July 27 - Ann Arbor
Today was and incredible day, a challenging day, and a rewarding day. I did my ride with the team today, 65 miles from East Landing to Ann Arbor.
Ryan Dooley let me borrow his bike for the ride today, which was really awesome because he has one of the nicest bikes on the team. In my pace line was Graham and Reed. They were very supportive the whole ride, and without them there is now way I would have finished the ride.
Our pace line was given a pretty good head start so that we could get out there first and have the best shot of making it the whole way. For the first 20 miles the ride was actually pretty easy, I even pulled (was in front, which is harder because there is no draft) for a bit.
At about mile 25 things got really tough and I didn't know how I was going to finish the ride! We pushed on though, and my pace line was very encouraging! Every time we could see a crew van in the distance my spirits lifted and we pushed hard to get there to take a break. I ate a ton of food on the road, and I drank a lot of water! I have to pee basically every 5 miles.
At about mile 25 we were red flagged because one of the pace lines had an accident (not involving a car) and he had to be attended to. After being stopped for almost 30 minutes it was really hard to get back on the bike, but we had to. We only had 2 hours to make it 20 miles to rack point.
Those 20 miles were the toughest of the day. The roads were incredibly rough, and it seemed like every time we got to the top of a hill there was another one. Graham actually rode alongside me and pushed me up some of the hills.
We made rack point by about one or two minutes, we took a really quick break there and then got back on. About a 2 or 3 miles later we found ourselves red flagged again because there was a traffic accident that blocked the rode we were supposed to take into town. This time we were stopped by an A&W Graham bought me a cheeseburger and it was the most wonderful thing!
After about 30 minutes at this red flag the crew had figured out a reroute and we were released once again. Some of the hills on this stretch were really had, but aside from them I was feeling a lot better on the bike, it just wasn't as hard.
When I got to Santiago's last crew stop I ran into his sandwich board and fell over, thankfully into the grass. Once we got into Ann Arbor I rode in front the rest of the way to lodging. It was cool to roll in, and have everyone celebrating.
This made me the first crew member to finish a ride along! Though Isaac rode 86 miles of a 100 mile day and Santi was racked because of lightning. It still is a cool accomplishment! I have absolutely gained some empathy for what our cyclists go through every day.
I averaged 14 miles per hour for the day and hit a top speed of 25 miles per hour on a downhill.
I also have to thank the sweeps (Cody and Nick) for helping to motivate me though the day as they aren't aloud to pass any pace line. The were upbeat and positive the whole day, and never got upset about me going slow.
Once we got to lodging we had a sponsored lunch there, which I devoured, and then we headed to showers at the pool! I took what was probably the best shower of my life!
We then went to a friendship visit with an organization that supports people with brain damage. It was a lot of fun. They had a video game truck for us to play in (I didn't get a chance to play) and a lot of fun outdoor activities. I got to play ladder golf with the president of the organization which was really cool.
After the friendship visit Sergio took the team out for ice cream at McDonald's for breaking the in-route fundraising record! We've broken $11,000 raised! I also ordered some chicken nuggets because I was still very hungry.
Then it was back to life as usual as we filled up our water coolers and headed to bed.