wired up from the wind and the spilled lemonade I could not go to sleep. There were some egrets or other similar birds fishing the shrimp pond and every so often they would make this screeching noise like a pig's death squeal that I found quite unbecoming of their otherwise elegant posture. I wondered if the shrimp had somehow figured out a way to team up and pull the egrets under the water thus turning the tables on the whole prey/predator roles.

I was up shortly after 6 and got ready to hit the road for I knew I had a long day ahead. I reached Aliceville, the last town of significance before Mississippi, shortly after 9 and was glad I was making such speedy progress when suddenly I felt my rear tire seize up. Now what. After much fiddling and getting my hands greasy (and a friendly NAPA store clerk's help) it turns out that the rim was bent and each cycle brought the wheel in and out of phase by about an inch and rubbed on the fork. There are, of course, no bike shops in this town so I just had to get a fix on the spot. There is no fixing a bent rim though that I know of. I undid the rear brake to give the tire a little more clearance and resolved to bike it as is. Each pedal stroke now costing quite a bit of effort but I didn't care so long as it could keep me going forward.

A little afterwards the derailleur started acting up. A change in gears now resulted in an indecent KER-CHLUNK and often followed by a prolonged, almost amusing, Rube Goldberg-like apparatus' noise before settling on whatever speed it chose. As if telling me "I'll show YOU who the boss is!". Some time after I lost the shifting I was going downhill when I heard a loud tin-tin-tin noise and some part just broke off. I stopped mid-hill to go find it but came up empty handed. It was at this moment that I began drawing parallels to the shuttle disaster of a couple years ago when it started trailing pieces of itself before finally falling apart. I was crossing my fingers that my own shuttle wouldn't discombobulate the same way before I had a chance to get to the bike shop in Colombus, MS.

Which brings up the final straw. Congratulating myself and the beat up bike on arrival of this city it turned out that the shop had closed down or was at any rate nonexistent. Just like back in Troy. The next bike shop is located in Starkville, 27 miles westward. Well, gosh darnit, what other choice do I have?

Enough of my sob story. I made it to Starkville and will be taking my bike in first thing. Because the shop doesn't open til 10 and I expect they will have to have some open heart surgery on the thing I wouldn't be getting out of town until late in the day so I might as well check in to a motel for two nights and get some well-earned rest after this exhausting ride.

Sorry no photos today. Wasn't in the mood.

Day 21