Day 9: Finally Outta New York

The dedication today was for a friend of Michaeline’s friend’s cousin. Ashley Gustafik was born with a brain tumor which eventually led to childhood leukemia. She passed away shortly after her 16th birthday.

A bit of a tough ride today. Luckily, what started as light drizzle eventually turned into a sunshiney day. However, today was our first day of riding with headwind and the team’s usual pace got slowed down significantly.

We finally made it out of New York! Although the state has many beautiful views to offer, some of us were starting to get sick of being in the same state for so long. Two state lines were crossed today as we rode along Lake Eerie.  Per I4k tradition, we took pictures at the Pennsylvania and Ohio state welcome signs. We were surprised by an Illini 4000 sticker on the ‘Welcome to Ohio’ sign from a previous year’s team leaving their mark. Pretty cool that it was able to stay intact after so long.

Although the wind made biking difficult, the team was able to look forward to our first Sheetz experience, one of the most underrated gems in this great nation of ours. Sheetz is a gas station chain in eastern states that features food orderable from a computer screen, exotic coffee like twinky flavored espresso, and some of the cleanest gas station bathrooms you have ever seen. Many riders took advantage of the two for $1 hot dog special as a treat and binged during a rest stop.

Another I4k tradition was begun today: the Mosher. In a previous year a rider found a ski pass id on the side of the road and picked it up. Erik Mosher was the name on the id. From there, a game of trying to slyly give the id away to someone else throughout the day was started, and whoever ended up with the id by dinner time had to make the team do whatever they chose the next morning. This morning the task happened to be a full team human pyramid in the middle of the Westfield Methodist Church. By the fourth row the entire pyramid collapsed (my bad guys).

Tomorrow we will arrive in Cleveland and get to experience our first rest day. I am very much looking forward to having the extra time to explore the city and walk around without bike shorts on.

Coming for ya Cleveland



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