Sunday, May 13, 2012

Day 6: LEU Ride to Richmond, VA

Day 6: 118 Miles
Total: 568.5 Miles
Weight Watchers Points earned: 110

The day started out with a nice service to get us going.  They announced the donation totals, the new board (Congrats to Jimmy Kingman, VP), a couple of prayers, ride rules, and a great message from my friend (Director of National Outreach at C.O.P.S.) Jennifer Thacker.

For many Day 6 was their first leg riding to DC.  The Virginia Chapter of Law Enforcement United left out on Thursday morning May 10 with around 300 riders.  The start was a bit hectic as the ability levels were all over the place.  Some people had only ridden a bicycle a few miles for training, others had never ridden in a large pack, and then there were others who cruised through the ride.  Our first distance before stopping was long and a bit sloppy but it gave some of the newbies time to get adjusted to riding in a group or some it provided the opportunity to "tap out" and ride in the SAG wagon.

I found that early on I stuck with who I knew and stayed close to the FLETC team.  We were easy to find as our jerseys were white and the others were black.  I kinda sat back a bit and watched how things were playing out and just tried to get an idea of what to expect for the ride.  After the first leg, the LEU team really cleaned up the ride and we were moving at better paces.  I rode a good bit with Juan who really looked out for me this year.  What a great friend I made... first he apologized for crashing (which wasn't even necessary) on Saturday and he would eventually be taken out by a careless rider, but the man continues to get up and continue his ride.

So while I did good bit of bragging about the FLETC team in the past blogs, I'm going to do it again.  I did mention that most of them cleared 1200 miles on their journey... well it just gets better.  These guys not only did their portion of the ride but when other riders struggled many of these guys would tote them, one hand on the handle bar and the other on their back and crank away.  The reason... to help them get to the end of this leg and eventually to Washington DC.  Byung (who might be 140 lbs) could be seen pushing people 3 times his size, up hills.

Our support teams were solid.  No shortage of liquids, nourishment, bike parts, or band aids at any stop and a smile to go along with it.  We stopped at public safety buildings, fire departments, a colonial farm (for lunch), and two Food Lions.

It was a long slow day in the saddle (and my hiney was killing me) but the conditions were GREAT.  I think the total was 118 miles for the day.  We started riding around 8:30ish AM and didn't get to the hotel until about 12 hours later.   I don't yet have the confidence to "tote" people yet, however, I did "talk some people up" and tried to provide encouragement as we rode.  If the were law enforcement, I made sure they knew that we (as survivors) appreciated what they were doing for us... and the survivors, well I just told them how proud their loved one would be.  Along the way I had a chance to meet some cool people.  I noticed a young lady struggling on her bike but determined to get to the next leg.  Ashley Curtin was riding in memory of her father Sergeant Michael Curtin of the NY Police Department.  Ashley became a "survivor" on 911.  I got to ride along side of Ashely (with other FLETC riders) offering cycling tips and words of encouragement to help her on the bike.  Ashely's training consisted of 13 miles and there were a couple of times through the day where she sought the assistance of the SAG wagons but when the sun set, her distance on the bicycle was over 100 miles.  Inspiring.  Along with a huge accomplishment this weekend, next weekend she will graduate from College and move towards a career in law enforcement.  What a cool chick!

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