Riding (and walking) the first day

I only cried three times on our first day, and two were out of happiness/relief, like when we crossed the state line into Maryland.

Before take off

We left Columbia, PA about on schedule, and the beginning was great. Riding across the Susquehanna river was the most incredible feeling, and we trucked it to York, PA fairly easily, despite the traffic.

We did have to stop and adjust Elizabeth’s front brakes. And my front derailleur cable worked itself loose, so we had to fix that before I could shift again. Our google directions in the city of York weren’t 100% accurate, or the streets themselves weren’t marked, but we still found our way to the rail trail, and pedaled a few miles, before stopping and preparing lunch.

York PA Heritage Rail Trail

Food prep

Our lunch

Heritage Rail Trail Tunnel

After that, though, the trip got more difficult. We planned and added about 5 miles to the trip in order to ride the rail trail hoping the flatness and lack of traffic would make it easy and stress-free. However, our narrower tires and panniers made handling the bikes more difficult. But the worst was the drag–the soft surface, the extra weight, and riding into the wind really slowed us down and made it feel like we were riding in mud. And while a flat surface means you don’t have to ride up any hills, it also means you have to pedal continuously. By the time we reached Glen Rock, PA, we were about at the end of our capabilities.

We were also slightly off course (the cross roads were confusingly marked) adding a few extra miles to our trip. We also had the worst ascents ahead of us. I stopped in the public library to get updated directions, and we pushed our bikes uphill out of Glen Rock and we promptly got lost again, with over 20 miles to go.

We stopped a woman walking a dog for directions, and her husband got us on 216, uphill, during rush hour. This is when I started crying, because my injured knee had started to hurt and I didn’t think I could make it another 20 miles. We even called Terry and Louise to tell them we might not make it. But we took a break, ate something, and made it to the top.

That was definitely the worst stretch. Coming down into Lineboro was such a relief. We stopped in Lineboro and ate something on the bench in front of the fire station–we should have taken more breaks and ate more earlier in the day.

Lineboro fire station

Tracy Mill road was a delight. But by the time we had more serious climbs, neither of us could do them. The sun set while we still had about 4 miles to go. Terry drove out to check on us after dark, and offered us a ride, but we wanted to make it the whole way, even if it meant walking and coasting a few more miles.

As you can see, the end of the trip was not as easy as the first part. And overall, we went uphill most of the day:

Fullscreen capture 452013 103529 AM.bmp
(interactive map at http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/188785708)

So, we are taking Friday off. I need it, and Elizabeth probably needs it more. My front derailleur also needs a professional tune up. We’ve decided to do 20-40 mile days until 40 is a piece of cake.


13 thoughts on “Riding (and walking) the first day

  1. congrats Elizabeth!!! the first day is often the hardest (this from a woman who biked MT ten yrs ago, not at all the scale of what you ladies are doing!) i enjoy reading your updates! much love, janine

  2. But you made it! And I’m impressed 🙂 I was pretty envious yesterday and kept wondering why I wasn’t going with you girls. Now maybe I’m glad I wasn’t…..

  3. I’m impressed, too! This sounds like quite a first day. Maybe you should set more modest goals…at least at the beginning. Give yourselves some time to get in shape. Don’t risk injuries. Riding uphill during rush hour sounds like torture. I hope your second day is much better!!

  4. Wow, I am impressed, but worried you aren’t going to be able to enjoy the experience with the pressure you are putting on yourselves. I am rooting for you!!! It’s always about the journey not the destination. Congrats on getting started and moving ahead 🙂 Looking forward to the next post!

  5. Well done! The first day was going to be the hardest. Now you’ve reassessed your capabilities and have a better feel for what is doable and how much pain you can tolerate. Pay attention to your food and liquid intake … you are burning a lot of calories and as it warms water loss becomes important. Very impressed with what you two are doing … I only wish I were healthy (and young) enough to do it. We are all with you all the way!

    • Thank you! Yes, as the weather warms and gets nicer for riding it also get more dangerous especially if this summer is as hot as the past few we’ve had.

  6. You are both phenomenal! I would cried much more often and then given up 4 miles form the goal and have Terry come to save me…..and regretted it all my life. Rest up and carry on!

  7. Every obstacle will make you stronger. I’m so glad that I saw that you’re blogging your journey. You’ve got a whole lot of Orange rooting for you. Enjoy hte trip. I can’t wait to follow your journey.

  8. We read about your adventure at the dinner table tonight. Wahoo! You go girls! The ladies and I are excited to read more, good luck and safe travels!
    I hope you have a good rest of the trip. Keep your spirits up, I know you can do it!
    You guys are crazy cool!!! Keep up your crazy determination!

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