100 miles and the Appalachians - come at me!

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Yesterday we rode our first century- 100 miles! And it wasn't just any century; it was also our first day on the Appalachians and we climbed almost 10,000 feet, equivalent to 1/3 the height of Mt Everest! Whenever we have over 90 miles or the weather is over 90 degrees, we get two lunch breaks, so we did just that yesterday. It wasn't too bad in the beginning, even with some serious inclines. But at the end, I was definitely cranky ("WHERE THE %#?! IS THE 10 MILE DESCENT THAT THE LEADERS TOLD US ABOUT") and our group had some delirious fits of laughter over nothing. But when we rolled into Parsons, West Virginia, I knew it was worth the challenge. I'm so proud of the group and of myself, we are awesome!

Along the way, I also met several kind strangers. First, Buck and Marcy, who reside at the top of one of today's big climbs, offered all of us ice and water refills, both of which were very much appreciated. They also donated $50 to our cause, which was a generous surprise. Second, upon arrival at the church, I met Lu and her husband Bud. Lu took us to her own home to shower, and showed us pictures of all her grandchildren while we drank her homemade lemonade. She was the kindest, spunkiest, most genuine elderly woman I've ever met, and I was so happy to be welcomed with her warm hospitality.

I'm definitely learning a lot about seeing the positive in everything, especially in very rough situations.  For example, my team took an incorrect reroute through a gravel road the other day, and I was getting really cranky, but then our group came across this cool tunnel and creek along this valley, which we wouldn't have seen if we had gone the right way! It's hard to remember to stay positive when you're on the verge of tears and can't see the light at the end of the tunnel, but I have to remind myself that it always works out!

Also for this post, I figured I'd explain two things that are pretty specific Bike and Build jargon, and that all riders strive to do every day.

 

Donation Magic, also known as DM

 A dam along the Potomac River!

A dam along the Potomac River!

 I swear my legs aren't this big in person, it's just the angle!

I swear my legs aren't this big in person, it's just the angle!

As most of you know, I had to raise at lead $4500 to participate in the trip. About half of this goes directly to affordable housing organizations through grants, while the other half goes to program costs, including the 3 full time Bike and Build directors, our bikes, our support van's gas, and, food! Most of our breakfasts and dinners are donated by the gracious and generous hosts we sleep at, but we also have lunch and snacks to worry about! (It's a LOT of food when we are exercising 8+ hours a day! Basically, the more costs we can eliminate, the more money can go to the cause. So, we try to do as much Donation Magic, or DM, as possible.

Donation Magic is a verb, adjective, or noun, describing: the act of procuring free items, or the actual items procured, by telling strangers, local business owners, and others we meet about the cause and our ride. Example usage: "I DMed some ice cream today!" or "These bagels are DM!"

A few notable DMs so far, in order of awesomeness and difficulty of DMing: berries from a farm, ice cream, coffee, pastries/baked goods (usually pretty easy to get day old stuff).

We also notify our other riders of places where DM can be found by chalking a & and an arrow to the location, which gets me into my next topic...

 

Chalking

Chalking is when we B&B riders use kids' chalk to draw messages on the pavement for other riders. Most of the time, we draw arrows on the roads to indicate which streets to turn on or which directions to go, which helps other riders not miss any turns. But we also like to draw motivational messages or funny doodles to help our fellow riders stay positive! My friend Michelle is really good at drawing friendly robots! Anyway, we also like to do a lot of messages to our sweep group on the pavement, because, being obligated to be the last group in case anything happens, they usually have a much longer day and need the extra pick me up!

 Our friend Rachel had to take a hiatus from the trip after a nasty fall in the rain and a severely bruised elbow. She'll be back, and we are showing our love while she's gone by chalking for her!

Our friend Rachel had to take a hiatus from the trip after a nasty fall in the rain and a severely bruised elbow. She'll be back, and we are showing our love while she's gone by chalking for her!

Anyways, some more pictures from the past few days:

 Being a badass installing insulation 

Being a badass installing insulation 

 No head!

No head!

  

 

 The old canal along the Potomac River

The old canal along the Potomac River

 A grasshopper jumped onto my bike!

A grasshopper jumped onto my bike!

 Beer selection at Pizza Hut!

Beer selection at Pizza Hut!

 View from the top of a tunnel

View from the top of a tunnel

 Quick swimming spot!

Quick swimming spot!

 A bar we went to behind the laundromat in town

A bar we went to behind the laundromat in town

 Today is National Beautician Day! Who wants a kiss from me and Beth?

Today is National Beautician Day! Who wants a kiss from me and Beth?