7 days, 500+ miles, and 2 sore legs
Today's been the hardest week so far! Not only did we ride 7 days in a row, but some of the rides were actually really challenging. I definitely hit a low point on the 5th and 6th days - my morale was low, I was exhausted physically and mentally (somehow, though I'm not really sure how), and we just had to keep going. But we finally made it to Huntington, West Virginia for a build day, and we are all very grateful for the brief respite.
A few people back home have asked me how we do laundry. Every 3 days, one of our chore groups takes EVERYONE's laundry to a local laundromat. To do this, we lay out large tarps and everyone throws their nasty smelling spandex in, and we roll them up into "laundry burritos" to get them into our van. This requires more technique than you'd think. Most of use dog collars to loop our clothes together and mesh bags to keep small items together, so that we can quickly find our stuff when the laundry chore group comes back. I think we often end up using 10+ washers and dryers at a time!
I also wanted to paint a picture of our typical morning, because it's jampacked! After a morning wake up song at 5:30 am, we pack our bags, load the trailer, and get our bikes outside by 6 am. After breakfast, often generously donated or made by our hosts, we finish cleaning the entire church have our route meeting.
While we go through route meeting, most people are also applying sunscreen and sticking their hands down their shorts to apply chamois butter (a cream that prevents chafing when we ride). You can probably imagine; we look like a completely crazy, unmannered group of kids. Anyway, the main agenda items for this meeting are
- Route overview: Review the day's mileage, terrain, expected location of lunch stop(s), host information, and weather forecast
- National holidays: we recognize a holiday every day, and sometimes have a celebration. This week, we had National Sunglasses Day, National Hug Day, National Date Day (we randomly picked dates and most of us rode with our dates that day), and a few more I can't remember. :)
- News team: We have 5 riders who make up our news team (Channel 7), who make sure we aren't living in too much of a bubble. We have people covering: international, sports, celebrity, miscellaneous, and top news.
- City presentation: One assigned rider gives a quick introduction, with demographic information, fun facts, and popular attractions of the city we are riding to that day.
- Sweep ceremony: this is a new creation. As I mentioned previously, we have 2 assigned riders every day who are requires to be the last group, making sure everyone gets into our host safely and happily. Now, during this ceremony, the previous day's sweep passes onto the current day's sweep a few items: our med kit, spare tires, and our sweep items, which include a few items we've found on the road: a sweep skirt, a sweep wand, and, weirdly, the broken-off leg of a doll....
Anyway, it's been a good week and on our build day today, we roofed an entire house before 1 pm! I also got interviewed for the local news channel, WSAZ 3. Maybe we will have some local donors!
And always, some pictures:
Lastly, if anyone is actually interested sending some snail mail (addresses and dates in my previous post), there are actually some special directions. (No pressure of course, just in case! :D)
Mail will be delivered through USPS General Delivery. Please send through the United States Postal Service (The Post Office may not accept mail from any other carrier). Address the mail as shown to the right. You should also mark the envelope or package with "Please hold for pick-up on DATE."
Thanks for reading! Hope everyone's looking forward to an awesome July like I am!