Sunday, June 30, 2013

Some struggles

June 29, 2013
Mt Pocono, PA to Berwick, PA

Leaving Mt Pocono today it was chilly and foggy. It was the first time I have worn my wind breaker this whole trip! The fog did make everything kind of cool looking though. Coming down and big hill, we saw a car with flashing lights and a huge group of Bike & Builders standing around with a car stopped midway into a turn into a flea market. When we got there we learned that one of the girls on the trip had had a collision with the car. Luckily she was alright, albeit some road burn and a little shaken from the whole thing. It was our first accident of the trip and the scariest part was that she had been doing everything she could to make herself visible to other drivers. We all took a breather at the wawa across the street to regroup. 

The rest of the day was filled with both steep and steady inclines that were almost always followed my amazing downhills. We have all learned very quickly what it takes to climb and it's awesome to feel yourself getting better and better at it. 

Going through some farmlands of PA, we found a farm that had a baby cow in a small pen right on the side of the road. We later met the owner and he introduced us to his donkey named Donkey and his giant turkey (that sadly didn't have a name). He told us that you must talk to your animals and eventually they will recognize his voice. The whole experience felt kind of like a strange petting zoo. 

After that there were more awesome hills with even bigger downhills and everything was so incredibly beautiful. 

When we finally made it to the town just before Berwick, PA, we found a giant chicken that was festively decorated for the 4th of July. Obviously we took pictures with it because it's the small things when you're biking across the country. 

First time as "sweep"

June 28, 2013
Port Jervis, NY to Mt Pocono, PA

As the title of this blog post suggests, I took my first turn at sweep today. Basically what that means is I and one other person are the designated last riders of the group. We are not allowed to pass anyone because we are responsible for making sure everyone makes it to the host site and nothing is left behind. In my head it meant taking it slow to stay behind everyone and getting to stop at all the places groups we run into have stopped. The day started off pretty cool with a visit to the Tri-State monument. This is the spot where New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania all meet. I think we may have gotten a picture with the wrong rock, but it was close enough. 

From there we made our way into New Jersey for a few hours. Almost immediately we ran into a group stopped for breakfast at a local joint. We joined them and as we were leaving the people working behind the desk informed us we were going the wrong way if we were headed to Pennsylvania. With their guidance, we realized that the cue sheet was off on the mileage and so we headed back down a giant hill and took a short cut to the bridge that leads into Pennsylvania. Getting to Pennsylvania was awesome! I can't believe we've already made it this far. We took a bunch of pictures with the state sign, waited for everyone to reach this point, and headed on towards lunch. 

Just before lunch, we ran into a long stretch of construction that was only allowing one lane of traffic to go through at a time. We caught up to the rest of the group here just as they were being let through. Since we were on bikes, we took a little longer than a line of cars would so by the time we got to the other side there was a loooong line of cars waiting to go through. A few people waved and one even yelled out "yeah bike and build!" It was funny to see everyone's faces as we passed. Lunch was along a creek, which was amazing. I almost wanted to take a nap it was so calming. Alas, there was no time for a nap and we headed back on the road, prepared to climb the hills to Mt Pocono, PA. 

Right out of lunch, we ran into a group playing bumper boats! It looked like a lot of fun--doing crazy things like that is what bike & build is all about. Not long after, we came to our first wawa of the trip! I didn't get anything but it felt like home. 

Up another hill, we ran into a group that had stopped at a HUGE candy shop. Putting my bike away, I realized that I didn't have my phone with me. After some retracing of my steps in my head (and using a friend's "find my phone" application, I realized I had left it at the wawa! My phone clearly didn't want to leave. I called the van and thankfully they went back and picked it up for me. In the meantime, the guy I was sweep with got a text from one of the directors if Bike & Build, telling him that the wawa had my phone in their safe. It was crazy to see how quickly the word had traveled! Waiting at the candy shop, I went in and treated myself to some of my favorites--gummy candies and giant smarties on a stick. Once my phone was back in my arms, we started our final stretch. I had heard that the final 3 miles were all uphill, and they were not lying. Slow and steady, with one stop for a back bend stretch, got us up that hill. That night we were provided dinner by the church we were staying at and it was by far the best meal we've had all trip. They were also super enthusiastic about what we were doing and taped us giving a presentation on Bike & Build to show the whole congregation.

Friday, June 28, 2013

This is my life

June 27, 2013
Poughkeepsie, NY to Port Jervis, NY

Today was our first day of iffy weather we've had all trip. The day started out overcast and really foggy, which made for an erie ride. After going through some crazy back roads around Poughkeepsie, we hit a milestone--crossing the Hudson River! Thankfully they have a walking/biking path so we didn't have to be with all the speedy traffic. Going up the bridge was freaking awesome. It was still pretty foggy and the metal walkway made it feel like we were going up the creepiest roller coaster ever. 

Once on the other side, the skies started to clear a bit and we started cruising past farm fields and pastures with cows in them. It's funny to think about how when most people think of New York they think of the city, when in reality most of New York is actually very rural and farmlandy. We stopped for lunch at what looked like a public park with picnic tables, but part way through lunch a car came down and asked to talk to whoever was in charge. Turns out we were in a park that only town residents were allowed to use and therefore needed permission to use. Luckily they let us stay and finish our lunch, but it was an interesting interaction. After lunch, we were supposed to get on a bike trail for a bit, something we all have started to look forward to because it means nice pathways and no cars to worry about. However, this pathway was A) impossible to find, and B) the worst kind of gravel that my hands and butt basically want numb. Once off the trail though, it was a relatively easy bike to the host site, with the exception of one of the longest hills we've climbed so far. It took everything in me to just keep pedaling and make it all the way to the top. About a half mile away from the top, we started seeing signs for trucks saying that for the next 4 miles they needed to be in their lowest gear...aka there was a 4 MILE DOWNHILL!! Words can't describe how incredible it felt. We took pictures with this statue at the bottom of it though if that gives any indication of what it was like. 

The showers we were going to use were a mile away at the Port Jervis High School. Considering we had just biked about 60 miles, walking 1 more didn't seem that bad. The best part of the whole walk though was stopping at the Port Jervis diner and getting wings and milkshakes! It's the simple things that make us happy on this trip. When dinner was ready at the host site, we had the pleasure of listening to a combination adult-student band that was practicing for a concert soon. Let's just say it was a concert only a parent could really love. Afterwards I gave my bike a thorough cleaning, getting my hands super greasy! 

Going to bed, it really hit me that this is what my life is going to be like everyday for the next two months. Just wake up, eat some food, bike all day--up hill, down hill, rain, sun, EVERYTHING--eat more food, update friends and family on what I'm doing, and good to bed. It's pretty awesome. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Week One Video

A couple of the guys on the trip have go pro cameras that are either attached to their helmet or their bikes capturing some awesome biking (and non-biking) moments. They so have been documenting other parts of the trip as well. One guy, Daniel, has a friend that offered to edit and compose a week by week recap of our trip from the footage Daniel takes on his camera. This is the first week in video, enjoy!

The best day yet

June 26, 2013
Pittsfield, MA to Poughkeepsie, NY

Today we started our 7 day streak of biking with no build days or rest days in between. Up until this, we had only ever biked 3 days in a row! To start off the streak was an 85 mile day, the longest of the trip so far and a lot of people's longest ride ever, myself included. I headed out with a group of girls that I bike really well with and we were just cursing through the miles. There were some hard uphills, but they always seems to come with either a nice view, a nice downhill, or both. Biking out of the Berkshire's was absolutely gorgeous. It was by far my favorite scenery in Massachusetts (and not just because I was happy to be leaving them!). 

By the time we made it to lunch at mile 45, we had already entered Connecticut, left Connecticut, and entered New York! We were kind of hoping that lunch would be in Connecticut so we could say that we had breakfast in Massachusetts, lunch in Connecticut, and dinner in New York, but lunch was about less than 5 miles into New York. 

After lunch, I set off with the same girls again and we kept on cruising through the miles. There was only one big hill that came our of nowhere and seemed to never end, but once you got to the top it felt like you could see everything. 

After that we just chipped away at the miles and made our way into Poughkeepsie. We had woken up an hour earlier than normal, 5am instead of 6am, so we got to the school we were staying at relatively early. It felt amazing to have done an 85 mile ride and feel o great while doing it. We're starting to feel like we're getting stronger now, which is super cool! The best part about the school we were staying at was that we all got our own beds! First time on the whole trip. Not only was it way more comfortable than the thermarest, but it meant we didn't have to pack up the thermarest in the morning. The second best thing was that it had a cable TV. We spent the next 2-3 hours watching Tattoo Nightmares and resting on the couches and chairs. It was amazing. Just before dinner though, I got back on my bike an headed to Vassar College to see the campus where both my grandma and aunt went to college. It was. Beautiful campus and so much fun to bike around!

I think it's pretty cool that this route just happened to take me by both of the colleges were my grandparents attended as well as where my brother is currently attending. Plus, we basically started where I went to college. Sorry mom and dad, upstate New York doesn't sound like a fun detour. After dinner, we all sat down as a group and worked out a team charter--basically things we want to define us as a group. For example, we talked a lot about respect, communication, and patience to name a few. It was a great conversation and I think it will really help shape the kind of culture we want to great as a group for the next two months. To end, some great news we found out today is that on our day off in Pittsburgh we will be going to the Pirates vs Phillies baseball game!!! Could not be more excited!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Build day in Pittsfield, MA

June 25, 2013
Build day in Pittsfield, MA

We started our build day by walking to an overgrown lot just a few minutes from the church we were staying in. From there, we broke into assigned groups that had been decided the night before and some people left to go to a different site to do some roofing while others went to help out at the ReStore picking up and dropping off different things. The rest of us, including myself, stayed at the lot and got to work clearing out weeds and overgrown bushes to the property line. It was pretty fun hacking away at bushes and it was satisfying to see how cleared up things got when you remove a big branch or two. There were also a lot of random things that people found while clearing out the lot. Most notable were tires. We found at least 12 of them! Other found objects included box springs, a shopping cart, a plastic slide, a brick fire pit, and a marihuana plant. Yes, we found marihuana. The girl using the weed walker actually chopped most of it down without even realizing what it was. Guess that shows you how the lot was being treated before we got there. I was really ready to find a dead body the next branch I moved (luckily that didn't happen though). 

The homeowners were on site with us, which was really cool. Having them there helped to put what we're doing into more perspective and to give it greater meaning.  After the day was done, I was really impressed with all the work that we had accomplished. That night it was my chore groups turn to do everyone's laundry. What this entails is everyone puts their dirty laundry on a closed loop and places it on a tarp. We then take that tarp to the nearest laundromat in town and basically take it over for about an hour. While it was going, we all waited and busied ourselves with reading, writing, or in my case, needle pointing. When we brought it back, we realized that we had left a whole load in the washer so I went back with one other person and transferred it to the drier. While we were waiting we made up games to play with the extra quarters we had. Inspired by the game show Minute To Win It, we challenged each other to do different things with the quarters in a minute or less. For example, we had one minute to spin a quarter and stop it still standing with one finger three times in one minute. It was a great way to pass the time albeit maybe not the most pleasant noise for the other laundry goers to listen to. As we're playing, this guy who has been sitting near us comes up and asks if we could watch his phone that was plugged into the wall or a bit while he ran up the street for something. We kinda smiled at him and he walked off. Well, our laundry finished up about two minutes after he left and we were left standing there with our done laundry wondering if we should wait for this guy to come back, if we should just leave it, or even if we should pass off the responsibility to someone else. Not sure what to do, we sat down and decided we would wait 5 minutes and if he wasn't back by then we would leave. Luckily he came back with I the next two minutes, but it felt like we were on the show What Would You Do and the host was going to pop out of no where asking, "So you waited for him to come back even though you're laundry was done and you didn't even know the guy...why would you do that?" Overall it was a fun first night of laundry despite our minor slip up.

Learning to do hills

June 24, 2013
Northampton, MA to Pittsfield, MA

Today was one of the shortest rides we've had so far, but it was definitely not the easiest. After yesterday's giant hills, we were ready for anything that the Berkshire's could throw at us. What we encountered almost immediately after we left Northampton was slow yet steady inclines that lasted for miles. As a group we've all share different strategies for how to get up long hills. Some people focus on the pedal strokes of one foot for 10 and then focus on the other foot for 10. I did this for a while going up some long hills but it got to a point where 10 felt like not enough so I switched to 20. Another strategy people use to get up hills is to just look at the ground immediately in front of them u til they've reached the top. I on the other hand prefer to pick a spot slightly up ahead of me and then concentrate on getting to that point. Once there, I pick another spot and focus on that until I'm at the top of the hill. Nonetheless, hills are always going to be difficult but it's easier when you know that everyone else is also working hard to make it to the top. We stopped for lunch next to a cute stream and refueled for more hills. 

Getting on the bike after lunch is difficult because we've been sitting for a while, and today was even harder than usual because we were met with steeper hills right away. Going up one of them, I tried to switch into my lowest gear and my chain popped off! Not knowing what to do, I toppled over into oncoming traffic. Luckily no one was coming, but it was a little scary. We got to our host site in Pittsfield a bit early and were able to head to a local bike shop that a riders uncle recommended. They were AWESOME and helped tune and tweak everyone's bikes. Afterwards a group of us were hanging out in the basement where we were sleeping when we realized water was rushing into the basement from the brick wall in a corner. We had been warned that when it rains it drips from the ceiling, but this was definitely not a drip. As we were frantically trying to move things from the corner, someone noticed that the water was also starting to rush in from under a closet door too. Before we knew it, the entire basement floor was about to be covered with water. Everyone was grabbing bags and thermarests moving them to higher ground. Luckily we were able to catch it quickly enough or else all of our stuff would have been soaked. When it slowed down, there was almost 2 inches of after covering the floor of the basement. It was definitely and exciting way to start off our stay in Pirtsfield.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

"It's all downhill from here"

June 23, 2013
Fitchburg, MA to Northampton, MA

Leaving Fitchburg, we were told that we would have to go up a few more hills before we get out of the town, but then it would be all down hill from there. I set off with a fun group, prepared to stop at any and all swimming places we could find (unfortunately there weren't many). One of the first cities we went through had a sign deeming it chair city! And sure enough, right when we go over a hill there was a giant chair! Naturally we all stopped and got on it. 

After we finished climbing the next hill, a guy walking his dog told us that it was all downhill from there to Northampton. Unfortunately, that was not so true. Next was lunch at Irving state forest. It was three miles to the beach/picnic area and completely uphill. It was definitely the steepest hill we had encountered yet. After getting off of our bikes we all got in the water, which felt amazing. What was even more amazing was that one of our trip leaders, Kristen, was being visited by her coworkers and they brought us all lunch! Swimming and lunch, the perfect afternoon on bike and build. 

However, that was where it stopped being great. We had heard that the road we were supposed to go on next was not safe for cyclists and actually prohibited bikers from traveling on it. The leaders talked with a guy on the beach who biked the area frequently and he suggested we either shuttle ourselves by the van past the dangerous area or we reroute up hill for 10 miles. We ended up choosing the reroute. I thought the hill we went up to get to lunch was bad, but the hills we encountered after lunch were a couple times worse. At two points, the hills were so steep and long that we had to get off and walk our bikes or we would have fallen over. The group cleverly calls this "hike and build". And a hike it was. 

Thankfully after climbing up the hill there was usually a downhill right after that went by much faster. The upside was that we got some amazing views of the Berkshire's and western Massachusetts! 

The rest of the ride was an extreme struggle with more hills and open fields. Throughout the day we were told by multiple people once we got to the top of a hill that it was all downhill from there. Not once was any of them telling the truth. I didn't reach the host site until 5:30, and at that point I wasn't ready to be happy and cheerful with anyone--all I wanted was a shower and alone time. Luckily I was able to get some time away that night since Andrew came down to visit and we went and got dinner in Amherst and then spent some time walking around the campus. By the time I got back to the church I was exhausted and crashed on my thermarest. 

Second build day

June 22, 2013
Build day in Fitchburg, MA

Saturday was our second build day of the trip! We stayed in Fitchburg, MA a second night and slept in until 6:30am before we got up to build. Once our music ended for the alarm, one of the hosts from the church serenaded us with a song he had written himself. It was definitely a first for the trip. After breakfast, we all walked to the build site just a few blocks away. The house was done being built but needed quite a bit of landscaping. The family consisted of a mother and her son who was in a wheelchair. He had been in a car accident as a child that left him unable to walk. The job of the day was to move a giant pile of gravel from the driveway to places where it was actually needed. 

They thought that there would be a lot of poison ivy in the overgrown backyard they were working in though, so instead of working at the house, I went with a few other people to work at the ReStore. There, one group did some minor landscaping outside and cleaning of the products being sold on the floor while my group washed and primed the break room. Priming sounded fun, but when we got there, we realized one wall was entirely cinder blocks so there were small holes in the wall that the roller couldn't get and the wooden walls had vertical grooves running from the ceiling to the floor every 5 inches. Needless to say, it took a very long time. It was the most arm workout I have done in a while. 



The highlight of my day though was when a group of us went to see Monsters University at a nearby theater. It. Was. Awesome. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

A long hilly day

June 21, 2013
Andover, MA to Fitchburg, MA

This morning on our message board it said two freighting things--one was that they were going to start enforcing the in by 4pm rule, which meant that if we weren't at the host site by that time they would start sending out the van to pick us up, and the other was that today we were riding into Fitchburg which is the self proclaimed second hilliest town in the country. After the hills we had to do to get into Andover, none of us were excited about more hills. Luckily it was only supposed to be around 40ish miles, a break from the 70+ and 60+ days before it. The entire day we were bracing ourselves for killer hills and completely psyching ourselves out. There definitely were hills, but I don't think it was a anything like what people had built up in their minds. However, there were more than a few times when I was in my absolute lowest gear (the easiest to pedal in) and felt like I just wanted to get off, but I never did! My mantra for the day was slow and steady wins the race. Since the day was so short, a lot of people passed the lunch stop before the van had arrived and so just biked all the way to our destination and found lunch there. I ended up in the back of the pack because my group seemed to keep stopping and having awesome conversations. It was great because it is sometimes hard to talk to people while biking but I do really enjoy talking with all of them. It was also nice to give my legs a break every now and then. When we finally made it to Fitchburg, MA, we had our first experience with taking our showers at the local YMCA.  A little girl that was there for camp asked us why we all had the same shirt on and her mouth literally dropped to the floor when we said we were biking to California. It was definitely one of my top 5 favorite reactions yet to telling someone what we're doing. The rest of the night we just hung out in the church as a group and had some fun rolling each others thigh muscles out (it is too painful to inflict upon yourself so we've been making other people do it instead). We have our second build day tomorrow here in Fitchburg and we're all really excited, both to be helping out the community an to be getting a break from biking. 

Random pictures from today (I didn't take many):

Saving a turtle!

Found this guy outside of CVS in Fitchburg 

It hurts so good!

1 day, 3 different states

June 20, 2013
Kittery, ME to Andover, MA

(Yesterday was super busy, as you'll soon read, so this post is a day late...sorry!)

I woke up this morning fearing that I would be in pain in every muscle of my body. To my surprise, I felt 100 times better than I thought I would! I got to sleep on a couch last night because I am one of the shorter ones that could actually fit on the couch. It was awesome.

We left Kittery around 7:30am and started heading towards Andover, MA.  Not far into the ride, we crossed over a bridge with unbelievable views in every direction. The middle of the bridge was the state line between Maine and New Hampshire! This was the first state line crossing of the day. I was riding with three other girls and we were super excited to have crossed our first state line of the trip, but unfortunately we were immediately greeted in NH by big rolling hills. They were a struggle to say the least. Thankfully, around mile 18, everyone was advised to take a 1.5 mile detour to visit an amazing swimming hole. The water was refreshing and felt so good on our aching muscles. 

After our quick dip in the pond, we headed out towards lunch in Exeter. The hills just kept coming. A few miles after we left the pond, we saw bike and build people going in the other direction. Since the day before we had all gotten very lost frequently, we thought we might have missed a turn or something, but as they approached, we realized we didn't recognize any of them. As we passed, we heard them yell out, "You're going the right way! We're the Northern route!" The Northern US route, which leaves from Providence, RI, had just left that morning for their first day of biking and we just happened to run into them on the same stretch of road going in different directions. As we kept biking, we all hoped to see more NUS bikers.  At a huge stop sign less than a mile down the road, we found a large group of bike and builders, both from our route and theirs. We pulled over and started chatting with them.  It was so cool to see another trip on the road!  

(Pretending to be rival biker gangs - ME2SB on the left and NUS on the right)

When we finally got to lunch I didn't even bother taking my biking gloves off before I started eating I was so hungry. For lunches we usually just have leftovers and the dinner the night before was delicious so I was excited to have more. After lunch we headed out again and crossed our second state line of the day into Massachusetts! 

As we got closer to Andover, the hills got bigger and longer and steeper. It felt like every time we got up one we would look around the corner and see another. Finally, on a lovely downhill, we decided to stop at an ice cream shop and the store agreed to give us all a free scoop! Let me just say it was the biggest "scoop" of ice cream I have ever had. 

Getting back on our bikes, I was thinking about how I was really impressed with how well we had been following directions that day. Only a few minutes after I said that, we found ourselves on a road under construction that had been torn up and left with the bumpy texture roads get before they are paved. I have never felt something so uncomfortable and weird in my entire life. Sitting on the seat was almost unbearable at times it was so bumpy and I couldn't feel my feet or my hands. Everyone had an amazing attitude about it though and we made our way through it laughing and signing the Circle of Life intro from The Lion King "nAaAaAaAants ingonyamaAaAaAa bagithi Baba", a song with a lot of vibrato (confession: I just looked up those lyrics and was shocked to discover that the beginning of that song is actually words). About 2/3 of the way down this horrible road, we agreed that it was acceptable to break the rules this one time and ride on the sidewalk. It felt like heaven. Luckily, or unluckily depending on your perspective, our turning error brought us to the same street, just further down the hill that we needed to climb. The worst part of the whole climb was having to stop at a red light on a steep part of the hill. It is extremely hard to get going after stopping on hills. --Side note, there were also lots of steep downs hills that ended in stop signs or red lights that were almost equalling as aggravating because then we lost almost all of our momentum for the next climb.-- Anyway, while stopped at this stop light on the hill, a woman in a convertible looks at us and says something along the lines of how much she doesn't envy us at this moment, very encouraging. Finally we made it to the Pike School were we set up camp in their gymnasium, took showers, spread our stuff out, and got ready for dinner. Tonight's dinner was very special. We ate at the house of Chris Webber's parents. Chris was a bike and build alum who did two different trips and then also worked as one on their few staff members in the office running the trips. Sadly he was struck by a car and killed a few years ago. In memory of him, there is a Chris Webber Memorial ride in Florida, and also on the ME2SB trip, his family hosts the group for dinner one night and talk about how much bike and build meant to Chris. It was amazing to hear stories about him from so many people that loved him and I was so grateful to have been able to be a part of it. Bike and build is an amazing community and I can't be more thankful that I have this opportunity to be a part of it. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Today. Was. Awesome.

June 19, 2013
Portland, ME to Kittery, ME

Woo!! I survived my first day! We got up at 5:30am today, which, funny story, I didn't realize until 6:20...I thought we had woken up at 6:05 like normal and just been super productive. First we biked to a church for an amazing breakfast that kept me full all morning, and then we biked to the beach for our wheel dip. We'll do a wheel dip in Santa Barbara when we get there too! 

After the dip we officially started biking to California! I started with a group that went off third, but since I knew my way around Portland, I got us to the Casco Bay Bridge without getting lost so we passed the other two groups right away. However, after we got off the bridge in South Portland, my group went straight instead of right so we had to backtrack and got passed again. A little ways down the road, I had the most unbelievable accident that should have probably broken a couple of my bones but magically didn't. The light my group was going though turned to red before we could all get through so the girl in front of my slammed on her brakes. I wasn't paying as much attention as I should have so at 13mph I slammed into her. Fortunately, my front tire hit her right pedal, I flew up into the air, popped out of both of my clips on my pedals, landed perfectly back down on my seat, biked over a median and turned around before traffic started coming towards us. I was in shock that nothing worse happened but unbelievably grateful. 

Overall the day was amazing. We all carry around chalk to mark up the ground for confusing turns or other directions. But we also do it for fun things too! One thing that we do is something called donation magic. Basically that means we go into a place (primarily food) and explain what we're doing and inquire about whether they could give us a discount or not. If they agree, we put a smiley face outside the store on the pavement and say thanks! Today my group stopped at two ice cream places and we got a monetary donation at the first and I got us half off at the second one. It was a lot of fun. Some groups got half off mini golf while another got a free ride on a Ferris wheel! The views all day were amazing, primarily because we're still going along the Maine coast line. I was a part of the first group to arrive at the church in Kittery so I helped unpack the trailer and went to take a shower. My whole body is exhausted and sore--tomorrow should be fun!! Here are some pictures from the day!

(After 13 miles of a gravel walking path)

Bike Log:
Day 1: Portland to Kittery
Miles: 74.8
Time on bike: 4 hours and 39 minutes
Max: 28.4 mph
Average: 13.6 mph

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Build day in Freeport

Today we woke up at 6:05am again!! Thankfully I slept so much better and actually woke up early and felt so refreshed I thought they had let us sleep in...I was wrong. After a breakfast donated to us from Panera, we headed off to our first build site in Freeport, a town just south of Brunswick that I biked to a lot for my training rides (and a lot of shopping...oops). The site was pretty far along and the place was really starting to look great. It was a three home complex that would be next to a duplex and another three home complex creating kind of a little neighborhood. 

The site manager Chad split us into groups--window installation, strapping, and styrofoam instillation. I chose strapping because it required you to climb up high on the ladder and use a power drill to place long, thin pieces of wood vertically on the sides of the house. They would be used to install the siding for the house later on. 

I'm pretty terrified of heights, so I wanted to do strapping to challenge myself (it seems to be a theme of the summer). And a challenge it was. The first time I went up to the top of the second floor on the ladder I was just going to measure how long of a piece of wood we would need--I don't think my legs could have shaken more. Luckily, I quickly got used to the height and eventually was climbing the ladder no problem. I even climbed up the three story scaffolding and sat with my legs over the side and drilled in some smaller pieces before I hoisted myself through the window. Sadly it was cloudy and drizzling most of the time so the day was pretty chilly but we stayed and worked from 8:30 to 3:30. We were able to get a lot done which was great, and we also got to bond with our fellow riders. I worked with a guy named Steve most of the time and we just got in a groove that allowed us to complete almost everything that we could. Overall the day was amazing, we ended it with a trip to Walmart and a huge push to finish painting the trailer. Not to brag or anything, but our trailer looks amazing. People driving by it might be distracted it's so good.