Today was another long hot day. We only took one road so I don’t have too many pictures:

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This morning we were up and out by 7am! We got a nice early start to the day. For the first 16 miles I was struggling. Hardcore struggling. I don’t think I was hydrated enough, I didn’t eat enough at breakfast, and I didn’t get enough sleep. There were pretty big hills to start out and while I had to pedal uphill, my energy and enthusiasm were going downhill. I drank both of my water bottles while riding, then downed another one and a gatorade at the first water stop. I also ate some food. After that I felt much better, especially because we had MILES of flat road! This is really our first experience with long flat country road. It was fantastic! We were all cruising at around 20mph no problem. It felt great to be going so fast and so effortlessly without a huge hill in the distance. Eventually the flats turned back into rolling hills. We had probably our nicest downhill to date today. It was a solid mile of gently curving road through a very scenic part of Alabama. Of course there was a HUGE uphill after that, but it was nice while it lasted. Finally, the last 10 miles turned back into flats and we made it to our host!

The ride today totaled a little over 80 miles. Surprise! Garmin was being stupid again today. My watch apparently stores all of the GPS routes I’ve recorded even after I reset the mileage for a new day. Today, at about mile 46, the memory in the watch got full and I had to delete some of the old data. The watch gives three options: delete all but the past one month, delete all but the past three months, or delete all of the data. Since all of my data was recorded in the past month, I was forced to delete all of it. It’s all backed up online anyway so why not. Apparently when you delete all of the data, it also deletes the route that is currently recording! So I lost the GPS route for the first 46 miles of today. How rude! The watch makes you delete old data so it can keep recording more, but then it deletes the data it was recording anyway! Sigh. Here’s the last 34 miles of today: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/524345390. We went from Auburn, AL to Troy, AL. We stayed on one road the whole way so you can easily guess the route we took. I’m going to try to track down someone with complete data.

My riding group today was Allison, Brianne, and Danny. This is them:

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We were the first group to leave in the morning and the first group to arrive at the host! We had our struggles but made it through the day with positive attitudes! This is Danny:

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Danny isn’t short for Daniel. His real name is Danny! He’s kind of quiet, but really nice. He is from South Dakota and so is Aaron! They’re buds. Danny is a really good cyclist and always is conscious of the riding group. When people are falling behind he’s the first to notice and slow down. If he’s not in the lead, or pumping up a big hill, he’ll stay in the back with the slower riders. I also appreciate that he is pretty skilled at throwing a Frisbee.

Again, today was blistering hot! In Virginia, the heat didn’t bother me as much as the hills, but here in Alabama, the heat bothers me much more than the hills! We had to wait at a water stop for about an hour today because of a broken bike and Shawna had to improvise to keep cool:

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Sometimes it feels like we’re out in the middle of nowhere. It doesn’t help too much when this is the one of the only signs of civilization during parts of the ride:

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Yup. That’s The Store. Probably the only one for miles. Better hope they have what you need cuz I didn’t see any delivery trucks today on the road.

We finally made it to our host today, First United Methodist Church in Troy, AL. When we got here, we immediately ripped into the loads of mail that you all sent to us! It was like Christmas morning!

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Speaking of mail, there are some new mail drops in Beaumont and Houston, Texas! The addresses are on my “mailing locations” page. We were then shuttled to Troy University to take showers, and after that to one of the church member’s houses to eat dinner and swim in the pool. It was paradise at the end of a long hot day. Here are some pictures:

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Everything about this was perfect. The house, pool, and backyard reminded me of a resort. THERE WAS A WATERSLIDE! The people were the nicest you’ll find! It was a true example of southern hospitality. There were horses and an adorable cat that we were allowed to play with. There was a little thunder and lightning off in the distance and a great sunset right at the end! You can’t ask for much more than that!

We returned to our host and went out for some ice cream, then we all crashed for the night. We have another long hot day tomorrow, but I’ll be in the van making sure the riders get water and the route is properly chalked!

Keep the messages and comments coming!

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P.S. Our director Eric has turned into a middle aged dad.

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