We are in the middle of a long stretch of bike days - 7 days straight to be exact. To top it off, right in the middle, we did our first century as a group today. In fact we rode 108 miles. I spent the day riding with Zach. It was great fun! We rode at a steady pace the entire time, with minimal short breaks and reached the destination as the first group. It was a beautiful ride in many places and hot and empty in some.
It was a great experience to be able to complete a century with another person. I did my first century alone during my training. My friend Andy challenged me to a Bike-A-Thon, for which he donated $1 for every mile I rode in 24 hours. I expected to go 100 miles, but ultimately completed 120. From what it looks like, I won't be topping that mileage on this trip.
I'm also still astounded by the generosity of the strangers we meet and the hosts that put us up every night. At one of the small towns, Melissa - pictured above - gave us all free coffee. We also stayed a night at the National Guard Armory where our hosts allowed up to climb into a tank.
Just yesterday, we stayed at a host who boasts to be the "best host on the NC2SD route." As of today, they absolutely have been the best host. When we arrived, they took out bikes and washed and tuned them. We walked into town and got free ice cream from the general store. A volunteer chiropractor took a look and anyone who was interested. They served us dinner and breakfast and even made us sandwiches for lunch the next day! After going to see a free movie at the movie theater, they topped things off by letting us stay in the empty dorm rooms where we all had beds and many of us got our own rooms. It was a luxurious experience indeed. While free ice cream and bike service is great, i can forget the many people who we talk to on our rides who are simply interested in what we are doing or where we are going. It's always a great opportunity to promote the cause and get to know the local area.
It's hard to believe we're already 3 weeks into the trip and have ridden over 1000 miles. With all this biking, it can be easy to forget what we're biking for. We don't have another build day for a while, but I'm getting excited to get back into it!