I’ve had a big week so far.
I’ve spent the last month out in Salt Lake City studying wilderness medicine with the University of Utah, and I was hoping that the altitude and mountaineering would have better prepared me for the ride ahead. Salt Lake City’s at about 4,226 feet of elevation (pO2 97 mmHg). Fort Smith, AK is at 139 feet (pO2 157 mmHg). So by all rights, my supercharged red blood cells would have made me one of the leaders, or at least moderately competent during the ride, right?
Turns out that riding from San Diego to Fort Smith may have been slightly better training and preparation for riding.
I trained in Utah, I really did, but definitely not at the level of 1400 miles of riding. So coming back to meet up with my friends mid-ride has shown some changes. For example, Jing’s calves, previously the size of my head, are now roughly the size of my thighs.
After an uneventful flight, I landed in Arkansas on the 15th. After some quick catching up, the next morning we went to the local Egg and I for some breakfasting. Huevos rancheros seemed like a good idea at the time…
Stop #1: Waldron, AR–After arriving and sleeping for a short time-and experiencing the post-ride munchies–we set out onto Main street with the plan to check out some of the pawn shops. Apparently I’ve missed some things on the ride so far, because this is a thing now. We ended up at the Wild Horse, where the owners and Boudreaux the dog were amazingly nice to us. We left the shop with a cast of a 9-point buck’s antlers, which is going to be auctioned off at the benefit concert in Columbus the week we get back.
Stop #2: Hot Springs, AR-Bonk day. Turns out that the post-ride munchies had a purpose. Which was to replace the massive amount of glycogen that I had failed to replace during the ride yesterday. This of course leads to me seeing the Hot Springs sign and slowly, surely, falling behind the group, spinning my legs in granny gear unable to move faster than 7 mph. No fun.
Stop #3: Little Rock, AR
Stop #4: Marvell, AR. My first rodeo. In the literal sense. Marvell hasn’t had a rodeo in town for 20 years, and the night that we got in, the bullriders had a show.
Stop #5: Memphis, TN. My first crawfish. Terrifying, salty, and sort of tasty. Met up with some of the students at UTHSC to spend the night, and headed out to Beale Street.
Stop #6: Milan, TN.
Stop #7: Waverly, TN. Minus the wrong turn I took and the ride on the highway adding 8 miles and an hour to everyone’s rest stop, today was fine. Still working on making sure I’m eating enough during the ride. And impressed with just how strong everyone’s become over the month I’ve been gone.
I haven’t had the chance to see any of the talks we’ve given aside from the pictures on the website, but we’ve had the opportunity to give the basics to most of the people that we’ve stopped (or have stopped us) and met. The biggest takeaway so far I’ve had has been just how willing and giving the random people we’ve met on the ride have been, and that the good far outweighs the bad.