My day off in DC was efficient- haircut, yummy green salad for lunch, a short bike ride around the Mall, and a Nathan's hot dog... which wasn't so successful (see photo). After saying goodbye to Matt, Shailee and their daughter, Asha yesterday, I pedaled north out of DC around 7:30am. I cycled through Rock Creek Park (photo) joining up with Adventure Cycling Association's (ACA) Atlantic Coast Route. I should mention that both the Trans-Am and Atlantic Coast Routes are one of many bicycle route systems from ACA. Check out their site at http://www.adventurecycling.org/
I encourage touring cyclists to do an actual ACA or recommended route because at least local traffic is aware that there are cyclists on the road. You can purchase maps that are incredibly helpful. The maps have a key that let you know what's available in each town you go through, average weather temperatures and topography. Knowing if you need to pack more water and food might not be as important here on the east coast, but in the middle of the country and in the west, that is very important. The Trans-Am goes from Astoria Oregon to Yorktown VA (either direction). I road the entire Trans-Am except from Charlottesville VA to Yorktown VA. The Atlantic Coast route goes from Bar Harbor Maine to Key West Florida (either direction). I will only be riding part of this route, obviously. From NYC, I'll go off route and along Route 1 in Connecticut to Rhode Island.
Yesterday's ride took me from DC into Maryland and through country roads. I saw farms and wildflowers and deer. I saw acorns for the first time yesterday. I did go off route a little today because I ended my day in Manchester MD, where my colleague and friend Brian Griffith lives. Brian is friends/colleagues with many others I've seen on this trip. Amazing how many colleagues have texted, emailed, donated, cheered me on in some way and even one (Kate Link) is joining me for the last day's ride into Rhode Island. I'm feel so blessed to have so many colleagues all over the country who have been part of my journey.
Back to Maryland... Brian is leaving his position at the Maryland Department of Education to be a county PE/Health coordinator. He will be missed at the state level, but is a great advocate in our field and super strong at what he does. I saw him last in Charlotte at American Association for Health, PE, Rec and Dance (Aahperd) and he invited me to stay with his family when I rode through this summer. Never invite me... I WILL show up! The 67 miles was over rolling hills, but got here early around 3:30. Everyone was home so it was nice to shower and hang out as bit. Brian's wife is Amy and they have two boys- Tyler going into his second year of college at Salisbury and Jake, going into his freshman year of high school. Brian and I sat for awhile catching up and then we planned my route for today to get back on the ACA Atlantic Coast route. He picked a good route for me- wide shoulders and beautiful area. Amy and Brian cooked a delicious meal (I'm so spoiled with all these amazing meals families cook for me!) and after dinner we took a family trip to The Cow, a place with frozen custard and shaved ice. Ummmm, I was a disaster. I got a twist cone dipped in butterscotch and it was so big, it was melting faster than I could keep up. I posted the video of this on my Facebook page.
I went to bed early since I'm still not waking up after sleeping 8-9 hours a night feeling fully rested. I don't have fresh legs every morning like I did for two months. I know my body is about done... But I'm so close! I'm not in pain and I don't want to get injured, so I'm being careful, but I've been trying to get into bed by 9. My muscles are definitely fatiguing quicker each day. I don't have 'fresh' legs each morning like I did for two months. I need to stop more frequently to rest. Today was humid, so I was sweating like crazy and the combo of my sweat and sunblock was stinging my eyes. I thought I'd get to Manheim PA today, but I'm outside of Lancaster. I couldn't do more than 50 today. I'm just beat. So, I'm at a Comfort Inn and I'm going to bed, very, very soon.