Train Time

Today is day six. I no longer keep track of the date or day of the week. In this i4k world, we are in a time warp. It seems like weeks have passed since we left Chicago, but that wasn’t all too long ago. While on 22 hour train ride we started losing track of time, and it has become completely nonexistent since then.

That train to NYC helped us become more comfortable being around each other, and by day six we have molded into a team. We are living together, skipping showers, rocking excessive tan lines, waking up at 5:45am everyday, and spending every minute together. Every day I have said it has been the best day so far. This is the perfect way to spend my summer.

So far our rides have not been too bad. We have had some hills, but mostly shorter days under 70 miles, the stuff we have trained for. We only had one day over 75 miles which was our first day hitting real hills. These are the type of hills that Illinois riding cannot prepare you for.  Although expected, that day was still pretty tough. One climb after another, averaging about 95, gusting headwinds, and we had to be very attentive to the traffic on the busy and hilly roads. Those are the days when connecting to the cause stays in your head all day, it is what keeps us going.

We were given the opportunity to eat dinner at the Baltimore Hope Lodge that evening and conduct portraits with some of the patients. That was scheduled in the mid afternoon, which meant we had to book it through these mountains. That is so much tougher than I expected it to be. Lucky for me, I rode with some very positive people that day. It was Tory yelling, “You got it girl!”, Jaime with her victorious yells at the top of each, and thinking of Tricia saying, “eat hills, eat hills” under her breath that got me through that day. We ultimately had the same goal, to make it to the Hope Lodge on time, and that is what pushed us to push each other. That is why we couldn’t allow ourselves to take long rest stops, although we really would have liked to. It was such a tough day, but we got back in time. We then got to interact with the cancer patients and caregivers, and hear about their days. We pushed ourselves and each other so we could hear their stories, and after talking with them it made every climb seem worth it.

After we had faced the day, eaten dinner, conducted portraits, and unrolled our sleeping pads a previous cross country cyclist came and spoke with us. It was late and we were tired and dirty, but the conversation was well worth the lack of sleep. He asked each person to talk about why they joined i4k and what it means to them. After hearing these stories, about family members and friends, the lack of research funding, and the overall want to support the cause, it helped me remember what i4k stands for. We are not just a group of cross country cyclists, we are much more than that. We are college kids with a goal to stop the suffering that cancer causes. We are taking these portraits to spread hope across the country, and the ride our way of doing so. By raising this money and spreading these stories nationwide, as are accomplishing our goal.

Summer 2012 has been the best yet. I love the people I am spending it with and I am so happy that I get the opportunity to spend the rest of the summer with them. We have made so many great memories together, have way too many bad jokes, and of course have already formed i4quotes. These are the most positive people I have ever surrounded myself with. Everyone is there for each other, and it has been awesome to see us become a team that can push each other, live together, and still have the time of our lives. Soon I will be riding through Illinois again. Before long we will be out west, and San Fran is going to come way too soon. I cannot wait to continue this venture tomorrow but I really hope we stay on train time for the rest of the summer, and make each minute last.

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