Mike, Henry and I were sleeping soundly in the section above the drivers when we heard “time to get ready”. Normally that means that there is about 45 minutes before the preceding riders arrive with which to get ready. Forty five minutes seems like a long time, but it’s not. When you get woken up late, things are pretty scrambled. When we heard the “get ready call” at 2:15am, we looked out and saw the riders arriving. Doh!
It’s at these moments that the volunteers shine. I jumped down from the bunk and some oatmeal was shoved in my hands. Our bottles were filled according to our specifications. People got our bikes off the racks, set up lights, our computers and water bottles. The list goes on…
Anyway, within 25 minutes we were ready to roll, but I didn’t feel right for most of the ride. I’d describe it as “grumpy” but it wasn’t even that. Our pace was great, despite a slight headwind, four degree temperatures and often bumpy roads. We all did a lot of pacing, with Henry leading the way after his nine hour rest. Robert read a heart warming dedication that brought tears to my eyes. A survivor at last, but this little girl had to go though three years of hell and near death experiences and countless days in the hospital with hundreds of procedures to get to a point of remission.
About 20k into the ride, we saw a flashing red light in the distance. The terrain is flat here and the roads are dead straight. We ended up catching up to the flashing red light 45km later – it was a stop sign. How maddening that we stared at it for so long.
Getting in at 5:45, once again volunteers were there to help us. This time it was Ron as crew chief with Caryl (who has been called Karen, Cathy and many others but who’s actual name on this trip is “Q”) and one of the RMTs Melissa (or Missy). Once they helped us change, sponge shower outside (ccccccoold) and get our stuff organized, their job wasn’t done. They’d prepared recovery drinks as per usual and were now grilling cheddar bacon panini bagels for a meal.
Q and Missy are fantastic… to still be smiling and so energetic after three days with a lot of work and very little sleep is huge!