It was a VERY long day. Even a few tears. Driving to Philly from Baltimore is one thing, riding on a bike is another (trust me on that). The day started out late. I spent 2 hours the previous night trying to upload a video and then never loaded. I was multi tasking and writing a recap of Day One. Well the photos were all cropped. It just wasn't my night (or week for that matter seeing as the BlackBerry issues I had the previous night!). At 11pm I called it a day (a epic day at that).
So back to Wednesday morning, the 15th. I didn't sleep well (sigh) so finally rolled out of bed at 6am. I finally got the video to upload (went through the "back door"), tried to go through all my email, finish some articles, phone calls, pack up the car, and other random stuff. And oh yeah remind my legs that we had to crank out about 110miles. Perhaps I should have taken another ice bath, but alas no time for that. I needed to get some food in me, so I had some oatmeal- on the tail gate. New take on tail gate party:) Finally, I got my butt on the saddle around 8:45am.
Getting out of Baltimore was actually pretty easy (thank you God!) I stayed on Route 40 forever. Met up with Roni and she did a quick interview and took some photos. I had a few bites of oatmeal (yes it was getting gross). It was a beautiful day with bright sun. Day two of sunburn. Fun!
At some point the route took us off Route 40 and into parts of Maryland I never knew existed. I thought I was in PA with the amount of climbing I was doing. I stopped at various points along the way to post some updates on Twitter and take some photos. I don't listen to music while I ride (or run for that matter) so I asked Mike to turn up the radio a few times as I hung on the passenger window:) Did I mention it was hot? And my legs were pretty much on fire? The challenge never comes without a price!
It was really neat to ride in and out of towns, city's, farms, coffee shops (kidding). I smelled french fries at one point and wanted to puke. I FINALLY reached Delaware. Thought the state would never come. I still had a WAYS to go. I watched the miles tick on. Rode over Conwango Dam- that was pretty cool. Then it was some insane hills. I almost fell back down the hill (no joke). Made it back to Route 40 (yay!) and finally to North 13.
Some parts of the road were pretty busy so I was praying for my safety. We (me+car) had to merge across some major roads. Now was not the time to be tired! When you see the sign that says "Philly 50 miles" and you have already rode 140 miles you just kind of die inside, but trudge on.
Route 13 split into Business 13 and regular 13. I took Business 13, which was the long cut (lucky me). Hey I got to ride in downtown Wilmington, DE! It also had the LONGEST climb. OMG. It was insane. I think my SAG car almost stalled I was going so slow. Then met back up with the route plan.
Then all hell broke lose. The directions somehow got screwed up and I was really tired and sore. I just wanted to throw the bike in the street and be done. I was hungry (energy cubes and sports drink can only be fun for so long) salty and in dire need of a shower. The back of my knees felt like bee hive. I was worn out and I couldn't even see the city of brotherly love. Shoot me. I will admit some tears were shed- along with prayers to God to give me the strength to get there no matter how long it took.
Then it went from bad to worse. We ended up at Philadelphia Intl Airport. I wish I was kidding. I don't know what it is with me & airports (yesterday I circled BWI. TWICE). When I ride to NYC and I end up at LGA or JFK, I know something is up! Ha! Riding through the terminal was interesting. Thankfully the back of the truck explained what the hell I was doing. I can't tell you how frustrating it was to see the city and knowing you had to get there, but not sure how.
I jumped off my bike and internally screamed. Some transit buses started honking and saying "go, Sarah, go!". I wasn't in the mood. I kind of ran (you try running with a bike, in cycling shoes and 180 miles in your legs) up to a bus and asked how to get to Philly. He pointed to 95. Oh. My. Gosh. Seeing no other way to get out to a safer road (and to Philly before dark), Mike & I decided we had no other choice but to take it.
To say I was scared was an understatement. Mike used the car to shield me from cars going 70+MPH. The directions said we only had to be on 95 for .95 miles before our exit. It was actually 4miles. I have always dreamed of riding on 95 and my dream finally came true (sarcastic). I prayed for God's protection. The bridge split into 2 lanes b/c of work on it. I stayed right and Mike stayed right behind me. It was a nice climb. Car in the other lanes were cheering me on. I think they knew I was suffering. I finally made it to the exit and breathed for the first time in 4 miles. A Lady Gaga concert was going on.
And then, oh could it be, Philly? The city I saw in a distance- could I be here? I was! I rode down Board Street which was really cool (minus the lights). Although I was sick and tired and cranky (yes) and exhausted I couldn't really enjoy it. I wish I had a film crew following me!
Finally, made it to the hotel and I was so happy. You have no idea. 195miles. It is as hard as it sounds. Trust me on that. It was about 7:15pm. Although my riding time wasn't 11 hours, I was still in the saddle, navigating roads, defending myself on the road, keeping the kids & the next generation I am riding for in the front of my mind. The pain is worth it.
The usual routine followed- I was so tired, I collapsed onto bed and recorded a short video from there. Then it was an ice bath and some real food. Followed by meeting up with folks from ING and Run For Something Better. Another late night....
To be continued....