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  • Liam Condon

0.2 - The First Bookend

- Day 0 -

Can’t sleep. Should sleep, but can’t. It’s 12:38 am on Tuesday, May 29th, and my train from Manhattan to DC leaves at 5:51 sharp, which meant a 4:00am wakeup. I begin my cross-country bike trip right from the steps of Union Station. I feel terrified. Like, overwhelming fear. But why? Shouldn’t I be excited? This trip is the reason I decided to quit my job, sell my stuff and move out of my apartment. Surely I should be elated the moment is finally here? It doesn’t feel like it. I just feel nervous.

Maybe it’s because I’ll be on my own for two and a half months. At first a solo expedition sounded adventurous and exciting, but lately it’s become obvious just how much I’ll need to rely on others. Even these past few weeks, I’ve relied heavily on my roommate in making sure our apartment is in good shape to move out, and sharing his storage with me so I don’t have to toss out my mattress no one would take. We worked out payment and other details but still. I’ve also relied on another friend as well as my parents to hold on to my clothes and my guitar while I’m away. This is all pre-trip! I can’t imagine how much help I’m going to need in order to make it all the way to Los Angeles.

Maybe it’s because the first week is looking to be nothing but thunderstorms. Apparently a subtropical depression hit the gulf coast a few days ago and over the next five days, its remnants will be making their way up through Virginia, from southwest to northeast. Great. I only discovered this a few hours ago and was far from mentally prepared for a curveball. How did I overlook weather? Surely it would be a thorn in my side the whole trip, and I barely gave it any thought beyond ordering the lightest rain coat I could find on Amazon.

Maybe its because I am just now realizing how physically unprepared I am for this task. I’ve been so busy the past month preparing to move out, leave my job, and that I have all the gear I’m going to need I haven’t had any time to train. The longest I’ve ridden in a day is 30 miles. And I’m shooting to average 70 a day?? Good God, what am I thinking. This wouldn’t be a huge deal if I didn’t have to be in St. Louis to fly to Cleveland for a friend’s wedding on June 15th. That gives me 17 days to pedal about 1200 miles, the majority of which are hilly ones through Appalachia – an average of 70.5 a day.

Maybe it’s normal to feel nervous before starting a trek like this and I’m totally overthinking everything. Maybe the trip just supposed to be about the trip – rolling with the punches as they come? Maybe my zombie brain is starting to go mad. Or, maybe it’s a combination.

Noticed my front tire is flat before sprawling onto the floor. A good omen I can only assume. Whatever. SLEEP

- liam

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