Earlier this year I rode my bicycle from Erie, Pennsylvania to Palmerton, Pennsylvania…over 500 miles in six days…to raise money for Cancer research. It was an amazing trip, and I can’t wait to do it again in 2009. The following is an excerpt from the journal I wrote on the trip. You can read all of it here: http://revolutionsoul.com/pprac/
.: Day 2 :.
Warren to Coudersport About 90 miles
Woke up cold and wet, and didn’t want to ride. Additionally, in the middle of the night…maybe midnight…a band of derelict youths were crossing the bridge above the school area. Of course, they saw a few tents and a few wackos like me sleeping under the stars. Of course they yelled and laughed at us for about 10 minutes. Thankfully, they didn’t throw anything at us.
I forgot about them, until someone mentioned them this morning. Then I remembered fantasizing about infliting physical harm upon them…had I been more awake, and had they been more disruptive.
I got up, and packed my crap, and we headed up to the church for a pretty nice breakfast. I chowed down on about 10 links of breakfast sausage, pancakes and two hard boiled eggs. It became a theme, but our group was the last bunch of people to leave breakfast. I really need tea, or some kind of caffeine. But not coffee.
I’m not fatigued or worn out. It’s just that I didn’t get a good sleep. And it’s cold outside. I’m just tired and need a nap. Then I’d be great to go.
But no napping. Time to go. We rode out of Warren in a very chilly fog. It took me about 15 miles to shake off the cold. And it shook off quick as we hit the first series of hills. By mile 20, I was sweating my face off.
Most of the roads on this ride were nice, rolling and had absolutely amazing views. I rode a good part of it all with Christine and Plunkett. We hit the first dirt road of the trip. Plunkett was up ahead a bit, and he hit the dirt road at speed since it was on a fast downhill. He hit the dirt, ripped a back tire, and slid sideways for about 10 feet. Amazingly, he didn’t go down.
Within minutes Taylor showed up, helped fix the flat and provided Plunkett with a cold can of Pabst which was downed in about 2 minutes.
Soon, we were on our way, negotiating the very rough road for about four miles.
This area of the state is where oil was first struck in the entire US. No lie. Oil City is around here, and Titusville is where the first oil rig in the US was located. You still see a lot of oil rigs in the land around here. Most of them are pretty small. But man, did a lot of this ride smell like south Philly. Not the pee or grease odors from the restaurants, but more of the smell of all the refineries down there. Pretty odd smell for such a rural area.
We had a good lunch today. Turkey sammiches. There was an ice cream place across the street that I really wanted to hit. But despite some people telling me ice cream would be good for the ride, I didn’t like the idea of any such cream sitting in my stomach for the afternoon climbs. Besides…the people I was riding with weren’t going to wait for me to eat it, and they weren’t likely to wait for me when I would throw it back up 20 miles later.
Joachim, Pryor and Christine and I rolled out and rode most of the afternoon together.
The rest of the afternoon went rather well, and today was a great day of riding. There were some tough times…like the morning, but it was an awesome day. In fact, later in the evening, I wanted to get up and go start riding again. No joke. Anyway…
Rolled into Coudersport, and saw the Sheetz oasis. But I fought the urge to stop for a chili cheese dog, and continued the mile to the school where we would set up for the night.
I rolled in, quickly got my shower and then got a massage. Man, another terrible massage. This lady didn’t look like someone would would give massages. Not that there is a stereotype for them, but this lady looked like she should be selling perfume at a Boscov’s or something. It was just terribly weak. I was angry for spending the $25, but what was I going to do?
Go have beer, of course.
After two nights of coldness and wetness outside, I decided to move it inside with everyone else tonight. I didn’t sleep in the gym with everyone else because I found a great spot in the carpeted hallway outside the gym. Nobody would bother me, and I found a secret bathroom right near where I would sleep. Nice.
I set that up, and then went and laid my sleeping bag and thermarest outside to dry.
I quickly borrowed Plunkett’s Tide and washed a jersey and shorts in a sink.
Then about ten of us walked into town to get our pre-dinner dinner and some beers. We found a great pizza joint and ordered a few pitchers and some food. Hung out there for a while. Taylor showed up and told us that the truck to dinner would be leaving from the school. He and I walked back, while the rest waited for the truck to pick them up.
That’s right…we did the Urban Hayride. About 50 people packed into the hot Penske truck for the ride over to the Coodersport American Legion. At least we had beer and water for the 10 minute drive over.
This American Legion had a nice mix of sweet old ladies, Harley bikers…and then us bicycle bikers. We had to sign-in to get beer in the bar. But it was cool. The people in the bar were very happy to see us.
And everyone else at the American Legion were happy to have us. Tonight’s meal was obviously a pot-luck from the members of the American Legion. There was no bulk-food here. All the burgers were homemade and cooked on grills outside. There was homemade pasta salad, deviled eggs, cakes, beans, salad and all other sorts of food. It was absolutely amazing what these people did for us!
We all sat outside under the big pavilion and chowed down. We had our meeting out there. Aside from the usual business, we still heard some moving stories.
We piled back into the truck for the ride back to the school.
Some of us hung out a little bit. We found a partial drum set in the auditorium of the school. With some improvising of additional percussion pieces, Joachim set up and did a raging drum solo much to the awe and enjoyment of about 30 people inside.
Soon it was over, and it was time to crash.
I was so stoked to be dry, quiet and sleeping inside. Too bad the goddamned hall light didn’t go out all night. But at least I slept better.