• Sophia Fang

First Day!

Hi all, Sophia here! DAY ONE SO MUCH HYPE. We woke up around 7am and headed over to the Lincoln Memorial to start our 80 day cross-country adventure! Mariela’s dad was the best helping us pack all our Costco groceries into the car and taking so many photos to commemorate this special moment (do you know that it's a lot easier to hold a bike upside down for cool over-the-head shots? keep a watch on our social media for some awesome pics). After dipping our bike tires into the Reflecting Pool per Spokes tradition, we jumped onto the East Coast Greenway (an awesome bike trail with really cold water fountains) and biked through lovely little wood patches and over rickety bridges for 2 hours or so. Our first destination was Stafford, VA about 58 miles away.

After a quick snack by the Potomac River and a realization that we all needed more water bottle racks on our bikes (it was 95 degrees out and our water was going fast), we got back on the trail. Sadly, the route soon led away from the river breezes towards busy roads packed with cars and brutal hills. After a couple miles in, I started getting sharp pains on the inside of my knees!! We stopped behind a random wall that offered wonderful shade, and Maxwell helped me readjust my bike seat. We also did a few brief stretches and downward dogs. Featuring Franklin.

I thought that the adjustment would help, but just half a mile later, I got a sudden charley horse in my right leg and almost fell off my bike (a charley horse is when your entire leg tightens up and you can’t bend it - it's kinda scary). We stopped and I did some stretches and thought I felt better, so started biking again. This time the cramps were even worse :(. I felt really bad because this was only Day 1 and I didn't want to stop biking! But it's definitely better to sacrifice one day rather than the whole summer. Plus everyone was really supportive and totally agreed that I should stop and sit in the car for the rest of the day.

Robert came to the rescue with our extremely stuffed car (a soon-to-become-beloved but obnoxiously bright blue Ford). We stretched out on the grass near a random building and feasted on interesting combinations of Costco bought sardines, tortillas, pesto and if you’re Franklin, orange slices mixed in.

After our interesting lunch, Maxwell, Simone, Robert and Franklin took off to finish the last 30 miles of the day, while Mariela and I got in the car and took a wonderful 20min nap (fun fact: 20min is optimal for a nap because you get rest but don’t fall into deep sleep). We also drove to an REI to pick up a collapsible 5 gallon water container so very productive overall :)

Since I basically couldn't walk into the store, I stayed in the car and googled how to avoid cramps while biking. Electrolytes are actually a real thing (we saw them in Costco but I’ve never used them because I thought they were unnecessary). So Mariela and I went to Target and bought Nuun electrolyte tablets and DUDE, THEY CHANGED MY LIFE the next day when we were biking. Electrolytes are real. Your body sweats so much of them out during long-term exercise, so it is absolutely critical that you chug them down (ideally one bottle of water and one bottle with electrolytes dissolved). Plus the fruit punch flavor tastes pretty good.

Finally, we arrived in Stafford and stayed with our warm showers host - Lauren and Steve. They let us sleep in their very comfortable basement and fed us a heart-warming meal of turkey rice and turkey enchiladas. Also a huge bowl of refreshing fruit salad. Also a huge stack of waffles for breakfast. Lauren and Steve also had a huge dog who was very loving and welcomed our tired hugs.

Before crashing for the night, we did laundry and hung up wet clothes in this quaint little room with a dehumidifer (since our hosts didn't have a dryer). Featuring Franklin and Maxwell:

Lesson of the day: ELECTROLYTES.

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