In August of 2007, I participated in the Pennsylvania Perimeter Ride Against Cancer. It’s a 500-ish mile bicycle ride to raise money to fight cancer. The 2007 route went from Erie, PA to Palmerton, PA. I somewhat hastily kept a journal of the ride that year, and have posted part of it on the Dirt Rag site here.
I will again participate in the event this August when we ride from Burlington, VT to Palmerton. To learn more about the Pennsylvania Perimeter Ride Against Cancer, click here. To support and/or follow me, click here.
Until then…here is my entry from Day 3 of the 2007 PPRAC:
.: Day 3 :.
Coudersport to Mansfield About 98 miles (which includes a side trip to the lake and back)
It was nice to wake up and not be soaked…and to have a bathroom close to where I was sleeping.
I did my usual routine of getting my last minute things together, and getting dressed. It was another cold morning. I’m kind of proud of myself for actually preparing the night before, leaving me only a few small tasks to complete the morning before the ride. It makes things much less stressful. Too bad it took me 35 years to figure this out.
While I was getting things together, I heard a bird chirping in the other hall near me. I found a small stray bird trying to get out. I found a stack of text books, and and used one to shoo the bird out the back door. Kelly Cary was walking down the hall, saw what I was trying, and helped me out.
Finally I was done getting ready, and was set to go. Again we were the last group to leave the school.
Breakfast was four miles away. The queue sheet was incorrect, saying the diner was only 1.6 miles away. Thus, the rest of the sheet was off by a few miles, and made following the other 38 directions kind of difficult. I was never good in math. So I just followed people.
The diner promised great food for us. Diner food. The diner was actually a diner that was moved from Bethlehem out here to Coudersport. So there was a connection to the building from a lot of the Leigh Valley people on the ride.
They set up our meal outside in a very large garage. The spread looked great: eggs, french toast sticks, bacon, pancakes, biscuits and gravy. I heaped the plate and sat down. Unfortunately about a quarter of the way through the pile of food, I realized I wasn’t too into the heavy meal, though I knew I needed it. I think. I ate about half of it, and stopped. I knew we had a pretty big hill soon after the meal, and I didn’t want this stuff sitting there. I didn’t have a good feeling.
After some delay, our group rolled out. But we weren’t last this time! It was still cold and foggy. And again I really really didn’t feel like rolling out. The Freeds were with us on the first leg. Thankfully, they sort of kept their hammering to a minimum.
The ride for the next 20 miles was moderate. We stopped for a photo or two, but that was about it.
There was a climb, and I definitely felt breakfast. But it wasn’t too bad. I recall a lot of rolling roads, which I like a lot. The climbs are never too rough, and you get rewarded with some good downhills. On this stretch, we were even able to big-ring it up some of the ups thanks to the momentum from the previous downhills. So cool.
I mostly rode with Joachim and Christine today. I wasn’t too fast today, and barely kept up with them.
We hit a decent dirt road again today.
About ten miles from the end of the ride, we were made aware of a state park with a nice lake.
At first, I just wanted to head up the hill after the turn for the lake just to head home and get the day done with. Instead, I rode a few hundred yards with Pryor towards the lake. Then I changed my mind, and turned around to head back the original way. I passed several riders coming at me, as well as Taylor. I told them all I decided not to go swim.
When I got back to the original intersection to head back, I turned around yet again and headed to the lake afterall. I passed all the riders I saw coming at me just a few minutes ago. It was a few rolling miles to the lake, but I hammered it, got there and quickly sat under a tree for shade. I soon talked myself into the water. It was a good choice. Not cold, but very refreshing.
I even got myself an ice cream. Hung out there for about 45 minutes. Reapplied the chamois cream, and hit the road for the last 12 miles to finish up the ride in Mansfield.
Got in, got my bins and set them inside. I showered up and just hung out for a little while. I skipped the massage tonight after having two bad experiences.
I made some calls and walked around the school area by myself, exploring the surroundings. There was an awesome swim club about 100 yards from the school. I walked around it, and wanted to jump in so bad. But I didn’t.
It was kind of a late day today, so there wasn’t too much time to go get our beer and pre-dinner dinner. We stayed put, and just headed to the cafeteria where they cooked up a lot of chicken for us. And not the shitty processed chicken. This was basically a half bird grilled just for us. People loved it. But…of course, I’m not a fan of this kind of chicken. I pecked at it a bit (get it?), but ate mostly the pasta salad.
The Mayor of Mansfield was there serving us the dinner. This guy intimately knew the history of the area, and surrounding areas. You could tell that he really cared about what was going on, and what we were doing. I don’t know his political affiliations or his stand on anything. But this guy seems like a throwback to a time when mayors knew everyone in town, knew where they came from, and wanted to do right…when they weren’t in the game just for political gain. He might not have been any of that. But judging by the way he talked and acted, I think it was a safe bet.
Dinner and the following meeting were actually rather free of heavy emotion. Thankfully.
Soon after dinner, our little group promptly set out to find the only bar in this DRY college town. That’s right…a college town where alcohol is basically against the law. I guess this one bar was grandfathered in. Thank god.
This one bar also thankfully had the most decent bottled beer selection of the whole trip AND they had a great menu. I lined up the Troegs beers and two orders of pierogies. Satisfaction!
Before we knew it, the six of us at the bar turned into about 40 of us PPRAC people in there. People were buying six beers at a time, and just dropping them on the table free. For the taking. At least twice, the whole bar erupted into sing-alongs with the Johnny Cash sounds coming out of the jukebox.
Before I knew it, all our food and most of our beer had been anonymously paid for. And it was time to head back to the school for some sleep before things got too ugly, and we’d wake up in the morning regretting all the beer and food we had.
The six of us who started at the bar were of course…the last to leave.
I had a good feeling, and decided that it would be another great night to sleep under the stars. The school was situated right next to the Susquehannah River. I took my bag and thermarest and headed up the manmade dyke to set up my space. Taylor was walking with me, and set up his stuff atop the concrete spillway valves. We hung out and shot shit for a bit before sleep.Tweet Print