Oberlin, LA to Opelousas, LA
123 ft of climbing
Today started well enough. It was cloudy and felt cooler to me. We had breakfast at the Tiger's Den Café and hit the road.
I felt good from the beginning. We were riding at a pretty good clip. Chris was probably riding one mile per hour slower from the beginning of the day.
Our first stop was at twenty seven miles and it only took a few minutes for Chris to catch up.
Beginning in the mountains of California, whoever reached the summit of a climb first would wait there. Since we've been in flatter terrain, I've usually ridden in front and I wait at any turns.
Today, about seven miles after leaving our first stop I waited at a turn and Chris rode right past me with his head down. I had to race up to him and stop him. He said he was zoned out.
We rode another twelve miles down the road and I stopped at a turn. I eventually turned on my phone and started looking into getting a new rear wheel sent to me somewhere down the road. Killing time waiting for Chris.
After half an hour I feared maybe Chris had broken down. Yesterday a similar thing happened and it was a flat. It only delayed him fifteen minutes. Even though he has most of the tools, I'm the fixer. I figured since I carry the kitchen, he can carry the garage.
I started backtracking and rode back around the turn at the apex of which I had stopped. I saw Chris sitting in the shade at an abandoned gas station with his rear wheel in his lap.
He had flatted and when he changed it he noticed he had a broken spoke. He was not sure what to do. I showed him how to do the repair. He seemed a little sluggish.
We got things together and started pedaling. In the first mile he dropped several hundred yards back. I stopped and waited for him and when he rolled up I asked him if he was OK. He said yes. I asked him if the bike was OK. He said yes. I asked him if he needed something to eat. He said he had a Power Bar and took it out and ate it. I told him to drink a lot of water with it.
I told him he had been going eleven miles per hour (his bike computer has never worked). I said we had to do better than that to miss the giant storm moving right over us. We were headed to the North for a few miles and the storm was moving West with its northern edge just in front of us. We were only seven Mlles from our planned lunch stop and given how Chris was feeling I was anxious to get somewhere we would have shelter. As it happened we rode right past the storm catching only some very light fringe showers.
I was ready to eat and ride hard but once we sat down and I had a chance to asses things with Chris I knew that wasn't going to happen. He was asleep in his chair with his eyes open. I pulled out the map.
We had stopped in Washington, La, a typically sized town on the route with a population of seventeen hundred (nowhere to stay). I looked at the map and saw Opelousas five or six miles South. Nineteen thousand people. Easy pickens for a hotel shopper.
I found a hotel, with the browser on my phone, and asked Chris how he felt. "I'm so tired", he said. I said, "fifty miles to Simmesport or five off route and call it a day.
We had lunch and headed for Opelousas.
The heat must be getting to Chris. I'm pretty comfortable riding in it.
We shall see what tomorrow brings.
It could be my turn to fall asleep at the wheel.