Virginia Beach, VA to Suffolk, VA - the first day of riding
Suffolk Travel Blog› entry 5 of 70 › view all entries
May 17th, 2008 – by: smhirsch
We didn't leave the beach in one big group, like I thought we would...after the wheel dipping and pictures, a handful of the guys took off. Eli and I jumped on our bikes and took off soon after with Megan and the two alumni, Katie and Lynn. We lost Megan and whoever else was following at a light, and after 2 or 3 miles, Lynn and Katie caught up to us. Not long after, Kevin (known as "Sunshine" now because he went to see the sunrise earlier this morning and because George enjoys nicknaming people) joined our group. The five of us were riding at around the same pace so we stuck together, which was really cool because we got to ask the alumni a lot of questions about their favorite day, least favorite day, favorite state, most surprising thing they learned, etc.
Somehow, we missed a turn onto Albemarle and went like 6 miles past it before figuring out we missed it. See, it was our first day really using the cue sheets, and the writing was small and I wasn't wearing my glasses so I could wear my sunglasses...so I just figured following Lynn and Katie would be a good idea, since they rode last year, and had gone on these roads already. Eli and Kevin were thinking the same thing...and then we got lost. Haha. When we figured out we had missed our turn, we were at around 30 miles already (and should have, at that point, been at lunch already). I had barely any energy when we started up again...I was struggling to go 15 mph (my usual average is around 18mph). So, when we were almost back on track, we stopped, rested and ate some food.
The turn we missed was right across the street from where we stopped to eat and stretch a bit, but it was a pretty busy road...so we had to cross over in shifts. Lynn and Katie went first, then me and Eli...but Kevin got stuck and had to wait. Eli and I started going slower so Kevin could catch up. I wasn't fully paying attention and went slightly off the road and then rode the edge getting back on and destroyed my tube. When I say destroyed, I mean destroyed...my tires were fine since I had Gator Skins on there...but the tube. FIVE HOLES IN ONE TUBE AT ONE TIME. That's got to be some sort of record. Hahaha. And to make matters worse, when I swapped out the tube, I pinched the new one and had to change the tube AGAIN. It was hilarious. It was also a good learning experience, because Kevin had never fixed a flat before.
After that whole fiasco, we got back on the road to head for lunch. A few miles out from lunch we passed a family who was handing out doughnuts to us in their front yard. It was awesome. Hahaha. (Apparently, Kristian had bought them from them but then told them to pass them out to anyone cycling by.) We made it to lunch only like 8 minutes behind sweep (who had passed us since they didn't know we were off track), which isn't bad considering we added around 12 miles on. Lunch was awesome...and my gloves fell in the toilet after I went to the bathroom (I had already flushed...don't worry). Hahaha.
We only had around 15 miles after lunch, which was awesome...and since we were around more riders, it went by really quickly. Got to the First Presbyterian Church in Suffolk, VA...but apparently there are two First Presbyterian Churches in Suffolk...on the same road. The one we were actually staying at was the 2nd First Presbyterian Church, which was like 3 blocks past the 1st one we came upon. (When we showed up, Lee asked if something had happened to us, because they had actually made it to lunch and left before we even got there...and he said he was expecting to see me up front. That made me feel awesome.) We all kind of just hung out for a bit...Nate balanced his bike on his chin for the first time on the trip (his bio on the Bike & Build website had him doing it so we all egged him on to do it for us).
Dinner was at Cafe 149 and was wonderful...sandwiches and chips and stuff like that. While we were at dinner, we learned about this free Virginia Symphony Orchestra concert outside at the high school in Suffolk (which is where Beau went to high school...it's cool, he's a local). A bunch of us (Andrew, Lois, Beau, Will, Joe, Kevin, Lee, Ellen, Jackie, Anna, Tony and me) went to watch it. It was pretty fun...got to watch a bunch of little kids playing some strange tree ball kind of game during intermission. Beau says it's "Suffolkian" or something...haha. When we got back, we went to see if there was anything to snack on, and while we were in the kitchen, Nate, Colin and some of the other guys came back from somewhere in town...with free nachos and all this other stuff...so we chowed down before heading upstairs to watch the season finale of The Office on huge projector screen.
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