Week 3 (State College, Pennsylvania to Columbus, Ohio)

Day 15 – Bike Ride to State College, Pennsylvania

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Growing up in Pennsylvania I tend to lack appreciation for the beautiful scenery around me. Mostly because I am constantly around it and whenever I so take trips across the state I am traveling by car at 60 mph. But today, traveling by bicycle at around 15 mph and traveling with a group of people all across the country it forced me to slow down and take everything in. I came to realize that I live in a beautiful state. The rolling farmlands are absolutely gorgeous.

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Today was our longest ride ever. The Bike & Build website lists it as our first 100 mile day but according to my bike computer I came rolling in at about 95 miles. Just a little shy of a century ride. I considered riding around State College to hit that 100 mark but the fact that I was in such close distance to a shower was far too tempting to pass up.
Over the course of the trip, showering has become so much more appreciated that in normal life. After being out in the hot sun almost the entire day and sweating gallons of water out I my pores nothing feels better than a nice hot shower.

And to finish today’s post I would just like to say, you never know what the road will show you. Today I saw everything from a giant dinosaur to a town named after me.

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Day 16 – Bike Ride to Johnstown, Pennsylvania

What are we doing with our lives? That’s a common question we all frequently ask ourselves. And why the heck did we choose to cycle across the country. It is most definitely not a normal thing to do. Most people spend their summers after college hunting for a job, trying to find an internship or try to save up money to move out. But the 27 of us are different, the 27 of us are clinically insane. When we graduated we all thought: “you know what would be great?” “Getting minimal sleep, exercising for 10 hours a day, and having the diet of Michael Phelps.” So here we all are doing exactly that.
It’s crazy to think that we are pretty much out of the New England States. It’s crazy to think how far we’ve biked in such a short amount of time. And it’s even crazier to think how much further we have to go. But I know each and everyone of us has made the best decision of our lives by signing up for this trip of a lifetime.

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Today we conquered the second highest peak in Pennsylvania. It felt like it was never going to end. The road just kept turning back as forth and never seemed to stop going up. Then once we got to the top. That’s when the real fun started. It started to rain. I finally got to bust out my rain jacket which was so exciting. (Notice the sarcasm.) we weren’t even able to enjoy the downhills because we were forced to ride our brakes the whole way due to the slick roads.
After all the rain I looked down to check my cue sheet for the next turn and this is what I saw:

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Of course I was following people so I managed to go the right way.
Rumors from past riders have said that today was the hardest day ever, which I believe. We were all so exhausted that most of us, including myself, passed out around 8:30 p.m. Which is why I am writing this post the next morning rather than last night.

 

Day 17 – Bike Ride to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

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Leaving the farmland and entering the steel city took longer than expected. For some reason I was thinking that the majority of the hills were behind us. But to my unfortunate realization that was not the case. We are, in fact, still in Pennsylvania which means we are still in the state of hills. Riders from the past have said this was the worst state to ride through. I am happy to say that we are almost in the clear. Today was our last day of our 7 day stretch of riding and it is easy to tell that everyone is exhausted. We attempted to have a wild night out at the bar because tomorrow is our first rest day but we all kind of failed at that. I forced myself to go out for a couple drinks but almost fell asleep at the bar. It is now midnight and we are all in bed. And I’m sure this post is terrible written because I am so exhausted my brain can’t even think.
Although before I pass out I would like to say that Sarah and I killed it on the hills today. About ten or fifteen miles away from Pittsburgh we both were so fed up with the endless hills that we just wanted to plow through and get there. Sarah was a beast tearing up the hills, flying up them at 20 mph. We refused to stop for breaks. Our adrenalin was pumping so hard that I didn’t even switch out of the big ring the rest of the ride. She was a fast chick to keep up with hit it was such a rush to zoom through the city so quickly. We raced through what felt like the ghetto and finally arrived downtown to our church in the city center. It was a hell of a ride and a hell of a hell of a day and now I’m going to have one hell of a good night sleep.

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Day 18 – DAY OFF – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

For the first time we got to experience a “Saturday” despite it being Wednesday. Today was one out of three days off we have throughout the summer. I woke up first at 6 a.m. because my body has been so used to it. It was such a good feeling to look at my phone and say “nope, I’m sleeping in.” I slept in til only about 9. Normally I can sleep til noon but being that I’ve been so used to waking up at 5, 9 felt pretty late. I woke up to find a text message from a good friend of mine, Matt McHugh, informing me that he was only 4 blocks away from where I was staying. We met up for breakfast which was great. It gave us a bit of quality time to catch up.

Afterwards I took my bike out to a local bike shop to get looked over. Doing most of my training on country roads and traveling on main roads for the majority of this trip i haven’t really had the opportunity to experience city cycling. And today i learned that I love it. Experiencing the hustle and bustle of a fast paced city while in a bicycle gives you an I depth rush that you couldn’t get from walking or driving. It actually feels like you are apart of the city rush.
But anyways, I was having some issues with my rear derailleur and figured I should get it looked at while I had some time. So I would like to give a big shout out to the guys at Thick Bikes who helped me with get everything fixed. They were very friendly and thorough with everything to ensure I was completely satisfied. Once I got everything worked out I arrived back at the church to find my parents there waiting for me. Living only a couple hours from Pittsburgh it was a short drive for them to come to see me. We went out for a late lunch and I got to enjoy some steak and beer. It was a nice change of pace from my regular diet of pasta and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. It was also very nice to see my parents again. Although it has only been a couple of weeks it feels like I’ve been gone for months.

I arrived back at the church and relaxed for a couple hours before we all headed out to the Pirates game.

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It was very nice to have the whole group out doing something together besides biking or building.

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Also, at the game through the power of Facebook and texting I managed to find out that a friend I went to college with, Tori, was also at the game. It was wonderful to be able to meet up with her and catch up.

Today was an awesome day.

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Day 19 – Bike Ride to Cadiz, Ohio

Blowing through states once again. We blew through the panhandle of West Virginia and into Ohio.

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And here is us crossing the river into Ohio.

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We arrived in Cadiz to find really nothin going on. David an I were destine to find a place to drink. We needed just one cold beer after a long day of riding. Unfortunately the only bar in town was closed. But, being that this is Ohio you can buy beer in gas stations. We picked up a six pack without a clue as to where we were going to drink it. We figured we would eventually find a place. Walking through the half dozen streets of this small town we noticed the town was pretty much dead. Not a soul was around. We walked down a big hill towards the sound of loud engines and found ourselves walking into some kind of fair. There were giant monster trucks driving through a huge mud pit. We had found our place to drink. We posted up on a fence near the track and enjoyed our refreshing beers for America’s birthday.

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Day 20 – Bike Ride to Coshocton, Ohio

Today’s ride was relaxing. There were quite a bit of rolling hills but nothing too intense. It feels like the route is starting level out now that we have gotten past the mountain ranges of Pennsylvania. Ohio is honesty a bit boring. Maybe I feel that way because today was a gloomy day with no sunlight and a constant mist of rainfall. But, so far the state has just been wide open farm land but not as beautiful as Pennsylvania.

However, I did accomplish one awesome thing today. I broke 40 mph. After climbing a fairly large hill for a couple miles it was finally time to go down. The road was freshly paved, there was no traffic, and there were minimal turn. On the whole, it was a perfect opportunity to fly. It wasn’t until about halfway down the hill that I realized I had the potential to hit a new top speed. I was going about 32 mph without even realizing it. I clicked my gears up into a higher gear as began pedaling. Reaching about 38 mph I dropped my hands down to the lower bars and arched my back trying to make myself more aerodynamic. 39 mph… 39.5 mph… “Come on!” I yelled, pedaling more and more trying to hit that 40 mark. I swooped down the bottom of the hill with a maximum speed of 41.95 mph. A new top speed! After weeks of trying to get it up that high it felt great to complete it on such a perfect road. Now I can rest easy tonight and look forward to going to the big city of Columbus tomorrow.

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Day 21 – Bike Ride to Columbus, Ohio

Flat Roads!!!!!!! Finally a reduction in hills for a change. The roads were long and straight forever. We passed through a town called Gahanna which was listed as one of the top 100 cities to live and had a cupcake shop that was listed on the food network. I got death by chocolate and devoured it within seconds it was so good.

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Once we finally arrived in Columbus. We unpacked as usual, showered, and ate dinner. Then we went out for a night on the town. Claire and I had the genius idea to start the night with an Irish car bomb which later led to more beers and mixed drinks. Around midnight we decided we should probably go back soon but then someone else suggested that we get another drink which sounded like a much better idea. We ended up heading back around 2 a.m, which was okay because we got to sleep in the next day. And in Bike & Build waking up at 7 a.m. Is considered waking up early.

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