Day 21: The 4AM Wakeup – Summersville to Hartsville

There is some magic in the air this morning. We open the doors of the VFW building to a starry sky. It’s 4 a.m. Our new strategy is to avoid the giant floating orb that melts bikers by the midday. Wrapping up by lunchtime, we bask in our accomplishment of finishing the day and sit on a bench outside the cafeteria to spot the first professional TransAm racer.

 The family at the Ben Davis convenience store gathers around for updates on the Trans America race.

The family at the Ben Davis convenience store gathers around for updates on the Trans America race.

The Daily Summary

On Day 21, June 14th, a 62 mile ride takes us from Summersville to Hartsville.

The Vivofit watch read 4:30 a.m. and I leap out of the bed. I shuffle over to the bathroom in the back of the air conditioned hall and groggily realize that this an early hourly – it displays East Coast time. Feeling alert, I begin rolling up the sleeping bag and sleeping pad, put on cycling clothes for the day, and pack Dark Roast.

Mark flicks on the lights and everyone stares in shock at my magic trick. How is Erik the first one ready?

 Up and smiling at 4:00 AM

Up and smiling at 4:00 AM

A playful cat waits at the main entrance as we open the doors to a starry sky. The sun casts a mystic glow over the forest as if the first rays are barely reaching the Earth. This is first time we must use our front lights to ride.

First breakfast is at 4:00 a.m. Second breakfast is at 6:30. Is the next meal third breakfast or brunch if it happens at 9 a.m.? Taylor, Mark, and I discuss the latter point over some fried chicken, potato salad, and vegetables that are left over from last nights dinner.

We marvel in the fact that we rode 40 miles by the time we reached Ben Davis grocery store. Mark reached our final stop, Hartsville, by 11 a.m. That is cycling right.

An hour after arriving a crowd of crazy cyclists leap from a café bench to cheer on Evan Deutche. He is the first TransAm racer that is currently ahead of Mike Hall’s cycling record across America. We are the crazy fans.

The nice part is that Evan actually stops and chats with us for a moment. Will he set a new record? Follow the race here:

The Route

The hills were definitely worse yesterday. But do not be mistaken because today is still hilly. If you want a real long day then the 24 miles until the next big town is definiteable possible.

The People

 Is that the first TransAm racer! Nope, just someone that rides 100+ miles a day - no big deal.

Is that the first TransAm racer! Nope, just someone that rides 100+ miles a day - no big deal.

Matt Busby from Aberdine flew in to Vancouver and surprised his grandmother who did not know he was coming. T and I argue if he is the first TransAm professional race. He is a not a racer but possibly could be since his daily average is 100 to 200 kilometers. As a note, he said miles but Talor and I think he meant kilometers based on the fact that he also used pounds instead of USD.

Everyone crowds around the computer as mom pulls up the TransAm race on the computer. This is the first family we have met that is aware of the race and actively tracks it. She shares a story of how a racer came into her store one day explaining they were close to heat exhaustion. This little grocery store has been helping cyclists ever since. I bet one day that one of her kids will do the trail.

How about a bike trip around the world? That is exactly what this Brit is about to complete. Over nine months he has circumnavigated the world, including visits to Thailand, Australia, Istanbul, Germany, and 29(?) other countries. He is marveled by the diversity of American landscape as he moves from feet of snow in Yellowstone to rolling hills here in Missouri. Time to start planning this route…

The Scenery

 Conquering hills in the Ozark mountains

Conquering hills in the Ozark mountains

The Blood Sugar


You can tell every moment I stop for a break while cycling. These are the moments the blood sugar starts climbing up quickly. 

I am trying to tackle the overnight highs. Unfortunately, aggressively treating dinner resulted in a low that had a rebound high for the night.