The basic statistics of today are:
The story of the day starts at 05:00 when we had to be out of our hotel rooms and load our luggage onto the vans for transportation onwards to the next hotel. At this time it was raining very heavily, but the weather forecast was for it to have cleared up by 0700.
After breakfast, we prepared our bikes for the ride ahead. By the start of the ride at 0700, the rain had indeed stopped and we were off on day 2 of our ride. For those who have not ridden a bike in a large group, it is not only the distance that is the problem, but the behaviour, deliberate or otherwise. of your fellow riders that is the problem. Today, within 1 mile there had been several visits from the p*nct*re fairy, causing some chaos. Other people dropped their water bottles, didn’t they Jeremy. Now, this may be unfortunate you say, but someone also lost 2 bottles on last years ride. Careless? well I’m more worried that he is clumsy especially as later in the year he will be a daddy to twins. I hope he handles them better than his water bottles!
The first 24 miles of today’s ride passed without incident and we were at our first stop before 09:15. We stopped at a Target Store somewhere – I’m not sure of the location. Food and lots of fluids were taken on board. We then headed further south, still in New Jersey to our lunch stop at Willingboro in NJ where we were able to use the parking lot of a church designed to hold a congregation of 1100 people! Yes, a big church!
After lunch, we had a 29.2 mile stretch to the foot of the Commodore Barry Bridge to face. Sadly, after about 1 mile I got a flat and had to stop. I went from being one of the first on the road, to being out of the back waiting for the breakdown truck. The mechanics in the mobile truck were amazing and had the flat fixed in less than a mile. The mechanics included 2 of the founder members of the PUT – yes, they get their hands dirty.
I was thrown out of the truck some 500 yards or so behind the back of the 650 riders. I had to put my foot down to catch the back of the bunch and then work my way up through the field. About 3/4 of the way to the front, I met up with Jeremy and he kept me company until the tea interval, some 80 miles into the day’s ride. I am pleased to say that by the tea stop I had worked my way back to the front of the field. Sheer brute power and bloody mindedness works sometimes.
After tea, it was time to climb the Commodore Barry Bridge which is 2 miles from base to top and a climb of over 250feet. This was surprisingly easy to do – I managed it with gears to spare and not out of breath. Thereafter it was only 5-6 miles to our destination for the night, Wilmington. Dinner and a couple of beers then bed
Tonight, a sunburned, tired but happy cyclist goes to bed – not alone but ( & I’m sure Mike won’t be surprised to learn) not with the person I want to share a room with. Its hard not being able to chat to Michelle other than by bbm- and the 5 hour time difference is a problem