Event horizon

Wow. It's been a full month of riding and time to reflect on what I've done so far. The biggest accomplishment short of not having quit is that I've made it roughly halfway there in this time. I had originally thought this journey might take me up to four months so I'm ahead of my own self-imposed schedule by quite a bit. I have even managed to survive crossing the Ozarks which filled me with more dread than I let on through the journals. But my main reason for going on the ride in the first place was to get in shape which is, of course, another way of saying to lose weight. In this sense I'm no closer to knowing and certainly if I've lost any it's nothing dramatic so far - I'll get on a scale in Seattle and see what happens.

So I was fully expecting to have ridden the last of the Ozark hills today on my approach to the outskirts of Springfield. The map shows all towns west of Springfield to have largely straight roads which is a cue that the terrain is flat. Out west the backroads serve as connecting points between farms and farm towns and the whole thing is arranged like grids so whether right or wrong when I see a straight road I assume it's also a level road. Well, so much for theory. I got off the highway for the first time in Missouri to hang north on a little route labeled 125. A little route that looks straight as an arrow on the map but was evidently designed by none other than Satan himself. What a nasty, nasty hill-infested, overly-trafficked, shoulder-less, 12-mile stretch of nightmare road that was. At one climactic point I was pedaling with such effort and the pain in my knees was so intense that I expected them to just burst open spraying the pavement with little bones and bits of cartilage. That they held together is something of a mystery and that I managed to ride it out all the way to Strafford another.

The good news is that I think I'm out of the woods. From here to Kansas should be relatively flat and the weather is expected to be sunny and warm. I feel I'm on the cusp of a great riding streak over the coming days. I'm fantasizing about the perfectly flat roads in Kansas and Nebraska and the only thing that is supposed to ruin it for me is the wind. Well, that and twenty other factors but I'm trying to be optimistic here. It's gonna be great, it's gonna be awesome, right everyone?!

Day 31