2015-07-08 - ND - Day 42 - Little Yellowstone Park to Napoleon
I fell today, the only time on this trip so far. Wait, let me back up. In the morning, I finished reading the classic bicycle racing book, The Rider by Tim Krabbe. We also met a beautiful dog named Soku who stole everyone's shoes and lightly bit someone. OK. Skip, skip, skip. It was to going to be a long day today, ninety-six miles. I started out riding pretty fast, and soon was drafting closely behind Alex. There was some crosswind so I rode slightly to his right. About sixteen miles in, it happened. I took a sip of water, lost focus. I think he might have slowed down a bit while I sped up without realizing. Next thing I knew, my front tire was rubbing against his rear wheel. I'd never experienced that before and did not know how to react. I cried out, "Oh sh*t!" and that second when the body asks the mind what to do and the mind has no answer -- that is truly terrifying. Next thing I knew my bike had fallen to the left and I was on the ground, in the middle of the county road. I didn't feel that bad. I got up and moved my bike off the middle of the road. As Alex held the bike, I checked over my body. I had scraped my right elbow, and my right hip and heel were in pain but not too much. My bike's left shift/brake lever hood was completely bent. I released the front brake and rode without it to the rest stop fourteen miles away where Lucas, our resident bike mechanic, bent the lever hood back into shape.
The rest of the day was a slog but North Dakota turned out to be surprisingly beautiful this time of year. Wildflowers lined the roads as we rode past rolling hills of farms and grass, with the occasional ring of cows (cattle outnumber people 2.4 to 1 in this state).
I remember watching a bird snatch an insect out of midair and another bird that screeched like a human, which gave me a scare.
By the last rest stop, I was finally feeling OK. It took us nine hours total including the day's three rest stops to reach Napoleon, where most of us stopped at the local diner for food. I had a small strawberry milkshake, mozzarella sticks, and broccoli poppers. Veggie options are really getting hard to find, with healthy veggie options almost nonexistent. We had showers by the swimming pool and I loved watching the trees dance in the wind in the park.