Buckle up. This is a long one.

Real fast, here’s the GPS route we took yesterday: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/515232647. I also updated yesterday’s post to include the link.

Today I had water van duty, so I didn’t take too many pictures. I stole some of these from other riders! Here they are:

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I also successfully photo-bombed a few, but I’m still trying to track those down. I hope I can post them later. (Edit: AHA! I found one!)

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So anyway. Water van duty. My job today was to drive the van while Heather navigated. Heather WILL NOT let you go through a day without laughing. This girl will laugh with you, laugh at you, or laugh for no reason at all. You’re guaranteed to have a great time with her and we had a really successful van day! This is us:

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We left the host after all of the other riders had departed and obnoxiously blasted music, honked the horn, and cheered them on as we drove past them. Every 15 miles we would stop the van and get out food and water and wait for all of the riders to come by. Then we’d do it again. And again. And again. Obnoxious, honking and cheering the whole way! It was nice to be able to rest my legs and listen to music, but I’m itching to get back on my bike.

I was pretty jealous of the riders. They had such a beautiful day to ride and a beautiful route. We had a LOT of hiccups with the route because we kept running into roads that we weren’t able to bike on. The unofficial motto of the 4k is “Figure It Out” and we definitely embodied that today. In fact, our food van drivers who are responsible for using sidewalk chalk to mark our route, didn’t have time to get food donations! Luckily, we had a solid stockpile of food that got us through the day. They were champion chalkers, set the new route before the riders caught up, and got us to our host safely.

You may be asking yourself, “Tyler! If you were driving the van how will we ever know accurate statistics of speed and elevation for the ride?!”. Since you probably find yourself in this category, please have no fear. I would never leave you all without our GPS route! I had Kirk use my watch today and he did fantastic! He hit the start button when he left the host this morning and hit the stop button when he got to the host this afternoon. I give him a 10/10. Great job Kirk! Anyway, here’s the link: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/515232637. I don’t have too much to say about the ride because, well… I didn’t do it.

One of the water stops today was superb. I picked it out myself! We were driving across a bridge and I saw a nice calm river and thought to myself, “I’d swim in that”. Then I saw a nice shady place to park and set up water and food and knew that this is where we were going to have lunch. We had some time to kill since we were riding a little ahead of schedule and couldn’t arrive at our host until after 4pm. We took our time and had a blast swimming in the river and hanging out in the sun. The water was the perfect temperature and the weather was so nice! My team and I took a ton of pictures and washed a little stink off.

Speaking of my team, lets meet a few of my fellow riders! This is Lauren:

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Lauren is great. I rode with her for the first two days and couldn’t have asked for a better example of the attitude a 4k rider is supposed to have. She’s a trooper. Never complains. Struggled up some of the hills, but always caught back up and was ready to ride in no time. She’s super dedicated, really really nice, and lets me use her laptop every night!

This is Dan rocking his tuxedo jersey and signature neon:

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I’ve already written about Dan, so I’ll keep this short. He’s a beast. This guy looks, acts, and rides like a pro cyclist despite the fact that he’s relatively new at biking. He flies up hills and speeds down them. He never gets tired. Probably because he just finished four years as a collegiate cross-country runner. He’s also pretty silly.

From left to right, this is Eric, Taylor, Michelle, and Haley.

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Eric is one of our ride directors and I’ve been friends with him for a few years. We went to UMBC together and also on a couple of ski/snowboard trips. He’s a great guy and has done a wonderful job at leading us through this adventure. He was the first to hop in the river with me and the last to get out!

Taylor is also went to UMBC and she is one of the nicest most genuine people I’ve ever met. She’s super thoughtful and always takes care of us even if we don’t realize it. From small things like putting some extra chips in your bag when she takes you to Panera, to big things like filling in the role as Service Coordinator a week before send-off.

Michelle is a rider from Baltimore who I honestly just got to know today. I’ve never ridden with her, but I really look forward to when I do! She’s really involved with the Ulman fund and Team FIGHT. She always has this cool confidence about her and it’s quite an animated experience when you get her talking!

Last but not least is Haley! I’ve already written about her too, she was the birthday girl a couple of days ago! She’s always a pleasure to ride with, but you have to make sure she doesn’t get hungry. If you ever find yourself riding with her, you might wanna pack some hard boiled eggs for her to snack on (Clif bars are no good).

This is Kirsten:

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Kirsten is WILD. You never know what she’s going to do next and she always keeps you on your toes. It’s fantastic! She’s the nicest person with the best attitude and will be the first one to cheer you up if you need it. We had a great time today tossing a Frisbee around with some kids who were playing at the church playground.

Another notable story from today is when we were at our final water stop about 4.2 miles away from arriving at our host. One of the bike racks on top of the van was dangling loose! Apparently a bolt that held the rack together came loose and we lost the one of the pieces. (Not our fault. I wouldn’t be able fit a wrench in there to tighten the bolt without taking the entire rack off.) Using my quick wits and knowledge of redneck mantras, “If it’s moving and it shouldn’t be, you can fix it with duct tape.” Tada!

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That’s quality stuff right there. (Sidenote: the Q button on this laptop sticks and that’s the third time I’ve had to use it tonight. I’ve never noticed this before, so I guess none of my other posts have Q’s in them. Fancy huh?)

Our host today is Main Street United Methodist Church in South Boston, VA. We’re about 10 miles from the North Carolina border! When we arrived, they were as nice as can be and drove us in their own cars to the local YMCA to shower! When they drove us back, they had already set up some memory foam pads and air mattresses for us to sleep on! I was really excited about that and claimed my spot really quickly. (Stupid Q’s) They made us lasagna and salad for dinner and a bunch of desserts. There was a fruit and whipped cream pastry pizza that was one of the best desserts I’ve had in a while! Today was a mail day! A bunch of people got packages and letters from home! If you want to send something to any of us, just take a gander at my Mailing Locations page! After that, I went out to throw a Frisbee around with Kirsten and some local kids playing in the playground.

Remember those daily cartwheels? Well we have a video of today’s. Head on over to my Facebook page and its on my timeline! Also, a video of team “no hands” from yesterday is there too if you scroll a bit!

Some of us went to a local bar tonight and had a good old time! When we first walked in, it was only a few of us. The bar had about six seats. We thought it must be bigger, so we walked around the bar to the “other side”. It was a mirror. Upon turning around the locals promptly asked us if we were lost. We looked really out of place with our mismatching clothes, unkempt hair, and awkward tanlines. Some more riders arrived and we made up the majority of the people in the establishment. There were about 10 of us. We talked, laughed, and got to know each other a lot better. It was a ton of fun just relaxing and sharing a drink with those who we now call family.

That about sums it up for today. It’s really hard to fit everything in one day. After riding and arriving at a host, we don’t want to do anything until we eat. After we eat, we unpack a little, and then go Wi-Fi hunting so we’re able to share this experience with all of you. Blogging takes a LONG time. So long in fact that it’s hard to hang out with the riders before you need to go to sleep. If you want to blog and sleep, you don’t get to hang out. If you want to hang out and blog, you don’t get to sleep. Since we went out tonight (and I can’t leave you all hanging) I’m writing this and it’s nearing 2am. But that’s okay cuz we have a relatively late wake up time of 7:30 tomorrow!

I’d like to thank all of my readers that have donated to any 4k rider or runner. Today, we have collectively raised over one million dollars to support young adults who are going through cancer. One MILLION. Just let that sink in for a second and think about how many lives you have helped to change. Give yourself a pat on the back! Give yourself a high five! You all deserve it!

Remember to comment, message, and text! I love when I take my phone off of airplane mode and it blows up with notifications from you guys! If you haven’t noticed, you can follow my blog by typing your email in the box on the left side of any page on my blog. It will email you every time I post something!

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