Well, I have a ride update, 3 weeks overdue, but it's an update. The ride is over, and not as glorious as I wanted.
The last thing I had mentioned was being in Sandpoint. What I didn't mention was the problem that I'd been dealing with. See, a month before the ride, I changed one detail. I changed shoes. I wasn't 100% happy with the ones I had, so I replaced them with Five-Ten clipless shoes. They were tight, but not any worse than my Shimanos when I got those. In the two weeks pre-ride I thought they would break in. I was wrong.
The problems began on the second day of riding when the shoes were rubbing against my foot in a way to make it irritating. It never got better. By the time I had gotten over 4 climbs and 700+ miles, the blisters had gone bloody. It all reached a point of no return outside of Mizzoula Montana when I hit a rumble strip and almost fell off the bike in pain.
Years ago I'da ignored it. Duct tape my body together and keep going because I'm stubborn. I can't do that anymore. I'm a diabetic, and one of the things that was hammered into my skull was foot care because I guess diabetics have poor circulation in their extremities. So foot injuries can deteriorate quickly. A friend of mine who was a T1 Diabetic had to have her leg amputated due to complications like this.
When you do anything this huge you accept there will be discomfort and pain. And to that end I sucked up a lot of problems up to this. On day two I also had a massive nerve damage hit in my left hand that made it so I can't feel three of my fingers, and I'm still dealing with that now a month later. Normal knee and back pain, that's acceptable too. But hitting anything on the road causing that level of pain, that was my limit.
Hence the picture above. I'm happy I brought camping sandals because that's the only thing I could wear on my feet. With the help of my warm showers hosts and trail angels I managed to make the 100 or so miles to Whitefish, where I caught a train home.
It's been three weeks or so, I've only recently managed to get normal shoes back on. The blistering is slowly healing, it's still angry looking and not good. I did manage to get my old, more comfortable shoes back on for a ride the other night but it may have set my recovery back a little more. It's driving me insane, but I'm just trying to heal up.
The stubborn part of me is saying "heal up, get back out there, pick it up again." but I really don't know if I'm just going to set myself up for another injury like this again. I know what it took financially to pull this off, and I literally can't afford another failure on this scale. And ultimately, that's what this was. A failure.
And before you try to cheer me up, it's been tried. "Look what you accomplished!" "Look how far you got!" "You tried your best!" Which is all good, but it's still a failure. I barely made 25% of the distance I set out to do, and that's a truth that's hard to swallow.
I'm not sure what I'm going to do from here. I've been just hanging out, waiting for this to heal up enough that I can actually DO Things again, but right now it's driving me insane. It's been three weeks since I stopped, and all things being equal I'd rather be on the road still. But, to use a phrase I absolutely hate, "It is what it is."
So a thank you to everyone who poked in and looked, thank yo to the people who supported the ride, and a thank you to people who donated to PanCan. The donation page will remain open, and my goal still remains. Hopefully, well we'll see what happens next year. Meanwhile, I'm just going to be here, healing up. It's not fun, but it's the best plan I can have.