Thursday, July 19, 2007

Rain, Rain Go Away Day 47

You may have noticed that there are no pictures of bike riders or the terrain we travelled today. As you may have guessed by the title of today's blog, we had lots of rain today. Starting with light drizzle, then heavier rain, and a real drenching downpour midday, we had lots of wet today. After the ride, almost every rider was washing his/her bike, to remove the debris, mud, filth, etc.. that get on the bikes when it rains.
I put my camera in a waterproof bag this AM, and didn't remove it until we reached the hotel here in Liverpool, near Syracuse, NY. Too bad, because we passed several of the finger lakes, rode through Waterloo (the birthplace of Memorial Day) and Seneca Falls (the birthplace of "Women's rights/voting"), and saw other interesting sites as well. Several folks had their cameras ruined in the rain today, and one rider says her (that narrows it down a little, doesn't it, Erin?) third camera of the trip was ruined!
On top of that, we rode over thousands of pieces of glass, and riders had more than thirty flat tires today. One rider had four while another had six! I had a flat tire early myself. Pictured above is a group of riders at "route rap" who raised their hands when asked if they had a flat tire today. Lots of hands are raised.
On the bright side, I was given permission by Arlene to tell a story about her. Arlene, pictured in the middle with Jay, suffered a fall off her bike about three weeks ago. She sustained multiple lacerations to her face and hand, and had non-displaced fractures of her nose and "pinky" finger! She wore a splint on her hand/finger, and had many sutures. Arlene also had bruises on her face and looked very sore! She rode in the SAG van for about a week, asking me about every other day if she could ride yet. After a week, we started to remove some of her sutures. Then, on the rest day in Indianapolis she rode around the 2 1/2 mile track. The next day she rode about thirty miles, and within a few days she was riding the full day's mileage, which she has continued to do. She feels much better, and is riding strongly. We are so impressed with her! Her stitches are all out, her bruises are healing--and, as you can see, she looks great!
We have had several riders leave the trip this summer. Two have left after falling off their bikes, and another left early after fighting bronchitis. I haven't reported any details on this blog because I haven't asked their permission to do so, and because I don't want to emphasize any "negatives". The AbB staff says that perhaps 10% of riders don't finish the Cross Country Challenge each year, and with three riders gone out of about 25, I guess we're just over that average as we approach the Atlantic Ocean. The ride certainly is challenging, and some of our riders have really suffered at times. But they are all strong and courageous.
Another rider who deserves special mention in this regard is Robert (pronounced Ro BARE), from France. Robert will turn 73 in a few days, and he is pictured below at a birthday celebration held this evening after dinner, where we (appropriately) had wine in his honor. The wines were from the local wineries, but Robert enjoyed them nonetheless! Robert, who is our second oldest rider (Herb is 75), had fought bronchitis for well over a week. He took antibiotics and continued to ride every day, going a little slower until he felt better. He feels well now, and is riding as strong as ever. Amazing!
Joyeaus anniversair, Robert!

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