Saturday, August 9, 2008

Day 47-48: Did we even bike today? - El Fin!

50 miles is nothing. The day flew by so quickly that I was convinced I didnt even get on my bike. It was a remarkably easy ride today. All downhill with some rollers. Everybody was itching to get to camp, so that might be why we flew through the course so quickly. The only stop we made was about a half hour for lunch.

That night was party central. We were all so excited to be done tomorrow that most of us decided to express it in the form of moonshine and beer. This resulted in making a fire from a 250 pound log we found in the forest and farting on each other until 11 at night. It was a night to remember. Unfortunately it ended up getting broken up when all of us pissed on the fire until it was out.

I couldnt sleep at all that night. Maybe it was from the excessive drinking, maybe it was from the four hour nap I took that afternoon, or maybe it was because I was so excited to make it to DC. Regardless I only got about 4 hours of solid sleep. Waking up the next morning sleep deprived on top of a hangover didnt make me feel all that confident about the ride. Even if I only had to pump out 50 miles to the finish line. But I managed.

The second I got on my bike I was on fire. I stopped at the first water stop just to fill up my water bottle and I was off. Me and Joe rode in at a fast pace. A FAST pace. The last 10 miles into DC were all on a very nice path. The only downside was all of the congestion. I discovered that riding across the country makes you very cocky. I kept on looking at all of the bikers on the path thinking, "what horrible form! I can bike faster than that! That guy looks like a douche bag!" Oh well. I think I deserve to be a little bit arrogant after completing a ride like this.

Joe looked over at me at one point on the path and said, "I think we just passed into DC." This took a second to register between the two of us. When it hit us we looked at each other and gave a huge high five. I think I might have been a little to excited because I almost knocked Joe off of his bike.

Once we got off the bike trail and had the final stretch to the finish, I decided, "I want to be first!" Not that it really matters, its not like I would win anything or gain any glory, I just wanted to be first. Its a good thing I know how to bike on city streets because I was dodging in and out of traffic like nobodys business. And yes...I did make it first. Woo Hoo!

Before we were actually able to cross the finish line we had to go to a lunch. The best food of the trip! It was a previous rider who owns a greek restaurant in downtown DC. He was nice enough to make food for all of us for free! Thank you Costas!

When we left for the finish line, we were greeted by alot of family and friends. It was nice to cross the finish line and have my mom standing there to greet me. Nice to see a familiar face after biking 3300 miles.

After everyone made it to the finish, I headed off to my hotel for a much needed shower. I then headed to a reception hosted by one of my fellow riders for the final goodbye. Tear...

All in all this was one of the most remarkable experiences of my life. I learned alot about team work, coexistence, my limits and many other things that dont need to be mentioned here. I feel that I have truly developed and gained some perspective of the world.

Thank you to everyone who made a contribution to me and the organization. Thanks to all for the moral support. I wouldnt have been able to do it without you. Thanks to Brian at Shockspital for the help with the shifter. Thanks to Hurl at CRC for his vast biker knowledge and advice on how to be a badass. You da man. Thanks to all of my friends and family for not telling me I was crazy for attempting something like this. And especially to all those on the Big Ride who made it a truly memorable experience. I hope to see all of you again soon.

As Ernest Hemingway says, "Im no walker."

Until then,
Ride Hard

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Day 46: Final Exam...A++

Its done! At least it mine as well be done. When you are on a cross country bike trip and finished what is referred to as the final exam, you are done. Especially when you only have two days left, both of which are 50. In all honesty today wasnt even all that challenging of a ride. Yes there were hills, but they werent all that steep and werent as long as I was expecting. After Mt. Davis the other day though, with climbs that were 19% grade, anything was going to be easy.

The hardest part of the ride was the length. I dont really remember feeling fatigued until about the last 30 miles. That was probably due to the fact that me and Chuck somehow got ahead of sag and didnt have water for the last 50 miles. Not fun. Maybe that was just the extra credit section of the final exam. "Make it the last 50 miles without passing out from dehydration and you get 25 points extra!" Fucking ridiculous! Luckily we found a convenience store and were able to get some much needed water for the last 5 mile stretch.

Part of the day was really beautiful for a change. Then again after the last couple of days with the majority on Highway 30, anything was going to seem beautiful. Anyways, we got to bike through a state park for about 20 miles of today. It was a great break from crappy roads and obnoxious semis. Nice shade cover, beautiful forest on either side and mostly flat road.

Looking back at the ride I only have one complaint. Chappy! He was a friend of Patty, a fellow big rider, that was invited to join us for the rest of the trip. I met him the night before and he seemed nice enough. But once we hit the road this morning, his true colors started to show. Now if I were in his position, I would have been riding with Patty the entire day. After all, she invited him to ride with HER. But he did no such thing. Not only did he ride out front with me the entire day, without Patty, but he continuously tried to show us up. He would sprint up every hill, pass us every time we would try to go by him. All in all he was one of the most obnoxious people I have ever ridden with. A word of wisdom to all of you: if you join a group of riders that have been working their asses of for 45 days, DONT TRY TO SHOW THEM UP. It really got to me when he dusted us with 15 miles left, riding by himself into camp! What the HELL! Oh well. Instead of coming here, riding with us and becoming our friends, he has just made 36 enemies.

Thats it everybody. Im off for my last rest day! Hooray!

Until then,
Ride Hard

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Day 44: Highest Point In PA

More starting to think that I am doomed to a life of climbing. I cant exactly complain though, we did have the option of taking the mountain pass today. I bet you can guess which path I took...give up? I took that mountain pass.

The notion of going up to the highest point in PA wasnt all that scary, considering that it was only at 3200 feet going from 1500. Boy was I wrong. On the way up to the top we had climbs upwards of 16% grade. I dont know how to put that in plain terms...lets just say its really fucking steep. But getting to the top sure was rewarding, especially for the screamer downhill that we had. I didnt break my ladnspeed record on this trip, but thats mostly due to the fact that the roads were slick from rain and I didnt want to risk my neck for bragging rights.

Back off the mountain pass, me and the few brave souls that attempted it met up with the rest of the group. We were pretty sure that from here out it was going to be smooth sailing on rollers...wrong again. We had some long climbs followed by longer climbs for the rest of the day. They werent that steep, but when you have one after the other its impossible to get into a rythm. Cant tell you how long this makes the ride seem.

At about mile 65, with 13 miles left, Dewayne decided he wanted to challenge me to a sprint to camp. I think that was probably the bad decision on both of our parts for the day; his for challenging me and mine for accepting.

We were welcomed into the Friendship Village Christian Campground by a nice downpour. Not fun conditions to set up the tent in. Oh well. I decided that I would try to head into town to get my phone fixed. Lucky for me there was a sprint service center in town. I tried calling them to see what time they were open and got the recording with "9-8." I went to the store and found out it was "8-7!" I think people in this part of the country are just two clicks back on brain speed. I wont even get into the conversation I had with the camp director on trying to find the sprint store. I dont think you would believe it even if I told you.

Im off to bed to rest up for the "final test" of the big ride! Nighty night.

Until then,
Ride Hard

Day 43: Technology isnt all its cracked up to be

my phone is now broken. I dont think there is any hope left for it. It turns on just fine, but when it comes to placing a call...forget it. Oh well. So if my blog entries are delayed for these last few days, like this one, its due to my piece of crap phone.

Anyways, todays ride was nothing that out of the ordinary for an average day on the big ride. Lots of gigantic "hills" and high humidity. Nothing that my body cant handle at this point though. Todays ride did have its upside though, aside from the gigantic hills that is. We got to ride on a beautiful trail for about 50 miles. I think it was called the YRT trail, not positive though. Crushed limestone trail that is shade covered by a beautiful sparse forest on either side. With the river flowing by down on one side, it was a really nice break from heavily trafficked roads and a narrow crappy shoulder.

About 30 miles outside of camp, an alumni from a previous Big Ride year met up with us. He hosted a lunch stop and had a smorgasbord of food. The best part of the stop was the sign that was directly above the pavilion we were under, "Washington D.C 280 miles East!" We could have actually stayed on the same trail for another 280 miles and hit D.C. For the first time on this trip, the fact that I was biking across country really sunk in. I think it might have been the fact that I am only 280 miles away from finishing! Holy shit!

Thats about all of the excitement on yesterdays ride.

Until then,
Ride Hard

Sunday, August 3, 2008

day 42: the smackdown has been brought.

I don't know how many flats I've had this trip, but ice had enough to annoy me. Today, right as I broke away from my riding buddies while they stopped to eat lunch, I got a flat. I had to sit on thr side of the road for half an hour before anyone from my group went by. Unfortunately I decided to ride light today and didn't bring any tube or pump. Big mistake.

One our rest stops was at a cemetery today. One of the locals didn't seem to find this appropriate. After she laid the verbal smackdown of the century on us, she left saying, "if you're not gone when I get back I'm calling the police!" I'm not sure what happened in the end because I left right after that, but as far as I know no one from the group got arrested.

Just for those of you who haven't been to Pennsylvania before, let me give you an idea of the terrain...AGHH! This fucking sucks!! It was virtually impossible to get into a rythm on todays ride. We were either doing a massive climb or going up hills that were steep and long. Probably close to 75 percent of todays ride was climbing. It was a ride awakening after the past 2 weeks of flats. But get, good thing I'm in shape after riding 40 days. Withing the first 20 miles, I was informed that we had already done 2000 feet of climbing.

Hopefully todays ride will put me in the right frame of mind for the upcoming ride into getttsburg. It has already been referred to as the "final test" of the big ride.

Talk to you all soon.

Until then,
-ride hard

Saturday, August 2, 2008

day 41: 58?!

Nice to know people at bike shops. Bryan was nice enough to get the shifter out to me. Now I don't have to crank up big hills on my big chainring. Thanks a lot man. Wouldn't have been able to finish the trip without your help.

Todays ride was nothing special. Nice and simple 58 miles. Great way to bring the ride to a close and get out of the rest day. We rode nice and slow, taking nice and long rest breaks at each of the stops along the way.

Dinner was really great today, probably the highlight of the day. Fajitas made with fresh grilled beef. Delicious. After dinner we got a little bored. Me and a couple guys decided a couple pranks wouldn't hurt.

First we put a picnic table in dougs mansion of a tent. Set a place for six and an entire meal out on the table. Pretty funny stuff. Then we captured around 50 fire flies and set them loose in joes tents. That was fucking hillarious. You could see his tent lighting up from across camp.

I'm off to bed. Have to wake up early tomorrow to do breakfast setup. Night.

Until then,
Ride hard

Friday, August 1, 2008

day 39: clevland rocks! clevland rocks!

Long ride today. 92 miles with a lot of hills. The fact that we had a long detour due to construction didn't improve my mood much. When I found out how far the detour took us off course I decided to needed to bump it up a notch. I pulled 25mph for a straight 20 miles. I realized that when I get mad on a day like today, the only thing I can do is go balls out and make it to the rest stop. Its the only thing that improves my mood.

I started to feel even better when I realized that we were biking right by the rock and roll hall of fame. Me and a couple guys decided to stop. Even though we blew 2 and a half hours there, it was well worth it. I got to see Jerry garcia's guitar! Holly shit! That was probably the non bike riding highlight of this trip.

Unfortunately after the slight rock detour we had to get back on our bikes and do another 45. I decided that I wanted to get to camp, so I told ed and Austin to hammer it out. Big mistake! I forgot that I was stuck in my big ring due to a broken shifter, so when the hills came I was barely hanging on. They were making me work for that last stretch. It wasn't easy.
I was welcomed into camp by some moonshine and Sharon, our new ride leader, cooking idian food. Best ride day meal of the trip.

I'm off to clean my bike and go to bed. I figure I should get at lest 12 hours of sleep if I want to be fresh for the grueling 50 miles we have on Saturday. Goodnight all.

Until then,
Ride hard