All I can say is WOW. 80 miles, climbs as hard as anything I have ever done, asking my teammates to go without me and finding the fortitude to get in only 15 minutes behind. But there was so much more to the day from Williamsport to Hazelton, PA. So, here we go.
80 miles I made it within 2 minutes, Leave me Please
Today tested me for sure. I hung with my teammates for 68 miles and then I just did not have enough in the tank to hang with them. From mile 60 to 68 they would beat me up the hills and I would catch them on the descents. That would all end at mile 68 when it was simply up hill. I gave Steve explicit orders not to wait for me. I would learn later that Beth, Niall and Chris all wanted to wait for me. Steve was clear that if they waited I would not be a happy camper and convinced them to proceed. A big thank you to them for listening to Steve.
So with 12 miles to go I had just over one hour to make it into the rest stop. Today is banquet day and the SAG/Rovers were in ready to pull people off the road beginning at 4p so everyone would be to the banquet on time. My goal, get to the hotel by 4p and I was determined to make it happen.
3:58 I pulled in just about 10 minutes behind the rest of our gang. For those cyclists reading this you will understand that we had .25-.5 mile stretches between 6% and 14% grades, some topping out at 21%. The last 8 miles was virtually all uphill and from what I can gather the rest of my team was dropping F-bombs on the last climb. Even, Beth “Snow White” Caruso, admitted later, she said that dreaded word when she saw the last hill or could you say “wall.” Steve was aghast when Beth burst out the word but she was not alone. I am sure Beth made everyone’s day. I on the other hand was struggling to make it in so I did not witness Beth’s shining moment.
So, enough of my whining about a tough day, it was tough for everyone. Tomorrow is supposed to be even more challenging. OH BOY!!
Hills, Hills, Hills
So, today was much more than the end. It was challenging hills all day long. But gosh, was it beautiful. Amish country between Williamsport and Bloomsburg meant beautiful rolling hills. Creek Road which of course ran along a wonderful creek, entering Bloomsburg, was just a Zen moment. And then the torturous last 22 miles, it was that kind of day.
Oh Chit (ch=sh) I Forgot My Chit
Forgetting to pick up your chit when you leave in the morning will cost you five dollars, forgetting to hand in your chit at the end of the day will cost you five dollars. The chits are how the organizers of the ride know if
you have made it out and back OK. The five dollars goes to additional fundraising for the Anchor House kids.
Well our gang had a perfect week this week, no fines but that all ended today. At mile one, Beth turned to me and said, “Sh-xx, I forgot my Chit” Hearing the SH word out of Beth’s mouth made my head turn as she has nothing close to a potty mouth. But alas, leaving her chit behind forced her to cross the line. We offered to go back so she could get it, well we offered but we never really intended to live up to the offer. It will cost Beth $5 at the banquet tonight. Bummer.
Amish and Modern World Collide
I always find Amish country amazing and today was no different. Along the way was a gravel road which most people got off their bikes and walked. I was still riding very strong at this point and was ahead of our group. I was off the bike waiting when I hear the hoofs of horses indicating a carriage was approaching. Quickly, I got the iPhone out and snapped off a picture and what a picture it is. While riding through the Amish country off to our right was a nuclear plant smack dab in the middle of their quiet lives. When I looked at the picture I snapped, I had captured the essence of our two worlds colliding. This is the great part of riding around this country when these amazing moments appear.
3 for 3 Steve goes flat
The one thing you really do not want is a flat on this ride. I have been fortunate as I did not have a flat last year but I did have one in year 1 of riding Anchor House. Steve Preville on the other hand had flats his first two years, well we can now make that in his first three years. It happened around mile 18 as his front tire went down. Chris pumped it up and we decided not to change the tire and see if it would hold air to SAG 1 at mile 25. It did and Steve had Pete from Knapp’s Cycle fix the tire. By the way a huge shout out to Pete and the amazing work he does everyday on this ride. He drives the Knapp’s jeep and trailer from SAG stop to SAG stop making sure our cycles are in order and then fixes bikes at the end of the day and is out bright and early 5:45a doing last minute tune ups. Without Pete I do not know what we would do.
Mistake of the Day, Lunch at Woody’s
As I say the ride is about the EATs but today I simply blew it. Last night we were discussing the ride and Chris threw out there the idea of stopping for lunch. I immediately grabbed onto the idea and made sure that this magical moment became reality. So, as we got to SAG stop 2 at mile 42, Chris confirmed we would stop. It was around 11:30a when we arrived at SAG2 and we were going strong. No lunch for us at the SAG and we pulled out around 12. We made it to mile 52.9, in Catawissa, PA when we found Woody’s Diner. Excited to eat we hopped off our bikes. What a mistake. The food was great, the service was slow and we sat for one hour, our legs bound up, it was 1:30 and we had the hardest part of the day ahead. Maybe it is not about the EATs. Yes, I did make a good food choice, a vegetable panini but I say, “No lunch on the road tomorrow!!”
Our second to last day is ahead and with whirlpool and pool time with Steve at the end of our day today, I am as ready as I ever will be. We have less miles tomorrow but incredibly more elevation. I cannot even fathom what it will be like. Definitely survival again will be the word. I hope we have lots of great stories and a great day. If I have bad moments all I have to remember is, “We do it for the kids!!”