Sunday, July 10, 2011

Rocky River customer continues her cross-country bike quest

Longtime Rocky River resident and Century Cycles customer Debby Milano, 60, biked halfway across the United States last summer, and last Tuesday she arrived in Fargo, North Dakota, to finish her cross-country trip on the Northern Tier Bicycle Route -- planning to bike with 25 other women to Bar Harbor, Maine, with a stop in Rocky River along the way.

Debby was featured on the front page of the West Shore Sun newspaper last Thursday. In the story, she says cycling "has a hold on" her, despite the tragedy that struck her group last summer when one of their members was killed by a pick-up truck while cycling in North Dakota.

We'll be giving you regular updates on Debby's progress as we receive the periodic emails she sends to family and friends. Here's her update from last Friday:

I arrived in Fargo this past tuesday, and immediately ran into and reconnected with friends from last years' ride. I spent some time on odds-n-ends with bike maintenance and the purchase of energy supplements, chamois butter, thermal water bottles, etc.... in anticipation of the riding ahead. Wednesday was our official orientation day. We gathered as a group and introduced ourselves, gave a little background info and proceeded to discuss safety issues which included traffic, tornadoes, ticks and poisonous snakes - YIKES, what have I gotten myself into! We ended our day with our send-off dinner; all of us full of pent-up energy and eager to hit the road the next morning.

On Thursday morning, we rose early, gathered in front of the local bike shop for the obligatory group photo and then jumped on our bikes and we were off. What a release of emotion over the next few hours as we settled in and the 25 of us slowly spread out along the rode as we made our way from Fargo to Pelican Rapids, MN. It is a fact that the level of nervous energy builds over the last few weeks prior to a long-distance ride. You ask yourself: is everything in order at home; have i trained sufficiently; will my body hold-up; do i have everything that i need in the way of fuel and equipment. It is only when riding again, that all of the concerns and questions begin to fall away.

Of course, everyone from last year's ride carries with them thoughts of Barbara, our friend that we lost last year when she was hit by a pick-up truck. We have all had to deal with that tragedy in our own way and those of us who have returned to finish the ride value the opportunity more than ever.

We have been riding through west-central Minnesota for the past two days. Within a few miles of leaving Fargo, North Dakota, we crossed the Red River and entered Minnesota.

We quickly left behind the flat, prairie terrain of the northern plains and entered the rolling farmland dotted with lakes that is Minnesota. We are staying in very small towns as we slowly make our way to the Mississippi River and then we will follow the Mississippi for some time. We covered 57 miles yesterday and 60 today; the riding was very smooth with excellent road conditions, little wind and not much traffic. We have been getting on the road early as the temps have reached into the nineties both days. Now that we have had our warm-up, we will be riding some serious miles starting with tomorrow's 84, a little less the next day and 107 on Monday. Once every five or six days we will be riding close to a century, with 98, 96 and 94 miles days coming up.

I am still getting to know the women who have joined the group just this summer. Everyone seems nice, as always. A few teachers in the bunch; a geologist; a biologist; a couple of college professors and still getting the scoop on the rest. A few more days together and we will all be fast friends.

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