Day 22: 95 miles to Adamsville!!
I went in with the same mentality that I always have on long rides: don’t over think it, just do it. There’s no sense in complaining about it or dreading the amount of hours you’ll spend on your bike because you’re just gonna have to do it anyway.
Before the trip, we each had to fulfill certain requirements. First, we all had to do 10 “sweat equity” hours volunteering with an affordable housing group. Then we had to interview of beneficiary of one of these organizations. We also had to research two towns along our route, which were assigned to us. One of my towns was Adamsville, TN, which means I had to give a short presentation before we left for the day. I told them about the AH beneficiary that I interviewed named Mrs. Matthews who was receiving help from Rebuilding Together of the Triangle at her home in Garner, NC. Then I told my team the little bit that I had learned about Adamsville: it’s called “The Biggest Little Town in Tennessee”, the Walking Tall movies were based off of the late Sheriff Buford Pusser in this town, and it is claimed that the Sheriff once “wrestled and defeated a live bear”. Not sure how accurate that last one is.
In the morning, people were already talking about doing more loops around town and around the host’s parking lot to make up the last 5 miles so they could say they did a century. I did not plan on being a century rider that day – we’re going to have a couple of 100+ mile days, so I decided to be patient and wait for those. I rode in a pack of the same seven riders all day long, and we later called ourselves the “Sexy Seven”. It was Meg, Aaron, Tim, Ryan, Scott, Conor, and I. Meg and I led the pack of boys for about the first 20 miles, saying “girls rule, boys drool” type chants. For example, the classic “girls go to college to get more knowledge, boys go to Jupiter to get more stupider”. We’re pretty proud of our girl power. The guys we were with were supportive and enjoyed being led by two strong ladies!!
One of the most exciting parts of the day was that we were going to have two lunches!! This is because Bike & Build has a 90/90 rule: if the day is over 90 miles of riding OR the temperature is over 90, we have to have two lunches provided. They definitely helped to break up the day.
The beginning of the ride was sort of “blah”, as we continued to ride on the very busy and very gravelly HWY-64. We’re all sick of riding on it. Too many flats and too many jolts from the crappy road to make for a joyful ride. I’d already had two flats thanks to 64, and I didn’t want to have any more tube casualties. Luckily, we were only on it for about 15 miles.
The majority of the ride was AWESOME! It was on a back road that was surrounded by green trees and grass. The drizzling rain was actually appreciated, as it kept the temperature cool and allowed us to pretend we were riding in the rainforest! I felt really great already and I was optimistic about the long day ahead! The only downside to the ride before lunch was getting chased by a polar bear sized dog and having to sprint away from it on my bike. Luckily for everyone else in my group, who were about half a mile behind me, I wore this dog out and it didn’t even chase the others (you are all welcome).
The group continued to play the “my cow” game, and I learned more of the rules. If someone calls “my cow” but the supposed cows turn out to be, say, horses, then ALL of their cows are dead. The boys debated at what point calling “my cow” counts for this rule: is it when the person begins to say “my” or not until they start to make the hard c sound in “cow”? Also, if someone finds a cemetery and sees a gravestone for a name that somehow relates to cows (example: last name Angus, Hambourger, Berger, etc), then the game starts all over and everyone has zero cows again. A debate we had over this rule is whether or not the last name McDonald should count. These are the things we have time to debate over while pedaling a bike for hours on end.
At one point during the ride, we turned down the wrong road. I took a photo of the road’s name because it was quite humorous and ironic… (Hint: it’s not the road named “Waterloo”)
We got “buffaloed” by a road called buffalo! I told you that drinking game would produce some good stories!
We made it to lunch and ended up having to eat really quickly because Steven, the leader who was driving the van that day, had gotten a phone call saying that one of our riders had fallen off her bike. She had cracked her helmet, and even though she was physically fine, for safety reasons she was not allowed to ride with a cracked helmet. Unfortunately, she would have to spend the remainder of the day in the van, and Steven had to go pick her up immediately. With this news, Sam and I went into raccoon-mode and we did what we did best: quickly scavenged the best food from the trailer without being noticed. We’re really good at this.
When we left first lunch, we tried to play a mind trick on ourselves: we told ourselves that first lunch was actually breakfast, and that we had actually gotten to sleep in and eat a late breakfast before a moderate day of 60 miles (trying to ignore the 35 miles that we had just cranked out). This mentality actually worked, believe or not. The Sexy Seven was crushing it!! We cruised through the “rainforest” of Tennessee and kept each other laughing all day. We took turns leading and drafting behind the pack. I felt fantastic all day long, and I could feel that I had become a stronger cyclist since the beginning of the trip.
We ate second lunch pretty quickly because we were ready to get to the host site. Meg and I led the boys for the final 10 miles. As soon as we saw the “Welcome to Adamsville” sign, the church we were staying at was in sight! We took pictures in front of the sign to commemorate the trip, then waited at the church for our teammates to arrive.
For dinner, the Pizza Hut in town generously donated TONS of pizza, pasta, and dessert!! We were very grateful for their support on such an exhausting day. After a “town hall meeting”, which is what we call our weekly team meetings, we all hit the sack early, tired from the day. Overall, it was one of my favorite days yet! But then again, on Bike & Build, every day is the best day of your life!!!