I’m so tired, and I’ve had so much on my mind to write, but now that I’m sitting at the computer I just want to close my eyes, lie on this comfortable but very small Holiday Inn mattress, and fall asleep.
Got on camera on CBS’s The Early Show several times. Talked to Harry Smith. He said he bikes in Central Park four to five times a week and that what we’re doing is something he’s always dreamed of doing. He also told me, “Hydrate your ass off” when I told him I was doing the southern route.
I also met a girl named Natalie. She was with the Scleroderma Foundation group, and they were also in The Early Show crowd. She explained the severity of the disease, and I was just touched to have met her. As I was leaving, she called out after me and brought me a parting gift. This is a perfect example of the kindness of strangers. Natalie, thank you so much.
We departed from Columbus Circle, at the southwest corner of Central Park, at about 9.30a and rode on a bike path up to the George Washington Bridge. I wanted to stop and dip my rear wheel into the Hudson River, but everyone was going so fast, and since I didn’t really have a good indication of where we were all headed, I decided to keep pedaling. And for quite a while, I was keeping up with the pack and averaging a pretty high mileage per hour.
But at one point yesterday, I did get my first flat tire of the trip, and then everything went downhill. The lovely riders who stopped with me (Andy, Katie, Jonathan, and Matt) were really nice about waiting. Andy, who’d already had two flat tires by that time in the day, kindly took over the flat-fixing duties. And then the three older gentlemen (David, Roy, and Fred) rode up and stopped as well. The eight of us ended up getting confused with the cue sheets, but it wasn’t long before Lauren called me and wondered where I was. See, the sweeps (the two designated people each day to be the very last riders) were with her, but she was ahead of us. Big problem. So it was crazy trying to catch up with them and then get lost with them. Finally, Matt decided to just look up directions on his iPhone and lead us. I mean, we did figure that since the sweeps were with us, we were the farthest group back. Much to our surprise, our group was the first to reach the destination! We rode 66.31 miles (well, I did), and another group rode about 90. Thank goodness I got that flat tire.
When we got to the hotel, many of us went to the pool and hot tub and soaked for awhile before heading to the grocery store to stock up on food.
There were other things I know I wanted to mention about yesterday, but I feel like I need to type about today before I fall asleep (by the way, it’s only 7.46p).
The cue sheets today were much more clear, and Blaise, Callie, and I didn’t get lost. For awhile, Francesca and Dominic rode with us, but they ended up taking off at different points.
The route wound us through Princeton (which is an absolutely gorgeous town), where I got a new sticker for my bicycle. It’s from Small World Coffee, just down the road from the university campus.
We also rode through a waste management area. I’ve never seen working landfills before. The signs on either side of the area read “Waste Management Welcomes You.”
By the time we rolled into Philadelphia proper, I had put 64 miles on my bicycle and was ready to get out of my cycling shoes and hop in the shower. We had an event tonight, at Cavanaugh’s, so I raced over to the Liberty Bell to catch a glimpse of it before we took off on our bikes for the event. There were no appetizers tonight, so Blaise, Callie, Katie, Dominic, and I walked around the corner to get Philly cheese steaks. I’d never had one before, and I have to say, they’re pretty good! I went with the traditional Cheese-Wiz and onions.
When we got back to Cavanaugh’s, we decided to go hunting for some ice cream, and Francesca decided to join us. Blaise asked a woman on the street where a good ice cream shop was, and she about flipped out in her rave about this shop a block over called Scoop DeVille. Matt, the owner (manager?), gave all of us free ice cream (thank you, Matt!), which was absolutely delicious. I had the vanilla fudge ice cream in a waffle cone. And now I’m well fed and completely exhausted.
Tomorrow’s scheduled route is 98.8 miles, which means it’ll most likely be a century. It’s also the day our group of 42 splits into two groups of 21. The northern route will head west to York, Pennsylvania, and the southern route will head south to Baltimore, Maryland. I’m so sad we’re saying goodbye to Callie. The four of us (Blaise, Francesca, Callie, and I) have gotten along really well these past couple days, and we sure will miss her on the southern route.
I’m trying to think of more things to type, but I’m too focused on staying awake.
On to Baltimore!