As I am sitting here in a laundromat in Pensacola, Florida, washing my dirty clothes, I figure it is the best time to update y’all on how I am doing! After Carrollton, GA, we crossed the border into Auburn, Alabama, then Troy, Alabama, then Defuniak Springs, Florida, and then finally here in Pensacola. It has been a pretty hectic set of days, and I have many pics to upload, so I will do the best I can!
First, I will include a picture from the last blog post that I never uploaded.
This is in Atlanta. We got to go to an Atlanta Braves game. My first pro baseball game. Honestly, I thought it was a blast. Great time chilling with the team while watching a fun game.
After we left Georgia, we rode into Auburn, Alabama. I rode with some very good cyclists: Brad Buchanan, Matt Dyjack, and Shawna Kleftis. The day originally was supposed to be 85 miles. On the 4K, that number really is tentative. We ended up doing some offroading for 8 miles on a dirt road, messed up with directions about 5 times, and finally rode into Auburn only to circle the campus before getting to our host. It was quite hectic! However, I personally thought the day was quite enjoyable. We employed this technique called a pace line where we switch off who rides in front of the pack so that others can draft behind them. It is efficient for the whole group and allows us to rest our legs while we draft (let the person in front take most of the wind)! However, we ended up going 105 miles, which was 20 over what we expected. It was quite a tiring day. However, Auburn was a really cool place. Beautiful campus, bumping college town, and an overall lively atmosphere. Definitely could feel the fratlife there too with Southern Tide and short khaki shorts dominating the clothing scene among college students.
We left Auburn the next morning to go to Troy, Alabama. That was probably the hottest day we had had so far. It had to have been close to a 100 degrees, and was very hilly at times. It was about 80 miles, but it sure was great getting to the host! We were the first ones there, and after we showered, we got to swim and eat dinner at this beautiful country home:
It was so nice getting to relax and swim after such a hot day.
Here are some more pictures from that home:
This is a jacked horse we saw there:
Also, to our wonderful surprise, we got to eat at an ice cream shop afterward called the Milky Moose, a place featured on the food channel. Here is a taste of that:
I had quite the Sundae, and it honestly hit the spot. Great pre-ride carb load too, right?
The next day, we started riding into Defuniak Springs, FL. Also a burning hot day. This is a picture of me on a pretty deserted road on the way. If you look closely behind me, that is where one of my teammates peed on the road. Yeah, it was that deserted.
Below is another picture from that day. Our group ran into quite a bit of troubles. My teammates had numerous flats and mechanical issues, and after taking a 30 minute nap while trying to deal with the 145th flat tire, we decided to go unsupported from the water van. We filled up water at nearby gas stations, got a free slushy donations, and even got free Mexican food donated from a restaurant with a very nice owner! Here is us:
Toward the end of our ride, we finally crossed the Florida border, with a looming storm over us:
Literally 1 mile after we crossed the border, it started to pour rain like crazy. We took cover under a shelter, waiting for the the thunder and lightning to subside. I really did not want to get picked up by the van at this point, since we only had 20 miles left and I was riding for my friend, Maggie who is in the hospital in Spain recovering from a serious accident with a bus while she was running. That really gave me the motivation to finish in the fear of the storm. We victoriously arrived at our high school where we stayed and anticipated the next day when we would ride into Pensacola, FL.
For me, I actually rode in the water van to support the riders on this day. It was a bit of a bummer since the ride was so scenic. It was very flat, almost all along the coast, and absolutely beautiful. Here is a pic:
When we actually got to Pensacola, we hung out and relaxed for the night, but for our rest day, we visited Pensacola beach all day! I swam in the morning, then rented a jet ski with some friends. We later relaxed at a restaurant/bar and went back to our host for the day. Overall, it was a very relaxing day. Here is a pic of a view I had from a restaurant called “Surf Burger.”
A final picture I want to share is quite meaningful to me and all the 4k family. It is a picture of my calves with the name “Jamie Roberts” written across them. About two weeks ago, this 4k rider for Team Portland was hit by a vehicle and passed away. Although heartbreaking for all of 4K, we really bonded after that accident, and when we got back on our bikes again from Atlanta to Carrolltown, we all dedicated our rides to Jamie.
She really is a great inspiration for me to continue and finish my cross country journey.
Finally, I chose to dedicate my day riding out of Auburn to my grandma on my mom’s side, Hend. Although I never really knew her since she died shortly after I was born, she still gave me inspiration to continue my ride by simply enable me to think about my own mother. I unfortunately am not able to upload the picture of my calves here due to some technical difficulties, but you get the idea!
Thanks for reading my blog today. I know it is a bit long because I am covering so much, but that is what I have for now. I will update you all soon!