That’s three for those of you who don’t know spanish. But before I go into today, I have a few more things to say about yesterday and all of the pictures!

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I rode yesterday in memory of Kathy Calimer. She recently passed away on April 23, 2014. She was a friend of one of my readers Bonnie Barsa. Bonnie is a close friend of both my mom and Kirk’s mom as well!

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This is the New Orleans skyline!

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My mama!

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My Dad!

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Mom still thinks it’s hilarious to catch me sleeping!

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The bridge of flats! Head on over to Facebook for the video! (I don’t know how to post videos here)

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And a terrible shoulder.

I try to keep every post in the same format with a picture dump in the beginning and then explain certain pictures during the post. I apologize that I’m breaking that now, but I couldn’t think of how else to do it. Three more things about yesterday:

First, a little more about my dad. I only mentioned that he rode about 34 miles more than he expected to, but I didn’t mention how well he rode. In fact, for quite a few miles he led our group at around a 20mph pace. That’s fast. Especially to be leading and breaking the wind for everyone else. He also kept up with all of us who have been biking every day for the past four weeks! I think that’s quite the achievement for going in cold.

Second, I made a call to a local bike shop towards the end of the day and got 20 free tubes donated! Don’t get all excited though because they’ve already been claimed and maybe even used today.

Third, I’d like to share a comment my mom made on my blog post for yesterday. It is almost like her own mini-blog post for the day she and my dad had with us. I think it gives a lot of insight into what a day in the 4k is like and adds a little credibility to what we kids have all been saying about the struggles of the 4k:

Well sharing the last couple days with these “kids” has been enlightening, educational (on our part), and so much fun. Each and every one of them are great! They work together in organized chaos, each having and bringing their own strengths to the team. What a treat to be able to ride with them. They were all very gracious. I rode for my Opa (grandfather).

We tried to help out where we could and were told it wasn’t necessary. We wanted the experience and they all followed with many thank yous. I was hoping to finish the end of the leg, however Taylor, Aaron and I were running around town in traffic and rain to get more donated tubes. I would have purchased if we could find any…..no such luck. I quickly realized how time consuming and frustrating the van days are. It just kills them to not be able to finish a days ride, especially to mechanical issues.

While I’m on the subject of mechanical issues….the roads were horrible this day!! Except for the bike trail part, but even then we ran into gravel. There is a lot of communication while riding…”gravel, mud, car back, bump, cracks, slowing, stopping, rolling” and hand signals. The leader begins and every rider repeats down the line. While I’ve done some riding we’ve never been this diligent. I was very impressed and proud (as a parent). To all you parents – they’re doing what they should!

The girls are really impressive to me, especially since I have a husband who takes total care of my bike and it’s maintenance. All I have to do is ride and help load and unload. These girls are changing their flats and oiling their chains. Don’t get me wrong, they get just as frustrated as the boys, but then someone comes to the rescue, albeit a girl or “gentleman”.

Now about my fall, or shall I say “crash”. Fall doesn’t seem as exciting as crash. Kenny “crashed” in front of me on railroad tracks, so being the concerned parent, while slowing down and going around him (not paying attention to how I’m crossing the tracks) I ask if he’s okay….my tire gets caught in a rail and I’m slowly going down. Knowing what’s coming I raise my hands, head and chest and slide on the nice slick, nongravel, tracks on my stomach. For a crash, I faired well. Oil in my nails and on my hands and a slight knee boo boo. I’m now a real bike rider!! As you heard Kenny is fine as well. Just had to share my excitement and idiotness – my boy gets it so very honestly.

I can see him now shaking his head thinking “please mom shut up now”. OK Tyler. Can you tell how much I enjoyed surprising you and spending time with you and the team? I’m even prouder of all of you after seeing you in action! More love, hugs and kisses than I could ever show you!!!! Your, mama

Despite what she imagined me saying, I really enjoyed reading this and appreciated it as well. I’d like to thank both of my parents for not only visiting and surprising me, but for taking me out to dinner twice and letting me order whatever I wanted. Both times I got an appetizer, bowl of soup, a beer, and an entree. I finished it all. Both times. I’d also like to thank them for their donations to our team. They donated bread, soda, and kool-aid! These may sound random, but let me explain. There are certain staples on the 4k that we always eat. One of them is bread. We eat bread and peanut butter like no other. We always seem to have peanut butter, but we run out of bread really fast. Another is gatorade powder. Water gets boring really fast, and we also need to replenish the salts and electrolytes in our bodies. Gatorade is great at doing this! Also, soda/kool-aid is a good break from water as well and a good little caffeine/sugar rush. If anyone is looking for some good things to put into care packages that you mail, we can never have enough tubes, gatorade powder, or sidewalk chalk (for marking the route).

Okay so now for today. I was in the water van today with Kenny and I think we did a great job! I was driving and Kenny chalked the route. It was quite a popular opinion that his chalking was incredible! We both cleaned and organized the van a little and threw out a lot of trash we found in the van. Kenny also called every sporting goods store or bike shop in the area to ask for tube donations and got 10 for free at one store and a discount at another ($2 per tube!). He was a great van buddy today!

This morning we took a while to get ourselves up and out because of our lack of sleep last night. We woke up at 5am as usual, but didn’t get out until around 8am. Since it rained, we had a lot of bike maintenance to do in the morning, when usually we do that at night. Once we were packed and ready Kenny and I started chalking while the others did our dedication circle. There were a couple of flats during the beginning of the ride but nothing major. Usually every day starts out relatively smooth, then turns into a mess towards the end. We had a LOT of flats again today, but nothing like yesterday. At almost every water stop we had to wait on a group to catch up because of flat tires. As the day went on, I had to start driving back to riders to help them with their flats and provide additional tubes for them to use. This made the ride take a little longer. Quite a few of our flats are tiny holes on the inside edge of the tube. This means that something is happening between the rim of the wheel and the tube. NOT between the tube and the tire. In other words, most people aren’t getting flats because they run over sharp stuff. For those who know what the inside of a wheel looks like, I think the tubes are being cut on the spoke holes in the rim. There is nylon liner tape that is supposed to protect from this, but it isn’t very wide and sometimes the edge of one of the holes peeks out. I’m going to try to get some wider liner tape for all of us at the next bike shop we encounter.

I was really proud of my team today. We’re getting a lot better at being patient and accepting when bad things happen instead of getting angry and frustrated. Of course we were all frustrated today and we still are frustrated at all the flats we get, but we’re learning how to deal with it a lot better and keep our morale up. The ride took about 10.5 or 11 hours today for about 95 miles. Kenny and I had to reroute a LOT of times due to gravel roads and we ended up adding miles to the original route. Today since I was in the van, Allison volunteered to take my GPS watch and record all the data. Unfortunately, she forgot to hit the start button until after the first 10 miles because I gave instructions and the watch to her about 10 minutes after she woke up from about 4 hours of sleep. Whoops. My bad. But nonetheless, she did some excellent button pushing, albeit a little late. Here’s the GPS route: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/530483462.

We arrived at our host around 7pm. We missed our opportunity for showers, so we all got the cold hose! What a fun time. A lot of enjoyment comes from being able to drench someone else with a cold hose. Gotta rinse off somehow! Tonight we’re staying at Our Savior’s Church in Lafayette, LA. We had a LOT of food tonight and I’m not sure where it all came from. I think our host, Heather, and Michelle were mainly responsible, so a big thank you to them! Here’s two pictures I took of where we are sleeping:

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After eating and hosing off, we had a team meeting about the past few days. We talked about some incidents that occurred, about how to get up and get out in the morning more quickly, details of the van duties, a little lesson on bike cleaning and maintenance, and spotlighted our team members for doing good things! I really like team meetings. It clears the air and lets people communicate with everyone. I realized a few days ago that the 4k is an exercise in patience and communication. Today we really demonstrated both of those things.

After the team meeting, I gave my bike a thorough cleaning. Bike cleaning and maintenance is really calming and relaxing for me. I got all the dirt and grime off of her, got the water out of my wheels from yesterday’s storm, trued my wheels, and gave my chain and gears a good clean and lube. If I haven’t mentioned yet, I named my bike Layla and right now she’s a really happy camper! So am I actually. We got through today in good spirits, our team is operating better and better each day, we ate well, my bike is clean, and I’ll be getting to bed before 1am!

So, nobody guessed any answers to the riddle. Boo. In case anyone was wondering, the answer to the riddle is that the boy is playing baseball. He’s running to home base, makes three left turns around the three bases, then encounters the catcher and the umpire who both have masks on. Comment away on today’s post! I really love reading all of them and your words always bring a smile to my face. Sometimes in the midst of our struggles, I forget how awesome it is to be doing what we’re doing and your reminders really help me to keep a positive attitude! Thank you all!

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