Kinston, NC to Wilmington, NC
Staying at St. James Episcopal Church
94 miles today, average mph 16.7
Pretty flat riding
Lance Armstrong wrote a great book called It’s Not About the Bike - My Journey Back to Life. Lance survived some very serious cancer, and has become influential in helping find a cure for cancer. Like Lance’s book title, we often talk about this bike ride as not being about the bike, but about helping people and spreading the word about The Fuller Center.
Well, for me today, it was a lot about the bike ride, and the people I am riding with. We had finished our morning circle of sharing and prayer, and the riders were a little slow getting ready to ride. I finally pushed off, with Kelsey (Kiwi) close behind me. I was riding leisurely on the way out of town, kind of waiting for the faster riders to catch up and take over the lead. As we made our last turn and hit the open highway, with a nice shoulder most of the time, I was still leading the group and all but the sweeps had caught up and were in line. I was feeling good about myself, and kicked my speed up and started riding between 16 to 20 mph, looking in my mirror wondering why nobody was taking over. Mile after mile, I, grandpa, continued to lead a paceline of 11 riders. It was totally blowing my mind - looking back and seeing all those riders I was pulling, them letting me pull them. Our first stop was to be 25 miles out, and I kept looking back at Kelsey and was totally amazed that she was right on my tail, as this was a faster pace than she has ridden up to this time. I can’t begin to explain how totally awesome this was to me, just watching her keep up, and everybody else letting me pull. I began thinking about Carmen, as she has been the slowest rider in the group. And there she was, keeping up behind me, along with all the others. What an amazing ride. After what seemed to be the fastest, easiest, and most fun ride I have been on, we finally rolled into the rest stop, just over 25 miles out. I hollered at Kelsey and then at Carmen as they both rolled in, that they both totally rocked it. Some of the riders said, “nice going, gramps.” I checked my computer and saw that we had averaged 16.3 mph! I especially had to congratulate both Kelsey and Carmen on doing a great job of riding.
We left the stop and started riding, with me in the lead again for a few miles, when I pulled out and let Alex pull for a while. Well, that was the last I saw of Alex. Some of the other riders kicked up the pace, and I stayed with Maranda and Kelsey C for a while at a faster pace. We were rocking pretty good about 22 mph, but I finally had to drop off, still pushing, but not able to keep up with them.
After the second van stop, I took off again, with six of the gals following me, at the front of another paceline. Soon we’re off the busier roads and out in the country. I’m riding at a fairly easy pace, maybe 14 or 15 mph, and we are starting to bunch up on this empty stretch of backroad. The gals started singing, and we ride probably 12 or more miles with the songs coming and going. I did notice, and told them, that when the singing started, the pace slowed down; when the singing stopped, the pace picked back up again. I also told them that I hadn’t had this much fun since I was in the girl scouts as a kid. So as we are finishing this 20 mile stretch I realize that I have been smiling and laughing, mainly laughing, the last 15 miles or so. What a fun ride!
Off we go on the last 20 miles of our ride, and it is Maranda, Kelsey C, and me. I’m leading for a while, we traded off for a while, but then Maranda pulled us for most of the rest of the way, and she was setting a nice pace that I could keep up with. A beautiful finish to a great ride.
After settling in at the church and getting our showers, a group of us headed downtown for some food, and of course, a chocolate malt.
***The malt was very good, but it was too thin to use two straws (like a spoon) to scoop it up into my mouth. They used real ice cream, but I forgot to request it, and they didn’t ask if I wanted chocolate ice cream, or vanilla ice cream with syrup. All in all I still have to give it a 6.5 rating, for a good effort.
Back to church for a great dinner, and then thinking about getting ready for another 90 plus mile day tomorrow.