Can’t go on (Remolinos, Colombia)

I can’t do it.  I’ve given it my best shot, but pushing on at this point would be flat our stupid.  I have no choice but to call it a day.

I woke up in the middle of the night with intense pain in my back.  It was one of those moments when – if it had been a cartoon – stars would have been dancing about.  Unfortunately, it was no cartoon.

I tried rolling over – couldn’t do it.  I tried sitting up – couldn’t go that either.  All I could do was lay there in pain and wonder what in the heck I was going to do.  John was sleeping in another room, so I couldn’t even call for help.

A few days before we left Manizales I woke up with a stiff back.  “Not a problem,” I thought.  “It’ll pass in a few days.”  14 days later, it was still stiff.  Miraculously, it didn’t bother me to ride the bike, so we pushed on – until now.

So last night I somhow managed to slither out of bed onto the floor, which provided a bit of relief.  The cold tiles in our air-conditioned room, however, made sleep impossible.  I scooted across the floor on my belly until I reached the bag with our sleeping mats and struggled to open it, drag the mats out, and unroll them under me.  Then I collapsed.

I think sometimes my bull-headedness is going to be the end of me, and today I probably pushed myself too far.  I couldn’t walk with any send of normality – my walk was more of a stooped over, crooked, Hunchback-of-Notre-Dame shuffle. Getting on the bike was difficule; getting off even tougher. But still I pushed on – determined to make it the next 250 km to the small village in Ecuador where we plan to hang out for a month.

All went well until the last two climbs of the day.  It was hot – well over 100 degrees – and we had climbed more hills than I could count. But I could pedal painfree, so all was well.  That second-to-last climb changed all that, and I felt the muscles in my lower back tighten with each pedal stroke. By the time we pulled into Remolinos, I was hurting.

Now what?  We are so close to Ecuador – but I can’t get there.  Right now, anyway.  For me to push on right now is…  well, let’s just say it wouldn’t be the brightest idea I’ve ever come up with.

At this point the plan is that I will head up to Pasto tomorrow in a truck – taking all our gear with me.  John and the boys will take tomorrow off, then do the 7000-foot climb to the city on Sunday.

That will give me tomorrow, Sunday, and Monday off the bike.  With any luck, I’ll be good to on Tuesday.  And if not?  We’ll deal with it then.

Kilometers today: 52

Kilometers to date:  16329

books by Nancy Sathre-Vogel

About Nancy Sathre-Vogel

After 21 years as a classroom teacher, Nancy Sathre-Vogel finally woke up and realized that life was too short to spend it all with other people's kids. She and her husband quit their jobs and, together with their twin sons, climbed aboard bicycles to see the world. They enjoyed four years cycling as a family - three of them riding from Alaska to Argentina and one exploring the USA and Mexico. Now they are back in Idaho, putting down roots, enjoying life at home, and living a different type of adventure. It's a fairly sure bet that you'll find her either writing on her computer or creating fantastical pieces with the beads she's collected all over the world.

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3 Responses to Can’t go on (Remolinos, Colombia)

  1. Amy Coulter October 19, 2009 at 2:41 pm #

    Nancy! I’ve been following your blog and am astonished at all you and your family have accomplished. Hats off! I am so sorry to read about your back. I’ve suffered from something similar and just wanted to share the obvious (which is sometimes easy to overlook), ICE! Apply ice. My best wishes to you. Congratulations on exercising good caution. We’re not getting any younger but maybe wiser. Best wishes from Portland, OR Amy Coulter

  2. nancy October 19, 2009 at 6:25 pm #

    thanks Amy! I haven’t used ice because it is simply too hard to find! That being said, it appears as though I’ve bounced back pretty well this time – my back is almost completely better now! YIPPEE!!

    PS: I agree about the not getting younger part, but am not quite sure about the wiser part!

  3. Amy Coulter October 23, 2009 at 8:38 am #

    Shoot, I figured ice’d be scarce. Well, there’s always cold tile floors. Keeping my fingers crossed that the back will settle down. Keep well and safe pedaling, Amy

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