We woke up feeling a little sore after the first day of riding but mostly grateful for Paige and Curtis making our 1st night of sleep so comfortable. They gave us directions to their favorite coffee shop called Small World Coffee and we were on our way to Philly by 8:30 am. We learned how important it is to get an early start before the sun has a enough time to really burn down on the earth for too long.
We had our coffee and took a cool cruise through Princeton, which was really nice and the campus was beautiful. We rode at a good pace until we hit Trenton and came across a nice park by the river. A guy named Marlin was smoking a cigarette by himself with his shoes off and told us his story about car troubles and lung surgery the day before. He signed our ball and I gave him $10 to get a train to Philly. He wished us luck on our journey and I encouraged him to stop smoking $8 packs of cigs so next time he wouldn’t have to borrow $$ from me. He laughed as we rode off with another new friend named JG from the Sage Coalition, an art community doing street art to have a positive impact on the community. He showed us his neighborhood and the people he works with. I feel like this community could really benefit from a healthy, positive program like Street Soccer USA.
We left there with a sweet group photo in front if the art and rode hard until we took an hour break in the shade next to a school. It’s now about 1:30 pm and 30 miles to go to Philly!
At this point my phone had died because I’m constantly checking all of the likes on Facebook I get from you wonderful people. I tried to use our Goal Zero solar powered charger and energy storage connector thingy but that didn’t work, which leads me to my low for the day. Shane and Dave took off from our resting spot and as I mounted up my shoe laces got caught on my crank set and I ended up a little behind everyone. I had no phone and no sight of Shane and Dave. I rode hard to catch up in what I assumed was the right direction. For about 15 minutes I burned up my legs trying to see a speck of two riders in the distance. However, I kept getting caught at red lights putting me even more behind. I was so close to just pulling over, charging my phone and calling them when I asked a pedestrian if they saw two cyclist pass by and sure enough I was on track!
We have had a good system of riding when we get broken up so far because I am usually behind the pack blogging or making calls. Dangerous, I Know!But they didn’t know this was the first time I was not lagging behind for using my phone and that I had no way to call if I got lost. I expressed my frustration and we agreed that next time if they don’t see me for at least 5 min they should pull over and wait a second for me to catch up. Ill do better to keep up and not hold them back though!
We arrived at about 4:30 heading straight to a Philly’s finest bike shop called Bicycle Therapy. They had a chill pit bull name Diego. They gave us some great tips and even cool socks! Check out Instagram.com/BikeCruisade to see just how excited Shane is about his pair.
We left their to eat a cheesesteak on South St at Jim’s. We stood on the sidewalk with our bikes as we inhaled these hoagies. We jumped across the street to Starbucks and changed into some soccer clothes because Street Soccer USA practice with Team Philly was happening at 6:30.
We ‘Showed Up’ right on time which was really important to me because that was the Street Soccer Skill volunteer coach Steve was teaching us. We talked about how important it
Is to work on the fundamentals and to plan and train before a big game, test, interview and even a date!
As a coach of the Street Soccer NYC team I was so inspired by meeting another team and seeing how dedicated their players are to showing up to practice not only for the fun exercise but for their teammates as Elish tells it, these are his only real friends and the love he feels at a practice is overwhelming! He travels 2.5 hours to work each day and 2.5 hours back and still finds the time to ‘Show Up’ to practice.
Being at practice, sharing our journey with the players and being encouraged by them to keep pushing was definitely my high for the day. It reconfirmed in all of our minds just how meaningful this journey can be. One player Mark ended the practice’s closing team talk by saying he had no idea “special” guest were coming to practice and that it made him so happy to be there even though he was injured and couldn’t play much. We signed his t-shirt and he along with the rest of the team signed our soccer and we headed home.
Day 2 is done and we’ve rode 132 miles. The level of pain that comes with this 2-month challenge is starting to set in as I write this post all tired and sore. The recap though and the positive energy from Street
Soccer Philly family is what will push me through Day 3 to Susquehanna State Park about 70 miles down the road.