8/28

8/28

Today was our last build day! We built with Youth Build in Palmdale! It was interesting, as we were helping with the renovation of a structure that would house some of the organization’s students. We framed a community room, painted the exterior of an existing structure, removed drywall, and poured concrete.

We had a couple alumni swing by as well. They brought amazing food which was great! Nutella! Woo!

We are also reviewing grants this evening as well. Finalizing our decisions on where we will be distributing our fundraising!

I cannot believe all of our build days are complete. We closed out on a great day with a wonderful organization. And we are looking forward to chugging through our last three rides to Santa Barbara!

8/27

8/27

Double back! We got to descend 3,500 feet today! Back down into the desert. Riding downhill on the road we struggled to ascend only 12 hours earlier. It is kind of nice to be able to do that. Sometimes you climb a hill and there is no reward. this made us really appreciate all the hard work we put into yesterday’s ride. The days are getting so much shorter! It’s actually a bit weird. Although we have more time not on our bikes, we hardly have much free time.

It’s also turning into “that” part of the trip where people have agreed to coexist for the benefit of the team. It’s interesting to observe those who have started to check out of the group. And although it seems sad, it already clearly defines those I believe I may never see again- and it doesn’t upset me all that much! For those who I have gotten very close to will make the end of this trip very difficult. We are all holding on to the few things we have on this trip- storming the breakfast and dinner table, route meetings, fighting to shower – the list goes on. I am really going to miss this extreme adventure. I will just have to find a way to incorporate it into real life.

Prom is later on tonight. We all have dates and have chosen individual themes. It’s going to be interesting. Or a total disaster. I’ll update on that tomorrow!

8/26

8/26

Today was all climbing from start to finish! Thank god it was a short ride. Only 35 miles – and nothing but smiles! The climb was pretty spectacular. We finally were able to leave the desert climate. After having to do research on Wrightwood, it was interesting to actually see it-it was just as I had pictured it, and I had never seen any pictures! I wouldn’t mind having a vacation home here. Although the area is at a high risk of wild fire!

We stayed in the actual town for a few hours at a nice coffee shop before continuing up the mountain to our campsite. We needed to set up before the rain. About 3/4 of the way into our 1,200 foot climb (we had already climbed 3,000ft), we were instructed to return to town as we found a better location to spend the night. Cabins with bunk beds! Wooo!!

After making tacos for 27, my group sat down and joined our discussion regarding grant applications! We are deciding where our fundraiser money goes! It was really interesting and I wish I had the desire to pay more attention, but after 16 hours in the same sweaty clothes, I just wanted a shower!

8/25

8/25

I was sweep for the last time today. And I am so glad today is over. I woke up from a nap before dinner last night to find that after sprinting out of a storm, my legs no longer worked. One can only imagine how they felt this morning. Thank god I was trailing the pack today, I was moving slow slow, I might as well have been biking backward- I probably would have gotten to our host location faster!

I had a wonderful sweep partner though! Her name is Kaitlin and she can get me to laugh at just about anything! If it wasn’t for her today, there is no way I would have had the ability to make it through! The mileage was long, the heat was well. . . Hot. It is high desert after all. And the headwinds sucked but we hated the elements together and we killed the game!

We have a lot of short rides ahead of us as the trip wraps up. I’ve learned so much, and I have a long flight to look over my accomplishments to figure out what I want to say about this summer. I’m looking forward to embracing this last week with some of the most amazing people I have ever met!

8/24

8/24

I slept 5 hours last night. In a puddle of my own sweat. Uh gross. All part of the adventure! We woke up at 3:30 this morning to beat the heat. And we were on the road by 5am! The sun hadn’t even crested the mountains! We were riding 10 miles under the cover of darkness. You could hardly see the outlines of the peaks we were riding through and there was no one else on the road.

At 5:58 we crossed our last state line! We made it to the golden state! We spent no more than 5 minutes at the border before we continued deeper into the desert. We hit our last gas station of the day at mile 16. There was not a single structure for another 102 miles. We got a little way into the desert and were moving pretty quickly!

A sand storm developed behind us which was really cool to see but pushed me o move faster. We had water left for us at mile 30, first lunch break at mile 46, another water deposit at mile 64, second lunch at mile 83 and a final water break at mile 100. None of these breaks lasted longer than 10 minutes.

At one point, our route took a turn into a deeper part of the desert. It looked like another planet! But we were greeted with a very welcomed strong tailwind! At points we were climbing hills between 22 and 25 miles an hour. We were cruising on flats at upwards of 30mph and descending hills at over 40!

At our final break we were greeted with an enormous storm. I swear we have had more rain in the desert than we have anywhere else on the entire trip. Insane. Our host was waiting for us at mile 120.3. And I sprinted the last 20 miles in an effort to out run a storm that was growing exponentially! I got hailed on. HAILED ON. And I can’t tell you how many lightning strikes I saw. They were so frequent!

Once I got out of the storm, looking back I saw a cloud of sand in front of the darkest clouds I have ever seen! And all I could think of was my team behind me stuck in creepy abandoned roadside structures.

We all made it in. We are all exhausted. The single longest day of our trip is behind us. And it was incredible. I biked 120 miles through the Mohave desert in August. Through rain and sand. In extreme heat. Surrounded by beauty one wouldn’t expect to find in such a remote and desolate place. It’s strange to say that I would want to go back! The idea of taking on such an extreme challenge is so exhilarating. And to know that I finished it is so rewarding. I AM SO PROUD OF MYSELF AND MY TEAM!

8/23

8/23

It is going to be a long few days in the desert! Today was 77 miles but the heat made it seem so much longer. I rode with my trip leader all day and we made quick stops in various places which broke up the mileage nicely.

We saw THE LONDON BRIDGE! The one from the children’s song! It is in Arizona after a costly mistake at an auction when a man thought he was purchasing the famous tower bridge. Now the London bridge is not falling down but is rather crossing lake havasu!

Our camp ground is going to be so so hot tonight. The low: 89 degrees and wildly humid! We are able to swim in the Colorado which makes the heat bearable.

We passed an individual on the road today who took us out to dinner. He was going to do bike and build a few years back but was unable to. It was very nice to get to know him and discuss our accomplishments!

It’s such a tease seeing California just across the river! I cannot wait to be there!

8/22

8/22

What a day! We spent a huge chunk of it on historic Route 66! We climbed a bit in the morning but descended the rest of the day! Nearly 3,000 ft!

We passed through an insane little town called Oatman. It had wild donkeys roaming all over! There was a fake shoot out! And finally a massive descent into the Mohave valley! I could see Arizona, the mountains of Nevada and California all from one point!

The heat hit us like a wall. The temperature sky rocketed to 108 degrees at the base of the mountain! Thank god for air conditioning! After cleaning up and eating soooo much pizza, we watched tangled (or in my case slept through tangled).

We weighed our duffel bags and averaged our teams together for tonight’s Olympic event! We placed second!!