So where was I.... oh yeah... heading like the proverbial steam train towards bonking big style...
Funnily enough the two cereal bars and gel didnt halt the decline and in short order I found myself at the lowest ebb possible... worse than the headwinds in Arizona and the hills in Missouri combined. (Search for 'Putting the metal to the Pedal' to read my book about my American experience)
And so when I reached this point I had a choice... continue on the planned route... or hightail it to my 'campsite' for the night.
I battled with my headspace for a good five minutes before deciding to continue onwards ... at least for a bit. Food was now a necessity in order to put fuel into my now useless legs. So I made a slight detour to a co-op... made the cashier laugh when I explained I wouldnt need a bag because I was just going to eat it on the spot... and pulled over to a nearby bench to eat my lunch....
Lunch was interrupted by the two town crazies... one of whom accused me of flashing... explained by my rear bike like... the other repeatedly asking me where I was from.
So when the rain started gently falling.. it provided a handy excuse to jump on my bike and making my speedy escape. It was actually more like clamber ungainly onto my bike and escape slower than the disabled scooter crazy number 2 was riding. Oh well.
It was around this time I looked up to see a Chinook helicopter hovering overhead and my first thought was 'yay its come to rescue me' ... bit it wasnt to be and my tired legs were forced ever onwards.
The rain now pelting down was at least washing the mud off my bike somewhat and in my head made it slightly lighter.. but the legs were still screaming at me on the ever present uphill. I was in familiar territory.. which provided a good excuse when I decided to switch my front light on to discover it had no charge (back to LESSON Number 1) ... Lesson number ?5... always charge stuff up the night before. I therfore needed to be back before it got dark... having no front light (shhhh dont mention the headtorch) and decided it would be wise to cut across a portion of the route to shorten it a little.
So across I went... up and down dale.. just turning the pedals ... struggling up the hills... and resting on the aero bars (not for the aero effect... chocolate or otherwise) to give my poor cramping hands a bit of a break.
At one point I saw a big bird (red kite) rising majestically up from the middle of the road just in front of me... to my knackered brain... it was as if my phoenix had risen up to show me the way... and it did make the next ten minutes or so feel betterer.
I counted down the villages as they passed... marking in my head the way home. Nettlebed... peppard Sonning Common and finally Caversham... WAYHEY!
I knocked/keeled over onto my parents door and collapsed in a heap inside...
I had a coffee in hand and was sitting by a fire in short order... reasoning that both MAY be found at a campsite. The restaurant of mum and dad was open for business and a huge amount of calories consumed!
Ride stats then: 60.79 miles... average speed 12.1 (bit slow) ... Max speed 36.1mph (how the hell..????) And total moving time of 5:00 hours. So not too bad... with all my kit.
And what of my plan to camp outside you may ask.. bet you think Ive chickened out right??
Tarp was set up in five mins flat... air bed inflated and sleeping bag stuffed into bivvy bag on top of air mat. Its pretty cool. Maybe wont completely protect me but if I survive this... NZ wont be a problem.
Essentially... if I think I may be developing a problem overnight that could jeapardize my getting on that plane in a couple weeks... then I will head inside... but im talking about froztbite... not lack of sleep or being merely cold. That said ...leaving the fire will be hard so I may be 'in bed' later than usual ..lol.
So check out my fb page tomorrow... see if I survived...
And for those that were waiting for the pain and suffering to begin before sponsoring me... www.justgiving.com/GoWithTheCrazy is the link!
My kit will stay inside in the warm and dry tonight minus all the clothes I have in my kit which I will be wearing.... so as you snuggle up in your nice warm bed... have a thought for me before you drift off.😀