Boy. Today was… I don’t even know. Tough, exhausting, hilarious, fun, expensive, wet, problematic. You name it. My phone is dead and it’s one in the morning right now so I’m going to skip pictures for today and keep this brief. Sorry! Don’t worry though, I’ll make sure to upload the pictures tomorrow.

We rode 103 miles today and it took us almost 13 hours. Here’s the GPS route: We had a total of 36 flat tires today. I’m not lying. 36. We counted. I’m surprised we had enough tubes! Luckily we were able to get 20 free tubes donated from a bike shop. I also broke a spoke nipple due to hitting train tracks at a weird angle, and both Kenny and my Mom fell off their bikes due to the said train tracks. They are okay though.

Speaking of my Mom, my parents did really well today! They definitely got the entire 4k experience. This was a day with a little bit of everything. My mom rode the first 29 miles with us before she switched with my dad. It was a little rainy, but once we got out of the city, we were on a bike path. 29 miles is the longest she’s ever ridden and she kept up and had no problems. I told my mom beforehand how she’ll notice the change in rider’s attitudes around mile 70 or so and it was funny to watch her attitude change around mile 25. She even realized what she had done after hopping in the car and driving to the next water stop. My dad also did really well. He planned on riding the next 40 or 50 miles, but then due to flat tires and rain and time constraints, he finished out at 74 miles! Welcome to the 4k, where we almost always end up adding unexpected miles!

The day went pretty smoothly up until we crossed the Mississippi river. There was a big bridge and almost everyone got a flat because of the huge joints in the bridge that allow the bridge to flex. We had a party changing flats in the middle of the bridge and then rode our brakes the whole way down. I have a great video, but it’s on my dead phone so I’ll have to post it tomorrow. The roads after that were absolutely awful and each team had to stop a ton of time to change flats. This was really draining on our morale. But not many people got angry or frustrated because you really can’t when it is happening to so many people. You can’t get mad at anyone. It just ends up being hilarious. I think a lot of people learned today that you just have to accept the bad things and move on instead of getting upset at them.

The day was pretty humid, but cool, and it drizzled intermittently. After most of our flats had occurred, it started to downpour! The wind was so strong it was literally blowing our bikes sideways. We had to stop and wait out the storm, then ride in the cold rain until it finally let up. I’m really proud of my team though because we didn’t quit and we made it the entire ride before dark. Some teams had so many problems that they had to get in the van and shuttle the rest of the way there.

We finished the ride around 8:30pm. We don’t have dinner provided at our host, First United Methodist Church, but luckily the mother of a Team FIGHT employee, Alex, was able to get us a $500 gift card to a local restaurant because she lives in the area. We stuffed our faces and then returned to the host to crash.

I apologize for the short post with no pictures! It’s really terrible and I’m not proud of it, but I have to wake up in about 3.5 hours. Which means I’ve already been awake for 21.5 hours! I did take two naps today and even got some pictures, but that wasn’t enough. Comment on what you can and I hope to be more thorough tomorrow!