Sunday, May 10th
It's here! I'm excited & I'm nervous! The day has finally arrived and it's time to unchain my bike and get on the road. Getting the padlock off was the hardest part of the process! My mind is now open to all the possibilities that lay ahead! It's going to be an incredible journey!
Our group was ready to leave the hotel at 7:00 a.m. We had an escort as we rode our bikes about 5 miles to the Manhattan Beach Pier in Southern California. I was thrilled to see Betsy Denhart, Debbie Cusolito & my good friend Reed Fry and his children, Christopher and Jamie, there. Thank you so much!
By 7:45 a.m. we had dipped our rear tires in the Pacific Ocean - and were off on our ride. The first hill up from the beach was a tough one! Thank goodness it only lasted two blocks! My roommate, Champ, and I rode together most of the day. (Champ is a retired high school history teacher from Washington, IL - so I know we'll share some good talk). It was a challenge getting out of Los Angeles...through traffic, stop lights, stop signs and hoards of people! We went out with the "fast" group who were averaging more than 20 miles per hour. At the first SAG stop we decided to step back a pace - and at the end of the day had averaged 17-18 mph. Not bad for us more mature guys! The temperature rose from 60 degrees in Manhattan Beach to 96 degrees when we checked into our hotel in Riverside. I even had a few minutes by the pool! Whoa! Every evening before dinner we have a "route rap" where the ride the following day is discussed. Tomorrow is going to be a tough one: we begin our ride across the desert. The temperature is supposed to be 104 degrees - and with 10-20 mph winds. That's mild compared to past years - so we're happy! I'll let you know how it goes!
I'd like to mention that the pledges you have donated toward the support of the Decorative Plumbing and Hardware Scholarship Fund is closing in on $20,000. I promise to do my best to live up to your expectations of my ride - and earn every dollar that you have sent in or pledged. To my family, friends and industry partners: "I can't thank you enough. Your support in terms of encouragement and dollars has been incredible"! I will keep you posted on the progress of dollars raised.