What a day!

We got into Boston Thursday at around 6pm, which was later than expected because of traffic delays. After taking care of getting the bikes checked, last minute registration stuff, safety presentation, eating and hotel check-in  I ended up not getting to bed until around 10:30. That made the 4:30 wake-up all the harsher.

But get up I did and got my self decked out in my finest Flying Goat attire to tackle the first day of Braking the Cycle. And speaking of the Goats, do we all look great in this picture that was shot at about 6:30 this morning:

From left to right that’s Chad, me, Caryn, John, Joey, Greg, Patrick, Clay and Richard. (There are more photos to see over on Flickr.

Of today’s 98.9 miles, I rode 88.2. Unfortunately it took me so long to do the 15.5 miles leading in to lunch (thanks to some really nasty hills that had us climbing from about 250 feet up to 700 feet) that I ended up and got swept to the next Oasis10.6 miles ahead. This was really the right choice because my shoulders needed the rest. While my legs have held up to the ride pretty well so far, my shoulders are another matter. I’ve got this tendency to tense up my shoulders and they became a knotted mess. Luckily Patrick gave me some serious shoulder massages and Oases 2 and 6 and then Chad, who has been helping me do some rehab on various parts of my body, did some even more serious work on them after dinner.

It’s been an incredible day. The Goats are a great team. While we’re pretty spread out during the ride, most of us connect back up at the Oasis to check in with each other. Several other riders have spurred me on today too. Jody and Melissa really pulled me through some tough times getting up the hills that lead up to lunch. I was just about to the point that I was going to let myself get picked up by the van because I was discouraged, but I fell in with them and we pushed each other the final 6 miles to lunch. Granted, I got swept just after that for taking so long, but I’m happy I didn’t get swept from the side of the road.

I’ve been mostly in the back, probably with the last 20% of the riders most of the time if I had to guess. I’ve chatted with some great people from The Center team, including checking in with Jama and Glenda and most rest stops (it’s been really great to see Jama as I used to see her fairly regularly while I was volunteering with Ali Forney Center), Team Eagle, Team Google and others. Everyone on this ride is  awesome. Everyone keeps tabs on each other, offers help if someone is at the side of the road.

The support the ride has is sizable. Not only are there a lot of crew people who take care of the riders all along the way–everything from helping get us across intersections, to picking us up, fixing bikes, filling water bottles and serving ice cream. There’s quite a police presence too with officers in many of the towns we pass through holding traffic for us to pass safely through intersections.

So far, I’m thrilled to be here and am proud of what I accomplished today despite being swept. Tomorrow is the long day at 103.2 miles and we’ve got the biggest hill climb. Basically the first40 miles will be hell.