Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Day 50: Manchester to Rye, NH

Drank a drop too much wine last night at the banquet so got up feeling just slightly off kilter but I drank lots of orange juice and came around very quickly. Not sad to think that it was the last of 54 nights in a hotel but choked up several times during the ride as I realized that it really was coming to an end. My spells of sadness receded every time we hit another hill-- and there were plenty of them even though the ride was relatively short (about 58 miles with only 2500 feet of climbing). Sort of amazing that the hills never seemed to get easy despite the many that I managed to drag myself up. Next week I will try some of my local hills and see if they give me less trouble than they did when I was training.

I was in good time for a traditional last group gathering at "Me and Ollie's", a bakery and coffee shop in Exeter and knowing that we had only about 12 miles to ride left us all relaxed and convivial. When we reluctantly broke up for the final leg to the middle school in Rye where we would convene for the final bit of the ride, we were all torn between happy and sad. By the time we got to Rye it was hot and humid but we suffered through a group picture session, endured the waiting while the police escort was organized and had the inevitable very last minute flat (not mine, thank goodness) which was fixed in just a couple of minutes by Jim, our fabulous mechanic.

The honor of riding first on the way to the beach fell to the four slowest riders-- me, Ian, Helen and Ellen-- so we were right behind the van. Being first I couldn't get any sense of what we looked like but with someone else driving Mike crouched in the open back door of the van and took pictures. It was a nice slow trip with the police ahead of us and stopping traffic as we came onto Route 1 to Wallis Sands State Park and then in a moment it was all over. Like many others John and I were greeted by friends and family. Cyclists went down onto the beach-- on such a hot day crowded with regular beach people-- dipped their bikes and took pictures. The time for tearful farewells and hugs was pretty much at an end for those of us not staying at the hotel another night. We gathered our luggage from the truck and went out to lunch with my friend Liz, my sisters Tamar and Kate, and my daughter Margaret. My sister Sybil and her significant other Peter had been at the beach to greet us but left before lunch because Peter was setting off on his own adventure-- a drive to Alaska. Got home to Northport at about 6:30 and had an ecstatic reunion with Dog Darby and a lovely evening settling in to being home!

1 comment:

  1. Congrats Dereka & John. Ron & I enjoyed reading about your journey across the USA. You are one tough lady. Wouldn't want to be on the wrong side with you! You are also an entertaining writer. Hats off to your being able to sit down and write daily. Hope you enjoy being off your bikes for a few days.