Thursday, August 12, 2010
It's going to be a long, hot day ahead.
I thought about taking a bump up at the beginning, but the scenic part of the ride will be the first 20 miles along the Erie canal.
So I start with the dawn and hope I can make it to Liverpool.
The others start early today too.
It's not long before Rick and Steve catch up with me.
But today even Rick stops to take photos.
I think everyone realizes our trip will be over in less than a week.
Some of the guys who've been chewing up the miles are slowing down and looking around.
Gerard and I take turns taking photos of each other - first before the bridge...
...and then after.
I watch ducks swim in a paceline.
Actually they invented it long before bicycles came along.
We get to watch the local rowing team practice their drills.
...and the local bike club out for their weekend ride.
Wonder what they would say if they knew the straggly group of bikers they passed have just biked across most of America.
At the town of Pittsford they request we walk our bikes on their bike trail through town.
It's kinda nice to slow down to a walking pace.
It gives me a chance to talk with the ducklings.
Things are even so relaxed this morning I get a picture of Joe.
Joe has been an ultra-marathoner - runs 24 hour races.
He thought about doing the Across America Fast Ride where you cross the country in 40 days.
But then he decided he wanted a slower pace.
But his slow is my speed demon.
Going through these cute little towns we sometimes feel like we're a parade.
The locals smile and wave.
The Pittsford Pirate flags remind me of Mike, the biker I met in Oregon...
Was that only 6 weeks ago?
All of these towns have their own flags on the lightposts...
A welcome sign...
Clyde has a lovely central park with a gazebo.
The day has turn sizzling.
The fountain looks so refreshing.
And my bike needs a rest.
But we see all the other bikers passing us by.
We'd better get going.
It's so hot.
The road burns under my pedals.
I've fallen behind.
I'm feeling woozy.
I think I'm close to a bonk.
I stop at the next gas station for food and drink.
While I imbibe the sweeps come in.
Guess who's sweeping today.
Al is helping ABB Jeff follow the pack to be sure there are no stray sheep bikers falling behind.
This picture I asked her to look sweepish.
I try to keep going...
but the road goes on forever.
I'm falling farther and farther behind.
The heat is stifling.
Finally I take a bump up from Jim to the next SAG in a lovely park six miles ahead.
Jim tells the cyclists that I'm in the van cause he needed help with directions.
I take a break -
Talk with Todd.
Todd is interviewing all the bikers for his blog.
By the way, Al's quote for Todd's blog is "Old men are weird."
Back on the road again...
I'm not much better.
It's so hot.
I fall behind again.
Sometimes I think I'm imagining things when I see strange sculptures by the side of the road.
Are these supposed to be eagles?
They look like parrots to me.
I'm getting dizzy just watching the lines of the road go on and on.
Side by side...
I look up at the sun.
That was a mistake.
I can relate to the dried flowers crackling by the road...
baked dead by the heat.
I stop in the shade of a bridge.
My shaking hands turn the page of the route sheet.
I hear skinny tires crunching the road behind me.
It's my sweep!
I'll take you in says Alex.
I follow the bobbing yellow ribbon on the back of her bike.
I remember buying her that ribbon at a grocery store back in Wyoming so she could celebrate Argentina playing in the World cup.
She gets me safely to the town of Liverpool, New York...
...where I become a two fisted drinker.
We reach the hotel where there's a promise of a good meal ahead...
But there are mysterious people lurking behind newspapers in our lobby....
It's Katie's parents!
They are here to surprise her with a visit.
They've been reading my blog and know every one of us and our adventures.
Her Dad has a book for me...Travels with Charley by Steinbeck.
It reminds him of my blog.
...maybe this is all worthwhile after all.