I left Portugal suffering from both food poisoning and Achilles Tendonitus however a few rest days in transit between Europe and USA saw my heel improve and the worst of the pain was over. Or so I thought!
Upon arrival at Boston I was met by the guys at Burlington and bright spring like weather.
Boston is a picturesque city with charming New England look. Some of the homes date from the American war of independence and are still in the same family and everywhere makes reference to past colonial times but surprisingly it feels more England than anywhere else with names such as Cambridge, Norwich etc.
The following day started well with a short ride with some of the guys before finishing off a round 100 miles during which I was ‘redirected’ by state troopers having strayed onto Highway 2 instead of Highway 2A, and finally arrived at Athol M.A early evening just as it was getting cold. I stopped in an Inn called Prince Philip where I chatted with the locals about what I was doing and still trying to answer the WHY? question.
The next day was disaster. Shortly after setting off I had an accident. Having departed early I was making good progress and descending from Atholl at good speed when my wheels slipped on melt water covering wet rail tracks. The result was instant and down I went before I could even say “oh”. Being clipped into the pedals my ankle took the full force of the fall and further twisted my Achilles tendon aggravating the injury again. Michelle the CSR Plc Battle bike was scratched and the rear panniers damaged. I managed to limp to the University of Massachusetts where a bike shop fixed my panniers within minutes, shame they couldn’t fix me. I spent the next two days trying to recover and figure a way forward. Several ride attempts were made but unfortunately I just couldn’t put any weight through the ankle.
This left me with a significant dilema, do I stay and hope for a quick recovery while paying medical bills etc, do I try and move forward using public transport? Unfortunately public transport in the USA is not geared for cyclists and the costs were prohibitive.
Rather than spend money on hotels and expensive doctors I made my way home where I visited a physio. I was gutted when he informed that I should be off my ankle for 6 weeks! I had a small tear to one of my tendons.
What do I do? Chances like this are once in a lifetime chances and so many people were behind me with this challenge.
Three weeks later a combination of ultrasound, heat and cold and massage saw me recovered enough to return to the USA! My Physio is next to Queens and Presidents and when he gave me the news everything lifted and it was like being reborn.
I flew straight back into phoenix Arizona to warmth and longer days with strict instruction from my Physio to limit my rides to 80 miles for the first few days and also wear shoe inserts to reduce stress on the tendons. A visit to a baseball game and a small beer saw me fired up to begin racing again, and that’s exactly what happened.
Leaving Phoenix on the 30th March saw me crossing the desert through sand storms and sheltering overnight in a deserted ghost town of Desert Centre before arriving in Palm Springs California where I spent the night with fellow cyclists I had met on the road between Phoenix and Blythe California. Head winds and lack of food and water stops made going tough but I reached my target mileage most days and on others exceeded with distances in excess of 100 miles+.
Since then I have cycled along the California coast highway known as PCH1, climbing over mountains such as Big Sur where I saw Whales leaping from the blue seas of the pacific ocean and Elephant Seals basking on long beaches. Out to sea I could see a storm brewing which while giving me a tail wind was also warning me of wet weather in Sunnyvale and on my ride into Sunnyvale I was confronted with the wettest weather yet while climbing over the Santa Cruz mountains from Watsonville. Part of my route included Highway 17, probably the most scared I had been on a bike on a road. Another diversion by patrol officers saw me practice my cross country riding skills where thick mud clogged all my moving parts up and left me soaked and mud strewn for my arrival at the new Sunnyvale CSR office. And what a welcome it was with hot coffee and people with lots of questions. I in response left a nice big puddle on their canteen floor!
So things are now looking good, my mileage has climbed back up to 130 miles (sorry Doc) and as I write this I am now in Sunnyvale where its not quite so sunny.
Next stop is New Zealand which will be a form of milestone where I reach the second Antipodal point on the globe. In effect although there is a huge amount of cycling still to do I am on my way home!