Day 11: Light Winds, Rolling Hills and Sunshine

Start/End: Ashtabula/Cleveland, OH
Mileage: 63+
Weather: is it too soon in the trip to say perfect? Highs in the lows 60′s

The past few days have been tough and there is no doubt about it but today was a great pick-me-up kind of day. The sun was breaking up the clouds and showing itself really for the first time in several days and we had a bit of a tailwind. Additionally, we experienced quite a few rolling hills which did not necessarily require a lot of climbing if done right. Alas, I am getting ahead of myself again.

Today we woke up from a great night’s stay at the First Presbyterian Church in Ashtabula. The pastor and a member saw us off on our journey today. Today’s ride was dedicated to a rider’s great aunt who passed away recently. She had battled a few different types of cancer, but she had been fighting brain cancer which had caused her to forget the names and memories associated with loved ones. So today we rode for her.

It is a really strange feeling when you get to the point where you are lie, “only 60 miles? What am I going to do with the rest of my day?” It is just a remarkable evolution to have seen as we have grown in strength in this trip after 10 days of riding.

As an mentioned, we had some nice hills and a tailwind so we were moving pretty fast. And when that happens, you don’t quite notice as much. I did catch that we went through a town that was once home to President Garfield, so that’s kind of cool. When we stopped at our lunch stop, we were outside of a Walgreens and they just had the most soft grass to lay upon. Many of us took advantage of this and rested before we knocked out the last 20 miles.

Rolling into Cleveland, we took the Lakeshore Boulevard which was quite a sight to see. There were some beautiful mansions that we passed and were a lot of fun to look at. Then getting closer, we went along a lakefront park. Pretty much every group stopped at the park for varied lengths of time and took pictures and hung out. Continuing on the journey, we encountered a rather rough road which we managed very slowly to avoid any accidents or flat tires. It was not a great road. We went past the Cleveland Browns stadium which was pretty cool and then navigated through downtown, across the veterans memorial bridge to our stay over.

We are living in style for the next day and a half. We are at a Mission property that is used to accommodating mission trip teams, equipped with bunk beds and showers and an amazing staff that welcomed U.S. and provided an amazing dinner. Showers- it has been days. And a group of us went to a nearby laundromat to wash our clothes which may have been even more necessary than the showers. We are so so thankful for the generosity of this host and I am sure that I will talk more about them tomorrow.

So far, I have already slept a few hours but why not just keep sleeping? Tomorrow is our first official event day after NYC, so we get to rest a little bit and stay off our bikes. I will keep you updated with the happenings, though!

-LAH

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