Day 24 - Ashland, Virginia to Williamsburg, Virginia
This was it, our last day. 81 miles
to the beach and I would have ridden my bike coast to coast, over
some incredibly difficult terrain, in just 24 days. I was so happy
that it was almost over, but in a way it was anti-climatic. It
was the West Yellowstone day, and the Big Horn Day, and the 11,000
foot day that I remembered feeling victorious on. They were the
days that I felt like I'd accomplished something. This was just
a short little ride to the beach, and then it was going to be
I was excited
because my parents were driving up from NC to meet me on the course,
and I hadn't seen them since last year. I was excited that this
20 year old dream of riding across the country was about to be
fulfilled in the place where the dream began. I was excited that
the next day I could rest. I finally realized that I had just
undertaken something very few people ever consider, and I was
about to successfully complete the ride.
But I was also a little sad.
No time for that though. Susan and I had a ride to do. We rolled
out with Susan warning folks to get out of the way, since a girl-driver
was coming through. Roberta joined us as we rolled through beautiful
rural Virginia countryside. We still had a little climbing to
do, and I noticed that Susan also liked to push big gears, and
didn't like to use the granny much. We toughed it out over one
little wall, and she promised to use the left shift lever if we
At the first snack stop, I had to get back on my single, since
Susan had to work the rest of the day. But we talked Roberta into
captaining with Karen. A few quick pedal changes and they were
off. Karen wasn't thrilled with my seat, but only had to use it
for 30 miles, and stuck it out. Roberta did great in her first
time captaining, and I couldn't keep up with them.
the outskirts of Williamsburg with a small group of riders and
were led off course by an errant arrow. We quickly realized the
error, and were back on our way. We passed our hotel and I saw
my parents waving and shouting on the sidewalk. I stopped for
a quick hug and gave them directions to the next stop, along with
instructions to use their camera.
We regrouped about 5 miles from the beach for a group photo and
to make the assault on the beach together. Rebecca had talked
John into doing the final leg of the ride on the tandem with her,
and they led out the pack. We finally reached the beach and headed
down to the ocean with our bikes for a dip in the water. The sight
of jellyfish kept me from going too far out, but I did get my
feet wet. Lots of picture taking and hugs and congratulations
followed. A lot of people had family and friends come out and
meet them and it was really a fun time. The folks sunning themselves
on the beach were a little alarmed, but I enjoyed it.
We then rolled another mile down the road for lunch, but not
before stopping at a local pub for a beer, and it was a cold delicious
beer! I hadn't seen my folks in almost a year, so we spent lots
of time catching up, in between introducing them to my new friends.
Of course my mom told me I was too skinny, but I told her I'd
ridden from Dairy Queen to Dairy Queen trying to do something
The cue sheet said the ride ended at the beach, so I accepted
a ride back to the motel with my folks, where people were packing
up bikes and getting ready to go home the next day. The final
banquet that night was really great as each rider was presented
with their PAC Tour plaque. The plaque had two pegs on it, for
hanging one's hats and gloves. Lon believes in utilitarian things.
The final rider called out was Richard Lawrence, the oldest rider
to ever complete PAC Tour. Richard was greeted with a standing
ovation as he accepted his plaque. One of the things that had
motivated me to do this ride was the knowledge that I might not
always have a chance to do everything I wanted to do, but Richard
also showed us that it's never too late to start.