With one package of jelly the sun is now fully up. The mind wakes up with plans and deadlines, “When will I be in Lehliu? What speed do I have?” I inhale and exhale, my legs are fine, “i o ma, i a mo” there is no rush.
I remember this curve of the road, I am approaching Lehliu, I inhale and exhale, “i a mo, i o ma.” What is that? What happened? Am I up, am I down? “i a ma, mo, i o?” I am pedaling on this road, the sun is here, and the trees, people are fishing in a little pond.
This asphalt is of a different nature, with thousands of little rocks inside, probably for better adherence. I look at the music player I bought specially for the bike rides, yet I cannot leave the moment and use it. My mind cannot yet leave the legs pedal on their own, “i o ma, i a mo,” I inhale and exhale.
People, cars and dust, even a donkey and sheep. I reached the point near Drajna where the autoroute is ending and all cars are switching to the road I am on now. Vrum, vrum, vrum, cars are driving with speed to my left, they still have the autoroute speed in their system. And trucks, I hate trucks from the opposite sense, the wave of air and dust they create hurts me. My water is nearly gone, I am still so far away, lost …
Cip, who could not make this journey warned me about this portion of the road: long, narrow and with no water. I still have half of a bottle yet it is getting wamer and I already ate a mars bar and another jelly pack.
“I a mo, i o ma,” the cars are more silent now, the trucks more rare. I inhale and exhale and look at the markings: Fetesti 30 km. “I a mo, i o ma,” Fetesti 20 km.
I am glad to find a bottle of cold water for 30lei at a truck stop 12 km from town. The drivers, sitting and talking at a table look curiously at me. Sweating, black cycling pants, gray t-shirt with a bunch of nods I made to reduce wind resistance and a gray, fisherman-like hat. What a sight. I am not staying for long, I inhale and exhale, “i o mo, i a ma” continuing my journey.
Fetesti, until here the road was excellent, but now I must head to the autoroute. Will I be able to ride it? Luckily I find it under repair, cars are using only one lane and there are plenty of riders with those old bikes you can find anywhere.
I inhale and exhale, the air is hot yet my legs are still in good shape, “i o ma, i a mo,” there is a descent to Stefan cel Mare. Hopefully I do not have to climb this at the return.
It’s hotter and my computer screen does not work anymore, I can only estimate a speed. Now the road is different, with ups and downs, I change the gear frequently yet I do not want to know in which gear I am. There is no reason for that; in this moment, and exactly in this moment, I am pedaling, and I do not need to make any effort, there must be a gear change anytime the fine sensors feel the muscles pushing harder.
“I o ma, i a mo,” I inhale and exhale, there is heat, I can estimate a speed around 40 km/h on some descents. The phone rings, the girls are behind me, they have reached me near Castelu. Irina is waving her hand at me. A deserved pause, I refill the two bottles I have, and eat some Dutch cookies. They continue their road and I remain at the bottom of a hill.
It’s so hard to start from the bottom and I must control my urge to impress as they are still in sight. Yet I inhale and exhale, “i o ma, i a mo, i a mo, i o ma,” the moment is of pedaling and there is no goal.
As I pass Valu lui Traian my body starts to hurt, the road is now in pieces formed of blocks of concrete with two meters in length and with 2-3 cm of empty space between. I must break often and drops of pain are hurting my soul and mind. “I o ma, i o ma, i o ma…”
From Constanta the road is better yet the sun is up, my mind is orange with the heat. I stopped eating anything when the bar I tried to open melted away. Each gas station is a heaven and I stop often to refill the bottles. There is no pain in the legs yet a warm bath of it is all around me. I go up and down with the road, switch gears, inhale and exhale, “i o ma, i a mo.” At this point I could not think even if I wanted to. I feel my body with each nerve as the pain in my back grows.
A gas station… and another… no stop, just water, Coke, 7up, something cold.
Finally I reach Mangalia, “i o ma, i a mo” floats around the road as my body is melting down. All problems from the job, tasks and projects I started with are somewhere on the road behind, forgotten in the dust. I could ride like another 100 km as it would be like 10. “I o ma, i a mo, i a mo, i o ma”, inhale, exhale, left leg, right leg. 2 mai, vama veche. I call Cip to tell him the news, I arrived. It’s 15:00. I pack the bike in the trunk of the parked car to avoid curious looks, change myself in the tent and go end my journey in a soup (”ciorba de burta”) at Scoica.
When the heat decreased and the computer screen was on again I could see the numbers: 299km, 29km/h avg speed. To the Black Sea by bicycle.