The Rest of Pennsylvania

We have  a rest day in Chicago today so I will try to fill you in on the last two weeks. I also might try to predict the next two weeks so I dont fall behind again.

I left off discussing a difficult day in Everett, PA. I wrote that it was the hardest day yet, but thats because I was naive of what was about to come. The next morning we rode from Everett to Mt.Pleasant.  This was a grueling 80 mile day through some of the highest points southern Pennsylvania has to offer.  My teammates and I will forever remember the name White Horse.  White Horse was our first ascent that day. We peddled firmly up the steep roads exhausting our supplies of water faster then camels in the Sahara. When we made a turn we had hoped it was the summit, but the roads continued further upward.  At every turn our hearts sank as there was no foreseeable ending to the pain our thighs were enduring.  My eyes were firmly affixed to the road below me, only looking up to see if  I was running off the road. During times of long intense climbs I feel it is better to not see how much further you have to go. There is no point in thinking about it, the length will not get shorter, it is more beneficial instead to devote all your thoughts to your peddle stroke.
Then all of a sudden it was finally there. I saw people standing at the top, enjoying what was sure to be a rest stop at the summit. We had made it. It was beautiful to see how my comrades had pushed themselves to limits they thought were unattainable. The best part was that at this particular rest stop we had cake to eat. This is probably why I have been steadily gaining weight!
The rest of the day was all downhill…..that is until the next uphill. Jokes aside, it was still a lot of climbing, but we knew that if we climbed white horse we could climb anything. When we arrived to Mt.Pleasant I immediately noticed an increased polish cultural presence. When I asked the pastor he said there was a large polish population there because of all the immigrants that had come to work in the factories years ago.

After Mt.Pleasant we rode into Pittsburgh. On this day I had my first, and what I hope is only, spill. I was not looking at the road because I was checking directions. It was only a second, but thats all it took. I had scraped my elbow, and bruised my hip. Not enough to stop me from finishing my day. I bandaged up my elbow and continued onward. We ended up getting lost in the city, but we eventually made it to the church. The next day was an event day so we didnt ride, which was a good thing because I dont know if I could have. My hip was bothering me pretty bad.

On our event day we had a picnic thanks to a former rider who organized it. The alumni club of Pittsburgh was out there to support us. All in all it was a good time with good people.

The ride from Pittsburgh to Cadiz, OH was by far the longest day we have had. My group was the first to come in and we came in around 8pm. The rest of the groups came in at dusk with their lights flashing. Thankfully everyone made it in safely. The actual ride that day was a roller coaster. The day started with us leaving Pittsburgh on some of the steepest streets I have ever seen . The Beechville area of Pittsburgh is home to Canton Ave , the steepest street IN THE WORLD ( I looked it up). Thankfully we did not have to go on that one, but a part of me really wishes I had taken a detour to say I climbed it.
The route had us staying on a very gravely mountain bike path for 20 miles, which was less then pleasant. After that we were in West Virginia for a good 20 miles. It was not difficult to see the wide spread poverty in WV. It is only second to Mississippi with a per capita income of a little over $16,000 a year. Doing this ride has allowed me to see and appreciate the varying demographics of the United States.
We ended the day strong with plenty of hills waiting for us at the other side of the Ohio River. It was hard but we all pushed it to make it before sun down. I am really proud of everyone that day for working so hard.

Thats all for Pennsylvania, it was tough, but it was very rewarding. I think it will be one of the most memorable states when this trip is over.

Comments (2)
  • aheim AllisonH I4K '07 alum says:

    Awesome post Jan! I definitely remember that feeling of turning a corner up a Pennsylvania mountain only to be met with another climb ahead. Great job persevering up those mountains! After Pennsylvania you’ll be able to tackle anything thrown your way. Colorado seemed like a piece of cake when we got to it a few weeks later.

  • Nancy, Larry & Michael Replogle says:

    Jan. It sounds like you had nerves of steel when biking through the PA mountains. Your approach to focussing on your bike strokes rather than the distance was the way to go We enjoyed meeting you during the Chicago Ride Along. So nice of you to invite Lee to your home for some authentic polish cuisine. Enjoy your ride into the great west!!
    Nancy, Larry & Michael Replogle

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