Day 3: Mackay, ID – Rexburg, ID- 95 miles, climbing – 986 feet
It was still early morning before sunrise and the temperature dropped to 43F. I was feeling completely miserable and in need to warm up again. My hands were frozen and I struggled to even hold the handlebars. It was a day of managing the losses and in fact turned out to be one of the two worst days during the entire race.
Just twenty miles after leaving Mackay I was already thinking about where to stop. Eventually, I arrived in the small town of Moore, ID and entered another post office until the sun would come out. The cold, the wind and the climbing knocked the wind out of my sail. I was laying down on the floor, trying to eat, drink and warm up a bit. About twenty minutes later the sun came out and it was time to keep moving.
I reached Arco, ID six miles away and the town had open gas station so I stopped to get hot coffee and breakfast again. An old gentleman on barely working bicycle was giving me some ear beating about his cycling experience. Honestly, I wanted no part of it, my mood was terrible. The temperature started to increase rapidly as soon as the sun came out and I smelled trouble.
The next 50 miles were slow , hot and not fun at all. It felt like I was paying for the bad planning the previous day. I remember being so cooked at one point that I had some pretty bad heat related symptoms and was worried about my health. Have you stuck your head inside an oven? That’s exactly what it felt at that very moment. . .
As soon as I noticed the first business around I stopped immediately, and yes, you guessed right – another gas station. I was pouring cold water on my body, drinking coke and other cold drinks , eating ice creams and then laid down on a bag of Ice. It must have been a strange scene seeing filthy cyclist laying down on the side of the gas station in a puddle of water and legs high up on the wall while constantly eating and drinking. The locals going in and out were all asking if I am ok and if I need anything.
Mike lead was increasing slowly and Barry was stopped again, just 3 hours after his last stop. I wasn’t sure if his tracker was not working or he was in trouble. It felt like a great opportunity to move up but I was having a horrible day myself.
I tried to keep moving but the heat was just so nasty and devastating on the body. Somehow, I made it another 20 miles or so and was ready to stop again. Not the day I expected but you have to roll with the punches and adapt. Luckily, there was a large church on the side of the road near Mud Lake, ID & Trenton, ID so went for it. There was a large outdoor dining area with cover, concrete floor and outlets to charge all of my electronics. Few sprinklers were shooting water and that helped me cool down. I remained there for about 3 hours while questioning the outcome of this day. Rexburg, ID was about 30 miles away and I started looking for hotels there as the situation was quickly deteriorating.
My body was hurting badly, I was moving like a snail and some 3.5 hours later I made it to Rexburg, ID. This was the biggest town I’ve seen since Portland and it was exciting to have options. I found a very nice sandwich shop and purchased 3 large subs , salad and sweets. And by large I mean twice the size of the biggest sandwich I’ve seen in my life 🙂
As I got off my bike, I looked down and my knees looked strange. Sure, I was in pain during the day but didn’t anticipated such serious injury. Upon removing my K-Tape, the severity of the issue smacked me in the face. My knees were so swollen that a big chuck of inflamed muscle and tissue was hanging over them. This looked like a big problem and I was pissed.
My next move was to call Barry just to check on him since his tracker was still not moving. Coincidently , he was having hard time with injuries himself and told me that he doesn’t know if he can continue and is taking a day off. My mind was so fuzzy that I thought we were in the same town so I asked him to share a room. I was reminded that he is 30 miles ahead in Ashton, ID. Right when I caught up to his, disaster struck but there was nothing I can do about it so why worry?
It was already late afternoon and I was ready to call it a day. There was nothing else I can do other than find a hotel and deal with my injuries. I biked only 12 hours and managed just 90 miles for the day. This was not what I hoped or planned for because despite my issues in the previous four days , I was still averaging 173 miles a day.
I found few hotels but upon arrival I was told that they are all sold out. What a waste of time. I kept bouncing from one place to another and finally arrived at Super 8. It was a bit off route but beggars can’t be choosers. The young receptionist was super helpful and welcoming. He told me that the entire town is full of tourists and is sold out. Apparently, they had some star country singers coming over in town and the biggest fireworks around for 4th of July. The hotel was new and honestly the best Super 8 I have stayed in. They had large bathrooms, new beds, clean rooms, A/C that actually works, laundry facility and even some breakfast items.
Here I was, packing ice in large Zip lock bags, then elevating my legs, applying all kind of anti inflammatory ointments and finally running the TENS unit before I went to bed. I slept like a baby without setting up the alarm clock for over 8 hours and was off the bike for nearly 11 hours here.
There was a feeling of rejuvenation in the morning but I promised myself to not take any unnecessary chances and soft pedal for the following two days in order to recover.