Ahh don’t hurt me! I know I’ve been late on these blog posts but it has been a crazy past couple of days with little or no Wi-Fi. I’m going to be trying to do two days at a time to catch up. Let us start from where I last left off…
Day 12: Quad Squad = Best day ever
Woke up to an early morning at 6 am and after the century the day before, you could say the whole team was pretty sore and not totally motivated. Fortunately, we were able to pick our teams this morning and I went with my friends Dan, Matt, and Brad. Before I continue, let me break down my team for you. Dan and Matt were cross-country runners for Hood college and extremely good at it which resulted to be very good at cycling. Brad is an outdoor fanatic and is very good at cycling as well. Needless to say, I felt like the weak link in this group. We left a little later that morning because it was only 51 miles to Spartanburg, SC and my team decided we should start out a little slower to warm up. However, that was not the case. I can honestly say that was the first day I really pushed myself to my limit physically. The first 15 miles were hilly and exhausting after the previous day. After we made it to our first water stop and refueled, we set off once again to find out that a couple of miles down the road was the South Carolina state sign! We stopped for a quick photo shoot and hit back out on the road. Because our group were such strong cyclist, we decided to start a pace line which is an extremely efficient way to bike for long periods of time with a small group. Essentially you ride within 18 inches of the rider in front of you so that the lead person blocks all of the air in front of the other riders and significantly reduces the air resistance for the other riders. It is a little dangerous, but we were experienced enough for it not to be a risk. For the rest of the ride we did this and it was an amazing difference to do this compared to being more spread out. It was a tough ride, but very rewarding because we finished early and got a donation from Cook Out for lunch! Afterwards, we decided to explore the town for a little, and got a victory beer to celebrate the day and wait for everyone else to arrive. We arrived at our host at the local YMCA and it was the nicest Y that I have ever seen. They had an amazing staff and were extremely gracious in offering all of their services for our team. Overall, I would have to say this is the best day of the trip so far.
P.S. We out biked a train. That is how fast we were going (Granted it probably was not going as fast as it could…)
Day 13: It’s all mental
The toll on the body is real when you waking up early in the mornings to bike all day. I usually do not feel it that much when I first get up, so I was feeling peppy as usual and excited for the day. We did the usual routine and we set out for the day and had two guests from the YMCA staff to ride out with us. It was a good day to ride and I set out with my team of Kirk, Aaron, Danny, and Stoney (aka Kevin). It was a great ride group and we had a lot of fun messing around and casually biking to our next destination 68 miles away to Clemson, SC (Originally we thought it was 63 miles, but I’ll get to that later). Stoney did have a flat that day, but it was quick fix and everything went pretty smoothly. Unfortunately, the toll of the past couple of days have began to take it’s toll on me. I was seriously struggling up hills and felt just a drag on my mind that day. I had a great team though, and they were really able to pick up when I needed it without them even knowing they had helped. We arrived at Clemson’s main campus and found out that we weren’t spending a night on campus, but a little ways off at their “beach.” I was not prepared mentally to bike another 5 miles to get there, but I managed to make it and the site was amazing. We were camping right off of the lake and it was an absolute amazing place to be. I really enjoyed it the site, however, a couple of people don’t enjoy the outdoors as much as I do. Anyways, when we arrived, we were able to jump into the lake (Which felt uh-mazing) and cooled off in the best way possible. Afterwards we brought the luggage down and set up the camp. We decided to jump into the showers on the Clemson campus and drove over. As soon as we got out, we were told we needed to make our way back to the camp site as quickly as possible because something had happened. We arrived and our ride director gathered us up and told us some terrible news.
One of the riders on the Portland team was struck by a vehicle and had died. The news hurt to listen to. I could not imagine the loss of a teammate in our team in that situation. The whole team was in shock when we heard. Not a single person has died on the trip in the past 13 years that 4k has been happening so it was terrible situation to be in. The UCF posted a statement about it here and The Baltimore Sun wrote an article about it here. After hearing the news, we quietly set up our tents, went out to dinner as a team, and hung out to enjoy each others company contemplating on the news.
I wish I could spend more time on this subject, but it will have to wait until another time because I am completely exhausted right now.