Bluegrass state.

My afternoon in Middlesboro, Kentucky was pretty great. I spent some time by the pool, swimming and enjoying myself while my clothes dried and then I got dressed and walked across the road to a mall. Well, it was called a “mall” but that’s not the word I would use… I bought my movie ticket and first thought he said that it cost $14,25 and thought that that’s the same as in Sweden then. But then I realized he said $4,25. That is just insanely cheap.

IMG_2074_2The movie was great, but it didn’t take me long to realize why it was so cheap. The audio was really bad. Like if I had to rate it, I would say that the video quality was maybe 8 and the audio 5 at best. I had a hard time hearing what they were saying from time to time (ugh, sometimes I miss subtitles…), and I heard others in the theater say “what did she say?” several times too. I guess you get what you pay for…

Anyway, the day after I got on my bike and headed out of town towards London, KY.  I knew that I had about 90 km to go but the road was great and once again a nice fog kept the temperature nice and cool. The Kentucky landscape is pretty hilly, but as long as they’re not too steep it’s fine. The views make up for it.
IMG_2077_2 IMG_2089_2 IMG_2091 IMG_2092_2IMG_2098_2
After 87 kilometer in 4 hours and 40 minutes I made it to London, just in time for lunch. Once again I just felt so strong and powerful, I love that feeling. London was a cute little town, nothing like its namesake in England though.
IMG_2099_2IMG_2112_2
I checked into my hotel and of course the bike gets to stay close to me even at night. I love her so much, she’s so comfortable and I’ve realized that every other bike I’ve owned has been too big for me. Elsa is much smaller and fits me much better, it doesn’t put as much stress on my body and I’m not hurting as much as I’ve been previously. She’s perfect! After a long day in the saddle my knees sometimes gets a bit stiff when they’ve cooled down, but other than that I’m feeling pretty great.

IMG_2096_2
I thought we should take a look at what’s in my handlebar bag. At the bottom is my big camera and my gopro, but the things that I want easy reach for is my wallet, my phone, trail mix and skittles for fast energy. Sun protection for my lips is a must too! My Garmin is great for telling the speed and other interesting facts, but I never use it as a gps even though it has that too. Google maps on my phone is much better for that. And on my arm is my RoadID, with my information and my parents contact details. Better safe than sorry…

Oh, and I’m in a Swedish magazine called Veckorevyn this month! This is a photo my sister sent me of my adorable niece Lovisa looking at the article about her aunt. Cutie!
IMG_2110_2

Anyway, this morning I tried sleeping in for a bit, but no such luck. I woke up at 5:30 as usual… After breakfast I got back on the bike and immediately realized that the cool air of yesterday was long gone, today was hot and humid already at 7 in the morning… Though I only had to bike 68 km today, they would be a struggle. So. Many. Hills. And after less than 5 minutes two dogs were chasing me down a road, barking like crazy and running in circles around me. I hate it, it’s super scary and I’m so scared of getting bit. I love dogs, but I’m not a fan of people not tying them up or using them as guard dogs. Let me tell you, guard dogs do not love cyclists. So far I’ve counted to 18 rather angry dogs chasing me during 2 weeks on the road, and even more barking at me from inside fences thankfully.
IMG_2126_2 IMG_2131_2
I LOVE seeing that sign. But it’s double, because after a downhill, there is usually a huge uphill waiting. 
IMG_2135_2
My fully loaded setup. I love Elsa and I think Bob is pretty great too. 
IMG_2137_2
I really struggled today because of the heat, and with the repetitive hills, and it doesn’t help when I ride past someone and he calls “why are you doing that, you’ll get overheated!” to me. Some people are so helpful.
IMG_2190_2
Taking a break at a gas station. I’m completely soaked in sweat, my hair is drenched and my shirt is completely wet. So attractive… Oh well, this adventure is not about looking my best, it’s about pushing myself to my limits, which I’m doing daily.
IMG_2192
I got SO excited when I cycled past this sign! Bridges of Madison County is one of my favorite movies. But then I learnt that it’s not set in Madison County, Kentucky, but in Madison County, Iowa. Oh well…

And then finally the climbs were over and I got to the sign telling me that I was in Berea. This is significant because this is where I’ll get on the official TransAmerica Trail that goes coast to coast across America. After Charlotte, this has been my main goal for these first weeks. But to be honest I’m feeling a bit anxious about getting on the official trail. At first I thought it was a bit complicated to plan my own route and I longed for the day I’d get to use the transam map, but I’ve actually really enjoyed it lately. I’m scared that I will feel too restricted having a map that I absolutely have to follow… like it’s not really my own journey anymore, if you understand what I mean?

But we’ll see. I’ll give it a try at least, I might love it! Otherwise it’s not harder than just getting off, and head in another direction. Everything is possible!
IMG_2205_2
So far I’ve cycled for two weeks and I’ve made it 943 kilometers. I’m feeling pretty strong, but the heat is still a struggle. For now I’ll keep on doing the early mornings and stop cycling at around lunch time. I’m getting a little bit faster, so hopefully I’ll still make it across the country in time. I think I’ve made it pretty far already, in just two weeks so I really don’t see the point in riding full days until it might cool down a bit.

This adventure is about the journey, not the destination. The journey won’t be as great if I’m pushing myself too hard and not enjoying things outside of cycling too.
IMG_2207_2
Tomorrow is a big Swedish holiday called midsommar, which I will celebrate with a rest day in Berea. It seems like a cosy little town, and my legs need some rest too.

And for those who doesn’t follow me on Facebook or Instagram (go do it now!) here is another comic I made the other day. I really enjoy singing, though I’m very bad at it. I very often sing to myself when I cycle, and this might have happened once or twice (or five times) on the road…
IMG_2211 

That is it for now, happy midsommar everybody! Have some snaps and pickled herring for me too! I might try to gather some people to jump around a tree singing about little frogs here too, but it would probably get me arrested so maybe not… Yes, we do that on midsummer, see video below or click here for more information.

Comments

  1. Ingegerd Alvbring says

    I am in Stockholm for midsummer and thinking that you were here just a few months ago and now you have already biked 943 km in the US. I am so impressed. I think the Trail will be great fun, you’ll get to meet other bikers and share experiences. Midsummer’s Eve this year is grey, cool, about 12-14 degrees and showers, rather typical really. Hope you get to do the frog dance. Happy midsummer!

  2. Mamma says

    I love that you have found your own way of doing this adventure. It’s important to enjoy your surroundings as well as struggling with the kilometers and the heat. You are such a special girl and I think you will even find a way to make the people do “små grodorna”.
    Have a great midsummer day in Berea, I love you ❤

  3. Therese says

    “The journey won’t be as great if I’m pushing myself too hard and not enjoying things outside of cycling too.” Big like on that!!!

Send some encouragement!