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|Day 0 -Saturday, August 19th 2006 - Opening Day!
|Welcome to the Ride the East Tour! We'll be cycling from Maine to Florida! Cyclists arrived throughout the day with their bicycle and prepared for the big adventure ahead. Planned activities: bike assembly and safety inspection, ride registration and orientation session. As you can imagine there is a lot of excitement and a little anxiety in the air as everyone prepares for the ride to begin. After our first meal together, all the cyclists retired to the hotel to rest up for the big kick off tomorrow.
posted 2006-08-21 | 19:49:34 | article number: 1
|Day 1-Sunday August 20th 2006 Portsmouth NH to Chelmsford MA
|It's a good thing today was a short day because as we were sitting eating breakfast the sky opened up. It wasn't just rain either. So the group sat and got to know each other while a raging thunderstorm passed. By nine-thirty the lightning had stopped and we were able to head out. Sometimes the early bird gets the lightning! We didn't.
Dave and Bill headed to Maine while the rest of the riders headed out towards Chelmsford. By the time we arrived at the sag stop the rain had stopped and the weather became sunny. What a beautiful day it turned out to be. Still most of the riders needed to clean their bikes off at the end of the ride. Tomorrow we will leave looking nice and shiny!
We had our dinner at the Ground Round and by the end of the evening we all knew each other's names. Tomorrow we will be riding 36 miles to Worcester. Day two and we already have a rest day!
posted 2006-08-24 | 21:29:13 | article number: 2
|Day 2- Monday August 21st 2006 Chelmsford MA to Worcester MA 36 (39) miles
|This morning started with a leisurely breakfast. After breakfast we took the group photo that we would have taken yesterday had it not rained so much. Still, even having taken our time in the morning, most were eager to get on their bikes for our short ride to Worcester. Some even decided to take a �long cut�.
After a lovely stretch on a shaded road the riders came upon a closed road. Looking down they found arrows that marked the ABB detour. Although they were told that if they waited a few minutes we would get them the exact mileages, they decided to be adventurous and just follow the arrows. The detour added three miles onto this day turning it into a very pleasant 39 mile ride.
At lunch time some very delicious sandwiches and New England clam chowder was found by riders Jim and Beverly at the deli in Boyton. Only a few miles later we were all in the hotel. After dinner most were ready to head off to bed early. We have heard that there may be some climbing to do!
Heard on the road - �You have to be from New England to pronounce Worcester correctly!� �No, you have it all wrong .... you New Englanders spelled Wooster wrong!�
posted 2006-08-24 | 22:22:43 | article number: 3
|Day 3 Tuesday August 22nd 2006 Worcester MA to Windsor Locks CT 65 (hilly) miles
| Today we climbed �Dead Horse Hill. The sign at the top said that the grade was 16%. The riders did great! Everyone completed the climb in much better shape than the horse. It was a lovely day with some hills added in for fun. We passed through many quaint New England towns such as Sturbridge Massachusetts. Thirty-five miles after leaving Worcester we crossed the border into Connecticut. We have been on the road for only 3 days and most of us have ridden in four states already!
Today was the first of a series of hilly days yet at the end of the ride some brave souls rode an extra eight miles (roundtrip) to the Aviation Museum. Paul and company assured us that it was well worth the effort.
Many laughs were shared at Mr. K�s Chinese Restaurant as the riders enjoyed a great meal and passed around their fortunes afterwards. Well tomorrow is another days of climbing so we are off to bed early.
Heard on the road-
�After I climbed Snake Hill I wasn�t sure where I was exactly so I asked a local�
�Why did you climb Snake Hill? The cue sheet said �Snake Hill Sharp Descent�.�
�Well I was at the bottom and didn�t know where I was!�
Needless to say someone got in a bit of extra climbing today!
posted 2006-08-25 | 20:23:32 | article number: 4
|Day 4 Wednesday, August 23rd 2006 Winsor Lock CT to Poughkeepsie NY 87 miles
|The group set out at about 7am to conquer 87 miles of riding. The road twisted and turned as we were kept cool by the trees that once again lined our route. No sunburn on this trip! Our route was shady for most of the day. After a long climb we passed a dam that had what looked almost like a castle next to it. If one pulled into the lot it was a sight to behold.
About halfway through the day some riders stopped at a Subway to have lunch. Others searched out a little diner or cafe down the street. No matter where they went, they were glad to sit down and eat. All this cycling makes one hungry.
After lunch Jim and Bob found a �Rails to Trails� trail which they explored. It was paved and brought them close to the next sag stop. Fourteen miles after this sag, in the town of Pleasant Valley, we passed a bike shop. Well, some of the riders passed it, for others the goodies in a bike shop could not be resisted. These cyclists went inside. The owner of the store bought them a round of cold water and after several purchases they were off to the hotel.
Duh of the day- I got a call from Jim that he was moving the sag stop. He had found a beautiful spot. It had all the amenities, even picnic tables. Not to worry, he had put out his bike on the side of the road to mark it and it could not be missed. It was just before the old sag stop. I headed up to give him some snacks for the stop but I arrived at the old sag stop without seeing him. The riders were coming in so we set up the sag stop as planned. We also called Jim who packed up his sag and came over to ours. By the time he arrived he had figured out that he had missed a turn. He showed us pictures of the sag he had set up. It was indeed beautiful...it would�ve been even better if it was on the route!
posted 2006-08-25 | 23:17:49 | article number: 5
|Day 5 Thursday August 24th 2006 Poughkeepsie NY to Port Jervis NY 68 miles
|We had to do a bit of maneuvering to get out of Poughkeepsie. The way out took us over a bridge onto a very short bike path. As we headed out it started to drizzle but by the time we crossed the bridge some of us were already peeling off our raingear. After crossing the bridge we passed through the quaint little town of Milton. Too bad we were just starting out! It looked like the perfect lunch spot.
The morning took us on some very scenic country roads. After climbing some rolling hills we arrived at our first sag stop at the Brunswick Inn. John the owner of the Inn was very friendly and, even though the Inn was closed at this hour, he invited us to use the �facilities�. It may sound strange but cyclists always appreciate the offer of �facilities�.
The next 22 miles into the second sag had us climbing some nice steady hills. Shane had warned us that we would be climbing right after the sag stop and climb we did. After the initial ride the day became flatter and we even experienced a beautiful downhill on Route 61. Clean road, smooth road, empty road it was just beautiful. After this down hill we were on Route 209 for over 11 miles. It was nice not having to worry about missing a turn for a while.
Once again we were hungry! A group of riders including Dave, Anne, Irwin and John stopped in a little minimart attached to a gas station and had some surprisingly good sandwiches. Rick passed up the minimart and found a mean "meanyburger" at a local restaurant. Just a few short miles and a little climb into the hotel and the riding day was over.
Heard on the road while discussing the climbs ahead,
�I have a granny gear and I am not afraid to use it�
�Yeah, my granny gear is fully paid for and I intend to use it fully�
posted 2006-08-27 | 00:48:34 | article number: 6
|Day 6 - Friday August 26th 2006 Port Jervis NY to Phillipsburg NJ 79 miles
|Wow, what a day! We set out from Port Jervis in the morning and it was just drizzling. By the time we made it 20 miles to the sag stop the rain was pouring down. Most riders made the sag stop a very quick one. This morning�s ride was through the Delaware Water Gap Recreation Area. The road was narrow and winding but we saw very little traffic besides the vans.
Along this area of the Delaware there were hiking trails and little pullouts where hikers and bikers could park. There were even a few porta-potties along the way! About ten miles out of the sag the riders climbed an unmarked road for 1.5 miles. This hill was seriously steep but our group climbed it like the experienced cyclists they are. We stopped and spoke to a few cyclists that were going the other way. One had to get off his bike and walk it down the hill was so steep he was having difficulty stopping (he did have panniers making the bike heavier).
After crossing the Delaware River it was just one more climb to our sag stop. The stop was at Jenny�s Ice Cream Parlor. Not many of us were in the mood for ice cream as it was raining and cool outside but a good part of the group stopped to have a sandwich. As the last half of the group pulled out of the sag stop the sun came out. It was warm and that was a real treat!
We spent much of the rest of the day on River Road following the Delaware. It was a very pretty little traveled road. Once again we crossed the Delaware over a grated bridge where we had to walk our bikes on the sidewalk. At the other side of the bridge Dave, Bill, Kevin and Rick caught up to me. I didn�t know how they did that without me passing them since they left the sag 30 minutes before me. Then Dave showed me how fast he went down the big descent (55.4mph). I said I didn�t go down a big descent. I guess we read the cue sheet differently because I never climbed the big hill they did either. Soon enough Irwin, John and Cliff came by they had left the sag before me also. I didn�t dare ask them about the hill.
We spent most of the rest of the day on River Road and then on into Phillipsburg NJ. The states are really rolling by quickly. We have spent the night in five states and it is only day six.
Heard on the road today.
�When I look at my computer and see 3mph then I know I am really climbing!�
posted 2006-08-27 | 21:38:31 | article number: 7
|Day8 - Saturday August 26th 2006 Phillipsburg NJ to Pottstown PA 64 miles
|It is hard to believe that we have been on the road for a whole week. Time is flying by. In the morning we rode once again on River Road. This road seems to follow the Delaware for quite a distance. When we left River Road we crossed the Delaware River for the third time in two days. The riders then climbed up a hill that led them to the first sag stop. We were thinking the 17.4 miles was a short distance to go until the first sag but with this amount of climbing and the steepness of the hill (16% in some spots...13% in most) the sag was a welcome sight.
We the meandered down some Pennsylvania back roads on our way to Pottstown. We went on three streets with the word Hill in the name but it certainly seemed like more. Our second sag stop was a welcome sight. It was held in the pavilion in a church that was extremely big. The playground was so big I took my bike to go to the restroom.
At route rap we met Walt�s wife and a few guests that had cycled and /or staffed with ABB in previous years. We had too cut the group in two to go to Nick�s for dinner because it was very small. It was worth the wait, Nick could sure cook! And thank you Walt and Nancy for the help in shuttling to the restaurant.
After dinner most riders retired to their rooms. It had been a tough week and there are still three days to ride before our first rest day in DC. I am sure the rest will be welcome.
posted 2006-08-28 | 22:20:16 | article number: 8
|Day 8 - Sunday August 27th 2006 Pottstown PA to Lancaster PA 62 miles
|This morning started out with breakfast right down the street form the hotel. It was kind of neat to see all the bicycles lined up outside the diner. We had several guest riders that ate breakfast with us and also rode with us to Lancaster. It was also a pleasure to meet Kathy, Dave�s wife.
After breakfast we headed out of Pottstown up and down some country roads. The roads were extremely quiet on this Sunday morning. While most of the riders got a good work out for the 22 miles before the sag, Irwin, John and Cliff did a little extra. They only missed one turn. Experienced as they are, they were able to find their way back on route and up to the sag. Meanwhile, some other riders were feasting on the grapes and clementines Neil, a rider from a 2005 trip, brought. Thank you Neil!
We headed out to the next sag stop. Some more climbing and descending and the cyclists were at the next sag stop. And, lo and behold, Debbie, a staff member from this year�s Cross Country Challenge, was there, homemade cookies and all. The treat was appreciated by all. Thank you Debbie! And not only were there treats to eat, but a cooler filled with cold soda and Starbucks drinks brought along by Christine and Bill, staff members/riders, who rode along with us for the day. Thank you both! Are our alumni great or what?
After the sag stop the scenery changed to farmland. The hills were still very much in evidence but instead of woodsy areas, we were rolling through pastures and farm. Many noticed the quarry off to the right. Maybe that�s why they named the road Erb�s Quarry Road. It looked like a mini Grand Canyon...only different colors. As we approached the hotel the traffic became heavier, the riders were prepared for this by Shane in route rap last night.
Tomorrow we ride out to Hunt Valley MD. We have some more climbing to do. Everyone has gotten so strong that we are confident that they can do it!
Heard on the road today...well, at the sag stop,
�Hey Bev, last time I saw you you were dressed from head to toe. Now all you have on is your sports bra and shorts!�
�It got so hot climbing up the hill that I stripped it all off.�
�Well, that goes to show that there�s a stripper in every group!�
posted 2006-08-28 | 22:28:16 | article number: 9
|Day 9 - Monday August 28th 2006 Lancaster PA to Hunt Valley MD 67 miles and 5200 plus feet of climbing!!!
|Yesterday Shane told us that we might have a detour today. With or without the detour we all knew that today was going to be a tough day of climbing. Everyone was up bright and early, some were hoping that when I went out and checked the situation it would turn out that the detour was not necessary. I headed out early to do just that. Meanwhile the riders loaded and began to cycle the route. They would cycle 22.2 miles before getting to the point where they needed to start the detour if necessary. Kevin, Bev and Joe decided that they would take a detour on the Rails-to-Trails trail today. It is not a paved trail but they had fatter tires and were glad to flatten out their route a bit.
And it was necessary. I went up to the closed road and found out that there really wasn�t a road there, just a sharp drop off. The foreman of the road crew suggested a detour on a dirt road. When I checked it out, it turned out to be a two mile mud road heading straight up. The cyclists would be taking the detour. It added on some difficult climbs but at least Shane had foreseen this on his research trip and the cue sheet was up to date for the detour.
The first sag stop was held at a nice church just before the detour. Everyone was given instructions on where to go. It was very i
mpressing to see these riders climb these hills. Dave broke a spoke but as soon as we replaced it with a spare wheel he was off and climbing the hill without skipping a beat.
The word of the day was �climbing� once again but there were also some downhills and some awesome scenery to go along with it. Most of the climbing was done by the second sag stop. Just before this sag stop we crossed into Maryland, our eighth state. Only one more day till the group gets a well deserved day off.
At route rap we said hello to two new riders, Jerry, who will be spending a day with us, and Don, a returnee, who will ride with us to Emporia. We also said goodbye to Rick and Joe who will be leaving us tomorrow. Goodbye Rick and Joe, keep in touch, we will miss you.
Heard at the hotel,
�Hey, Kevin, it was great. Thank you so much for taking us that way!� This was heard as Bev, Joe and Kevin returned from their off course Rails-to-Trails ride with giant smiles on their faces.
posted 2006-08-28 | 23:52:19 | article number: 10
|Day 10 - Tuesday August 29th 2006 Hunt Valley MD to Washington DC 81 miles
|Today the group cycled for the tenth day in a row. We started out around 7:30am happy that we would be getting into DC today. Eighty miles of cycling was between the riders and a well deserved rest day and they were determined to get there.
Before the second sag stop at 56 miles most of the riders decided to stop in at McDonald�s for lunch, all this riding was getting them hungry! They pulled up to the sag stop in Rocky Creek Park eager to take on the bike trail which we would follow for about 25 miles. Some were a bit apprehensive about getting lost but Shane assured them it was well marked. Some decided to go through in groups.
The bike trail was a bit slower than the road but it was pretty and got us away from traffic. We followed the creek past the zoo right onto Pennsylvania Avenue! It was only .5 miles from the trail to our hotel. Our riders agreed that it was a great way to get into Washington DC. As Shane promised no one got lost. We all made it to the hotel in good time.
The cyclists are glad to be here and looking forward to a day off. Some have visitors they will spend their day with. Others have planned to go sightseeing in our nation�s capital. Still there are those who just want to take a day to relax and recharge. Whatever they decide to do they earned the day off and should enjoy it!
Heard on the road:
�I came to an intersection and realized that if I turned left it was 65 miles to the hotel. And if I turned right it was only 45 miles to my house. And I still turned left!�
posted 2006-08-30 | 14:11:08 | article number: 11