Day 6 – Hell Day

That’s Right!

Who would have thought that after I was so excited to have hit the half way mark I would wake up a total grumpy pants on day 6!  But, I did…

Something happened mentally as I slept because I woke full of disappointment and doom. I could not shake it. My mind was playing tricks on me and really threatening my ability to make it to the finish line. I procrastinated getting on the road doing everything I could to delay. Once on the road, after only 10 miles I was hot, way too hot so I called David. I wore a regular sleeved shirt not a tank top because I got sunburned the day prior even with sunscreen and I did not want to make it worse.  I asked him to stop at the Walmart in town and pick up a tank top and bring it to me. He could tell I was mentally struggling. Physically I felt fine. My legs were not sore at all. My dang mind would not get out of the negative atmosphere. I felt like the Bugs Bunny character when his devil and angel self are on either shoulder contradicting one another.

David found me on the road and had bought me an “I Hate Running” tank top.  Which could not be more fitting for me because I literally will never be a runner because “I Hate Running” that much.  That made me snicker inside and gave a point to my angel self on my right shoulder and tipped the scale ever so slightly but just enough to send me back on my ride.

Jared William Brown, 6/16/2013 – 20 yrs old, Afghanistan

My route was a loop so instead of going straight east I started going south, then turn east, and north then back west.  I was probably about the half way mark when I turned and headed north immediately into a strong headwind. I went from 13-16 MPH to 8 MPH. I had 25 miles to ride directly into the headwind, not to mention this route was rolling hills. I tried to rally myself, but pushing hard against the wind, then up hill and against the wind downhill I pretty much broke. After about 12 miles of this I stopped, got off my bike, visualized myself literally launching my bike into the ditch but managed to hold back that urge and I just laid it down on the side of the road. Then I started crying, not a simple tear in my eye, but full on ugly crying. For the record I am not a crier. I was there probably 10 minutes as my shoulder angel and devil duked it out. Then I turned back toward my bike and saw the flag on the back. I got the flag on Memorial Day when I did my last big training day and rode to Keensburg, CO to the American Legion Post 180 for a Memorial Day ceremony. They handed out small flags to everyone and on each flag was a tag with a name of a soldier who was killed in action. My flag: Jared William Brown, 6/16/2013 – 20 yrs old, Afghanistan. I starred at it and thought REALLY? Full of anger at myself, I said out loud: YOU (me) are out here “doing what you want”, you chose to ride your bike, you have the freedom to do so, YOU have everything in the world to be thankful for, YOU are not in a terrifying war, YOU are not away from your family, YOU ARE ALIVE. I carried that flag to honor this young man whose life ended barely even before it began. In my moment of self pity I realized giving up would completely dishonor him. How could I give up?  He was not allowed to give up and his circumstances were far beyond his control. He fought for the freedom I was enjoying and whining about. I admit I was a little ashamed at myself for my pity moment. I was NOT going to dishonor him by giving up. Back on my bike I went with a new found attitude.

With my longest ride time – I finally finished this day and as difficult as it felt when I was done I couldn’t be more proud of myself to have completed this day. By far the toughest mentally I had thus far. When times are tough you just have to put your head down and think linear to get you through it. It also helps to put everything in perspective. One of my favorite quotes in life is “Only Way Out is Through”. This is the truth in every scenario you encounter in life.

Day 7 – Life Preserver

Amy & I About to Begin Day 7

I guess I tend to use analogies when I am looking at life.  On Day 7, Amy, was my life preserver. She decided to come out to Nebraska and ride with me one more day. Coming off Hell Day, her timing could not have been better.  We headed out and were kicking ass and taking names all morning long!  I drafted off Amy and I remember yelling up to her….. This is AWESOME – I feel like I am on vacation back here!  We were making record time, then, Amy got a flat. On the positive side, of ALL the places we had been going through we actually were just heading out of a more major town when it happened.  We left the tubes for her bike in the truck which was a good 50 miles away. David was usually fairly close to where I was but on this day he had a slow start with the kids and Amy and I were ROCKIN’ it on speed. We tried one of my tubes but they just did not work. As we stood on the side of the road a golf cart drove up with a nice young man asking if we needed any assistance.  He worked at the nursery which you could see from the road where we stood. He went back and grabbed a buddy and their flatbed truck, loaded our bikes on the back and we all rode to town to the bike shop. It is refreshing how incredibly kind people are when they do not even have to be.

All along the trip I learned that one of the keys to making it through 1oo miles a day is to break your day into small goals. I would look ahead and because it is flat you could see the grain elevator in the next town. They were almost consistently 10-15 miles away.  All day, I would see one and say, that is our next stop. Then if I struggled during that period inside my head I would create new smaller goal, inside of the big grain elevator goal. I am blown away at the power of mind over matter.  I have heard this saying hundreds of times in my life but after this adventure, I literally had countless occasions I used it.

Amy Chillin Hands Free

Goal Point! Grain Elevator.


Day 8 – Coincidence or Destiny

Look! It’s Chapman, Nebraska

Coming off an epic day 7 with Amy (which at the time was the record for the fastest day) I was WAY pumped and ready to go.  I started off my morning smiling as I visually saw myself rolling over my 800th mile. This day really involved putting my head down and hitting all my grain elevator markers and trying the best I could to not make mini goals in between.  The road was pretty much the same as the many days before, the trains roaring along side of me over and over again. I was a little bored of the scenery so when trains would come by I would put my arm up and pull up and down to see if I could get them to blow the train whistle.  Of course they did most of the time, it made me smile and wonder what they thought of a grown woman trying to get a train to blow their whistle. I did not really care – it was FUN and great entertainment.

My final grain elevator goal happened to be Chapman, Nebraska.  For those who do not know, my maiden name is Chapman.  There are numerous Chapman’s in

Nebraska including many of my relatives. I remember when I was a kid my grandma showed me a piece of paper which was the lineage of her to John Chapman also known as Johnny Appleseed. I was so proud to brag about this to my friends in elementary school.  Riding through Nebraska,

This Cloud, All By Itself in the Great Big Sky. How I Felt on the Road.

as boring as it might sound, was actually quite fun thinking about my dad and his family and where a part of me comes from. The world is quite enormous, there is something about knowing where you came from that gives comfort.  I was thrilled to have rolled over my 800th mile in Chapman, Nebraska!

That’s Right… I thought as I piled into the truck to go back to the campground…. I rode 800 Miles!!



One Response to Epic Journey – 1,000 Miles in 10 Days on my Bicycle – Part III Day 6, 7 & 8

  1. Karen Barber says:

    You are so inspiring again words can not express the joy your adventure, and your writing is giving me. Thank you so much for being a real person and sharing your adventure. Can’t wait for the rest.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *