Valley Forge to Trenton, NJ – 80 miles
It was cold again in the morning. They warned the first 40 miles would be very hilly. Again. I was not happy about it. You know it’s bad when the kindest person you know yells, “No way, you GOTTA be F**CKING KIDDING me!!” when you come upon yet another hill, with its menacing laugh.
This time, Kathy, a first-time Tour de Pink rider, rode my pace. She’s a strong rider, but she didn’t want to kill herself trying to chase down our core group, so she was kind enough to hang with me. She was a great cheerleader when I lapsed into moments of bad attitude. Those generally happened when I was coming upon a hill, but surprisingly, the bad went away as I climbed the hill. It’s the beauty of biking. Just when you think you’ll never ride again, you either get to the top of the hill and are well rewarded with a nice downhill, or in this case, you just get into a zen moment and you’re at peace with churning it out to the top. It’s really strange.
On this route, there was a particularly steep downhill. The issue is that it’s pocked with all sorts of holes. Before we left for this portion of the ride, Karen told me I should seriously consider braking on the way down. I gotta tell you, though, I love speed… I did end up hitting the brakes once going down. I guess I would have to agree that it was kinda dangerous. This hill was also the indication that the very hilly parts of the entire ride were behind us. It made me love that downhill even more.
From that point on, we rode alongside the Delaware River. Just beautiful. And flat. Kathy and I hooked up with a guy named Tom. He’s 6’9” and looks like he should have a blue ox named Babe standing at his side at all times. We rode into the last rest stop and did a little too much vacationing there. We all practically got full body massages, but boy, did it make the rest of the ride much more enjoyable.
We rode in late afternoon, and this is the part I can do without. The rest of the Hershey guys are all fresh and showered with a beer in hand, hanging around the lobby of the hotel waiting for the rest of us slow pokes to ride in, and then they say, “Hey, let’s take a picture!” Yeah, you look good, and I look like I just rode 80 miles. I swear… Despite all that, I love those guys.