3600 miles. That’s how far we rode before being pulled over by law enforcement. It’s an amazing feat, really. We’ve ridden in the pitch dark in front of the van’s headlights, motor paced up to 40 miles an hour behind the van, and generally have made our presence known on the roads for more than a month. Not even a nod from officers, til Stafford, Virginia. I saw the sheriff’s deputy on the side of the road, and about a mile later, Deputy E. Truslow had his lights flashing. Sigh. I pulled over, the boys rode up. Being in gracious Virginia, the deputy merely wanted to know if we were ok, since we were going up a (big) hill rather slowly with our flashers on. I noticed that his last name, “Truslow,” was the name of at least a couple of roads in the area and asked if that was him. “Yes, ma’am. Born in Stafford (pronounced STEH’ FUHD), goin’ die in Stafford.” He signed the van “Stafford Sheriff’s Dept.” We were hoping for a “Get out of speeding ticket free” addendum, but it didn’t happen.
Our long, winding, country roads are gone, now. We are riding in to the urban jungle of Silver Spring, via Washington, DC. This was a harrowing day. With the BIG rolling hills, traffic lights, TRAFFIC, turns, drivers who don’t expect to see riders, and confused GPS, it took us 6 hours (4 1/2 riding) to get from Fredericksburg to Silver Spring. Our hotel was right on Colesville Road near Fenton, if you know the area. It’s city. Lots of drawbacks to riding bikes in the city, all previously listed. The big plus was that it’s the city. We wandered down to a free outside concert for a bit, then discovered we were right in the middle of an ethnic restaurant oasis. We chose Burmese, the Mandalay Restaurant and Cafe. I’d never had Burmese food before. It seemed to be a mix of Indian, Thai, and I don’t know what else. We loved it. First we had a tomato and cabbage salad with Burmese dressing called Kha yann chin thee thoke, then, I had Nyat kaukswe gyaw, flat noodles stir fried with chicken, bean sprouts, and ground peanuts. It had a little kick and was delicious.
The next day was our last on the bikes. We were expecting the worst after yesterday, but it was a great day of medium rollers, surprisingly untrafficky back roads and in not too long, the glorious sight of Ravens Stadium and Camden Yards. It was like crossing a finish line that was a long, long, long time in coming.
Pretty awesome. A little later, Greg rode to Sheraton, where the National Niemann Pick Foundation family conference was going on. He rode in through a gauntlet of parents and children who have Niemann Pick. It was pretty emotional. He was greeted and embraced like the hero he has become to these folks.
Working this trip wasn’t easy. There were brutally early mornings, long days on the bike, and hours of prep work at the end of every day. I was really glad to be part of Greg’s adventure, though. I do lots of work with the team at Livestrong, which you probably know. There’s a huge network of support there. So its humbling and inspiring to see one guy take on this Herculean physical challenge on top of the challenge of raising money to save kids with a disease so rare the pharma companies aren’t interested in helping. By the way, his ride raised more than $500,000, so clinical trials on the genetic therapy discovered by a Notre Dame scientist will begin. More info, check out Greg’s blog.
So now, we’re in Maryland for a day til my next adventure. My family is here, so we got a chance to visit with them, which was great fun and great food. We also just happened to be here for a home stand of the Orioles. We decided to head back to Baltimore from Silver Spring even though it was raining, and we were rewarded with a gorgeous baseball night, my first at Camden, surprisingly. It was a terrific evening that got me another (#4 for the trip) crab cake sandwich and a Cal Ripken shirt. Not rewarded with a O’s win, though. Mariners, 6-4.
Now, here I sit in Dulles Airport on the brink of a short trip to Orlando to work with Growing Bolder (yea!). But guess what: Delayed. At least an hour, as they “see what’s wrong with the plane.” Some things in life bring change; some things are always the same. Onward.