On your marks… Rockville, IN 6/7/2010

I woke up this morning to the glorious smell of McDonald’s sausage mcmuffins, freshly cut apples and oranges and chocolate milk. I quickly hammered out 5 mcmuffins, an apple and a glass of chocolate milk.  Don’t forget the cookies!

Anticipation was high today for a flat 68 miles.  What was even more exciting was the chance to ride with an alumni rider, Dan Bartholomew.  I was excited to ride with him because he races bikes.  He had a race yesterday and won.  His bike is a sick Cannondale Super Six with some custom components.  The front group was in for a fun day.  Mind you Dan hadn’t put 1000 miles on his bike two weeks prior as we have.

We started out fast.  Dan hung out near the back of the pack.  The pace was set somewhere around 21 miles an hour.  We roared through Indiana.  The leads began to filter to the back as they became tired.  About five miles in, Dan took the lead.  Conor and I encouraged him to challenge us.  Here came a hill… and… we take it at 27 miles an hour!  Half the group drops.  We keep a crazy pace for about another mile and a half until he goes to the back of the much smaller pack.  We try to hold a pace around 23 and succeed.  Later in the ride, Conor talks some smack to Dan just before Dan was about to take the lead.  Dan takes off and holds pace at 31 miles an hour.  I was in my highest gear pedaling as fast as I could.  It just wasn’t happening.  We finished the first 40 miles in 2 hours.  We beat the van to the rest stops. Nuts.  And fun.  Dan left at mile 30, so when Conor, Greg and I left our rest stop at 40, we dogged the remainder of the ride.

The church we stayed at was extremely accommodating.  They were really excited to hear about our ride and our motivations behind it.  One woman told me about a young lady who passed away from breast cancer in March who was a member of their church. It is remarkable how open people are once they find that the person that they are talking to is a cancer survivor.  Only then do the stories pour out.  Everyone knows someone, everyone has a story.  Biking across the country can easily fool someone into thinking that every cancer case is just like the other.  Wrong.  Every case is unique and special to the whole community surrounding the diagnosis.  This community included us today, even if the person diagnosed had passed away.

The church cooked us an awesome spaghetti dinner.  During conversation, a man mentioned that they hold karaoke nights at the church.  With a little more conversation, he convinced himself to set up the karaoke for just us!  I4Khoir?  I4Karaoke?  Yup.  The night was a blast.  I heard some people sing that I never have heard before!  We sounded wonderful and successfully kept the others up with a shouty rendition of “Lean on Me.”

My favorite part of the night was when I found a piano to play.  I haven’t touched a piano since the beginning of the trip!  Eamn sat right next to me and showed that he knew how to play a little piano himself.  Together, we combined our talents to create an I4k blues.   Awesome.

Tonight, I sleep on a couch.  Call me princess.

Comments (3)
  • Nancy Odon (Steve's Ma) says:

    Do you have any information about what’s happening when you arrive in Chicago on Friday? Do you need anything the day before when you are in Homewood? Can’t wait to see you (and the beard!)

  • Jill Canaday says:

    Wow, what a story. A great, wonderful story Stephen. Thanks for sharing it with us. You will never forget this trip and the strangers you have met along the way will never forget you!
    See you in Homewood, I can’t wait to shake your hand.

  • Darlene Ayres says:

    stephen, i sat at dinner with you at the end of the table. after leaving you guys last night,much to my dislike because i missed the fun….i came home and read about the team and each team member. if i would have known before hand that you played piano i would have showed you the way so i could have heard the blues. i am so glad that i was able to meet you and the team you have given me new inspiration. bless you and the team in your travel and know you are in our prayers! cant wait to read more of your travels!

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