Wait. Did we really just bike down the entire east coast? Too surreal. I had a really busy van day today so I didn’t get too many pictures. I was in the water van with Lisa, so we had to chalk the route as far as we could, then come back to the water stop. We repeated this until we got to our host! Here are the few pictures I took:

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The day started smoothly enough. We chalked past the first water stop, then returned to it and didn’t have to wait long for the riders to show up! Yay efficiency! The van was really disorganized and unkempt. Anyone who knows me will tell you that this is NOT my style. At all. Ever. So during water stops, Lisa and I cleaned and organized the van as well. Before any riders even showed up to the first water stop, we had half of a trash bag filled. We consolidated, moved things around, and threw things out. There was a huge pile of clothes that had ended up in the van since people had misplaced them. Things were strewn everywhere. But by the second water stop we had that all fixed. We were working non-stop. Driving, navigating, chalking, cleaning. Things were going really well and the riders were in great moods. We even met our second “pet” of the ride:

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That’s Aaron with a really well trained dog that trotted up to the water van to join us at our second water stop! The third water stop was a little more difficult. Yesterday, Simon broke a spoke and didn’t realize that we had extra spokes that could fix it. He borrowed my wheel for today since I wasn’t using it. I went ahead and fixed his wheel so that I could take mine back. The whole team had to wait a few minutes at this water stop because someone got a flat tire. We hold the team at the water stop until everyone gets there so that the spacing between groups is close enough. When the flat tire group arrived, the first group left the water stop. While the flat tire group was filling up their bottles, I had taken the old tube out, put a new one in and pumped it up. This way they were able to leave the water stop on time. More efficiency!

The fourth water stop is where things started to go downhill. Cell phone reception completely dropped and we had a group that didn’t show up to the water stop. Since we weren’t able to contact them, the whole team had to wait again while we took the van to go find the group. Waiting around for so long causes a lot of impatience and frustration. It makes your legs hurt more when you start riding again and it makes the day longer. Plus the wind from riding cools you off when it’s almost 100 degrees out. Waiting is definitely not our favorite thing to do. The lost group ended up being safe, but had a flat tire. They fixed the issue and decided not to hold the team up any longer since they were so far behind. We only had about 30 miles to the host, so they said to go ahead and to get all the other teams to the host, and to leave them without any van support. This does happen occasionally and since the area was pretty well populated, they had the ability to stop at gas stations to fill up water and rest. The other groups left their waiting place and made their way to the Florida state line! One of the teams actually beat Lisa and I to the sign, so they took our picture:

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We then set up the final water stop about 11 miles out from our host. Apparently this was a little too far because for the first time today, the ride got hilly! The first three ride groups came through and left, but the fourth group was a little late. We decided to backtrack to make sure they had enough water. We found them and they told us that they had gotten a flat, but it was already fixed. We topped off their water and sent them on to the host. By this point, the area still had no cell service and it had become much less populated. So we decided that because everyone was so close to the host, we would go back and check on the group that went unsupported. They were pretty far behind because they had stopped at a Mexican place to get lunch donated! We topped off their water and then drove to the host. On our way there, we went through a storm! There was thunder and lots of lightning. All of the other groups had made it to the host safe from the storm.

With one group still out there and the storm coming their way, we drove back to meet them. They had taken shelter to wait the storm out and afterwards decided to finish the ride to the host. We stayed behind them in the van the whole way just in case it got too dangerous to ride. They got a little wet, but they safely rode the entire way to our host!

Today Haley volunteered to carry my GPS watch for me! I took every precaution to make sure that garmin wouldn’t be stupid today. I’m glad to announce that Haley delivered a stunning performance. She returned to me a watch FULL of data for today. The timing of her button pushing was impeccable. She hit the button once at the beginning of the ride, and again at the end of the ride. Bravo! And also thank you. Here is the GPS data she collected: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/524913130.

Our host location tonight is Walton High School. We don’t have dinner or breakfast provided, so our wonderful food van drivers for today, Matt and Allison got us plenty of food! We all ate, showered, had a team meeting and did some bicycle maintenance. I had to replace a spoke and true a lot of wheels while everyone else cleaned and lubed their chains. I’m really proud of my team. They listen when Jeremy and I tell them what maintenance needs to be done and they also are eager to do it themselves!

I’d like to take a moment to tell you a little about flat tires. We get a lot of flats. Some people (a lot) more than others. Sigh. Because of this, we’ve run out of replacement tubes. If you’re not familiar with bike tubes, we like three things about them: presta valves, 700c, and 23-25mm. To be more specific, if a tube doesn’t have any one of those things, we DO NOT like that tube. To be even more specific, we need to have all three of those things. In case you are still confused, here are some examples of tubes that we like from Amazon and REI. Also did I mention that tubes can be easily mailed to any one of our mailing locations? How convenient! I hope I’m not being too subtle.

Tomorrow we bike to the beach! We’re going to Pensacola, FL and it will be around 85 miles. While we’re doing that, you should comment on this post and message me and stuff! By the way, Idiot Tyler did it again! I gave myself a fat lip. Yeah. Let that one sink in for a minute. I was laying down on my back at our host and was holding my phone above my head when I dropped it right on my face. The corner of the phone nailed me right in the bottom lip and I got a big blood blister. Anyway, lesson learned: Otter box’s will keep your phone safe, but they will also sucker-punch you when you least expect it. I should put that review on Amazon!

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