Week 7 - Made it to Annapolis, MD!
Quick Recap of Week 7 (5/28 - 6/3)
During week 7 we made it through Virginia, Washington DC, and into Maryland crossing the unofficial halfway point in La Crosse, VA. We rode on some really lovely trails, both off-road and in the cities. We are still enjoying our journey and can't believe we've actually made it halfway. There are still constant logistical challenges and juggling. Our legs and bodies are tired and sore, but we're getting it done. We're still working like a solid team.
A big challenge this week: In Virginia, we came across a nearly 80-mile segment with no lodging options, which meant our usual plan to run to where we were sleeping wouldn't work. But we formulated a plan: I bike 70+ miles to rent a car in Petersburg while Shan does his usual 40ish miles, I drive back and pick up Shan and shuttle him to our hotel in Petersburg, and I shuttle him to his start point the next day and he runs back to the hotel. Despite the huge thunderstorms and tornado watches that blew through during the day, the plan worked! We found shelter during the most intense part of the storms, but the rain persisted for the rest of the day. We stayed warm, though, and the trailer has an excellent rain cover, so all of our things stayed dry.
Once we were back on track, we had some really great lodging arrangements. We were hosted by cyclists also associated with the ECG (Ben/Amy in Richmond and Pete/Red in Annapolis) and an ultrarunning couple who heard Shan’s interview on Ten Junk MIles before we even started the Expedition (Cheryl/Eric in Woodbridge).
We had escorts for our travels through DC into Mt. Rainier and the trip out of Mt. Rainier. Elliott and Eric, ECG guys, and Bob, who works with the Parks Planning and Development Committee for the M-NCPPC, were kind enough to ride alongside us. This was immensely helpful since it saved us from studying the maps at every intersection. Plus we learned a lot about the trail efforts, the challenges, and the history of the trails in their neighborhoods.
We got some more press this week, too! We met with a reporter from WTVR CBS 6 news (check out the story here) as well as a member of the Trails Conservancy who interviewed Shan near the Washington Monument as we made our way through our nation’s capital (interview here).
Some fun facts from Week 7
Miles this week =
Shan (running) - 263.2 miles
Josh (cycling) - 255 miles
Total Miles = 1827.5
Money raised for ECG = $6000!
Week 7 Highlights
Most delicious meal: "Home-cooked" Indian food, prepared by yours truly in a make-shift kitchen at our hotel in Petersburg, VA.
Coolest people we met:
Matt Brewer is the owner of the Trailhead Collective, a non-profit bike shop in LaCrosse, VA providing free services and free bikes to children in need. He's a super awesome guy. He was kind enough to wake up at sunrise to meet us as we made our way along the Tobacco Heritage Trail, past the little red caboose and unofficial halfway point of the East Coast Greenway. Matt is already an active member of the community, and I can see his enthusiasm and big heart will bring more good things to trails in the area. Great meeting you; thanks for the sunrise celebration!
Ben and Amy - They were kind enough to share their home with us, feed us a delicious dinner and give us a super comfy place to sleep. Loved chatting with them and I'm still a little envious of their cargo bike and the neighborhood they're raising their little girl in; it's a perfect match with the cargo bike culture. Way to go, guys - enjoy those miles!
Cheryl and Eric hosted us in Woodbridge, VA. Cheryl caught wind of our trip on the Ten Junk Miles podcast that Shan was on before we started our trip. Thanks so much for your support, guys! The beef Burgundy was delicious and the ultrarunning stories are always fun to share. Happy trails to you both and may your running shoes bring you to some crazy awesome places.
Elliott, Eric, and Bob - these three guys really made a difference in our days in Washington DC and Maryland. Not only did we appreciate the guided tour on the city bike lanes, but we were also cheered up and motivated by the pride and passion they have for their local bike paths. Thanks for inspiring us to keep moving and opening our eyes even more to the efforts of trails advocacy groups, Parks and Rec, and the ECGA
Pete and Red - Oh man, it was so nice to stay with these guys in Annapolis. We had a really great place to sleep and enjoyed delicious burgers for dinner. We talked a lot about military stuff (my father was retired Air Force and Shan had done work with the military in the past so we had a lot in common) and about running and cycling (of course). Pete was also kind enough to ride with me to the head of the B&A Trail the next morning. Thank you!
The hardest day: The hardest day for both of us was 5/27 when huge storms came through. This was also the day I biked 70+ miles to pick up the rental car. Long, soggy day. Tired legs.
Favorite view/stretch of trail: The bike lanes/paths in Washington DC were my favorite. I hadn't ridden much in cities before, and frankly, was a little intimidated. The design of these bike lanes was awesome, though, making the cycling nearly stress-free.
Most exciting animal encounter: There were a number of turtle rescues this week. Note: if you choose to save a turtle you find on the road, you must move it in the direction it's facing.
Most interesting historic site: We really enjoyed running through the mall in DC, and even had an interview with Great American Rail Trails in front of the Washington Monument (see link here). It was surreal being in DC again, after driving through nearly 2 months earlier. I felt giddy, even though we know there are still many weeks left before we reach Calais.