>Wednesday brought the end of the ride, but not the end of the adventure.
Wednesday started out in the beautiful seaport of Annapolis which was where Kunta Kinte was first landed as a slave. (Think Alex Haley’s book and mini series “Roots”). Michael, my host and I had a ride down to the seafront before our ride started this morning to see the harbour.
When we arrived back, the start of the ride was delayed owing to the problem in finding one rider;s bike. Fortunately, it was eventually located and we set off in the burning sun towards Washington. A hilly ride to our first rest spot @ 19.8 miles was in store. Indeed I finally had to use my granny ring on the bike, but not the granny gear on that ring. I was one of the first to arrive at the rest spot and felt good riding. The hilly route was what was needed as it actually made me do some work. (Yes dad, I remembered what you taught me last year riding up Shap Fell. I also remember Underbarrow and still have not forgiven you for that detour!).
From the rest stop to RFK Stadium in Washington, I rode with Dee, an Ohio State trooper with whom I rode much of the trip. I must say thanks to her for her company and her help and support.
The RFK Stadium in Washington was where we met up with all the other rides. It was a fantastic sight to see some of the other rides arrive. They were much smaller than our ride, so I can only begin to think how our ride must have looked.
After all the rides had arrived, we set off in convoy for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial (NLEOM). I’m not sure how many riders there were, somewhere between 1200 and 1700 I believe. The procession looked fantastic and it was a moving experience to see so many people out on the streets to cheers us on.
The NLEOM is a fantastic feature and it was so moving to see so many personal tributes to officers on all the walls along with the names of the fallen. A short ceremony was held at which Craig Floyd (see Sunday’s post) mentioned some of the moving stories behind some of the riders, including one officer who had been shot a number of years ago and was expected to be paralysed, but he has recovered to enable him to ride. Others rode in memory of fallen spouses and siblings. I have to say the courage of so many people made me feel very humble.
While the ceremony was going on, I received a tap on the shoulder and was told by one of the ride marshalls that 2 men wanted a word with me. When I turned round there were 2 Metropolitan Police Officers in uniform there. I remember thinking “Oh dear, what have I done…” Fortunately they just wanted to say well done on the ride. Now, why did I have a guilty conscience?
The ceremony ended as a thunderstorm broke. We all received a commemorative medal for the ride. A nice touch.
At the ceremony, it was announced that this year’s ride had raised $1,100,000 for the NLEOM. This is after deducting the expenses of the ride. A truly fantastic achievement.
Tomorrow night is the candlelight vigil. That I am told is very moving.
Hopefully, I will be able to post pictures soon.