61 miles, 2690 feet climbed
We made it to the end. And finally, ten days later, I’m posting this report. Excuses below.
It was another day of good weather. Some climbing for the first half and mostly flat for the remainder.
In past years up until last year, our group would congregate near the ocean and ride the final few miles to the Wallis Sands State Beach with a police escort. For reasons that aren’t clear enough for me to want to publish them here, that service is no longer provided. Costs seem to be a factor. So ABB made no recommendation about any particular beach (there were at least four to choose from) or any particular arrival time. We were on our own.
This mattered more for others than I. Those who had family and friends coming to celebrate with them required a specified time and location and seemed a bit stressed about nailing down a plan. I was flexible. Ultimately we decided to go in small groups and end up at Wallis Sands, which had many more parking spots than the other beaches. This was definitely not an ABB event as there are apparently some hard feelings with the locals. Only one rider that I noticed didn’t get the ‘memo’ and wore his ABB Jersey.
Our final group photo was taken before we left the hotel. You can find it at https://blog.americabybicycle.com/aan/2019/8/12/day-50-manchester-to-portsmouth-nh among the photos.
The result of all of this was that we arrived and left the beach in small, overlapping, waves. Some riders seemed in a hurry to get off to the hotel or the bike shop that was coordinating the shipment of bikes back home. Others went off with their families. Definitely an anticlimactic ending compared with 2004. And, having done this before, this new accomplishment did not have the same impact for me as the original.
The ride to the hotel in Portsmouth seemed much shorter than I remembered it from 2004. I cleaned my chain and checked to see if it was worn to the point where I should toss it. It still had some life in it so I began to disassemble my bike for packing in its box. Last year in Jacksonville, we had to work outside in the heat and humidity. Portsmouth wasn’t that hot or humid but we had an air conditioned multi-purpose room at the hotel to work in. I helped Dr. Rob find a few tools in the mechanics’ toolbox and got all of the parts on my bike loosened but one. That was the pedal on the chainring crankarm. I had the same issue when disassembling the bike before the trip. It takes a lot of force to release it and when it releases, it does so with a kind of cracking sound that is a bit disconcerting to hear from a carbon fiber part (the crankarm).
Force did the job again this time but when the release came, my right hand crashed into the big chainring, making a very neat but deep cut over the middle knuckle. I could see right away that stiches were required, confirmed by Dr. Rob and his wife, herself also an M.D. I worked on the bike for a few minutes until staff was ready to drive me to an urgent care facility, which happened to be across the street from the bike shop they’d been shuttling riders to and from. I got in pretty quickly, the wound was thoroughly rinsed and closed with 6 stitches, and Nick picked me back up, with my new sack of ointments, antibiotics, bandages, and paperwork. I finished packing the bike and even had time to do a load of laundry.
So that accounts for some of the delay in finishing these posts. The next morning, I took advantage of ABB’s shuttle to the Logan Boston airport. My girlfriend Melanie flew in on the red-eye from Sacramento and we arrived at about the same time, picked up a rental car, and commenced a week’s trip in the Boston area, New Hampshire, and Maine. Some bad hotel Wi-Fi prevented me from finishing the posts on some days, beer or wine naps slowed me down on others.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed these photos and rare informative comments. Look for an epilogue sometime between now and the end of the year.