The day shift was able to get a glorious four hours of sleep and relieved the night shift just outside of Bloomington, Indiana. Everyone was happy to be back on Eastern Standard Time! The day shift had a lot of work ahead of them, as they prepared to head into some of the most difficult stages of the Race Across America. Five miles from the Ohio border the Gang had their last rider exchange in Indiana.
The day shift wrapped up their 12 hours, spent up and down the beautiful terrain in Indiana and Ohio — knocking out 230 miles. After a shift change in Chillicothe, Ohio, the night shift set off to tackle the rest of Ohio, then West Virginia. The day shift hated to see them go but looked forward to some food, a (very) little shut-eye – and reconnecting with them at 5am tomorrow to knock out the last bit of the race the next day!!!
At the end of the day shift, the weather potential was on everyone’s minds. But there’s a lot to like about beautiful rolling Ohio, especially the people. A nice lady pulled up at rider transition and gave a cash donation!
The night shift started out excited to put the last full night in the books! At first they had some trepidation about the hills ahead and how their legs would hold up, but in the end the night shift rocked it! They were hoping to get ahead of the ominous black clouds and red and green and yellow radar. The team had a smooth shift change and a rare opportunity for the ladies of the Chain Gang to snap a photo together – being in three separate vehicles they are never together!
Ben started the shift taking the team through lush and rolling beautiful (and sticky humid) Ohio country side. It felt and looked a lot like home! Jeannie took the baton and got a handful of raindrops, but the night shift was so fast they were able to outrun the storm!
As the riding segments continued they pushed further and further into the Appalachians. The gang had been anticipating this shift for months and were more than a little intimidated by the climb profiles in the route book, but one by one they conquered them. None of the riders were fresh, but they are all strong! The months and months of training paid off, and of course they all have the North Georgia (southern Appalachians) Gaps in their back pockets. This shift of cyclists knows how to climb!
In every event of this magnitude there are any number of variables to manage and overcome, but the one the team didn’t consider was fog. The hot and sticky day turned into a humid and cool evening with low lying fog blanketing the route. Jeannie got to do several very steep descents unable to see the road in front of her and instead seeing her shadow reflected on the fog. It’s pretty exciting to be going at top speed with no visual of your route – just trusting the road is there!
The gang rode through the brick streets of Athens, Ohio, home of Ohio University where they have diagonal crosswalks. They did a little caravan with one van navigating through a tricky section of Clarksburg, WV making it through with no issues except a wee bit tired Dave Gluck from an extra long turn with extra steep hills!
The miles and the elevation gain continued with the final two climbs being the steepest. They split them up with Dave Gluck and Ben sharing the first and Jeannie then Dave Payne sharing the second. They even had a cheering section along with way when the Sprinter van greeted the team for the shift change. It’s safe to say this night shift had never been so happy to see their good friends of the day shift! There were high fives all around and a thoroughly exhausted and exhilarated night shift!
The gang is looking forward to a glorious finish, friends and family, some cold beverages, and some glorious sleep!
The team thanks you all for your prayers, texts and Facebook messages; they have sustained and encouraged the team more than you can possibly know!