For those of you who don’t know, in the Fall, I will be attending NC State for my PhD in Computer Science. I have already moved my stuff to Raleigh and will be living with an awesome guy named Adam! I’ve known him since undergrad and he’s a fantastic guy. Since we were so nearby, he came to visit me late last night and take some of the stuff that I overpacked! Now there’s more space in my bag and my backpack is a lot lighter! Thanks Adam, it was great seeing you!

Today was LONG. It was also really hot. I’ll tell you all about after you look at these pictures:

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Today I dedicated my ride to Macie Moore. My roommate Adam asked me to dedicate a day of my ride to her, so I thought it would be fitting that I dedicate my first full day in North Carolina to this little girl. Macie is (I can only assume) the cutest little 4-year old girl who was diagnosed with acute lymphotic leukemia in January 2013. She is known as “Mighty Macie” and today I rode for her:

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We all woke up at 5:30am and started our ride before 7:30am! As we were packing the vans, rain was pouring down up until the moment we started our dedication circle. The rain stopped and from there, the skies only got sunnier. It was nice to ride in the early morning with the cool temperatures, but we had to be careful because the roads were wet and slick. Today I rode with Kirk, Taylor, and Kirsten. I’ve already written about Taylor and Kirsten, so here’s a little about Kirk. Kirk is ya boy. He’s really fun to ride with and always has funny and entertaining stories. He’s super into music and has even written and recorded some of his own songs! He played a few of them for us and we were all impressed. Apparently my family knows his cousin? And also a family friend knows his mom? I don’t know. They can figure it out I guess. In any case, we rode by NC State’s poultry research center… so yeah. That’s a thing. Who knew? I guess they watch chickens lay eggs and poop and stuff. Pretty neat.

The first 30 miles passed really quickly and effortlessly. The weather was cool and we were all fresh from our rest day yesterday. At mile 30 we saw this:

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So we did what any normal person would do in this situation. Checked our phones then kinda stared at it and hoped it would go away:

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It didn’t go away. Time for another reroute! Weeeee! While we waited, it was decided that this would be a good time for a water stop and lunch since our entire team had assembled at the roadblock. The food van absolutely killed it today with the food donations:

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Our drivers went to a farmers market and got all of this produce donated! They also got a gift card to a grocery store where they bought some more food. If you have a good memory, you’ll remember that we still had burritos from Chipotle as well! It’s such a great feeling to have what I call clean food. Food that isn’t junk food, fast food, or processed. I’m not saying burritos are the healthiest option, but at Chipotle they’re made with real ingredients. That’s why I call it clean.

After lunch, a new route had been found and we started riding again. Only 50 miles to go! We rode and we rode. The day became hotter and a nasty headwind developed. After that we rode through an insanely long stretch of rough, bumpy pavement. At that point I was sitting first class on the struggle bus. It was awful. My butt had already been hurting for a bit and this made it extremely worse. Combined with the headwind and the fact that we had been riding for almost 8 hours, I was exhausted, and today was the first time I felt like I was hitting a wall. Luckily at mile 69 (haha! I need to grow up…) we had a water stop and I was able to eat a half of a Chipotle burrito (I couldn’t finish it). It was the spinach to my Popeye! Renewed with energy and a nicely paved road, I finished the last 13 miles strong.

About 3 miles from the host, there was a train in the middle of the road!

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So we did what any 5 year old would do. We dug out some coins, snuck under the train and put them on the rails to get squished! Sorry Obama. Our country is 18 cents poorer now. A dime, nickel and three pennies if you were wondering. You should probably bang out some more of those to make up for our loss. Pitch me a twenty while you’re at it. It’s for a good cause!

Today’s ride totaled almost 83 miles! It took my group about 9 hours to complete it. Here’s all the details of the GPS route: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/517562137. Some other cool facts from the watch that I’m using: In total we’ve ridden for 59 hours and 30 minutes and we’ve traveled 505 miles on our bikes. All this has (apparently) caused me to burn over 47,000 calories. I guess this makes sense because I feel like I eat about 5 full meals a day.

 

I have to say, the heat doesn’t bother me too much so long as I keep riding. Cruising at 15mph does a lot to cool me off and it really doesn’t feel like it’s that hot out. What gets me is just sheer endurance. Biking for so long and over so many hills really takes its toll. I have to make sure that I keep eating and drinking more than I think I should throughout the day. Hunger strikes fast, and it strikes hard while I’m riding and sometimes it’ll be another 45 minutes or so before I can get food. It’s amazing how much better I feel literally 10 minutes after I replenish food and water.

When we finally got to our host, we all were exhausted. We’re staying at Saint Patrick Catholic Church in Fayetteville, NC. We ate lasagna and salad for dinner, then went to the local YMCA to shower. I had to chuckle when this was the first thing I saw in the locker room:

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I guess someone complained about the abundance of naked old men strutting around. It’s about time! Since most of us act like children, we were relieved when there were no adults present. When we got back to our host, some people went out for ice cream and to go to the bike shop. I decided to stay in and blog so I can get some sleep tonight!

It’s really interesting to see how many people follow my blog. I don’t know half of the email addresses which means I don’t know over half of the people who are reading what I write. That’s a little weird I guess. It’s also a little weird when I don’t know who you are when you leave a comment! I do my best to figure it out and a lot of you are great with introducing yourselves, but I’d love to know who you are! If you do follow my blog and you don’t think I’d recognize your email address, I’d love it if you’d introduce yourself to me! You can email me or message me on Facebook, or just leave a comment on a random post of mine! Or you can just lurk there in the corner pretending not to be creepy. Anyway, it’s bedtime!

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