Jun 10, 2014

Posted by Jo W. in | 6/10/2014
Mileage: 21.8

I am a few days behind blogging about the past couple of days, though we have a rest day in Columbus today for days 9 and 10.

I would say that Day 8 was one of the most interesting days we've had so far. I unfortunately didn't get to finish the ride, and most of a team didn't, save for about five people. The day started out overcast, with some foreboding clouds that were approaching quickly. The sky darkened less than an hour into the ride, and a torrent of rain came down. My ride group decided that it was unsafe to ride, so we seeked shelter first under a large tree, then across the street at a gas station. I was chilly, so I got some nasty gas station coffee that felt remarkable to drink. Any hot beverage was delicious at that point.

When the rain storm seemed to pass, we started up again and quickly got on a bike trail. Which turned out that a bridge had a huge gaping hole in it that we had to jump across. With our bikes. Just kidding. We took turns helping each other handing our bikes over and then jumping across.

When everyone was safely on the other side, we continued down the path. That was when the real downpour started. And at the same time, the nicely paved bike path turned into a nasty muddy trail. I was already miserable being soaked in the cold rain, and the mud just made it worse. I was cursing under my breath, got into aero position to try to keep warm, and just powered through it. The mud that flew everywhere was incredible. We were supposed to go down the bike path for about 8 miles to the water stop at mile 21, but there was no way that I would stay on that mud path.

When we got to a road intersection, I got off the trail and rerouted to get to the water stop. There were quite a few people in my group, but I was way ahead and I knew that I needed to keep cycling to stay warm. I felt kind of bad for ditching most of the group, but all I wanted was to get to the water stop ASAP. Taylor and I went on ahead while the others waited, and I just booked it down this two-lane highway at over 20 mph in the pouring rain. I was soaked, and I was trying my best to keep my phone dry in a ziploc bag stuffed down my bra. We went down a 6 mile stretch down a road, and seeing the gas station with our van was a huge relief. One of my teammates talked with the gas station employee and got us free hot chocolates.

We decided that it was unsafe to continue riding at that point since so many people were soaked through and freezing. We had to load all the bikes on the roof in the pouring rain, pile all the wheels and ourselves in the van, and drive about an hour to the host. We weren't expecting to arrive so early, and since it was Sunday, church was still in session. Our hosts were very gracious and let us settle in, take showers, and do laundry. I think that was one of the best showers I've had so far.

My group was the first to arrive, and the vans had to go back to shuttle the rest of the team. Some people who were waiting at the gas station got Domino's pizza donated, while another group were invited to hang out in someone's garage while it thunderstormed. I heard that they provided them with towels, hot water to soak their feet in, and warm beverages. A small group of five decided to finish the ride, and they kept going after the thunderstorm and arrived at the host around 7. We all had a long day, and were happy to be treated to an amazing meal of grilled chicken, potatoes, various salads, and homemade dessert. 


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