<All our alarms went off at 5:30 am. Actually got some sleep last night. We picked our teams (categories not to be announced online) – Together, Liliya, Carissa, Audrey, and Katie made up Team "Retirement." It was our first morning of the trip, officially on our own with no alumni to guide us. We packed our stuff and completed our morning chores.
Today’s destination was Warrenton, Virginia – about 60 miles away. Before we set off, we gathered for our dedication circle and chant. I rode today for Cheryl Williams – an acting teacher I had while studying theatre at Temple University. Today, June 2nd, marks her 8th year of being cancer free. She is a fierce, fun, and charismatic woman who really guided me through my studies of theatre. I look up to her in so many ways – especially her strength.
Team Retirement left around 7:20 am. The first few minutes of our ride, we got on what seemed to be a busy highway (but it was totally legal, I swear). And from there it was hill after hill after hill. And these girls rocked. We kept a pretty good pace and stayed together the entire time, supporting each other through it all.
There seemed to be a little trouble with our water van (who was supposed to chalk but had to pick people and bikes up because of injuries and bike problems). We continued a solid pace all day – passing chalked areas and resting at a shopping center while the others caught up. We laid out on the sidewalk, stretching, napping, and talking some pictures.
And as everyone arrived, we began an impromptu lunch with the donations that Erica and Michaela got – Arby’s sandwiches, pizza, chicken wings, and enjoyed donated desserts from McDonald’s. One of the ladies there began crying when Erica and Michaela approached them, explaining that her brother, Sean, just passed away from colon cancer in March. As a team, we decided we would dedicate a future day of riding to Sean.
We continued on to our next water stop, but experienced our first flat tire of the day – Liliya. She changed it like a pro, taking less than 5 minutes, and we trekked on. Cue the serious hills. They were all pretty tough and there were a ton of potholes.
About 10 miles from the host, Audrey got a flat. We had some trouble changing it, but had a gorgeous view to enjoy, so it wasn’t that bad. A couple of teams passed us but after about 20 minutes, were made it to the next water stop. Just passed there, as we were coming down a beautiful country road, this tiny little beagle came running out of a driveway, barking like crazy, scaring us, and then chasing us down the road.
We shook the dog and arrived at the host in Warrenton, Virginia around 5 pm. Michaela was able to acquire showers for us at The Wharf, a local sports complex, which were amazing. On the way in, we met Peggy, a local who was recently diagnosed with cancer – her and her friend both donated to our cause. It’s amazing how many people we’ve encountered that have supported us and wished us well.
Now we’re hanging out at the Warrenton Presbyterian Church, about to go to sleep. We’ve got a 70 miler tomorrow!
WE ARE 4K!