I thought I could, I thought I could, I thought I could,....
Day 31 (last): Keene, New Hampshire to Salisbury Beach, Massachusetts on the Atlantic Ocean, 128 miles.
It is finished! (to coin a phrase, oops, I guess J.C. already used that one).
The day started with a 1300' climb and 47 degrees, but with little to no wind. By 9:00 the temperatures got to just over 60 degrees and 70 by 11:00, nice temperatures to ride in when it is dry. Then about 1800' downhill to the coast, with only the last 10-15 miles in Massachusetts. But, the route turned out not to be as easy as the cue sheet hinted. There were some VERY steep stretches (14 & 17% on Phil's computer) and with all the up and down, Ken logged 7755' of climb for the day. Not what they were expecting, and Phil said he got really tired, partially he thought because he let go mentally with the end in sight.
About 40 miles from the end, Phil got his first flat coming across the country. A couple of guys in a pickup stopped and helped him change the tire. I had stopped as well, and Phil got a new tire out of the back. They had a devil of a time getting that tire on the rim. A few miles down the road, Phil got another flat. It was a pinch flat, probably a result of the tire installation. He got a ride to a bike shop and had it repaired, which delayed his arrival at the beach until after 6:00. But, he made it.
The guys finished the ride in style. What a ride from coast to coast! It had some REALLY hard days and some just long days. They took NO rest days the entire way. The closest they came to a rest day was split a 140 mile day into two 70 mile days, in lieu of a rest day and the 140 mile day.
The two awful days which required shuttling guys to the hotels, but otherwise reasonable weather. Some bad days with winds, especially the 149 mile day with headwinds which tested everyone, but also the 208 mile day from New Mexico, through Texas and Oklahoma and finishing in Kansas. Wow.
The guys rode with great perseverance through conditions that would have stopped most riders, even those who were veterans. It was unfortunate that due to work schedules and family obligations, Eric had to go home in Alubuquerque, Vern in Topeka and Jerry in Richmond, Indiana. I would have been better if all five riders could have completed the ride together, as there was good camaraderie among the group.
Over 3300 miles ridden in 31 days. What an adventure.
So, what's next. Next time, we will..... :)
P.S. A big THANK YOU to Jerry for lending his truck as he support vehicle for the trip. It filled the need admirably.