Day 1. It was our first time riding as a team. Our first sidewalk meal. Our first SAG (Support and Gear) water station on the side of the road. It was a lot of figuring things out. It was imperfection and it was mistakes. It was scary at times - it was excitement the whole time. It was surreal, standing in the very place that the three girls who started this thing just last year stood. It was the culmination of every step and stroke of our pedals we’ve taken to get this far. It was finally here.
As we saw the sign for Twanoh State Park, victory welled up and (I swear must’ve) physically coursed through my veins. Because we did it. We finished (only) 28 miles and day 1 was finished. We were finally doing what all 11 of us had been looking forward to for so long and we were in it. We did it.
It felt so good to ride my bike into the campground and haphazardly put up a mansion of a tent with my teammates. We sat at a picnic table and gorged ourselves on donated burgers and fries, laughed ourselves sick with stories of the day and ate a whole - not sleeve, but box - of Oreos with peanut butter to top it all off. It didn’t get dark until 10pm but we were all well asleep by 8:30. I sat in my hammock and debriefed. Thought about the joy that just that day had brought and all the joy that was to come.
It wasn’t perfect but it was just the beginning. At one point my group pulled over to the side of the shoulder to take a photo of the scenery, and as we oohed and awed, Savannah said, “it only gets more beautiful from here.” And I think she’s right in more way than one. Hopeful. Expectant. Ready to see what the rest holds.