It would have been nice to stop for the day, rest our weary minds and bodies, but a night in a hotel was a treat and couldn't be repeated - we would have to move on, although our legs really didn't feel it.
The morning was sunny and warm and we hoped our luck had changed - please, just one day without the rain.
We started riding and the road seemed good - not too much wind and quiet roads. It should have been enjoyable riding, but for me I was struggling not to stop and throw my bike in a ditch and walk home. For a couple of weeks I'd been struggling with the idea of going home. We had been gone over six months, such a long time... My legs were in pain every day - not serious pain, just the pain that comes with pushing yourself. It was a feeling I wasn't used to in my former life, and I'm still not sure I like it.
After a long straight stretch where I fell far behind Sam, he stopped to wait for me, and make sure I was ok. A torrent of tears followed as we stopped on the side of a deserted road to talk about how tired I was, the pain of working hard and how I missed home. It was time to decide - did I want to keep going or go home?
Sam gave a speech worthy of a pep rally - about pain making you stronger, how far we've come in six months, how much I've improved and reminding me that a rest in Paris was just days away.
For the rest of the afternoon I had the strength to keep up with Sam (in his slip stream of course) and even enjoyed the pain and ensuing feeling of accomplishment at the top of many hills.
We went further than planned, trying to find an ideal camping spot. At Saint Florentin we found a shower and toilet block next to the canal and were happy to wash away the day's dirt. But we decided to keep riding and try to find a better camping spot, away from the crowds of motor campers.
At 8.30 we stopped behind some bushes on the side of the road outside Saint Florentin, both exhausted. It wasn't ideal, but we couldn't go any further.
8/3/2010 08:07:48 pm
Stay strong Shanna!!!! You are amazing and such an example to me. You are lucky you have such a strong husband who won't let you come home early and keeps you going. If you do come home early though don't ever feel like you gave in! You are an inspiration to us all!
8/4/2010 04:51:23 pm
I'm proud of you Sam and Shan its certainly not easy what you are doing. Keep it up, your doing great Shan!
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Sam and Shanna Evans are from Melbourne, Australia