Saturday, October 4, 2008

Wounded Warrior Unity Tour -- Day2

Day 2 started with a very early reveille which is not usually a huge deal; especially when you hit the rack at 8:30-9:00pm. Our departure from Ft AP Hill was scheduled for 0630 and breakfast began at 0500. This is where logistics began to get a little shaky.

At 0500 there wasn't any chow. I finished packing my gear and headed back to the chow hall at 0530 and they had some fruit, pastries, PB & J and Sunny D. Look carefully at what I typed, you will notice one key, NO COFFEE. Houston we have a problem. Well at least all of the food was edible; I once awoke in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago to a breakfast of sardines, watermelon covered with flies and rice.

After breakfast, we began loading our personal bags into the truck. One of my riding buddies, CS decided to top off the air in his tires. SHSHSHSHSHSH came from his tire when he removed the pump from the valve stem. The valve stem broke. CS, a Sailor, can curse with the best of them! No worries, he grabbed a spare tube, switched it out and BOOOOM. Oops the bead wasn't quite seated and popped the tube. This battle would continue for the next 20 minutes and 3 more tubes. CS managed to get the tire issue worked out a minute or two before we began the ride.

The day's first leg would take us 30 miles from AP Hill to a veterans memorial in downtown Fredricksburg. We took some photos, met the Mayor topped off the H20 and we were off for a 'fun' leg to Quantico Marine Corps Base. The hills on VA Route 1 are pleantiful. Leaving Quantico, we contiunued up Route 1 to Ft Belvoir and then into DC.Riding past the Pentagon and across the Potomac towards the Lincoln Memorial is amazing. Riding into DC was the highlight of the 210 mile ride. After an hour of stop and go in the district traffic, we finally reached Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

The ride raised more than $4000 for the Wounded Warriors.

I do have a couple of complaints and it isn't about food, lodging or coffee.
Safety. Too many riders participating that thought they were in the pro tour this lead to several crashes. There were also several support vehicles supporting riders. Some offical some just family members in a convoy. The vehicles were cumbersome and often got in the way of riders.

There were several riders that didn't have the fitness or stamina to ride an event of this distance. Several of them had never even finished a century, not to mention back to back centuries. Some of these riders motor paced at least 60 miles per day.

I also observed that some riders were super strong. They would come from nowhere and zip past me at 25 mph, even on the up hills. Somewhere between Quantico and Ft Belvoir, I noticed they would get in their POV at the bottom of the hill and get SAGed to the top. WHAT THE...? I say to all of you, don't tell yourself that you completed this ride. Don't go home and tell your friends and families you finished when you spent much of the day in a car!

Last, we spent too much time off the bikes. We stopped for 30 minutes after every 25-30 miles.

This ride is a good cause and with some logistical tweeking it could be even better. I had loads of fun and I enjoyed riding my COHO. I'm glad I rode for this cause but I think I will stick with brevets.

Note: All photos in this post courtesy WWUT.

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