Wednesday, July 12th
Today was the day on which I was assigned the task of sweeper. Most of the SAG volunteers take a turn at sweeping, in which you hang at the very end of the pack of riders, making sure no one is left behind. It poured all day, and we were quite wet, despite our rain coats. Sweepers are paired, for safety, and I found myself paired with another very pleasant gentleman. I found a large number of the men I encountered to be extremely polite. It is delightful to find such qualities in today’s men, for sometimes I wonder if manners are a lost art among both sexes. We rode slowly and hung back at the rest stops until all were far ahead. Today a portion of the Erie Canal Trail had to be closed to our riders, for it became a hazard, particularly for those with road bikes. As a result, some riders went where we did not follow, and we waited outside the town of Jordan (where the trail and detour converged) for a vehicle SAG to make sure everyone had left their lunchtime haunts and passed us. The last few miles coming into Syracuse became difficult, as we caught up with several dejected people, worn out, cold and some with mechanical difficulties. I must admit however, that people showed amazing resilience. People of all different body types are participating and succeeding in this ride. The last bit, coming into Syracuse University’s tent city area, was quite a climb uphill. At the top, we were confronted with a thunderstorm and torrential downpours and most people took refuge inside some of Syracuse’s dormitories.