Day 21 (June 18th 2016) Rough River Dam – Sebree KY; 75 miles

We have officially ridden over 1000 miles!! Even though today was a shorter mileage day (75) compared to yesterday, it could be argued that it was more difficult. While I loved the rolling hills, the heat and little shade posed a huge problem for a lot of riders. We took frequent rest breaks to try to recuperate from the sun. During one rest break, we talked with a man who suggested we carry guns. He warned us that there are bad people out there just waiting for suckers like us to roll through. Reassuring!

The time zone threw us through a loop. The sun rose a lot earlier than we’re used to, but hopefully the further west we go, the less of an issue it’ll be.


During our ride we saw the first and second place TransAm racers. It is crazy to think that in only 2 weeks they covered 3300 miles and will soon be finishing their trek. They all waved to us as they passed, exchanging words of encouragement to some of us. We also caught up with Monica, another TransAm cyclist going solo. We met her last week and rode with her for a day or two. She did a detour to Mammoth Caves (worth it, she said) and now is back on track. I trust we’ll be seeing her a lot during this trip.


We’re staying in Sebree KY today, our last overnight in this state. We are staying in a Baptist church, who’s parishioners prepared us an amazingly delicious dinner. It was nice coming in from a ride to an already prepared meal. The fact that it was my turn to cook made the surprise all the sweeter! Tomorrow we are saying farewell to KY and entering the state of Illinois via ferry, something I’m very excited for.


Day 20 (June 17th 2016) Springfield – Rough River Dam KY;

Well, we all made it! 105 miles later, we’re all exhausted, but we’re all pretty proud too. Surprisingly enough, group consensus is that today was easier than yesterday’s ride. Fancy that. The weather had a big part in making it a more enjoyable ride, despite the distance. It didn’t get above 82 degrees and the sun stayed in the clouds the majority of the time. We ended the ride at Rough River Dam and are staying right off the airport’s solo Tarmac. As I’m typing, a plane just started its engine. Probably going to have a few nightmares about planes careening out of control into my tent.


The ride had nothing too notable to mention. A couple decent hills and a few dogs, but all in all it was an “easy” ride. We saw a lot of cow and horse farms, Sheena caused a few stampedes with her angry “MOO”ing. We crossed into central time zone today as well, that’s pretty exciting!  We had dinner right next to the lake, which obviously we had to jump and swim around in!

Definitely looking forward to a good night’s sleep and a shorter ride tomorrow.

Day 19 (June 16th 2016) Berea – Springfield KY;

Today started not so bright, but super early. Knowing it was going to be a hot and humid day, we departed at 6:15 am and rolled into camp a mere 12 hours later (not really, but close). The morning was fine, but once afternoon hit our routine of slow and steady continued. We had 47 miles under our belts before noon, but the last 28 were killers. There was no shade and the wind picked up majorly, making every pedal all the more difficult. After many breaks (but no break downs), we arrived into camp in Springfield KY at 5:30pm.

We originally were supported to camp in a town park, but a few members of the group were approached by a man in a van to stay in the town center, indoors with AC and a shower. As creepy as the proposition may sound, we are all happy they agreed. The mayor even came to greet us and welcome us to her town.


There were more dogs today, no surprise there. One pair of dogs I found so cute I got off my bike and played with them for a little. They were on par with Addie in terms of cuteness. The one dog is pictured above. Mom and dad, as a heads up, she is an Australian cattle dog mix. Note how Stella doesn’t begin to compare with her gorgeous looks (ha!)


Tomorrow is a 103+ miler day. We have a new member of the group who joined us tonight. What a way to welcome her in!
Sheena’s corner: I apologize to my beloved readers for the lack of updates over the last few days. My recent post was about feeling stronger and confident on hills. Since then, I believe I have entered hell and am still waiting to get out. The heat, hills, humidity, more heat, and dogs have been dreadful. I was surrounded by 6 dogs and 1 tried to bite me. Thankfully my Baltimore/Puerto Rican sides came out and I made it through. There have been more rough days than good recently. The silver lining is that I feel proud of myself for making it through everyday. I’m thankful to Emilie as well. I definitely wouldn’t be making it through without her constant support. Lastly, Berea, KY is an awesome city. Everyone is so nice and we got free shirts for biking the transam. 🙂 Oh, and 103 miles tomorrow 😅🔫

Day 17 + 18 (June 14th and 15th 2016) Booneville – Berea KY; 50 miles

Yesterday was a short, relatively “easy” day compared to the previous couple of days. It’s funny how now we refer to 50 miles as short, and only a few half mile steep hills as easy. But we made it, and have successfully crossed the Appalachian mountains, for the most part. The last 3 days have been the most difficult of the trip and my legs are paying for it dearly. I woke up this morning with a full body hangover that has yet to fully dissipate, but I have faith that come tomorrow morning, I’ll be ready for a 75 miler with rolling hills (fingers crossed).

Yesterday started with a few climbs that got worse as the temperature increased. We had some experiences with more dogs, a jack Russell terrier chased me and almost got ahold of one of my bags. It was the most ridiculous and comedic series of events. A few were incognito and jumped out at us when we were least expecting it, causing Sheena to shriek and find some extra energy to outpedal their attack. As terrifying as the dogs may be, I argue that the drivers can be worse. I was inches from being hit by a woman who was not patient enough to wait for me to clear a parking lot entrance. She rode around me and turned sharply into the driveway, cutting me off. If I hadn’t put two and two together and instantly squeezed my brakes, she would be owing me a new bike. And probably paying for some medical bills too.  I cooled off from the near death experience with a Freeze Pop – a grand suggestion from Alec.



We had the most beautiful downhill of the trip yesterday as we descended down Bighill (with a name like that, you know it has to be good). We went right through a blasted out chunk of mountain and were able to see the last of the Appalachian mountains as we passed through. There were no blind curves so we could cruise without braking. The wind was in our face so that kept our speed nice and safe (no need to worry mom and dad). After that we were basically in Berea, where we have been staying. We had a couple more hills (Sheena fell in a ditch) and ended in a restaurant for some drinks and food. We’re staying in a dorm building at Berea College. They are beautiful and, the best part, we each get our own room! Complete with a real bed! We are living life like kings.


We had a much needed off day today. We did some chores and mainly just relaxed. A few days ago some guys who stayed with us in a church who are also doing the TransAm (in the opposite direction) told us we can get free shirts in the visitor center. Because we are freeloaders, we jumped at the opportunity first thing in the morning. The woman who was working, Maya, was awesome. She was thrilled to see us and told us that she hosts cyclists at her home via Warm Showers. She told us all about the history of Berea and the college. She said that because a lot of coal mines have been shut down recently, kids in the Appalachian region need education, as coal mining is no longer an option. Berea College is tuition free (paid for by grants and alumni donations) and the students are required to work 10-15 hours/week to help subsidize their education. It was really interesting. Later we visited a tea shop and talked with a girl who graduated from the college. She loved the school and found it as a way to leave her home in a not so well off town. The rest of the day was spent napping and doing bike maintenance. We have to rest because judging from our map meeting tonight, this next week is going to be tough, we have a 100+ miler coming our way 😳


Day 16 (June 13th 2016) Hindman – Booneville KY; 67 miles

Today was the worst day I’ve had this entire journey. As much as I tried to be positive during the ride, the hills, heat, and fatigue got to me. It was so hot I could feel myself baking, between the sun bearing down and the hot road roasting up. There were multiple times during the climbs where I thought, “I must’ve gotten hit by a car, died, and St. Peter did not rule in my favor.” It is absolute torture when you think you finally finished a climb, because there is literally no physical way for the mountain to continue, only to turn the corner and realize that indeed it can. The hills, though shorter than yesterday’s, felt twice as difficult. It was just plain rough. The dogs, however, were not nearly as ferocious today. So that’s a good thing.


Today was also a day of mechanical issues. Sheena’s handle bars became misaligned after going over a nasty pothole and my gear shifter became so lose it almost fell off. Because I am not mechanically inclined, this sent me into a panic. But we figured it out and fixed it. Genuine geniuses. Jake’s pedal crank also apparently fell apart. No clue what that means, but from what I’m told, it’s not good.

We got dinner from a diner tonight and have plans for going there for breakfast in the morning. Much shorter day tomorrow, we’re all excited about that!

Total miles today ~67

Day 15 (June 12th 2016) Breaks Interstate Park VA – Hindman KY; 71 miles

We are finally out of Virginia! And Kentucky did not give us a very warm welcome. Within the first 5 miles of entering its borders, we were greeted by multiple unrestrained dogs, and not in the most friendly of ways. At one point, I was surrounded by a group of about 6 dogs. I slowed down and paid them all compliments, as they all were pretty darn cute. They accepted my flattery and let me pass unscathed. Sheena, however, was not so lucky. I’m sure she’ll talk about that in her corner. Not only did the dogs not welcome us, but a bird was not too thrilled to have us enter its state either. I must have startled a crane that was perched high up in a tree. After hearing it take flight, I looked up and noticed that when it flew away, it broke a huge branch that was headed right for my head. Due to my excellent cat-like reflexes, I pedaled really quickly out of the way right before the branch crashed to the ground. It was a close call!



It was an extremely hot and humid day (which made roadkill all the more appealing) that added an extra challenge to an already challenging day. We got out early and we were half way done by 10:30 am. But once the heat hit the pace changed drastically. We sought shelter for an hour or so at a nice little diner in Bevinsville called Fatdaddy’s. We were starving so it was a much needed stop.

Flat continues to be a four letter word we know better than to dare utter, but wish we could anyways. Everywhere we ride is either a gradual incline/decline or a horrifically steep up/downhill. It’s physically and mentally exhausting and can get extremely frustrating. After my couple of wrecks on Friday, I am traumatized by going fast downhill so my brakes (and hands) have been getting extreme workouts.


I was in cooking group for tonight’s dinner, in which we lucked out and got pizza. But we still had to grab groceries for breakfast/lunch. About 2.5 miles before hitting camp, we came across a grocery store. I joked with Mary, who is in the cooking group, that that was probably the grocery store we had to do the shopping. The joke was on me when I came to the realization that it was indeed the store. In attempt to not bike an extra 5 miles on an already extremely fatiguing day, we looked at a convenience store for any semblance of a well balanced meal. No dice. And I still was not willing to bike to the store. We came up with the great idea of asking one of the church volunteers to take us to the store. We asked just in the knick of time, as he was just pulling out just as I approached his truck. I must’ve been convincing because he was a saint and was happy to take us! Bubba told us that he volunteers at the church for youth ministry and also does backlighting for major concerts. He was extremely nice and we appreciated his efforts to help immensely.

Tomorrow is another long day and looks like a carbon copy of today. Lots of hills and heat!

My bike computer broke again, but according to everyone else, it was a 71.4 mile day.