Sunday, August 12, 2007

Day 48--The Last Day's Ride to the Promised Land-and the Finish Line!

We left our camp at Clarksburg a bit earlier than usual to meet the tight scheduling of the DC arrival festivities. For me it meant kicking up my pace a couple of more notches than usual. Though not Pennsylvania grades, the hills were fairly challenging on this short, 57-mile final leg into DC. There were no "gimmes" here on the last day. We quickly rolled though suburban Montgomery County, rapidly crossed the DC beltway (I-495), then abruptly found ourselves on the Capital Cresent Trail for about 7 miles. For those from the Seattle area, this trail is like the Burke-Gilman on serious steroids or perhaps more appropo, the San Diego Freeway. It was a beautiful Saturday morning and a fire hose-like rush of hundreds of bikers and joggers were weaving and passing each other in both directions at warp speed. About halfway along the trail, we crossed the line into the District of Columbia! The adrenalin was really pumping.

By around 10:30 am we passed the Watergate and Kennedy Center and found ourselves navigating the streets around the National Mall, dodging tourists and tour buses--trying to find the Food Pavilion at the Old Post Office. There, Costas, a former Big Rider, hosted our team at his Greek restaurant. We dined on Souvlaki, Spanokapita, and Baklava, and began our goodbyes and picture taking. Thank you Costas!

After lunch, from the Old Post Office, Minnesota Vern, New Jersey Barry, and I were requested by our support crew to stage the flow of finishing riders for the final leg of the ride to the park across from the Lincoln Memorial. Vern, Barry, and I then rode in last to the finish line area. The final few blocks were a blur--with a couple of minor, wrong turns--and a quick recovery by all.

The finish was an amazing feeling, rolling through the well wishers...looking for, and immediately riding past my own wonderful pod of Betsy, our son Eddie, and dear friend Celia (all pictured with me).

There was a brief closing ceremony with one of the national leadership of the American Lung Association, Pollie McCloskie our Ride Director, and our entire Ride Team.

After more well wishes and meeting family members and friends of other riders, Betsy, Eddie, Celia, and I took a few pics and walked back to the hotel.

Whew! Pretty surreal.

What an experience!!

I will be doing one last update to this blog over the next few weeks to try to capture some of my reflections. I am still digesting all that has occurred on this incredible biking adventure...and what I have learned (or re-learned) about this wonderful journey called life.

I am overwhelmed with gratitude and thanks to my wonderful family, dear friends, generous sponsors, and unwavering supporters for your love and encouragement every step of the way.

I dedicated my ride to my long-departed Dad, Ed Minkoff. His spirit was clearly there with me.

The journey continues,



jk said...

CONGRATULATIONS Marty! You've done something that most of us only think about.


jrm said...

Yea Marty! Way to go! Thanks for taking us along on your amazing ride with great writing and images. What a country and what a magnificent Mink! You've honored us all, especially your Dad and Mom.

Jordan said...

Way to go Marty! We are all very proud of you. However, you are now tasked with finding something else for us to look forward to reading at lunch on Mondays. I look forward to catching up with you!

Becca said...

Wow, dad! So proud of you!