Day 2 (May 30 2016) Jamestown – Ashland VA; 68 miles

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Happy Memorial Day! Though it would’ve been awesome to celebrate down the jersey shore, riding through the battlefields of VA was definitely a humbling way to appreciate the holiday. One of the highlights of the day was riding past a man running with a stroller full of American flags as well as the uniform of a fallen soldier. Unfortunately, because we passed him after we realized what he was doing, we were unable to ask him about his story.

Today was a rainy Monday with intermittent downpours. Of course the rain started the minute I woke up and had the thought “well, time to break down camp”. Luckily, it cleared up before dinner (pizza!). We started in Jamestown and ended in Ashland, a little less than 70 miles. We continued on the Virginia Capitol Trail until right before Richmond and it was a beautiful traffic free ride. We had lunch at Mama Lonnie’s, a little mom and pop convenience store whose owners were extremely accommodating. We encountered many rolling hills that took a toll on us by the end of the ride. Thank god for rest breaks and pop tarts. Luckily the trial was well marked with TransAm 76 signs that came in handy, so much so that we only had to resort to GPS a handful of times. Plus my map skills are definitely starting to improve (woo!).

My aunt Carol and uncle Fred came to visit after dinner and it was great seeing them. They offered for us to stay at their house tomorrow night at Lake Anna, unfortunately, we are riding further west 😦 They saved us and took us to CVS for some essentials and warned us about the upcoming doom of Blue Ridge. We were going to visit a brewery conveniently located right next to the campsite, but we were too beat from today’s ride.
Also, fun fact of the day, we are sharing camp with a couple from New Zealand who are doing the TransAm bike race. Essentially, it is a group of crazies who race across the country on the same trail as us. They are departing from Yorktown June 2nd. Because they are planning on finishing the whole trail in 35 days, they will definitely pass us later on. A group is also departing from Oregon that same day. Can’t wait to see them speed past us. If you have an hour and a half to kill, there is a documentary on Netflix about the race called Inspired to Ride. It is absolutely insane.

Sheena’s Corner: Today Sheena had the brilliant idea of plugging her phone into an outlet that housed a hornets nest. And somehow she convinced me to get it. I achieved the target unstung!
Spending Memorial Day riding through battlefields was incredibly special
So happy I bought fenders
“Em, possum… possum… You’re going to run over that possum….POSSUM” *screams (Emilie, not Sheena)*
Stupid knees (Sheena has been having issues with her TFL, luckily she has a licensed physical therapist as a good friend)
Sheena had a very enlightening explanation of the 7 Days Battle. “Oh, I actually know this one! I know this part of history! It was a short battle in the civil war. No revolutionary war, well one of those. And it only lasted 7 days”. Of note, Sheena is an engineer, not a historian.
Distance: 68.57 miles

Time on bike: 5 hours 35min

Avg speed: 12.2 MPH

max speed: 27.9 MPH

Total odometer: 100 miles

Day 1 (May 29th 2016) Yorktown – Jamestown, VA 44 miles

 

Day one is in the books! Today we went from Williamsburg east to the official start of the trail, Yorktown, and headed back west to Jamestown. In total, it was a little over 40 miles. A nice easy start to the beginning of the trip. There were some rolling hills that weren’t the worst and it rained intermittently throughout the day, adding a refreshing element to the ride.

My parents met us in Yorktown with Addie, where I had to say goodbye. It may have been a tearful goodbye, but it was raining, so the world
may never know.

The strange coincidence of the day was receiving a text from my high school friend, Val, stating that she had seen me riding. She is visiting Williamsburg for the weekend. What’re the chances?!

Camp is all set up, I’m showered, and waiting for dinner (veggie chicken pasta). Tomorrow is calling for rain, but fingers crossed they’re wrong!

Distance: 43.64 miles
Time on bike: 2 hours 33 min
Avg speed: 12.3 MPH
max speed: 26.4 MPH
Sheena’s corner: I can’t believe I’m missing Game of Thrones tonight. And there is a bug flying around me for like 15 minutes. I don’t know where it is *Sheena has been getting attacked by bugs all night*

12 hour countdown! (May 28, 2016)

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The time has come! Tomorrow morning is the start of our 76 day ride. The months of preparation and endless anxiety have finally given way to the adventure of a lifetime. We had orientation today, where we met our fellow cyclists and leaders. Everyone is awesome and we’re all pumped to achieve the final goal together. We went over day to day life on the bike, cooking groups, and reading maps.

I had to say goodbye to Addie today, however, luckily for me, she will see me tomorrow morning in Yorktown before the official start. That is surely when the tears will start flowing.

Sheena’s corner: I got stuck with the frying pan 😡

Final countdown (May 25, 2016)

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In less than 4 days I’ll be on my bike, pedaling for the first day, probably questioning why the heck am I going to be putting myself through this misery for 80 more days?! And I can’t wait. I have been preparing for this ride since last year, gathering equipment and trying to get in rides when I can. Though it has been a long journey from then until now, the time flew by. Now that the ride is a mere couple of days away, I feel unprepared and nervous. Hopefully that goes away soon enough!

I decided to do this ride to push myself to the ultimate limit, mentally and physically. Plus, I want to see the country from the saddle of a bike. I want to experience the sights, sounds, and smells as well as the culture of this country in the most intimate of ways – on a bike. Sure I’m gonna have to rough it for a few weeks, but it builds character!

I am doing this trip with a group of around 14 people, of whom I only know one. Sheena is a close friend I was fortunate enough to have met in college. She is just as crazy as me for agreeing to do this trip, ha! I left my job as a physical therapist early May to prepare, though I have mainly used the extra time as an excuse to hang out with my dog, Addie. She is the love of my life and I have no doubt I will cry multiple times throughout this trip from missing her so much.

My parents have been a huge support system in this whole process. My dad has helped tremendously through the whole process, providing me with advice and encouragement. I am truly blessed to have such supportive people in my life.