Thursday, June 15, 2017

_The morning began as the 6:00 alarms sounded, and we arose from the comfort of cabin mattresses – a pleasant change from the usual gym floor.

We were to ride a quick 45 miles to Sandpoint, Idaho. While the route itself wasn’t too bad, there was a chill in the air with the clouds blocking the sky. Nonetheless, we made great time, cycling on highways for the first 30 or-so miles. In order to enter Sandpoint, we had to cycle across a long bridge across a lake. The view was incredible. All of us stopped to take pictures of what was our first panoramic glimpse of the Rocky Mountains.
Today was also a special day, as it marked our first stage-up and double-paceline arrival. Once we entered town, we got in formation in a nearby parking lot, and rode two by two into the friendship visit at the Panhandler Special Needs Center.
I can’t even describe the amount of joy that the clients and cyclists alike shared as we rode in. Personally, I was surprised at how genuine the feelings were on everyone’s part. Pi Alphas have told me that the clients wait all year for us to come and that this is like their “Christmas.” Today, that sentiment was completely justified. I still can’t stop thinking about the cheers and waves and clapping coming from the site when we rode in.
The friendship visit itself was amazing! The people we met were so energetic, so full of life and very charismatic. All the cyclists had an opportunity to mingle and eat lunch with everyone.
The rest of the visit consisted of a lot of dancing, a lot of singing- pretty much a nonstop party. It’s pretty amazing being a part of a group of fraternity men who can “take off their cool caps” and dance the chicken dance like they really mean it.
The goodbye was hard today. I got a lot of “See you soon!”s and “see you tomorrow!”s. I’m sure we’ll all miss our new friends, as we know that we’ll be missed there as well.
After the visit, we had dinner at a local, seemingly upscale restaurant. They served a ton of baked spaghetti and everyone was raving about it. They also served us huckleberry lemonade, which was really good as well. Apparently huckleberries are native to this part of Idaho. My naive assumption (being an NYC kid) that all Idaho was good for was good for was its potatos has been completely falsified.
Our lodging today is at the SWAC. I’m actually writing this in a hot tub – the team’s definitely taking full advantage of the many facilities offered here. We’ve got a nice 90 mile ride tomorrow, so I imagine we’re all laying low for the night. Glad to have had an another eventful, meaningful day on the TransAm route.
Author: Jared Chan, Cyclist