Sleep paralysis is commonly accompanied by stories of a dark figure looming at the towards the end of your bed. This time the figure faced the wall, as a gentle trickling sound echoed around the otherwise silent room. At this point I realised I wasn’t paralysed at all, and the figure was none other than Thomas Appleyard arcing a drunken stream of piss into my cycling shoes with alarming accuracy.
I’d decided to gun-it down the middle of Florida. I’d been warned that when you reach the coasts the prices go up, along with the traffic and towns along with it. Apparently the Eastern coast towards Miami is lined with condos – not exactly the shoreside ride I’d had in mind, and to be honest, I prefer forests.
The US90. Lovely stretch of road. Lined with trees. Big old sun in the sky. Nice wide, smooth shoulder to ride on. All mine for around six days. I got bored of the perfect conditions quite quickly, such is the fickle nature of a cyclist, I wanted some twists and turns along the way.
The sides of the road sparkle in Texas, they’re lined with broken glass from beer bottles that have been launched from the driver’s seat. Seems like drink-driving is the state sport, and if you’re caught with an open container you’re disqualified, so out the window it goes. It’s funny how it never seems to be good beer either, it’s always Bud Light. Same goes for Red Bull and Monster, they seem to end up roadside, says it all really.
New Mexico’s a strange old place, same goes for Arizona. Everything has spikes, the ground’s rough, the weather hurts, whether it’s hot or cold, bright colours just aren’t on the menu. It all sounds really unwelcoming, but there’s something endearing about it, it’s stark contrast from anywhere else I’ve been.
It wasn’t long after crossing the bridge into Arizona, a familiar, yet unwelcome feeling swept over me. Trembling legs, sweaty brow, guts that felt like a voodoo doll. It all meant only one thing; number 49 was arriving at full speed. Maybe I wasn’t ready for the amount of sugar and sweeteners rootbeer had to offer.