Three days, ~200 miles and about a dozen bananas into the trip, and I’m sitting in a quaint little lodge in Naples, Maine. Here’s my view as I’m writing this:
The whole trip began when we left Blacksburg to head to Bar Harbor, Maine last week. While the drive was seemingly never-ending, it was a grand old time and really helped build anticipation for actually riding. Bar Harbor is a fascinating little town. Their downtown area is loaded with ice cream parlors (which I’m sure rake in the dough during the winter), pubs and other little shops.
After a day of hanging out, orientation and other general preparation in Bar Harbor, we hit the road! I wasted no time making some rookie mistakes. I pushed myself waaaaay too hard the first day riding, and also forgot to eat. Burning 3000+ calories a day is great. Burning 3000+ calories with an empty stomach is a one-way ticket to feeling bloody terrible. I “bonked” out, which entails cramps, lightheadedness, headaches and more. It was miserable, and I hope to never feel that way again. But after a good nights sleep, a lot of food and even more advice from some of the trip’s veterans, I was good to go. I haven’t been as good at taking photos as I’d planned, so here are the only decent shots I’ve gotten.
Our internal clocks are pretty much daylight-dictated. When the sun’s out, we’re up and going. When it goes down, we pack in and hit the hay. Each day’s ride is broken into three separate legs of ~20 miles, with designated rest stops at the end of every leg. That’s where we all rendezvous and kick it, and they’ve been a blast. To keep from feeling overwhelmed, I’ve just been concentrating on getting to the next stop. 4295 is a boatload of miles, but 20 miles at a time is refreshing and keeps me short-sighted.
After my body’s dilapidation on day one, I’m now priding myself on being a member of the caboose squad. Keeping the pace down, stopping to smell the flowers (literally), and rolling into camp later rather than sooner keeps energy and morale high, and I haven’t even come close to bonking. Despite absolutely loathing the cold, camping has been pretty rad since my sleeping bag’s been keeping me warm and I’ve generally been asleep before my head hits the pillow. Showers, shelter, laundry, and amenities are coveted, and I’m getting used to being sorta gross all the time pretty quickly. I normally cut my hair at least twice a month but I’m just gonna let it grow and do whatever, in an attempt to be able to look cool in a headband. I don’t anticipate this going well.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little homesick. I was in a very comfortable routine at home through the winter and spring, and I got flung out of it in a moment’s notice. But I’m adapting more and more each day, largely because of my incredible teammates, friends and family. We are a fascinating group of people. A former professional triathlete, a German doctor, a former photographer for Set Your Goals, a self-proclaimed “sassy Irishman,” and a retired member of the Air Force are just a few of the characters riding.
And I cannot end this without a huge thanks to all of my friends and family. It’s a tired cliché but you guys keep me going with the crazy amount of love and support you’ve shown. It’s really, really humbling. Anyway, It’s 9 PM which means it’s past my bedtime. I’ll be back on here soon with more, better photos, so until then, adios!