Saturday, May 5, 2012

May 5, 2012. LaPlace to Port Allen, LA. 100 miles.

We started out at 7 AM, rather grumpy because we wanted to get out earlier. Our leaders were worried about the level af daylight at 6:30, but the consensus among us (after the fact) is that it is light enough at 6:30 to ride safely... I think we may make an issue of it next time we have a hundred mile day. 

I've been fascinated by the above ground cemeteries in Louisiana since reading about them when I was a little kid. I took a bunch of photos in several different cemeteries today. This one is from the Providence Rest Haven cemetery just outside La Place. 
Around 16 miles into the ride we crossed the Mississippi River from Lutcher to Vacherie. We were warned ahead of time that there were wicked expansion joints, so we did indeed take care. Dianne and I were riding with Marni from Texas (shown above) and Mary from Ohio. Marni is doing this ride with her sister Kirsten from NM as she (Marni) celbrates beating cancer. I loved her story--she lost 150 pounds 5 years ago! Then during cancer treatments she regained 15, which she intends to lose on this trip! Every woman in the group has her own story... and her reason for doing this trip.

After riding across the first expansion joint I walked the rest of them! Look how wide they are compared to our skinny tires! Dianne and Mary were behind me and Marni, and both had flat tires on the climb up the bridge. I could see them standing around some ways behind us, but since they were STANDING I figured they were OK and went on.
Roberta was our SAG driver today and I found her at a (closed) convenience store at about mile 24. She had fruit, juice, water, and snacks for us. I was the first to arrive, having lost Marni along the way. A few moments later Mary from Florida arrived, spent a couple of minutes there and moved on out.
There were a lot of plantations along the Old River Road that we were riding, and I took photographs of many of them; above is Oak Alley, where they filmed the Forest Gump movie. Guess I'll have to watch it again and see if I recognize it.
We passed through the Atchafalaya Heritage area along our route today as we rode beside the Mississippi. We could not see the river due to the levee.
I missed the second SAG stop, as did Mary from Florida. I caught up with her at Donaldsonville (mile 49) and we ate the PBJs we had packed this morning, bought water and sports drink at the drug store, took a break and moved on. The next SAG was at the Nottoway Plantation at mile 69. I was really hot by then, and took a longer break. Shortly after that I saw the "world's smallest church", Madonna Chapel.
Roberta pulled the SAG car into the park at mile 85 and I was able to refill my water and gatorade (I was long out of Accelerade by that point). She told me she was going ahead and would meet the riders just before the bridge across the Intracoastal Waterway at Port Allen. She was right where she said she would be and escorted me across the bridge--I was ever so glad to have her behind me! Traffic was flying by us, since the right lane leads to the freeway and we had to ride in the left lane. We decided Mary must have taken a break, since she was ahead of me leaving the plantation and Roberta did not find her on the route. After seeing me safely across the bride Roberta returned to the meeting point and escorted the rest of the riders as they arrived in small groups. Her last group was more than 2 hours after the first. What a trooper!
I arrived at the hotel at 3:38 (yes, I looked). Not that it did me a lot of good--my room was not ready (the desk clerk gave me a new room in record time!) and the luggage had not arrived... so I sat around in my skunky bike clothes until the van arrived at 5:30, laden with bikes and pulling the trailer of luggage. My bike computer told me it was 99 degrees then; the highest reading I had today was 102. No wonder I drank so much water and sports drink; it was incredibly hot and humid! My final tally was 100.2 miles! Dianne arrived shorltly after the luggage got here, having ridden all day with Mary from Ohio and Lea from Australia.

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