I sat at the side of a winding country road. My bike, Jamie, was standing beside me loaded with 50-pound panniers. Tears were welling up. I was just 24 miles in and had 20 more to go. Sweat was forming on my skin and slowly rolling down on my neck from the humidity. Thunder was rolling in the back.
I was texting with Matt, my boyfriend, trying to find a way out of my misery. My legs just gave out and I had no energy left. My patience ran out with the hills, the heat, the bicycle, the broken spokes, the chain falling off the gear and the bee that was buzzing next to me.
I felt like nothing could have saved the situation and made it better in this moment. I hated being here. Why did I decide to go on this tour? Maybe I have become too much of a city person! I could be sitting at home in a nice, cold air conditioned office dealing with Goldman Sachs and the strategy for the one of their products. I could just lose myself with finding better and more flexible ways to optimize the consumer experience. Instead, I am here - smelly, dirty and with legs that weren't worth a shit.
A car stopped; and a woman looked at me with concern. By then, I had enough wits to locate a taxi service to pick me up. The warm voice of the dispatcher told me it would take 45 minutes since the driver was 20 miles away over the big hill. I told the the woman in the car that. She handed me a coke, and said I should at least have something to drink.
My phone rings: "Ma'am, your taxi called and told me it should be there in 5 minutes. Just before the storm, he said."
"Oh, thanks! Good timing," I said.
"Yes, that is what the driver said as well," she replied.
Before he arrived, big quarter-sized hail came down on me. The rain followed, gushing dow from the sky and soaking me within seconds. I left my bike, running across the street to hide underneath some tall growing brush. They were not big enough to cover me. I shivered.
Finally, I saw a big car driving slowly. I waved and he stopped. It was my cab. The driver called to me to get inside the cab and wait out the storm. Relieved, I climbed into the warm, soft and cushioned backseat. I looked up at the car roof and watched how small rain drops escaped like coffee of a drip machine.
I arrived at Christanburg around 4 p.m. Everyone else had already arrived. I felt defeated.