. . . but this one was mostly my fault.

Good news: not a single flat tire today! Yay!

Bad news: DAMN but it was hot today. The last 20 miles were the worst. I started to get impatient with myself because I wasn’t making good time at all. The morning started off okay. But as the afternoon rolled on, the going against the wind, the reemergence of those damned hills, and heat well into the 90s I was getting my butt kicked.

Could barely make it 5 miles before I needed to stop. At one point, sitting on the side of the road in front of a really pretty farm house, I felt slightly dizzy and extremely weak. Kept hoping someone who lived there would come out and ask what I was doing sitting on their front lawn. I would have paid ’em for a gallon of ice water at that point.

When I left this morning, the address I was headed to was 52.5 miles away. I didn’t realize at first that I started out “wasting” five miles. Had I been able to see a more detailed map than Google Maps I would have cut out a big chunk of riding.

I spent all day long on US 250 and Ohio 13. Not a lot of shade on those roads. I bet in the course of three days, I’ve spent well over $50 on things to drink. I have a “Camelback” water reservoir that I could wear on my back, but, who needs the chafing that goes along with shoulder straps?

There was no phone signal or internet connection. Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t exactly sure where my hotel was. I thought I knew, but, alas, I didn’t. So, at the end of the day, after unnecessarily climbing more steep hills, I finally got a signal . . . and found I’d passed the turn off 8 miles prior.

I called the hotel and confirmed where they were and started the ride back. That’s when it started to rain again. Hard. Now, earlier in the day, when I was shade-less and near heat exhaustion, I would have welcomed the monsoon. But at the end of the day, when all I can think about is air conditioning, a hot bath, and a real live bed, I didn’t want to deal with rain.

Not to mention someone stuck Mt. Everest in Mansfield. To get to the motel, I’d have to ride up the thing. (And me without my Sherpa.) I’d just spent the last 20 miles going up and down endless hills. I really didn’t have it in me to do this beast. So I sat under another overhang at the foot of the hill, cursing my bad luck.

Finally, I said to myself, “Look, you got yourself into this. The hotel room is already paid for. You can sit your ass here on this cold hard slab of concrete, or you can suffer a heart attack climbing that hill.” I sometimes wonder why I talk to myself.

I’ve used a trick before in climbing hills that I brought out for this one. I just count to 10. With each pedal, I rattle off another number. Before long, my breathing is in rhythm with my counting. Some of you reading this may not know a little over a year ago I had a thyroid that had gone nuts on me. Doing something simple like, oh, say, breathing, was impossible. While that physical problem is fixed, my mind still thinks that if I start to exert myself, I won’t be able to breathe. I have to take my mind off the the exertion. Counting to ten in time with pedaling, seems to work. Sometimes.

Finally made it to the motel and noticed I’d racked up 70 miles today. Three day total: 232 miles. Still another 60 back home tomorrow. Roughly 300 miles in 4 days? Yeesh — no wonder I’m toast.