I was both excited and nervous riding into Cleveland. It has been a long but fast stretch of rides since we had left Chicago and the days of hard riding are taking their toll. My left knee started aching about 4 days ago and never really has had a chance to fully recover. So far it hasn’t been too much of a problem, but I was definitely ready to have an off day and give it a break. However, I was worried that this would be the ride that pushed it over the edge. As it turns out those worries were warranted. As early as 10 miles in I started to feel the pain but was able to keep up with my pace line. It got progressively worse and by my second pull it was hurting enough that it became tough to pedal. I responded with the extremely poor decision to get fired up and try to push through it. I made it through that pull going the fastest I had the whole ride and in that process I pushed my knee past its breaking point. I spent the rest of the ride barely hanging out to my pace line and slowly crawling along when it was my turn to pull. That lasted until I got a break at a lovely sponsored lunch along the lake where we got to enjoy Jimmy Johns, tubing and relaxation for awhile and I got to get my mind off of the ride. Eventually we had to depart and it was right back to the throbbing in my knee, almost as if I had never gotten off the bike. To top things off, it began to poor down rain as we entered the city of Cleveland and we found ourselves having to wait out the storm under a bus stop. Needless to say, things did not go according to plan on this ride. However I got the chance to ice and recover and looking back I know it will stand out as one of the most rewarding and memorable rides of the summer. I can’t thank my teammates enough for hanging with me that day.