Day 4: Loose Gravel

Start/End: Delmar, NY/Little Falls, NY
Mileage: ~75 miles
Weather: Warm, humid, light showers, slightly windier than proffered

I do greatly apologize but I forgot to speak about yesterday’s ride dedication! Yesterday’s ride was dedicated to a friend of a rider who lost his battle to stage four colon cancer this past winter. Yesterday would have been his 23rd birthday.

Today. I am not sure how to start today’s article because it was just great. We woke up and did all of our morning tasks, and then got a (much needed) yoga class at the Bethlehem YMCA that we stayed at. They provided us with so much wonderful food and excellent facilities, including laundry, that we are just so thankful for their support and generosity. Illini 4000 is just so grateful for people/organizations like this.

Today’s ride was dedicated to a rider’s friend’s mom who lost her battle with cancer many years ago when her son was in 8th grade. This was tough on the rider’s friend to go through high school and college, and probably the rest of his life, without his Mom.

After being a little bit more stretched out, we got on our bikes to start the journey. Before too long, we had a cue that instructed us to turn on a path…it was gravel…large rock gravel…but many groups powered through it deciding to do it, despite potential risks to flat tires, and remarkably, no injuries or flats! Great success. As we continued westward, we came across Albany, a rather cute town that perhaps one day would come back to visit. Grabbed our first snack break and headed off on the Erie Canal trail. This paved beautiful road was extraordinary, and we actually got to see the canal locks(where boats go through). It was a great trail until we got quite a ways away from Albany where the path is not yet paved. It had a much finer gravel which was much easier to bike across.

At lunch, we got a chance to meet Sandy, a past rider/ride leader from the first and second year of the ride respectively. She was gracious enough to bring us some amazing Popsicles to help cool us down on this hot day. After lunch, Sandy joined our group and showed us how riding was really supposed to be done in a group :) She rocked at cues and it was a lot of fun to hear stories from about the first pioneering days.

The end of the ride was modified on account of a mudslide, which as we were told blocked the bike trail significantly. We re-routed in different ways, but all ways were much hillier than the bike path but we all fought through until the end. Some riders have said that on e downhills they have reached 40 mph on their bikes. That is way too fast for me, and many other riders to feel comfortable, so don’t worry. We are making good use of our brakes, for the most part. We are now comfortably nestled in a gym of the YMCA that is here. It is a great facility that is close to our route. We got to interact with a lot of community members and tell them about our organization, which is awesome.

Illini 4000 would like to give a huge shoutout to Freeman Bridge Sports InC (www.freemanbridgesports.com and at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Freemans-Bridge-Sports/658688384178498) for repairing bikes that had needed some more intricate repairs on such short notice and for being incredibly generous with their labor. As I know I have already said before, we could not do this ride without people like you. Thank you for everything!

No new injuries today that I am aware of and everyone who was injured is healing quite nicely. Great day today. Time to get some sleep!

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