Day 53: Sandusky Ohio, July 31st

Today the team faced a challenge we did not expect.

What was supposed to be a routine 80 mile cruise with less than 800 feet of climbing turned into a race against the clock. With only 4 hours to make the 70 mile rack point for stage up, the boys went full send from Toledo, OH to Sandusky, OH.

Averaging at 18.5mph against a strong headwind and less than ideal Ohioan roads, everybody hustled their brains out to make it on time. Ever since the trip started and we established our team charter, the boys have made it clear that we will ride every mile this summer so long as we are able. Well today I was able to accomplish that goal.

After what felt like way too many hours of grinding on my toughest gear, my pace line of Alan, Phil, Lahey, and Peaches saw our PM Jeff cheering us on at stage up. That feeling of relief and pride gave us the biggest smiles. The boys that made it before us handed out waters and snacks because they knew we were gassed.

I collapsed and listened to “Heroes” by Bowie because I was so happy the ride was over and I had made it. Ingram called me a knucklehead.

It is outrageous how difficult today’s ride was, although it cannot be compared to the challenges faced by people with disabilities everyday. So many times on this trip I have questioned my ability to continue riding because I end up reaching a point of fatigue so powerful it is the only thing on my mind. It is in those moments we remember who we are riding for – those who cannot.

Alas, the friendship visit was lovely and the clients we met were awful kind. We played volleyball, spikeball, cornhole, and had some tasty cold cut sandwiches with pink lemonade. Cal and I lost to Casey and Joe in cornhole too so we were kinda bummed out.

Even after a rough day on the saddle where everyone was dying to shower and sleep, we still went 110% for these participants. The organizer at Ability Works reminded us that ever since January the clients were asking and waiting for our arrival.

It is truly humbling and rewarding to know that these people care so much about the few hours we share with them on an afternoon in July. We hope to remain in touch with Ability Works for future summers.

After showers and errands we set up our sleeping arrangements at Ability Works. We were prepared a wicked good meal including seasoned ribs with hot potatoes and sweet corn. The selection of cookies was fantastic too. Ramlow, Kaskie and I spoke about working after college and which city we’d like to live in someday.

Shoutout to Steve Cooley – thanks for the meal!!

A large majority of the team went to Cedar Rapids to ride the roller coasters while myself and a few others stuck around to clean our bikes. With only about a week left we wanted everything to look snazzy for D.C. arrival!

Mark and I just watched a few episodes of Spongebob and as I write this the light has switched off. Tomorrow we wake up at 6:00am and adventure to The Land, home of Kyle Keary. I am so stoked!!

Living the dream.

Ryan Miller – UConn [KO]