The statistics are:
Well, we are now in Annapolis in Maryland having ridden over 230 miles in 3 days through, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. Tomorrow its the short haul into Washington Dc and our goal at the National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial. The atmosphere tonight was very different from previous nights. Mor about that later.
The day started with our being up before 0500 to have our luggage outside the hotel by 0530 and then breakfast in the hotel. Thereafter, it was time to prepare body mind and bike for another 90+ mile ride. This was to be a long haul with a first stage of 28 miles and an after dinner stage of 33 miles.
We rolled off shortly after 0700 and made our way south towards a centre that cares for the handicapped. This centre welcomes us every year, allowing us to use their facilities, making us banners and posters. In return, the PUT makes a donation to the centre’s costs. today as well as the centre receiving a donation, it was announced to everyone present that one of the rider’s, my Manx companion Maggie was celebrating her 70th birthday. An impromptu chorous of happy birthday followed. Maggie at 70 was doing the PUT for the first time. That is an incredible achievement. Its even better that she is from the Isle of Man and another Brit. Those who know me will know my mother is from the Isle of Man and I have lived there as well. Maggie is a truly inspirational lady and should be proud of herself doing the PUT; let alone doing it at 70 years of age. This first stage was a 28 mile ride. We arrived there before 0930 and the temperature was already scorching at 78F.
From the Centre, we had a very short stage to the Fire Station in Galena for Lunch. Albeit a short stage , it was rather lumpy, with several short sharp hills. Still, I’m pleased to report that on arrival at Galena, I was once again well placed in the Portaloo Sprint (the race to get to the portaloos before the others get there. This has started to be a recurring feature f the ride since I mentioned to one of the US riders that I was an admirer of Mark Cavendish for his sprinting. It is becoming a talking point that at the end of each stage I find myself nicely placed for the sprint. With a better lead out time, I could be devastating. i wonder if Cav and the other professional riders are competing for the Portaloo sprint at the end of each stage.
After lunch we set off for the longest stage of the PUT, a 33 mile ride. This is traditionally the fastest stage. Indeed for the first 290 miles we were riding at between 15 and 20 mph before the lead car was ordered to slow down to a crawl as the field was once again spread over several miles. This was frustrating as I was going well, even up the hills and was at the front of the field again. Me competitive? I don’t know what you mean, but I’m not letting anyone pass me. Arriving at our final stop of the day, I was again one of the winners on the portaloo sprint. In fact I had been to the loos , left, had food and drink before others had finished. The temperature during this stage reached 87.8F and as I melted and caught skin cancer, the Californians and Texans were complaining it was cols and wearing jackets and tights. Honestly, its true!!! I have to say that I have some interesting tan lines and some very visible ones as well!
The last stage was 17 miles down to a park in Chesapeake Bay where we had to load bikes onto lorries and get a bus across the bridge into Annapolis.
Knowing there was only a morning of riding left, we were much more relaxed tonight and after a shower, we went into the beautiful town of Annapolis for tea- a pizza and a chat with an Ohio journalist writing a story about the event and one of the deceased officers. Annapolis was jumping tonight being a Friday night. It is a busy town on a weekend and is home to the US Naval Academy. It was nice that Maggie’s son Rob was able to join us tonight as it was her birthday. He had driven 7 hours from Charlotte in South Carolina to be with his mother this weekend.
Sadly, Mike managed to have money stolen from his wallet, but we were not going to let that spoil the night, so Paul, Jeremy and I had a couple of beers in the bar and talked crap before turning in for the night.
Lisa with just a few of the bikes in one of the store rooms in one hotel in Annapolis
The view to the Harbour in Annapolis Main Street
With Paul in Annapolis
Annapolis Harbour at Night
Team HRH (with guests from Ohio) Myself, Jeremy (Ohio), Maggie (IOM & Ohio) Paul (Essex), Lisa (Canada) and Mike (Ohio)
Team IoM (subset of Team HRH) – with birthday girl Maggie. She can’t be 70 looking that good.