A new problem has cropped up over the last two days - knee pain! I had a slight pain for a while in Kansas, but it seemed to have gone away. But now, especially with all the steep climbing, it's come back.
Yesterday was pretty good. I woke up early and quickly made my way through many ups and downs to Houston. The next stretch to Summersville was a lot more difficult. About 9 miles from my destination, the knee pain cropped up. Before too long, I could barely keep pedaling.
Each push with my right knee made me cringe. I stopped near some buildings, went to a nearby church, and just sat on the steps for a few minutes, catching my breath and trying to rest my knees. I didn't have much of a choice but to push on to Summersville of course. So I put some relief spray and kept going. The spray help to numb the pain and I managed to get to Summersville in one piece.
It was a fairly cool day because of thick clouds so I would have loved to do another 20 miles to Eminence. But, my knee wasn't letting it. It was done for the day. So, I stopped and stayed at a nice little community run lodge.
Today, I started a little late. The plan was to ride to Eminence and see how my leg felt. It did surprisingly well though there was once steep climb on the way. So, I decided to push to Ellington. This is a notoriously hard 27 miles stretch with three steep climbs. The first climb went well, but as I approached the second climb, my knee started troubling me again. I managed to get up but my knee was showing clear signs of fatigue. So, for the last climb, I decided to not to risk it and pushed my bike up. I also made sure I was putting as little stress on the knee as possible while riding by keeping the gear ratio high.
I finally got to Ellington and got to the city maintained Route 76 Bike Hostel. It is a nice little place - an entire house with showers and AC, just like the one at Ash Grove. It's is so awesome that the management at such small towns recognize and support us, the bicyclists.