Ahh so sorry I couldn’t update my blog yesterday! We didn’t have any reliable Wi-Fi at the church we were staying at in Farmville, VA but fortunately I do here in South Boston, VA! Alright let’s get down to business (cue Mulan music)…Alright gang sorry again, but it’s like I don’t have time to do anything as soon as we get to the host so I’m sorry for the late blog posts but here they are
Day 5: Motivation leads the way
I had a great team today and it was so much fun riding with them. Allison, Matt, Danny M., and I made up Team Motivated (Cheesy, but it got us through the day) and we crushed the uphills and challenges that we faced. We were able to travel some beautiful back roads as we had trees lining our path to farms with endless rows of corn. We biked 68 miles from Petersburg, VA to Farmville, VA and it was probably one of my best days yet. It is so much fun to bike with different people each day and get to know them in ways that other activities just cannot compare. We even created our own cheer that we used at every water stop and after several climbs. At the end of the day, we all felt great and we had wonderful hosts who provided us with a wonderful feast that all of the previous hosts have done in the past. We even added to our cheer in the morning with the whole team because of a “pro tip” that Tyler tried to give Allison of how to ride with no hands, but it didn’t turn out too well for him (sorry Tooler). After our feast, our hosts at the church had worship practice and invited Max to come up and practice with them. It eventually turned into a crazy jam session and I really wish I had recorded. Overall it was yet again another great day on 4k.
Day 6: Nothing beats a quick dip in a river
We woke to an absolutely amazing breakfast prepared by host and I feel like I could make an Instagram account just for all the food that we received from all of our wonderful hosts. After packing down the calories and during our daily chores, we set out on the day’s ride ready for another adventure. We were originally suppose to take back roads to our destination, however, our host thought it would be better to just take the highways to our new host so we did….for a little bit. Little did the host know that riding on a highway for an endless amounts of miles with little scenery with a near death experience with every semi passing is one of the most boring/horrific experiences anyone can experience (Can I get any snaps for this one 4k?). So after spending a grueling 15ish miles on the highway, we decided to jump back on the original route where traffic was light, hills were steep, and where conversations could be heard. One of the best moments so far on this trip had to be when we were about 20ish miles away from the host and we are crossing a bridge to see everyone down by the river splashing around and enjoying themselves. I enjoyed myself as nothing feels better than sitting down in a pile of sand with a current of water rushing across your back after days and days of riding. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay there forever as we had to jump back on our bikes again and make it to our host before we lost all motivation to jump back on our bikes. We eventually made it to South Boston, VA after fun-filled 60 mile day, and just like every time before, our hosts we absolutely amazing. They even gave us mattresses and sleeping bags so we did not have to take out our own! It is the little things like that, and shuttling back and forth to the local YMCA to take a quick shower that makes you feel a little more amazed at each host we stay at. After another amazing dinner (I told you I won’t stop saying that) we hit the town for a local bar for a well deserved brew before we crashed (sleeping, not biking) in preparation for the next day’s ride. It has only been a week but this trip just feels like vacation where all of the days just blend together and it is almost like you are in this little bubble of awesomeness blocking out all the negativity that resides in our daily lives.
Day 7: A rough day, but we made it (Cue Drake)
After our wake up, chores, and packing, riding groups were assigned and we started off on what became so far one of the toughest days on this trip. I’m usually an upbeat kinda fellow as it takes a lot to knock me down, but fortunately my team helped me recover and I was able to pull through. It started out as the typical 4k day, however, the biking gods were not looking kind on my group as my main man Spokey (His parents call him Simon) broke a nipple off of his spoke. As I know most of you may not know much about bikes, let me break this down for you on what happens when you break a nipple off of your spoke as quickly as possible. You have to take the tire, tube, and lining off of the rim. Then you must find the broken nipple in the rim and replace it with a new one. After installing the new nipple, you must put everything back together and then “true” the wheel. This involves a meticulous process watching the wheel spin and correcting the “wobble” by tightening or loosing the spokes on the wheel. It is a complicated process, but hopefully you get the picture that it takes awhile to accomplish. Fortunately, we had a strong team going into it we were able to carry on a way until we encountered a pinch flat on the wheel we just fixed the nipple on and had to repair that. All in our we were quite delayed in our journey, but after a wrong turn, getting hungry, and powering through the hot day, we reached the North Carolina state line! Even though we had made it to the state line, our troubles were not over as we were so far behind the main body, we had to really push it to catch up. About 35ish miles into our journey, Spokey broke another nipple and everything seemed to fall apart as we did not have a frame pump to use and I lost my nozzle for my CO2 cartridges to re-pump the tire. So we had to get into the water so it could shuttle us up to the next water point because we were so far behind and we needed a pump to get back on the trip. We only lost about 13 miles of riding, but I felt bad for anyone who was near me the rest of the day because I was definitely being Mr. Grumpy Gills at this point. Fortunately we were able to finish the ride out and reached about 55 miles that day to our wonderful host Dean Hallberg in Raleigh, NC.
Dean Hallberg is one of the most amazing man I will ever meet and has one the most incredible stories I have ever heard. Please, please ask me to tell you it as I am about to give a nutshell of what he told us. He lost his first wife Debbie to cancer and was completely heart-broken. Fortunately he met another women at a grief counseling center for those affected by cancer and met his second wife, Colette. Colette had also lost her spouse to cancer and they were able to console each other and eventually were married. Sadly, after about 10 years of marriage, Colette found out she had cancer as well and lost her fight several years ago. Even after losing two wives to cancer, Dean is one of the happiest, out-going, loving man I have, and probably will, ever meet. One quote that will stick with me to this day is “Happiness is a choice” and I hope to live with that quote by my side for the rest of my life. After that we told each other our own stories and we bonded over everything that has happened and really put into perspective how I really should not be that upset that I couldn’t bike those 13 miles because I am blessed for so many other things. After a few drinks afterwards, we cozied up in his home and went to sleep.
Day 8: A day of absolute, blissful, rest
Long story short because I am sure you are tired of reading: Food, biked, swam, Raleigh, and mental relaxation. It was a much needed day of relaxation and I could not have enjoyed it more without my 4k team.