I am always a little hesitant to ask for help and I never want to put people out. Sometimes I think my own pride prevents others the opportunity to be of service. I love helping people, it makes me feel good. I almost feel offended when someone won’t let me help them. Yet when someone wants to help me I decline. I am learning out here that it is ok to let people help you, and, like myself, they seem to enjoy helping. This is not to say that you should allow people to carry you, but I am finding it is ok to lean on people from time to time.
This was true in Oregon, OH. I felt funny asking the guys at Oregon Fire to let me stay with them last minute. As it turned out they were wonderful. They have two paramedics on staff for 24 hours and the firemen are volunteer. They went to the hospital to get me bedding, and cooked me dinner. They were very friendly and I enjoyed talking with them very much. They made rolls in the morning and the Chief brought us Starbucks. I felt like they enjoyed the visit as much as I did. As I peddled away I thought, “I’m glad my pride did not let me miss that experience.”
My eating habits are starting to get a little funky. I was not super hungry last night and I will pay for not eating later. The ride to Akron was a little slow. I stopped to eat several times, trying to make up for not eating the night before. It was a very beautiful ride, the weather was perfect and I enjoyed just riding with no time limits. The real ride would not start until the 100 mile mark.
As I started into the traffic circle, I started to feel a little weak and I was really tired. I figured I still had about 30 miles to ride. “Man, I’m hurting and I still have to ride 30 more miles,” I said to myself. I better stop and eat, that will also allow me a chance to rest a bit. As I walked in, a fellow said, “That was you getting chased by that dog wasn’t it!” “That was me,” I said. Being chased by dogs is becoming an almost daily occurrence. Most of them never leave their yards, and most are just showing off. Look at me, how fast I can run, look at me, I don’t even need a bike, they seem to be saying. Cows and horses are different, they just look at you as if to say, “What the heck are you doing?” as they watch you roll by. The same look my friends give me sometimes. I could tell this dog was no threat, he still had his leash attached to his collar. “Mister, wait for me! I’m off my leash and I’m coming with you!” He was smiling the whole way. Most dogs turn around after a minute or two. Not this guy he was in for the long haul. I yelled out, “Follow someone else, I’m going to New York!” Just then a women in a car pulled along side of me, “Is that your dog?” I’m sure she figured that I lived locally, that I had just left my house, and the dog was following its owner. It felt like a funny question at the time. I was happy that she turned around and helped my new friend find his way home. At my rest stop, I asked the waitress to plug in my phone because I was low on power, both me and the phone. Of course, I forgot it and had to ride back and get it.
Ok here we go, you just ate, you rested, and now you have your phone. Now the ride begins. I have 30 miles to ride, half of that is 15, I can ride 15 miles. Fifteen is too much, I’m beat, ride 5, you can do 5 miles. Ok, you are at 2 miles, 3 miles to go until 5. You made it, 5 miles. Now you only have 10 of the 15 to go. What time will I make it to Akron? Let’s see I have to ride 25 miles. Twenty-five, you said 10! We just road 5, you said 10 more, not 25. Ok, ok, it does not matter what time I get there, focus on the miles. This went on mile after mile for 26 miles until I made it to Akron.
Nicole would call from time to time. “I’m hurting and I still have 30 miles to go!” I said. She would calmly say, “You’re a bad ass, babe, you got this. Its only 30 miles anyways, keep going.” If she could see me, she would not be that optimistic, I think. Then I remember that it was Nicole and she does see me, she really does know what I’m going through out here, she is my partner. We have struggled up snow fields in places like Mt Shasta, and Mt Rainier together. She might not be here, but she sees me. I am grateful to have found such a solid partner.
I pull into a coffee shop and call Nicole. “I need a hotel and I only have about 4 miles left in me,” I tell her. While I’m waiting for her to research hotels on the computer at home, I drink my coffee in the dark outside and fix my headlamp to my helmet. I ride another four miles to the Ramada Hotel in downtown Akron.