To Dos Reales we go.

Hello hello. I haven’t blogged in a while because I forgot my password. I have also lost all track of time, days, and locations. I think that I am probably one of the worse people on the team with that kind of stuff because I am always asking where we are and where we are going. Since my last post, a lot has happened.

Riding through the mountains was both mentally and physically challenging. I hit 49.9 MPH going down a mountain and it was such an adrenaline rush. Nothing feels better after spending hours climbing a mountain and then just flying down it in a few minutes. Tracey and Kevin are really good at climbing mountains/hills. I officially associate Tracey with the words “On your left” during any climb. I am envious of their mad climbing skills. But you just have to take each climb at your own pace and you can make it.

Our stayovers on the east coast have been so wonderful. It really hit me the other day that our ride and organization can not run without the kindness of random strangers, family members, friends, and alumni. I really have no idea where we would be without the generosity of all of the people we have encountered. For example, one day me and a few other riders got lost–about 12 miles out of our way. We pulled over and asked a few construction workers for directions and they were so helpful. They even gave us a map which we relied on very much. Later that day we stopped at a convenience store and the two women working there did everything they could to give us great directions. They even used their connections in the next town over so that we could cross an interstate bridge with a police escort. Yes, a police escort. Myself, Ana, Jill, Bridget, Tracey, Diana, Kevin, and Jeff rode on a bridge and the interstate for a few miles with a police officer following behind us so that we could safely cross the Ohio border. It was one of the best experiences of the trip so far. Kevin and I felt like superheroes and never will I ever be able to ride my bike on the interstate again legally, but still illegally. Jillian recorded the entire thing and I can’t wait to watch it. After the escort, we stopped at a Chinese restaurant for lunch and Diana got us the hook up so that we could keep our bikes inside the restaurant. I also found $5 on the ground that day!

Yesterday was also a great day. We rode from Indy to Rockville. We started the morning off right at Dan’s (a rider from last year) home with tons of food–McDonald’s, coffee, fruit, and chocolate milk. Then we ended up in a small all-American town in Indiana called Greencastle for our 40 mile rest stop. All of the Lady Pack needed to use the restroom so I went into a floral shop and asked the lady working if she had a restroom we could all use. Before she said yes she asked me what we were riding for. I was about to tell her and then all of a sudden she just looked at me and said the following: “You are riding for me. I had breast cancer.” This left me speechless and it felt surreal. Her name is Karen and we talked to her for a while. She even ended up calling her friend in town that owns a restaurant to see if he could give us something to drink. So we went to his restaurant and decided to order some food. The owner/chef, named Steve, used to cook for the Barnum and Bailey circus! The food was great and Steve’s kindness and our waitress’ kindness were unbelievable–they gave us a free meal and inspired us all to continue on with our ride. After lunch, we completed a portrait of Karen and her story touched all of our hearts–there were lots of tears, but also a lot of laughter. I think it was such a special portrait for us because it was completely random and allowed us to truly understand the purpose of our ride and the portraits project. This day made me realize that every mile, hill, mountain, and gust of wind is worth it because our ride has a much greater purpose than just being able to say “I rode my bike across the country.”

As each day passes, we are all becoming better cyclists which means we get to our stayovers earlier. This is great because we get to spend more time with people we don’t ride with. I have really enjoyed getting know more people on the team because everyone is awesome and we are always laughing.

Jordan introduced us to a game called Farkle. It’s a dice game and is pretty awesome/addicting. Kevin is really good at farkling, which is actually a really bad thing. I was on a roll and even sparkled a few times but eventually I lost my good luck and ended up losing.

Things that have made me laugh a lot in the past few days:

-Michell’s alternative personality is Lil’ Jon

-Pi has the best Batman impression

-Kevin has a great British accent and a super cool Spanish-speaking monkey friend on his bike, he’s also a good dancer

-Bridget likes to spit Gatorade out of her mouth while she laughs and she can also bike super fast when she realizes there is a dog chasing her after I yell “BRIDGET MOVE!”

-Eamon is really good at yelling at Indiana

-Ana has good music video choices and the burritos we had in Columbus were amazing

-Jillian is Dr. Doolittle

-The Lady Pack literally saw a lion in the middle of Nowheresville, Indiana. For real.

We are in Chambana tonight and that means one thing only: DOS REALES.

Up next: CHICAGO!!!!

Comments (5)
  • Mary Chlopek says:

    Great post gabrielle! How moving it must be to spend time with someone randomly on the way who feels a personal connection with your motives for the trip. I got a very real sense of the fun you all must be having, and I look forward to seeing pictures or videos one day. good luck— (jordan’s aunt) mary

  • Gabrielle, thank you for the blog. I find myself wanting to check the sight a couple times a day because each and every one of the blogs posted are so interesting, fun, and heart warming. Enjoy being in Champaign tonight with your friends and hopefully you will be able to see your sister.
    Please give me more details about Chicago once you know them. I am so excited to see you! Love you Gabrielle!

  • slaude Sean Laude says:

    I hope the reason for you not writing is because Portraits is taking so much time.

    See you in Chicago!

  • Jaime Kelleher says:

    DEFINITELY was a lion

  • Cecily DeRobertis says:

    This was so much fun to read, I’m really proud of you and all the hard work you’re putting into this. Enjoy the rest of your trip, kick some butt! I miss you and hope to see you soon!

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