Day 3! I can't believe the ride is already almost half-way over. Miles-wise, we still haven't hit the halfway point, that will happen during today's ride. But today is the middle of the ride. It's flown by! I don't want it to end, even though each morning it gets harder and harder to talk myself into getting on the bike because my legs - and let's be honest, my behind - are exhausted! But each day is a new adventure I can't wait to conquer, so I am back on the bike again.
I slept much better last night after having found my money, but I was still in a new sleeping bag, in a cabin in the woods, and had to get up in the middle of the night to pee - but the worry was gone so I slept well. It was no hotel, but I was warm and cozy and luckily - even though I brought ear plugs, having learned my lesson at Disneyland - no one snored!
Breakfast was another great spread before we hit the road. This was when I really started debating the wisdom of my brother about not getting cycling pants/capris. It was COLD first thing in the morning. I asked some of the girls in my bunk what their plan was, and put my pants on. But for the next hour as I finished getting packed up and eating breakfast, I made the decision that it would be too hard to ride with pants since once it got warm I wouldn't have any place to stow them. So right before I took off, I dropped my pants in the sag wagon and jumped on the bike. This persisted every day - and each day at least until lunch, I was mad at that decision!
But that's minor. Today was a beautiful day through Amish country. I ate basically the same thing for breakfast, but I started to feel a little off. Our first water stop was a brutal 3.8 miles from camp. That is NOT a typo - we rode less than 4 miles before breaking. This was because there was a bakery we were told we couldn't miss. Well, they must have missed the memo about 200 riders coming through, because by the time I made it through the line, there weren't any good breakfast pastries left. All they needed to make were chocolate croissants. I shouldn't have spent the time waiting to order, and I definitely didn't need the coffee. Today was a difficult day because of the stomach issues. At first I really thought I had eaten something bad. My stomach started feeling better around lunch. But then after dinner I started feeling bad again, so in reflecting on things, I think I was actually dehydrated. This was something I had not properly trained for - nutrition and hydration for 300 miles over 5 days. I'm not sure exactly how to train for that, but in general I need to figure this out for my activity levels.
But I digress. After the morning bakery stop, we had 25 miles to lunch. Today, we packed our lunch before we headed out, and then the support team brought it to the lunch stop for us. Today was also a HILLY day, and the day I finally met my little ring! Thankfully, as I started to tackle my first major hill for the day - right after coffee BTW - Josh was there to help talk me through getting up the hill. He kept showing up on those big hills over the next few days and each time I was thankful. For some reason, climbing those hills with Josh was easier than trying to go it alone. Who knows?! Oh - and Josh was the crazy Climate Rider/Board Member who had just finished riding cross-country only a few weeks earlier. This guy was pretty amazing! So many cool people on this ride!
So, today I finally took the time to stop and take some photos. After all, today was a "light" day compared to yesterday - only 56.6 miles to conquer ;) So, I present you with those photos of beautiful farmland and my favorite renewable accessory to distract you for a moment.
After lunch, I felt a little better and hit the road again. As I mentioned in my day 1 recap, there were fuchsia 28 (pink) signs directing us, as well as the cue sheets for directions each and every day. Well, I took off from lunch and found myself very quickly behind the classic Amish horse-drawn buggy. I had been wondering who would be faster, and it was apparent, unless that horse started galloping, I was faster. He indicated a turn and I was grateful to not be continuing behind him. Or so I thought. I got about 3/4 a mi down the road and started to realize I had missed a turn. I rounded a bend, and pulled to the side to check my cue sheet. Sure enough, the name of the road I noticed the Amish "driver" turning on to was the road I wanted. So I turned around - and noticed a few more riders heading my way. So I motioned as well as yelled to them that we missed a turn, and we all headed back. Turns out our trusty fuchsia 28 sign had fallen off the post, which was the reason so many of us missed the turn. Luckily, we hadn't gone too far out of the way - and this was the ONLY time I got lost on the entire ride!
Once back on track, it was another 12 miles or so to our third stop of the day - the Strasburg Creamery. This place is apparently another staple stop, and it did not disappoint. I grabbed an ice cream cone - mint chocolate chip, of course - with my friend from lunch yesterday, and was back on the road. Oh wait, I missed something. My first fall of the ride. The was a wonky intersection that Blake warned us of during the morning talk, and was on a map inset on our cue sheet. As I came up to the intersection, I unclipped to make the stop and wait for traffic to clear. Somehow - just as before - I ended up falling to the other side. No one was around when I fell, but very soon a couple other riders showed up as I was dusting myself off. No major scrapes on this one - on me. The bike was beat up (again) with a crooked handlebar. Thankfully, it was only a few more miles to the stop at the Creamery, where the mechanics were waiting and able to adjust the bike for the rest of the day. And the folks that rode up behind me rode with me to the stop so I felt protected. Falling is just part of riding, you just gotta get back up and go forward.
After the creamery, it was another 15 miles to camp. Tonight's camp was a Mennonite camp - Camp Andrews. We had a sweet conference-center like dorm room for the evening, and my favorite part of the night was hearing the Mennonite women sing in the kitchen as they were doing the dishes.
Unfortunately, right after dinner I started feeling sick again. I missed out on the lobbying meeting (which I wasn't really planning on going to anyway because I know my way around a lobby visit) and the bonfire. But I needed to lay down. I showered, ate dinner, and then hit the sack. I was in bed by 9:29. In the middle of the night, I really thought I was going to be sick, and spent about half an hour really wanting to throw up. It was not the way to prepare for the hilliest day of the ride...