South Route 2016: The last full day of biking

When we took off from Long Beach two months ago, it seemed like today would never come. I can still remember that first ride to Ontario in what seemed liked over 100 degrees wondering how we would ever make it out of those mountains, let alone to D.C. And now we’re here.

We woke up at 6:30 a.m. and went about our morning routine, but something was different. Last night we had gone through the ritual to become Pi Alphas and it was still fresh on all of our minds. This, along side the fact that many of us had been told the D.C. ride was very high paced and more of a glorified arrival made this morning feel like the start of our last real ride. It was our last ride with just the boys out on the road. No fancy arrivals. No cheering family waiting. Just us.

We shuffled outside to Bryan, glowing over the feast that was our last crew breakfast. We binged on WHOLE cups of cereal and even got leftover dessert from the night before. As we ate we made small talk with the Rogers family and thought aloud how big of a day this would be. And then we were off.

I honestly wish today could have lasted forever. My pace line was torn between getting into lodging in a reasonable time or making the day last as long as possible. 11 miles in we were red flagged to let crew get in place and as soon as every pace lined rolled into Hayden’s crew stop someone threw Dixieland delight on the car radio. Looking back that was probably the last time we’ll sing that song as a team on the road.

After 50 miles of storytelling, reminiscing, and the usual JOH Shenanigans we arrived into our final lodging. Each of us said our goodbyes and thank you’s to Bruce Rogers for riding along with us. We had our last crew lunch. Then it was off to Trans team’s lodging to shower and get ready for tonight’s all team dinner. As I write this we’re on the way to dinner and I can’t believe the summer is almost at its end.

What I wouldn’t give to have one more chance to relive even those miserable rides in the desert with the team. I’m positive that I speak for the entire South Route when I say that this summer was the greatest experience of our lives, and each and every guy on the team is someone that I am incredibly proud to call my brother.