31 of us dipped our tires into the Atlantic Ocean in Providence, Rhode Island. It was a bright, beautiful, and auspicious, first day. We took advantage of the favorable weather conditions and the low mileage to make plenty of stops and play along the way. Riding through our country’s smallest state, we made sure to take breaks when we spotted playgrounds, cows, McDonald’s (where Katelyn successfully DM’ed* soft serve cones for all of us), and cool tractors. Lunch was in front of a breathtaking waterfall, which I later disappointingly discovered was man-made.
After lunch, dark clouds came out, showered us with rain, and cooled us down until we arrived at our first stop. The 40-mile ride took us across Rhode Island to Plainfield, Connecticut. The town seemed like a snug, pleasant place, with a population of around 15,000. We enjoyed showers at the City Hall, and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church generously provided us with shelter, food, and MASSAGES. I think we all felt quite pampered.
This morning, the day began cold, wet, and grey. The hills we rode through were casually described as “rolling” by Rob, one of our four fearless leaders. It was a challenging day; one, because of the weather; and two, because my group took a wrong turn, which added 15 additional miles to our ride. Luckily, it happened on a day when we only had about 50 miles of riding. Luckily, it happened on a day I rode with two amazing women: Ashley and Cindy. Luckily, Cindy had beef jerky in her Camelbak. Luckily, it’s laundry day and the prospect of nice-smelling spandex kept me pedaling on.
After our extended ride, we were once again greeted with warmth and hospitality, this time by Faith Lutheran Church in Middletown, CT. Dinner was spectacular, especially after a long and wet day on the road. Middletown seems to be a modestly sized college town, home to Wesleyan University. It is amazing how much, and how many times, the landscape has changed in just 100 miles. Already, we have gone from the ocean to cities large and small, through woods on dirt paths, where we find ourselves surrounded by nothing but tall trees and the smell of nature. We have sped through neighborhoods and cute towns, past farmlands and fields, and over bridges made of wood and steel. In all these places, we have been met with intrigued smiles and generosity. Today, a Kit-Kat bar and a Hershey’s purchased by a random man we met at a gas station served as much needed fuel, lifting our spirits when we were 15 miles off-route.
To give you all an idea of what downtime looks like, let me paint you a picture of my current surroundings. I see a circle of people stretching out on those excruciatingly painful foam rollers. Some are playing board and card games while others are passed out on thermarests or journaling.
One last thing–I have been told that parents other than my own (Hi Mom and Dad!) have been reading this blog. Just want to say hello and welcome! Thank you for reading. I am trying to post as often as possible, but I am currently looking for that happy spot in the tradeoff between quality and quantity. Comment and say hello! In return, I may write an update on your kid. 😉
*Donation Magic, a term utilized as both noun and verb. Basically, spread word of how we are trying to change the affordable housing landscape, turn heads with our matching spandex, and get awesome free stuff in return.