Unfortunately I cannot keep track of all of the days that have gone by since we left, it has been such a blur that it almost seems unreal. To me it seems like just another training ride, but with a different route each day. It is an amazing feeling to be going through back roads one minute, to reaching a highway with a seemingly endless amounts of miles in front of you. Before I get to this day though, let me recap the previous two days quickly.
So I guess this is really Happening
Day 1: It was an absolutely amazing day to be in Baltimore at the Inner Harbor early in the morning on Sunday. It still has not hit me yet that I would be BIKING ACROSS THE COUNTRY. It seemed surreal as I was standing there with my teammates dipping our back tires into the harbor and getting onto our bikes to launch off into one of the greatest adventures of our lifetimes. This day was a blur as we thankfully had alumni to help with van duties and lead each group of us to our destination. It was a tremendous help to have someone who just had this experience within the last few years to help calm our nerves and guide us in what we would be doing for the next 70 days. After 6ish hours, we finally made it to our first destination 61 miles away: La Plata, MD. We stayed at a local church and our host were incredible in providing dinner AND breakfast for us while allowing us to use their facilities. They set a high bar for the rest of our hosts on our trip.
One state down, only a bunch more to go
Day 2: Water van duties. The greatest relief and the greatest struggle all at the same time. Each rider rotates through this van and the food van every 8 days to provide a rest day for our legs and support our riders on the road. Myself and another teammate were in charge of making water stops along the route for the bikes to stop by to quickly refill and relax before they continue on their journey. Unfortunately for our day, we had a toll bridge that crossed into Virginia about 14 miles away from the host that would not allow bikes to cross. So we decided to set up a water stop right before the bridge at a gas station to allow the riders to fill up and relax. Due to the prohibited bike travel across the bridge, we had to ferry people across the bridge using the vans in 2 waves which took 3 hours to complete. Needless to say it put a delay in setting up water stops further along the route as the first wave was easily 10 miles in front of the last group. Although the delay was considerable, and after many bike breakdowns and repairs, we managed to get to YMCA in Fredericksburg, VA around 4pm that day. Interestingly enough, after being in the van for one day, all I could think about was getting back on my bike to ride again.
Day 3: Wow. Enough said right?? I wish you could have seen what I had seen today while I was biking. Today we woke up at 5:30am to begin our day. After chores, packing, and getting ready for the ride, we were ready to head out with a local YMCA member at 8am. We had only gone about a mile when I start feeling thumping on the front of bike and only to find when I look down to see a HUGE gash in my tire that was splitting open, causing that part of the tire to hit the bicycle fork with every revolution. Fortunately for me, the water van had spare tires and we were able to quickly wave them down so I could change out the ripped tire. I was incredibly blessed that the water van had not passed us, or that have spare tires. I was able to change the tire and my group was able to hit the road again. The first third of the trip today was amazing. We rode through back roads where trees lined our path and traffic was light as we made our way through. We were able to make the first water stop about 15 miles into our journey and were able to meet a bicyclists who were a part of a club, passing through and were thoughtful enough to say hi and take pictures with us. After our break, we were able to get back on the road and make it to route 1, the major highway that would take us to our next host in Richmond, VA. Only cyclist and some other 4kers will appreciate what I will say next, but imagine rolling hills for the next 40 miles and constantly changing your gears to compensate for never-ending uphills and downhills. Although it was difficult, I enjoyed it so much as we had some incredible views to help us overcome the dread of facing another uphill. After a quick lunch break around mile 35 of Arby’s and McDonald’s, we took off once again to reach our destination. It’s an amazing difference in temperature from riding on back roads of woods, to shopping centers with no trees around. It took a toll on everyone in my group as we had to persevere through the torturous heat to make it to our destination in Richmond. The host locations is at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart and it is an amazing church with an incredible background that we learned about through the tour our host gave us. It was truly humbling to learn the rich history in the place we are staying at. After showering, unpacking, and grabbing some beer, it is safe to say that I am completely exhausted, but cannot wait for our next day to ride.
Unfortunately, I’m struggling to keep my eyes open, so if there are many spelling errors then I am sorry! But please keep up with my blog and all of my teammates as we all of different stories to tell!
P.S. This was a long one, but I’ll try to keep it updated more regularly to shorten the length!