top of page
  • Writer's pictureRebecca L.

Day 9: You Gotta Do It Everyday

Tuesday, June 11

Draper, VA —> Tazewell, VA

69.1 miles, 4,701 ft elevation 


Hi, Rebecca here with another blog!


I was initially really nervous about today due to a not-fun resurgence of pain from a shin splint I got in October. I was limping around so I took yesterday off and invested in Icy Hot and some very Victorian calf length compression socks. It was also 70 miles which was the most I had done on this trip. But I was inspired by a breakfast conversation we had about Harvard professor Jenny Hoffman, who holds the world record for fastest time to run across the US (47.5 days!?). She got shin splints 5 days in and kept running. I was specifically motivated by this (grainy) photo:

Jenny Hoffman taped up the max!

If she could do that, I felt like I could just try biking today. I still had the pre and intra bike jitters. The first ten miles were very difficult for me. I just had this image of me messing up my leg and limping around for the next week or so. We were on this flat, loud highway, and I could just see the whole Spokes trip stretch on and on before me, with all of its difficulties and pain and uncertainty. But all I could really do was keep putting one foot (pedal) in front of the other. And eventually the nervousness gave way to a form of determination. 


Bojack Horseman quote replaying in my head all day. It's really my motto right now.

My internal monologue was something like this:


“One one thousand two one thousand three one thousand four one thousand ok this cadence feels good ok it’ll be ok wow my neck feels a little weird and really won’t stop [🎶I wanna see you dance again 🎶] i need to get better at biking with one hand but this road is too downhill to practice right now isn’t it crazy how a single little rock can mess up my bike but also thank you to my bike for being awesome [🎶on this harvest moooooon🎶] I wonder how many shades of green are around me right now oh shoot I need to text my family back how can I compartmentalize my thoughts so that I can just be peaceful during these bike rides also Father John Misty is so weird but I appreciate his music about loving his wife


Then imagine this for 70 miles. It’s not a very interesting time over here in my mind. I had the song Harvest Moon by Neil Young stuck in my head for about 10 miles. At one point I tried to remember my earliest childhood memories but gave up almost immediately. I’m in this conundrum where I can’t decide whether I should listen to music and podcasts or not. The benefits are that I can learn or experience something new which will help me have more things to think about. The cons are that it really turns my brain off and I’m less able to enjoy the beauty around me. It was sad today when I couldn’t hear the river next to me because I was listening to some random song I didn’t know. And there was another time where I tried to listen to a podcast about online advertising and then realized I could not care less while I’m biking through beautiful rural Virginia. I’m gonna keep trying though. [update from future Rebecca: This American Life makes for good biking listening!]

[Nicole Kidman voice] Podcasts about Meta and advertising consulting feel bad in a place like this...

Anyways, more about the actual route. Within the first 25 miles was the craziest downhill I’ve ever done. When I saw signs that said “trucks switch into a lower gear” I knew something interesting was about to happen. We zipped down this massive hill, and brakes screeched and wind rushed eerily as I focused on the curves of the road. We all made it down okay but it was unexpected and scary. 


The very end of the downhill. You can hear the car brakes if you listen closely.


But I was just happy my shins were doing okay! At lunch I donned Sophia’s knee compression sleeve as well and accepted my fate as John Adams with weird tan lines. 


An odd photo for many reasons. They should make compression socks in fun patterns.

Why is there a photo of me in front of a random bungalow, you might ask? We stopped on the side of the road just outside of Tazewell and were invited into a peculiar bar where Sophia and Amulya grabbed soda and we all stapled dollar bills with our names on it to the walls like so many before us!


Bar, bills, and BeReals


Tazewell greeted us warmly, and some of our team was able to grab iced lattes that were constantly dreamt of on the bikes. Amulya is still on the search for the country’s best matcha latte. 

Tazewell!! Note the copious 5pm coffees

We stayed in the Main Street Methodist Church, whose kindness and hospitality I won’t forget. Theresa, our host, made sure to learn all of our names and provided us with more than we could ask for. The church invited us to a meeting of their recovery program, and we sat and ate with participants beforehand. It meant a lot that the church was willing to open this space up to us and invite us to hear the experiences of members. At one point, members gathered around our table and prayed for us, which made me think of my mom and dad and the many blessings they’ve given to me. 


As the non-red meat eaters (which I am a shaky member of; don’t ask me about the spam I’ve eaten on this trip) made ourselves eggs, I got a double yolk!!!!!!! 

:D :D :D

This combined with the kindness of the church members made me excited to continue this journey. I’ve been able to experience so many new things and learn about new people. It’s been hard but I just have faith that the kindness of others and my team will help me to keep moving forward. I hope that anyone reading this will get their version of a double yolk soon!

147 views

Recent Posts

See All

3 Comments


Mary Lizarde
Mary Lizarde
Jun 19

So proud of you Rebecca, and of MIT SPOKES!!

Like

Guest
Jun 16

Rebecca, your spirit of gratitude will lead you to peace! I will look for the yolks! -Sarah <3

Like

Guest
Jun 16

the kind people in churches and in small towns really blew my mind again and again. So proud of you rebecca for pushing through and hopefully your injury gets better soon!!!!-duha

Like
bottom of page