Welcome to Ray Cook's Page, Cycle for Shelter, Emmaus
I'm very glad to post that I successfully completed the metric century ride (100 km or 62.1 miles) yesterday... by far the longest ride I have attempted in many, many years.
The ride started at Northern Essex County Community College. I've lived in Massachusetts now for 24 years, live 11 miles away, and I've never stepped foot on the impressive, beautiful campus. At 7:30, with a police escort in front, about 40 of us set out. I was told it was about half the registered riders as heavy rain, heavy winds, and thunderstorms were in the forecast.
The first 24 miles were tough. We faced strong headwinds and heavy rain. We were all joking about which dry part of us would be the last to succomb. The riders stretched out and I fell back some as I was determined not to repeat mistakes I've made in the past of driving hard at the beginning only to regret it later. There was a nice small group of us riding together and time passed quickly thanks to great conversations. As I learned on jobsites when I was a young man, the worse the weather, the funnier the conversations. Spirits remained high. I started riding with a 30-something guy on a recumbent bike, Evan, who kept pointing out (with some validity) the deficiencies in my vintage and conventional bike. The hardest and wettest stretch was along the seacoast, and the first rest stop at 24 miles was a welcome sight.
From that point on, we turned inland, the wind was mostly behind us, the roads were beautiful and superbly signed. Evan and I kept pace, leapfroggin a faster duo that had problems with flat tires, and we were mostly just warm enough, except after another pair of rest stops where the mid-60's temperatures and the rain had a chance to take hold. A few hills later, though, I was able to warm back up, and I was soggy, but fine.
At the end of the ride, there was quite a barbecue with lots of free food from generous sponsors, friendly and grateful volunteers, and lots of stories about the challenging ride. I came home, took a long, hot shower, and had a great evening playing a board game with my kids and their friends.
So thank you for your support and your support of the Emmaus program. I'm very glad to have done the ride and I'm very glad to have, with your help, supported an impressive and much-needed organization.
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