This was supposed to be the hardest day of the tour, and boy was it ever. In addition to the fact that it was the longest day and the most climbing, we rode much of the day (and several of the hardest ascents) into steady 20 MPH headwinds. There were several times during the ride where I thought I was gonna quit (or at least get off and walk), but I persisted and made it through. There were 3 former professional riders with us, and they raved about how tough of a day it was. I could barely walk when I made it to the hotel.
What a difference a day makes. After massages Friday night and Saturday morning, I was ready to roll. There was a slight mist in the morning, but it turned out to be a beautiful day. Through the course was almost as hard as day 1, the lack of wind made it feel like a breeze. (Pardon the horrible pun.) Almost all of the climbing was in the first two-thirds of the day. There was a steep descent down to the Delaware River around mile 53, and then the rest of the day was gentle rollers along River Road. Also, I made a tactical decision to set a much slower pace. I ended up with the sweep wagon on my tail much of the day, but I made it with nary a though of quitting. All in all, a fabulous day.
DAY 3. 54.15 miles, 1550 feet of climbing. (Actually, the ride was a bit longer because a bridge was out and we had to take a detour. I don't know exactly where the detour went, though, so I can't say what the total mileage was.)
An easy day, followed by a lovely picnic lunch. Again, I stuck near the rear, with a single goal -- FINISH.
I've never done a tour like this -- I'm a novice rider, and these 3 days are all among the longest 10 rides I've ever done (with days 1 and 2 being numbers 1 and 2 on the list). Thus, I can't compare this tour with others, but everyone was raving about it. What a great, great experience. I look forward to many more.
thats quite a bit of riding and climbing. Good for you!
Thanks for the kind words. I have to say that I was very proud of myself for persisting. Just 5 months ago, my longest ride ever had been 18 miles. Now, I rode more than 12 times that far in one weekend.
But my effort paled in comparison to some of the breast-cancer survivors who were on the ride. At dinner one evening, I was talking to a group of women who were saying how much easier it was to train for this ride than to struggle through months of chemo and radiation treatments, or to sit there as the doctor told them they needed a double masectomy, or that the cancer had spread here or there, or that they probably will never be able to have kids. Then, they started joking about how the TOUGHEST part was learning to talk about your boobs with total strangers. Two women wore t-shirts with cancer slogans across the chest. One said "Yes, they are fake. My real ones tried to kill me." The other said "Cancer: You picked the wrong ***** to pick on." Their combination of gravity and levity really put things in perspective for me.