After the rest stop we started again. I can't remember when Matthew joined us, but I think it was before the rest stop. We stopped at both state lines for a photo op, and I'll post my pictures when I get home. We rode together for another 25 miles to the next rest stop.
We kind of split after the second rest stop, but I was still with Ray a lot until the last rest stop. Then I took off by myself, and was still riding very well, surprising since I've done very little training. A number of miles down the road Jonas and Turbo caught me and passed, leaving me by myself again. I still had them in my sights, but they were riding too strong for me to keep up. Then they disappeared; I suddenly could not see them anymore. It turns out they broke off at one of the overview stopping places. So I was by myself again (it's a good thing I'm good company for myself). Still in a zone, and moving well. Eventually, I see some riders back a ways, gaining on me. Not many hills here, so they are having some trouble catching me. Eventually they do catch up, and it's Jonas and Turbo again, and being the polite riders they are, they let me stay in front so I could pull them along. About 2 miles from the end of the Trace, and about 4 miles from our church, and I was fading fast. Jonas realized this and pulled in the lead with Turbo to help pull me home.
It's especially nice to be doing this ride with my son Matthew, and just great for him to slow down and ride with our group. We keep getting teased by some of the others about our relationship; Maranda tonight asking Matthew if he has told us about all the goofy things he did growing up. Of course I had to tell them about a call we got from Matthew's band director, something about his getting sick from drinking wine coolers. Lots of fun.
I wish I could adequately describe what it's like to travel with friends on a bike, wheels sometimes only a couple inches apart, traveling at speeds of 16 to 20 MPH, mile after mile. And everybody is comfortable. We are all helping each other, and at the same time helping families in need of affordable housing. We are in a mutual zone, just enjoying the ride, being with each other, and staying within ourselves, all at the same time.
We are staying at the First Baptist Church in Saltillo, MS. A short day of only 50 miles tomorrow, then on Thursday a build day--that's what this is all about.