Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tough days, Amazing memories

Huntington, WV     5/27/08

It has been a few days since I have addressed you guys here.  I am happy to say that I am growing stronger and fighting through adversities.  I have been through a lot since the last thing you have read.  I will try to list the best memories interspersed between the few unfortunate experiences.  

I have been unlucky enough to lose my personal journal, so I am going to do my best to remember everything that has happened in the whirlwind that has been my week.  My ankle is very much improved (close to 100%), but I have had some trouble with my saddle (bike seat.)  I was very distraught, to say the least, when a doctor told me that I may be unfit to continue with my trip.  

Since then I have purchased a new saddle. It is a women's model.  As it is, the good Lord saw fit to bless me with my mother's hips (no offense Mom...).  This new saddle, I am glad to say, fits "relatively" comfortably under my hind end, unlike it's predecessor which would lodge itself... well, you get the picture.  

I have been progressively riding further and further every day.  Most of the locals around here have been very obliging and interested in our cause.  At breakfast this morning, 5 separate individuals collectively donated $180 cash to our trip.

Yesterday's ride was amazing.  I am disappointed to say that I was only able to ride during the first and final third of our 90 mile trip.  The first half of my day was pretty rough.  After crossing the New River in an eerie haze of fog, we met our hardest climb of the trip: a grueling 5 mile stretch of 9 1/2 grade winding inclines.  I have to be honest, I had to walk with my bike a good bit after I led for the first 2 miles.  

After waiting with Anne (bum knee) for the van to scoop her up, I enjoyed a mostly downhill 30 miles of beautiful mountain country in rural West Virginia.  After spending the middle third of the day in the van, I was amazed to ride through some of the most picturesque landscape that I have ever laid eyes on.  I was on such a high during this 25 mile stretch.  I got my first chance to ride alongside my good buddy Nathan.  What a day it was.  I have so much more to say to you all, but there is a line for the computer and I am very tired.

Much Love,

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Our First Build Day

Suffolk, Va. 5/18/08

Today was our first build day, and it was awesome. We got the chance to meet two great people. Angela and Frank are the founders of a small affordable housing organization here in Suffolk. They have been our surrogate parents of Suffolk. Angela and Frank have either cooked, bought, or obtained donated meals for every b-fast, lunch and dinner we've had in Suffolk. In the morning, Frank had three projects set up for us, so we split into 3 different groups. My group was headed to the "chainsaw site." It was called the chainsaw site, because we would end up clearing about 2 dumptruck loads of brush, stumps, trash, and dirt with primarily chainsaws and manpower. Colin and Nathan joined in my group along with about 6-7 other guys and 1 girl, Anne. Anne would get to know a slightly more vulgar side of all of the guys who considered her "one of the guys." I would end up tweaking my ankle again slightly, so I worked on chainsaw maintenance until lunch. Lunch was great, hotdogs and fixin's @ Angela and Frank's house. A few of us stayed behind at the house after lunch and helped out with chores, took naps, and ICED OUR ANKLES. We are staying at the Suffolk YMCA tonight, which has been gracious enough to open up all of their facilities to us. All of us are getting to know each other very well, this is such an amazing group of people.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Suffolk, Va. 5/17/08
Today was a great Day. I was able to ride about 35 miles to lunch, before our fearless leaders asked me to sit the rest of the day out to rest my ankle. I was frustrated at this to say the least, but I realized their point and obliged in the end. I saw a drawbridge today that was really interesting. I'll try to put a picture of it in if I can. Oh, and I got my first chance to direct traffic wearing spandex today.
va beach, va 5/16/08
My ankle is a bit better. I did the 13 mile "shakedown" ride today. My ankle only really started hurting about 10 miles in and it has been a juggling act between icing, elevating and rewrapping my ankle. We are staying at the First Presbyterian Church on the almost beachfront strip of Virginia Beach. The parishoners of the church participated in a bike safety class, then provided us with a delicious spaghetti dinner. One speaker that addressed our group this evening was a local bike guru who worked in the local shop. He was very moving and spoke at length about taking the good with the bad, seeing the glass as "half full", and recognizing that what is going to happen is unpreventable. His name was Sergei.
va beach, va. 5/15/08

I have gotten a chance to meet all of my fellow bike and builders. Everyone seems great. There all a lot a funny and loving people here. I had the unfortunate luck to sprain my ankle during the first 30 minutes of our activities, but I have had a great day despite that fact. We spent the day getting to know each other and learning the basics of bike safety, bike tips, rules, Affordable Housing information, and painting our trailer. I am anxious to begin biking.
I haven't had the chance to get to a computer all week so I will paraphrase my journal for the days we missed.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Day 1


It is now 5:30 in the morning and I find myself sitting at a compouter finishing prepereations that should have been done a week ago. We will be leaving for Va. Beach today, and I am brimming with anxious excitement. I just wanted to take the time to get a little something up on this page, because I do not know when I will be able to do so again. So, much love to you all, and I will see you at the end of the summer.