Day 45, August 4
Confluence, PA to Bedford, PA
We started today's ride with a 30-mile run on the same trail we rode yesterday. The difference was, today it was raining, a nice cool gentle rain that soaked the limestone trail. Splash from our wheels covered all of us and our bikes with a coating of fine gray mud. By late morning, though, the sun was out and we climbed more of Pennsylvania's steep hills.
At the 56-mile mark, we stopped at the temporary memorial to UAL 93, which tragically crashed there in a field. Then most of the riders continued on to climb to the summit of the Allegheny Mountains, 2906 feet high. Then they plunged down a long 9-per-cent grade on US 30 that allowed high speeds for the very brave. Several riders topped 40 mph, but Jack Turner assumed a racer's tuck, drafted a pickup truck down the early part of the descent, then slipped past the truck. When he finally slowed down at the bottom, his computer said he'd hit 65.7 mph. Jack, in his late 50s, does know what he's doing on a bike. Though he has a doctorate in pschology and wrote software for major electronic firms including IBM and Siemens, for the past several years up to last year, he worked as a mechanic for one of the major teams during the Tour de France.
The memorial to the victims of United flight 93.
Our campground in Bedford is a block from the big Cannondale bike factory. Ron Marks stopped in to ask if someone could look at his bike's drive train after the muddy ride. Though he's riding a competitor's bike, a Co-Motion, the Cannondale crew stripped off the chain, washed it in solvent, cleaned the derailleur and cassette, lubricated everything, and checked all the bike's adjustments. They refused to accept any money. That's what you call good PR.