Hardest Birthday Ride Yet

Hank – We left a little late but it was nice to have an extra degree or two of warmth since it was 31 degrees. We turned into a 10 mph headwind, which really chilled us. But the sun was shining and the day got better quickly.

We headed to New Iberia, Louisiana where we made reservations at a hotel. It was projected to be a 57-mile ride. And since today is Kathy’s 57th birthday, it would be her birthday ride.

Kathy wasn’t feeling very strong today and the 10 mph headwind took the joy out of the ride for her despite the festive decoration she put on her bike.

We were on US Hwy 90 or on a frontage road next to it all day. The frontage roads were quieter and had far less traffic. This section of the highway is a magnet for debris. While crossing one overpass I heard a rhythmic click-click-click coming from my front wheel. I had picked up a nail dead center in the tire. I coasted down the overpass and we pulled over to the side of the road. Since Kathy hasn’t fixed a flat yet she volunteered to do so. It didn’t take long to swap out the tube and we were off to the races again. A couple hundred yards down the road and woman was stopped and checking out her car’s engine. We asked if she needed any help. She explained that she had recently replaced a sensor and now there’s a burning smell coming from the engine. Kathy and I apologized that we couldn’t help with anything beyond changing a tire. She was cool with that as she is an experienced mechanic. She thanked us for stopping to check on her.

About 30 miles in we stopped in Franklin, Louisiana to get some lunch. We ended up at Mona’s Southern Soul Food and Snack Shop. The special was beef and cheese lasagne with corn, salad, bread, and cake for eight dollars. We each got that and a lemonade. The lasagne was beefy and cheesy as I’ve ever seen. Kathy was starving and she felt much better afterwards.

Back on the road we kept working against the wind. It was kind of like riding with a brake on. It was affecting Kathy much more than me. I tried to break the wind for her but she said it wasn’t making any difference. So we patiently pressed on. Between the rough shoulders and grinding against the wind our butts were pretty sore at the end of the day.

We arrived at our hotel after sunset but it was still light out. I cleaned up and then walked to a restaurant to get orders to go so we could eat in our room. Then I got our laundry done. Kathy took a short nap before our video chat with our kids. We had a great visit with them. Then we called it a night.

Kathy – Well the birthday ride was a tough one for me today. We started out all bundled up in our woolies in 31 degree temps. The sun was shining which always helps on cold mornings. The total ride was 59 miles today. We had a nice shoulder and/or frontage roads throughout the day, however they were often scattered with debris, potholes, uneven surfaces, or chip seal roads. On our ride we only averaged 8 – 10 mph, whereas a normal day for us would be 12 – 15 mph. It was like you were weaving through stuff in the road and then added constant jarring on the body from the potholes and uneven surfaces. Then add some headwind to it all.

I haven’t had a bad day of riding in months, but today I just could not get a good flow going. It felt like my bike was double its actual 75 pound weight. I was trying my darnedest to get moving at a faster pace, but my body just felt totally depleted the entire day. I tried to keep a positive attitude, but it was really tough that last 15 miles. I wanted to cry, but knew that would just slow me down more so I just focused on the road in front of me trying to avoid as many potholes as I could. I Needless to say, I was so thankful today’s ride was over.

Sorry for my pitiful rant. Let’s end by flipping it…. The evening was much better. Hank picked up nice salads for dinner at a local restaurant and we had a great time video chatting with the kids. Next year on my birthday we will be done with this bike trip. I am good with doing a 58 mile ride for my 58th birthday (on my lightweight road bike of course), but not in cold Spokane. Anyone up for a 58 mile bike ride January 24, 2020 in some warm, possible tropic location? 😊🚴‍♀️🌴☀️

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  1. It was great meeting ya’ll today. I am fasinated by your story and look forward to reading all about it. I wish you safe travels and bright days!


  2. Way to hang in there Kathy and Happy Birthday.


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