Today's ride was 142 miles from Dublin, Georgia to Tybee Beach, Georgia (just east of Savannah). I hope with the saddle sores, that the posts of the last few days didn't sound too negative. Last night an angel visited me in the form of Dr. Jon Baker - one of the other riders. I hadn't really gotten to know John during this trip - he was either up the road from me or I was up the road from him- and we never got a chance to talk. But he overheard a conversation I was having about my troubles, and offered a solution. Jon had with him some special bandages that are typically used to cover over sores of bedridden patients in hospitals. I cut off a little piece, stuck it just in the right spot, and man did it ever do the job (!) I had a great ride today in total comfort. It was fun again to be on the bike.
Lunch was at mile 116 today, where we all sort of re-grouped. We then all rode to the coast together. Maybe it was something like what the Tour de France riders feel on their last day. We got to the hotel, which is right on the beach. Everyone walked their bike to the beach and dipped their front wheel into the Atlantic Ocean. A lot of family members were there, a lot of pictures were taken, and a lot of congratulations were said among the riders and crew. Everybody was really up! I think it was a combination of happiness and relief. I'm relieved myself that I don't have to get up at 5:00 tomorrow morning and I don't have to sit on a bicycle seat for awhile.
After I left the beach, I did break down for a moment. I've been focused on this ride for a long time, and now it's over. I thought of Charles and the RidingforCharles project and how that project has also come to an end. It's bitter-sweet. But the Charles Barr Memorial Chair will exist as long as the Cleveland Orchestra does, and through this ride I have come to know Eric and Cathy and am pleased to call them dear friends.
Tonight there is a banquet for all the riders and crew - it'll be a good chance to see everybody for the last time. A lot more congratulations and some goodbyes. I'm really looking forward to NOT riding my bike, but I'm going to miss the guys and the great friendships I've made.
Tomorrow I'll write one more post with sort of an overall inclusive view about my experience. Thanks again for the emails and the cards. The moral support was truly uplifting, and helped me get through some tough days.