Today was the day we had been looking forward to all summer and then never wanted it to come starting a week ago. If you asked us now if we wanted to turn around and head back to San Francisco I can confidently say at least 32 of the 35 would do it without a second thought. We woke up and had our final crew chief breakfast and sat around talking for a few hours before setting out for our final ride to stage up. We decided to have fun and made a huge peloton for the ride (this is what we did a few days ago that I couldn’t say). We arrived at George Washington University and waited a few hours for the other teams to arrive and wait for 11:00. At that point we made our way to the Capitol, however we didn’t have a police escort due to miscommunication so we had to stop at every light and probably caused a lot of traffic issues. We then saw the Capitol and everyone’s families waiting for us and it didn’t even feel real for the trip to be over. We then took a lot of pictures, had our banquet and hung out one last night as a team. Thank you again to everyone who has supported me, I would not have been able to go on this journey without you. Also I will upload more pictures and a video by Thursday so make sure you check back.
I still can’t believe the ride is over, we only have 10 miles to the arrival in DC in the morning. Today we had 70 miles with 4500 ft of climbing, which was tougher than we expected but still manageable. This put us at climbing 3.5 vertical miles over the last 3 days. To make sure we enjoyed the last day we stopped wherever looked interesting, one pace line stopped at a flea market and 4 pacelines including mine stopped at a McDonalds for breakfast 25 miles into the ride. After the ride we started preparing for tomorrow and drove to Virginia to have dinner with the South and Trans routes and the Build America team. I still can’t believe that in less than 10 hours I will be standing on the Capitol lawn.
Today was an interesting day, we made a surprise detour into West Virginia making it 15 states we hit on the trip. It was also very foggy at the beginning of the ride and so descending down the Appalachians, while really cool was also pretty sketchy. Later in the day about 21 of us found a way to make the day way more enjoyable and memorable that can’t be shared at this time. After 65 miles and 6000 ft of climbing we reached the Potomac center where we are staying and had our last friendship visit of the trip. Tomorrow we have our last real ride, heading 70 miles to Bethesda, MD.
Today we crossed into the 14th and final state of the trip. It was a tough but fun day through the Appalachians, with 7500 ft of climbing over the 65 mile ride. We had some glorious downhills and I shattered my speed record, reaching 56.3 mph. We then had dinner with the Cumberland Rotary Club where I had fried ice cream for the first time. We followed dinner with just hanging out as a team enjoying one of our last few nights together as a team. Tomorrow we ride to Hagerstown.
Today we started the day with Chick-Fil-A for breakfast followed by a fun ride with some steep and long climbs. Following the ride we went whitewater rafting on the lower Youghiogheny river in Ohiopyle, which I actually have rafted on before back in 2007 as part of a scouting high adventure. This time however I didn’t get flipped on dimple rock. After our 3.5 hour rafting trip we had dinner with the Knights of Columbus who presented us with a $500 donation to Push America. Tomorrow we have a tough ride to Cumberland, MA crossing into our last state.
Today was our last day off the bike until after our arrival in DC. We had a nice 7:30 am wake up followed by breakfast with the Pitt chapter. We followed that up with a mock tailgate with CLASS an organization for people with cerebral palsy. We then had some free time to explore the city, relax, and work on our team music video before dinner. We had dinner at Camp Woodlands, where BAM is spending the week making renovations, a camp for people with disabilities that also provides leadership opportunities for high school students by having them mentor a client for a week. After dinner we spoke to them about perseverance and the importance of a good attitude regardless of what life throws your way. Tomorrow we are riding to Uniontown, PA.
Today was our first tough ride in a while, we had 81 miles of riding with some climbs including a few that were above a 9% grade. This meant however we had some really fun descents as well. I rode with Alex and Travis from Georgia Tech, putting all the mechanical engineers from the trip in the same pace line. Both of them are very strong riders, Alex is on the cycling team and Travis is on the triathlon team at their school. This made keeping up a little difficult and caused us to get red flagged 4 times including once for over 30 minutes, since we averaged a little over 26 mph on the flats. Today was also our last arrival of the trip before DC, and it was a great one, we got to ride past Heinz field and PNC park as we rode along the river after eating chipotle in a park just up the river. We arrived at Three Rivers which is an adaptive rowing program and helped them load their dragon boats shown below and used rowing machines along with the clients not in the boat. Build America was there to join us for the friendship visit as well and we will meet up with them tomorrow as well. After the friendship visit we had a sponsored dinner and bowling as a team which was nice to be able to hang out as a team. My lane and David’s lane bet milkshakes on which would do better and then we beat them by exactly 100 pins. Later in the evening a few of us went exploring and got sandwiches at Primonte Bros which is a famous place in Pittsburgh.