Today we rode 75 miles and climbed about 2,200 feet from Little Falls to Latham (Albany). This is probably the closest I will get to NYC on this trip! From here, our route continues east through southern Vermont and New Hampshire to the finish on Monday in Portsmouth.
The route had some hills, but it wasn’t too bad. I had expected worse. We largely trailed the Mohawk River/Erie Canal system again, and had a big chunk of the ride on the Mohawk bike trail, which was mostly flat, shady and well-paved. Very nice.
Being this close to the end brings mixed emotions. This morning I felt tired and thought “four more days,” in the sense that 4 was a big number. After an enjoyable ride, I take that feeling back, especially since there are now only 3 riding days left. But there are some things that I will not miss:
1. Schedule: I usually set an alarm before 5:30am (earliest day was like 4:20am) to start the day, but I usually had awakened several times in the night to either go the bathroom (keeping up the hydration has a price), or because of general nervousness about not waking up on time. I guess I will be “lucky” to get back home and sleep in until 7am or so?
2. Meal mania: You shouldn’t try and eat at precisely the same time with 50 other ravenous people. Countless examples of frantic people not getting what they want when they want it and assuming that will screw up their entire ride.
3. Internet connections: Fortunately most inexpensive hotels don’t charge for wifi (so wondering why if you stay at a Four Seasons they do?). That’s the good news. The bad news is that it often got abysmally slow as 50 people tried to login info at once. And why can’t they provide login info at check in?
4. The quest for beer: I can’t eat dinner without beer, especially after a long ride. We often went to “family style” restaurants that served no liquor, or ate a catered buffet at hotel, many of which had no liquor license. I solved this partially a few weeks in by buying beer if available near the hotel and filling my water bottles with beer to take to dinner. But looking forward to not “worrying” about this each day.
5. Laundry: Since I often finished rides early, I could be well positioned to run to the laundry the minute luggage was unloaded. But unfortunately, this crowd is savvy, and simply having a room closer to the laundry room might mean everything. Or, I might wait a day because the hotel schedule listed laundry services, only to get there and discover they were not available. Ugh. I rotated washing in the sink with doing “regular” laundry so hard to plan all that out. And p.s. most of my riding clothes are probably irretrievably dirty at this point.
6. Schedule (part II): It’s amazing that with having nothing to do other than ride, that the days fly by. From the time you get to hotel, eat lunch, unload luggage, shower, wash out clothes in sink, clean out water bottles, clean and deal with bike mechanical issues, get online and do email, blog, and eat dinner, the day is shot. I thought I would read tons of books, but alas…
7. Anxieties: Not necessarily mine, of which I acknowledge I might have had a few, but others who would ask the most mind numbing questions at RAP. Or be on the road and worry about wind, heat, etc. etc. etc.
8. Rules: The leaders of this trip are great: they know their business. But they have a lot of rules and don’t necessarily always treat riders as “customers.” They get the job done and try to keep us safe, but sometimes the smack down to me or others that I observed was a bit like “huh?”
This is merely a list of things that will happen if you decide to embark on a 3,700 mile ride across America with 50 other people. I haven’t regretted a minute… Tears will flow at the end, but thought I would get this out of the way early!