Well, it’s all over. 41 miles this morning through a thunder shower – stopping and starting frequently on bike paths. Two miles of crushed limestone made for some epic mud for skinny tires. I had a 16″ wide stripe of goo up my back. My bike was so filthy that I immediately stripped and cleaned the drivetrain once I arrived home.
I rode 501 miles, climbed 8149 feet, burned 38,635 calories [three times normal consumption each day], averaged 15.5 mph, and ended with only one saddle sore. Desitin is a man’s best friend. I don’t have much desire to sit on a bike saddle this morning, but expect that this will change by Tuesday or Wednesday. [SMILE]
Our 135 riders raised $328,380 [July 27 update]. That’s enough money to buy materials for 5 or 6 homes – and more donations will trickle in during the next month. First Lutheran and I raised $2600 thus far, and will likely get a few more pledges.
Daily life on the road is, well – different. I’ll try to give you a snapshot. Much of it can be summarized in these words: get up early, stand in line, [EAT] ride, stand in line, [EAT] nap, stand in line, [EAT] go to bed early. It’s also worth mentioning that we stop at each and every Dairy Queen or Culvers: it must be done.
The days start at 445 in the morning. We pack, get dressed and get our baggage on the gear truck. Breakfast is served at 6 and the road opens at 630. I’m a believer in getting the work done while the temps are cool and I’m feeling fresh, so I was done by about 1 pm each day…which translates into 4-5 hours in the saddle. We eat at rest stops and on the bike during the day, and enjoy a larger meal in the evening – sometimes followed by a second dinner an hour later. FYI: Pizza Hut delivers to school gyms.
It’s different having 134 other people in your bedroom. Everyone makes an extra effort to be somewhat modest and considerate, but it gets a little loud sometimes – not to mention rather fragrant by about day 4 of hot, humid riding. One evening the rec center we were sleeping at got so cool that I rummaged in the lost and found to find a bit more insulation. I passed the night wrapped in a baby blanket and an extra towel.
The rhythm of the road is rather hypnotic. Peddling at 85-90 rpm for an hour or more brings me into what I think of as the “the bike zone”. The hum of the drivetrain and the buzz of the road bring on a partial detachment that makes the miles go by without much notice on my part. It’s very peaceful and conducive to reflection.
One of the best perks of this tour is the two massage therapists who travel with us. I availed myself of their services four times…and what a difference. Their healing attention answers the question of how I could ride 100 miles on Wednesday and get up Thursday morning ready for another 80.
Where does the road go from here? In the short term, onward to Vermont. All of us are home for a week, and then off for some vacation time. For three days I’ll be riding the length of Vermont through the Green Mountains – an ambitious ride with numerous categorized hills, and about 14, 000′ of elevation gain. After that, a family reunion in New Hampshire’s White Mountains will give me a chance for another ride or two.
In the bigger picture, I’m very blessed to be supported by my family and congregation. Without them this project would have been impossible. I am hopeful that this charity ride will send a message of God’s love to our community. Our local paper [that publishes lots of anti-christian sentiment] consented to publish an article about me and this ride. The only picture I had of myself with my bike happened to be one where I was wearing my Brooklyn Brewery jersey – too funny! Now the community at large knows I like microbrews. At any rate, I’m hopeful that we can do something like this every year. Whether it be the HFH 500, or some other project we shall see.
For right now, I’m signing off 2202 miles later. It’s been a good ride, and I’m grateful for all of you who’ve come along.
One last time…
Grace & Courage, dear friends.