This weekend was a testing weekend. Testing my sleeping arrangements. Testing the bike setup on the road. Testing my limits on the bike.
On Friday, I sold my mountain bike. It was a sad thing to do, but I was able to purchase a new GPS with the money which will help me immensely with navigating the route for the Trans Am Bike Race. It was hard to sell a bike that had a lot of personal value, but I know it will be worth it when I am in the middle of nowhere trying to figure out where the heck I’m supposed to turn!
Later that evening, I set up my (borrowed) tent in the driveway to test the sleeping arrangements. I slept outside for the majority of the night until I realized some adjustments needed to be made. Thanks to a very generous friend, I have a couple options for sleeping gear to try out this weekend!
After working in the backyard with my parents on Saturday morning getting the house ready for summer, I set out for my first trip with all of the gear on my bike. I set out heading west, fighting a nasty headwind. The wind was pushing me back at 25-30mph for the first two hours of my ride. With all of the weight on the bike, I felt like a kite being tossed around in the wind. I continued on as a figured the Trans Am will throw unpredicted circumstances like this my way, and I need to be prepared for it. I rode into the sunset and was able to enjoy some beautiful views of Lancaster County and the surrounding areas.
After struggling for 2 hours with the wind, I was thrilled to have it push me back home with ease. Unfortunately, this was not the case. Once I started to ride south along the river, the sun set and took the wind with it. Within 10 minutes, the winds had slowed down to 5-10mph winds. My anticipated support home had dissipated to practically nothing.
Regardless, I pressed on. The colors that the sun left were stunning as I admired the sky until it became pitch black. I rode into the night, finishing at 9:48pm with a total distance of 57 miles. Other than the wind, the bike operated beautifully with the added weight, and I was eager to get back on the road.
I was able to get back out on Sunday after church and lunch at an Indian buffet with some close friends. This time, I was able to ride with my neighbor, who has probably been the biggest influence in getting me to ride on the road. He sold me my first real road bike 2 summers ago, and I haven’t stopped since then. Somehow, we were never able to find a time to go out and ride together. Until this weekend! We did a short 30 mile loop together (I slowed him down with my loaded bike), but it was a great time being able to ride with him.
The past few weeks have been crazy getting ready for this trip. Everything is coming together in great time, and it is beyond wild that I am actually setting out to do this. The support I have received from everyone has been overwhelming. Many call me crazy. Many call me insane. But everyone supports. I expect this support and encouragement from those I am closest with to be the thing that carries me through this intimidating journey.