Thursday, May 27, 2010

Washington, D.C.

"Well of course. I mean there’s nothing better than being an American…so…I mean this is the greatest feeling. If you don’t love it, leave it. U.S.A. number one!"
- Ricky Stanzi after winning the Orange Bowl for the Iowa Hawkeyes

The trip into Washington D.C. was everything I expected and built it up to be in my mind the past 3200 miles.  We awoke to ominous clouds and basically a 100% chance of rain but we all were smiling as we pulled away from the last high school we would be staying at on this trip.  We rode the first 30 miles as a large pack before the clouds opened up and drenched us from head to toe. We stopped at the first water break to be told by the support team of a monster climb coming up ahead on a very busy highway, the shop guys at a local bike store basically called it a “death trap for cyclists”.  We broke into 3 groups each being trailed by a van to protect us from the cars and trucks that were flying by us at 70 miles per hour as we slowly trudged up the 2 mile climb into the clouds. By the top of the mountain you could barely make out the rider in front of you do the thickness of the moisture, Libby referred to it as biking through “pea soup”.  After the climb it was basically downhill into the city so we rode at a pretty quick pace despite the ongoing torrential downpour. We rode from the outskirts of town on a bike trail leading straight to the heart of the city, as the density of traffic and buildings around us grew so did our pace as we all knew that around one of the next bends the Washington Monument would come into view.  We crossed the Potomac and arrived at the feet of Lincoln sitting in his chair with the reflecting pool and the National Capital lying in front of us. I’ll never forget the feeling of riding my bike on to the National Mall with a pack of 10 other riders who just had the experience of a lifetime crossing the United States to get there.  To have the history of America on display in front of us after seeing so much of it up close and personal on our bikes the past 7 weeks brought goose bumps, high fives and wild yells of pure joy from the entire pack.  We offered each other congratulations and then raced from monument to monument and finally the White House to have our pictures taken to culminate the end this amazing trip.  The reactions from all the other tourists at the monuments when we told them how far we had come; were eerily similar to the reactions we got in California and Arizona when we told them how far we had to go.  We waited for the rest of the riders to arrive at the Lincoln Memorial before a group shot was taken and we headed to our destination for the evening the Presbyterian meeting house in Alexandria, Virginia. I don’t know if what we have accomplished has completely set in yet, maybe diving into the Atlantic Ocean on Tuesday will help but I think mostly it hasn’t because I’m just not ready to be done cycling yet. Only 50 miles to go, No chain!

On the path into town, the first time I could take a picture all day after the rain finally stopped.

Just hitting the sidewalks of D.C.

Getting very close.


Check the red, white and blue arm warmer. GBA.

Shortly after taking this picture I was escorted out by security, they don't love bikes that close to their monuments.

Just rode my bike to the White House, no big deal.

1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Pretty Amazing!

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