Did you know that morning traffic in Charleston starts way before 6:30 am and the sun doesn’t come up until 7:20 am. That left me with a choice of getting up at 5 and riding in the dark or sucking up traffic a little bit before sunrise. I chose to suck up traffic at 6:30. However, it was so foggy that even though the city lights were enough to light my way, I was really concerned about other people seeing little ol’ me riding a bike with a little tail light.
So after 2 or so miles of stop and go traffic, I said screw this and found a place where I could sit out the fog. It was a long and boring hour and a half waiting, when all I could think about was that plush king sized bed I could have been still sleeping in. I am not a morning person at all, so this was not a good way to start out my day. As soon as the fog lifted I hopped on the bike and made some headway down hwy 17. I still took it rather slowly and felt like I was riding on a tightrope for most of the morning. All I could think about was riding between the rumbling strip and where the road drops off, missing the debris, and food. I was starving! I made it to hwy 17 and hwy 64 happier than a hot hog in a cool puddle of mud to see a gas station that had Church’s Chicken in it. I ordered and sat in there for a bit feasting on the little drumsticks and resting my swollen legs that had begun to breakout in hives. My legs had been feeling good all week, and only broke out twice during the last 7 days. I don’t know what it is about the bike shorts that I am allergic to, but today it was really bothering me. Usually it is just around the elastic band at the end of the shorts that I break out, but this time it was creeping down my thighs. And why was I getting Cankles???
My husband had texted me that he had a change of plans and had to work in Greenville Tuesday and couldn’t pick me up and nether could Kaitie because of her school. So I was left to either finish today, go as far as I could today and end the trip, or finish up tomorrow hopefully before the bad weather set in and then rent a car and drive home. I wasn’t sure I could make it all the way today because I was fighting a sore throat and earache on top of dealing with swollen legs that felt like I had added 20 lbs to my bike. I was also dreading getting back on my bike because of the road, but I knew this newly paved road with wider shoulders that Scott Bingham had told me about had to be coming up soon. And it did. Right after the gas station it opened up into smooth sailing for most of the way to hwy 21. I don’t know how or when I made it to the turn off to Beaufort, but I did. I think I zoned out for 20 plus miles. Scary. Once I was at the turn off I really wanted to go rest a bit at Old Sheldon Church ruins which was 2 miles away. But at this point I was thinking of shaving off every extra mile there was and just getting to the end. I continued on and decided that I would stay the night in Beaufort and rent a car Tuesday after I completed my ride. My legs were itching like crazy now with the hives going down my upper thighs and now to my lower legs, and I was so mentally exhausted from the constant traffic I just wanted to complete my 7 miles to the hotel and kick my cankles up to let the swelling go down a bit. About 5 miles before the hotel Scott texted me saying he would be in Hilton Head at 7 to pick me up. He had been tracking me on the handy-dandy RidewithGPS app and knew I would be there about the same time if I kept going. So instead of turning left to go to the hotel, I turned right to go to Hilton Head. Last thing I really wanted to do was end this trip with no one there for me at the end, especially when I didn’t feel so hot. I was happy knowing he would be close even if I didn’t finish the whole way today. So this was good. I stopped to replenish my drinks because I had run out and was wilting away even though I had retained plenty of water in my legs. I pressed forward and tried my best to fight the headwinds and the crazy traffic that was building up again. My wide shoulder narrowed to nada and all I could think about was the pain in my derriere, the welts on my legs, and the numbness of my fingers. I just wanted it to end. It made me rather cranky and I cussed out many drivers, and gave the bird when I could lift my hand. Sorry mom, I know you raised me better, but sometimes there is just no other words to express myself.
The road to Hilton Head was under construction and said there was a detour, so learning from my previous mistake, I took the detour instead of traveling on hwy 278. The first 2 miles of the detour road was under construction too, which made me pedal like a crazy women as fast as I could just to get off that road. When I got to Bluffton Parkway I almost broke out in a dance of joy because it had its own paved bike and pedestrian path! Woohoo! It was truly a godsend. It was the best 10 miles of the day. I had such high hopes that if Bluffton had smooth roads and a pathway for bikes then maybe going over the bridge into ritzy Hilton Head would be the same. I was oh so so so wrong! Again no shoulder on hwy 278 and the bridge… It’s shoulder was so full of debris that I thought I was going to wreck right there and not even make it the last mile. CLEAN UP YOUR SHOULDERS HILTON HEAD for crying out loud!!!
I was thankful that I made it over the bridge and stopped to take my Hilton Head Island sign picture. Then it was on to complete 100 miles for the day and meet Scott for my pick up and then dinner at Salty Dog Cafe’… at least that was the plan. It was nearing sunset, traffic was bad leaving me with little room to ride. I road between the rumbling strip and edge of the road. There was a rather large stick that hogged the whole width of the shoulder and out into the road. I had to ride over it or be hit by the car behind me because there was no room to go around the stick into his lane of traffic. I guess I hit the stick at such an angle that it flipped up and threaded itself into my back wheel spokes and through my frame causing me to come to a dead stop which flipped me over into the grass. All I can say is I am so thankful that it flipped me toward the grass and not the cars. I scooted myself and bike off of the shoulder and into the safety zone (we were still attached together because of my shoes didn’t unclip when I fell) and unclipped myself and tried to figure out how to get the damn stick out of my frame and wheel. Not really how I envisioned ending this long ride at all, but I am glad I didn’t get badly hurt and I am glad I actually got to finish the trip. I’m super thankful Scott was within 10 minutes of picking me up too. At this point all I just wanted to do was go home and rest my banged up body and swollen legs that had welts of hives all over them now! I was finished! Done, and I was happy it was over. I am most grateful that I didn’t start in Hilton Head going North or it would have been a rather short trip. South Carolina is a hard state to ride through along the Coastal areas. I know my naysayers would tell me they told me so, and to them I would say, yes you are right, but I did accomplish it and it is doable. Therefore, I am proud of myself for fighting through it and completing my trip even ending it with a bang! I did it! Head to Head is complete and I am in one piece, praise God. If you want to take a look at my ride from today click RidewithGPS pt 1 and RidewithGPS pt 2