Day 28: Ups and Downs

28 miles

We started our day with the free breakfast at the hotel and were out the door by 9 AM.  We stopped at the local grocery store and hit the road.  You probably won’t be surprised to hear it was a muggy, humid day from the start.  East Windsor is a small town and we were out in the country in no time, enjoying the quiet roads and scenic farms.

Stafford SpringsEarly on we were both feeling sore from our saddles, so I suggested a saddle swap.  We had tried this briefly the other day by switching bikes for a short while.  That’s the nice thing about being similar in height to your spouse and riding partner, you can switch bikes for a little while without requiring adjustments at all.  The short test from the other day was promising, so we opted for a full saddle swap today.  I know it sounds unlikely that our saddles will work well for each other, but when you are sore in your butt (or other bits), you’ll try anything.

My saddle has a wide cut-out in the middle with a nice curved shape, which might help alleviate the pain Caroline has experienced due to too much pressure on her, um, soft tissue.  But the padding in the rear of that saddle just hasn’t been quite right for me and my butt gets sore after a long day of riding.  Caroline’s saddle is shaped more like the kind of saddle I want to try next anyway, so lacking a nearby bike shop where I can buy a new saddle, I’ll give hers a try for now.

Stafford SpringsIn addition to the usual high humidity, there were the usual steep hills.  We passed through a scenic little town called Stafford Springs and stopped to take a few photos.  Climbing out of town we struggled up a hill with a sign indicating an 11% grade.  And wouldn’t you know it, just as we’re struggling up these hills, it started raining.  We stopped to put on rain jackets.  The jackets may have kept out the rain, but we were already so hot and sweaty that inside our jackets we were dripping wet.

The rain lightened up fairly quickly, so we stopped to take of our jackets.  Caroline was clearly frustrated by the heat, humidity, hills, etc.  Just as we started riding again the rain started to fall again.  Let’s just say that Caroline lost her cool for a minute and unfortunately she also lost her balance and fell down in the road.  Thankfully no cars were coming, but it still scared the crap out of me.  She got her bike to the side of the road and I grabbed her rain jacket to put over her shoulders.  She had caught herself with her left hand when she fell and that wrist was sore, but otherwise she was ok.

Both of us were a bit shaken up after that and we ditched our plan to ride another 12 miles to the next campground.  We instead aimed for a cheap motel a few miles away.  With more rain in the forecast, and more hills ahead, I wanted to get Caroline inside so she could rest and relax.  I’m a little concerned that Caroline isn’t enjoying this trip near as much as me.  I mean, I’m struggling with the heat and hills too, but having done a long bike tour before I think my pain tolerance is much higher than hers.  Plus, this trip was my idea in the first place.  I’m worried she’s only putting up with the daily misery for my sake.  I’m starting to wonder if I should rent us a minivan and leave the fully loaded biking behind.


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3 thoughts on “Day 28: Ups and Downs

  1. That is quite the cliffhanger! The suspense! The thrill! The wonder! What happens next? Will our superheroes triumph? Tune in tomorrow to find out!

  2. There’s an old saying the best man usually tells the groom “OK, now Alan– what’s yours is hers &
    what’s hers is hers! If the adventure loses it’s lustre for Caroline — just rent a van. The first hill you come to, get your bike out and ride to the top where the van will be waiting. If you are fast enough,
    You’ll see Caroline enjoying the downhill side, where she will be waiting
    at the bottom to drive the van up the next hill.

  3. I think your dad has hit it well… I didn’t even enjoy watching off road racing… Do what will be maybe a compromise you can both be pleased to remember… I’m glad you’re man enough and love her enough to consider options. Btw – Jeff’s comment cute!

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