Almost caught up! Keep with me folks and I promise I’ll catch us all up to the present day
Day 16: Giving back
Today was our planned rest/service day that we have about once a week during our trip. These days are great because it gives everyone a rest from biking and van duty to allow us a chance to go out into the community to help those who need it the most. For today’s service event, we went to Atlanta’s Hope Lodge where those who are receiving treatment for cancer and live more than 40 miles away from the treatment center, can go and stay for free. It is an amazing place for people to relax and not have to worry about travelling and paying for rooms. It was quite a luxurious place and a really friendly atmosphere for those staying there. As soon as we arrived, the director of the Hope Lodge met us and quickly did a run down of the chores we could do to help them out. It was mostly cleaning, and with such a big group as ours, we were able to get it done pretty quickly. After lunch, we had the opportunity to give out a scholarship from UCF to a recipient who displayed need for it and has been affected by cancer in some way. So we all piled into the vans and headed out to the local hospital where our unsuspecting winner was working. Needless to say, she was pretty surprised to see us all there to congratulate her. We quickly celebrated and headed back to the Hope Lodge to finish up some last minute chores and to hang out with some of the guests staying there. It was a really relaxing time, however everyone was starting to get anxious to jump back on the bike as I know my legs were getting the itch to start working out again.
It’s tough to have that many days off and then work back into the routine you had just gotten used to before the break. There was little we could do about that, so after returning from Hope Lodge, we went to the local bar we had occupied the previous day to watch the U.S. of A crush Ghana 2-1. It was really fun and relaxing to see Atlanta, but I did not enjoy it as much as NYC or Baltimore. I guess that southern city isn’t for me. Anyways we returned from the bar and it was time to prepare myself for the following day of the physical and mental grind of biking 50 miles to Carrollton, GA.
Day 17: Time to get my bike legs back
Ouch. There is nothing like taking 3 days off the bike, to jump right back on and go 50 miles to Carrollton, GA. We woke up late that day and were not able to get on the road until 9 am that day (yes, that is late for us). It was a tough ride because my quadriceps were killing me that day and I knew they were not going to let up any time soon. The key to any endurance sport is having the mental willpower to overcome the pain of constantly pushing your muscles to keep up with everyone else. I’m just glad this trip is not a race, because I am sure I would be in last place on this day. It was a pretty uneventful day otherwise, and it was fun to bike out of Atlanta and into a new town. Our hosts were really great and I even got on the front page of the newspaper too! I wish I took it with me, but I unfortunately forget to grab a copy in the morning when I saw it (Good thing there is internet). It was a really nice place and afterwards we decided to go the movies to feel like real people again, One of my teammates, Erika, is EXTREMELY good at getting donations and discounts for our team, so when we arrived at the theater, she talked to the manager and stuck a deal for us to only pay $.50 a ticket! It is amazing how generous people are if you just ask. Anyways, the girls went to go see The Fault In Our Stars (Chick flick movie) and the boys went to go see 22 Jump Street (Comedy) and it was hilarious and totally worth the trip. It was a really great day overall and I am so happy I am on this trip with everyone on my team.