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.
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.
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.
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:
(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.