Back to reality. Run Half Marathon- check. Cycle to NYC- must do. So after hiking, aka: walking as fast as I could, back to the hotel, striping my sweaty clothes off, downing some Roc2O, throwing my helmet & gloves on and looking longingly at the very delicious bed (complete with AMAZING pillows- the kind that makes every sore muscle melt away). I hopped on my bike. Legs had no idea what else was in store for them that day. And good thing. I watched people coming back from the race. I was kind of envious of them. I wanted to do the whole brunch-gab-eat-rejoice-I've-finished-hang thing too!
So around 11:45am, I started off. Another new thing for the ride today was that Mike got radios. A little secret. I have always wanted to work for the Secret Service or the CIA, so having a little ear piece made me feel like I was a super secret rider. Or something like that.
The plan was to have Mike radio directions to me because of the route issues we had the previous two days. And for the most part it worked. Except for when we had interference with the Spanish, Chinese, Thai and dog channels. For whatever reason one town we rode through had dogs barking. Perhaps it was a sign to ride faster? Or get out of town!
The ride out of Philly was for the most part uneventful. And I was quite grateful about that. The route we mapped out had me riding on some fairly busy roads (and a TON) of lights so I made sure the car stayed close behind me.
My goal for the day was to make it New York City. And not die. But that's always my goal. The finish line was slated for 6:00pm-7:30pm. So the need for me to ride fast was not an option, but an necessity.
The weather was quite hot today. No Code Orange. But was in the high 80's and the sun was in full force. I was glad I snagged some sunscreen at the VIP tent after I finished the race!
Seeing the country side through the eyes of a bike is a very interesting perspective. You smell things. You see the land. You feel the land. The people. But I'll save that topic for another day. Back to sweating.
Riding through Trenton, NJ was pretty interesting. Terrifying might be a better word. And frustrating. The road I was riding on went BOTH ways. Know the bridges with grates and you can see through them? Well, yeah, I had ride over it, not once, but THREE times. It made me dizzy. And nauseous. Finally, after getting past that speed bump (no pun intended) I was on Route 1 North. A very busy road. Think Route 95, but only bike legal. Notice I said legal, not friendly.
There were MANY times I was thankful for having a SAG vehicle, not only for gear, food and what not, but because it was the only way to tell people what the hell I was doing. The back window became not only a story teller for my journey, but a buffer between me and roadkill.
I had several insane roads to travel on. 18 wheelers, mini vans, small cars, dogs, cats (kidding), groundhogs, squirrels (not kidding) were only part of the navigation & riding for my dear life. Remember Mission number 2 of the day? Not to die? Well that was at the forefront of my mind. AT ALL FREAKING TIMES. Having to defend yourself with metal going flying 65MPH will quickly make you not fall asleep. No matter how tired you are.
I was pretty glad to make it off Route 1 (and many other roads) safely. Because the next part I was really excited for. I rode through Princeton, NJ! Such a cute town! And the people were, oh my gosh, FRIENDLY! A family in a minivan pulled up beside me and we chitchatted at a stop light. We played leap frog over the course of the next few lights. Then, just as I was about to head out of town, they gave me a WATER BOTTLE! Its the little things in life. I will probably never forget that kind gesture. That's what I am talking about people. Helping others. It doesn't have to be a HUGE thing. But small, simple and impactful. It changed my day!
My legs were pretty tired- okay, screaming was more like it. I kept watching the minutes and the miles tick on. I was starving. I was dirty. I was cranky. I was tired. If there ever was a time I wanted a cupcake, ice bath, now would be the time. 6:00pm was looming ever closer. Would I make it to New York City? In one piece?