Well, time has continued to fly on the tour and we are down to a mere two days of cycling! Tuesday's ride into Whitehall has officially been placed in the top five of the hardest days of the ride. The headwind, continual hills, and hot temperatures combined to make for a difficult ride. Our climbing totaled a distance equal to our days in the mountains. I chose to ride alone for the day because I knew that trying to keep a group together would just add to the stress of the ride. The beautiful scenery however made up, in some way, for the inability to coast downhill due to the wind.
Our camp in Whitehall was at a marina. We camped between what looked like two separate swamps... made for an interesting evening of mosquitoes. I slept in a "rec centre." It looked like a cross between a junk room and an entertainment area. I slept in a decommissioned tanning bed. Myself, and everyone else it seems, has been getting quite a laugh out of that one! I slept so well! No mosquitoes and even a fan to move the humid air while I slept!
While exploring Whitehall, a group of friends and I witnessed a sight that I hope to never see again... two young parents fighting over who should take their young boy. I don't know the story, what they were really fighting over, and I didn't care for their language one bit nor the way the were fighting out in the middle of the street. The look on that little boy's face stopped me dead on the side of the road. Sheer terror. His mouth was wide open in a silent scream. Confusion filled his wide eyes as he frantically tried to please the commands of both his parents, running back and forth between them as they told him "Go! Go with him!!" "No! Go with her!" The horrible language, the screaming, the look in that adorable child's eyes. I stopped my bike and stared. I didn't know what to do, help him, intervene, call 911 ... My heart broke and the ice cream that I had so been hoping for lost all of its appeal....
The next day proved to be about 10 km shorter than Tuesday and we left camp with the promise that it would at least be an easier day. Wednesday proved to be a fantastic day! I joined Harry, Henny and Anja and we eventually formed a pace line to combat the constant headwind we've been dealing with since entering New York. We stopped for coffee in one of the quaint towns we passed through. About two dozen DRS workers in the area had taken a break from their work to cheer us on. It was great to ride into SAG#3 and see all those green shirts!
One of the reasons the ride into Albany, NY was so nice was because the majority of it was alongside the Hudson River. This eliminated many of the hills as well a providing a nice scenic route for us. I didn't realize Albany was such a large town. After riding most of Monday and Tuesday through what looked like little populated mountainous areas, to come out of the mountains into Albany was quite the shock! We traversed a bridge across the Hudson and encountered our large climb of the day- getting out of the riverbed... I was grateful that the ride was nearly finished as the climb seemed to never end, but shortly after we arrived at our camp for the night- a beautiful and hospitable YMCA in Albany. We were treated to a hot tub and pool. Amanda, Danita, John, Tim, and I made good use of these facilities after a long day in the heat. Ironically, we are just now starting to get into the humidity of the summer- Iowa and Ontario are notorious for their humidity, but while riding through these placed, the temperatures were cool and the humidity low.
Thursday I pulled myself out of my tent and groggily packed up. I left camp with Danita and our exhausted legs just didn't want to cooperate. Everyone I talk to in camp is ready for the tour to come to a close. The physical exertion is taking its toll and we are all ready for a break. But we made it- all 107 km. Just two days left and both are supposed to be under 100 km distance, as much as we all love biking, the time has come and we are ready to go home.
|Joann and I|