Day 31 – Ride Across America for GTG, Syracuse to Amsterdam, NY. 118 miles

I’ve benefited from grief group because during my grief, I was isolated and kept everything in and now I feel better after opening up.   I felt comfortable asking questions about grief, death and what feelings are normal to have as I grieve.  I feel that others can understand what I’m going through and I feel supported.              – Adam, a GTG High School Senior

DONATE to Growing Through Grief

Honestly, today was tough.  51 degrees at the start of the day and 52 at the end.  We biked into a headwind and rain ( except for 10 minutes when it was not raining) all day long.  I wore 5 layers of clothing and added a plastic bag over my torso at lunch and still I was cold. I have few photos to show due to rain, poor light conditions and difficulty getting the smart phone out of a back pocket on the jersey and get a photo while wearing gloves. At every traffic stop, we could squeeze water out of our gloves.  Although we ate our sag food lunch indoors – I didn’t have warm dry clothes to change into and, actually, I was warmer back on the road biking and generating heat.  The headband was soaked, despite having a rainproof helmet cover on.  Our feet were wet and cold, despite having “rain booties” over our biking shoes.

None of us had ridden in this type of weather before – being fair weather riders at home. Yet, no-one asked to get out of the rain and ride in the van.  A tough minded group!

Rain poses safety concerns.  Obviously it makes the road slippery, especially the white strip on road side.  It creates puddles and we can’t see what is lurking in the bottom of the water.  (1 rider did flat after going through a puddle)  Spray from cars and trucks raising water from the road surface or from potholes also increases the risk of an injury. Our brake don’t work a well.  Our tires lift water and dirt from the road surface onto the following riders.  It diminishes vision – for us and for drivers – a good reminder to turn on headlights when driving in the rain.

Much of our route was along the Canal Erie.  We stopped at several places to read the history of the canal, the expansion and the change that came with rail and auto traffic.  We did some a few boats on the larger sections of the canal.  We passed through Canastota – please see photos from the city.  Greystone Castle was a replacement for a Methodist Church that burned in a fire in 1908.  The congregation left and the building was purchased in 1995 and is now used as a party and event center.

Amsterdam, NY, located on the Mohawk River and, subsequently, the Erie Canal has an interesting history and a good economy.  I refer you to social media information about the city.  We did see several distribution centers near the town including Target and Clayco.

Tomorrow, the weather is expected to be better with no rain and, perhaps, a little tail wind.  We’ll bike 125.6 miles and climb 8600 vertical feet to Keene, NH and go through Vermont on the way.   Thursday, we’re at the coast and the end of our journey.  After much planning, anticipation and hard work, all the riders have noted that the end seems to be coming so quickly now.  And we’re all dealing with the fact that on Thursday, we will have biked across America  ( except for my 3 days off for the wedding).  I’ll have more to write about the ride and some thoughts at the end of the week.

Please enjoy the Relive video from today:





6 thoughts on “Day 31 – Ride Across America for GTG, Syracuse to Amsterdam, NY. 118 miles”

  1. Dear Jeff,
    You have proved to be trooper, in all kinds of weather and a rider to bring attention to a worthy cause. Please stay safe and, hopefully, dry for two more days. God bless you my dear friend.


  2. A really tough ride with all the elements going against you. Glad you got through it without a problem. Best wishes for your climbing day. Not much more to go. The Ocean is waiting. Safe riding to all.


  3. What a journey you have to tell! You have seen America in a way others never will. I drove out Hwy. 7 last week and came upon a gaggle of bikers in a construction area- I envisioned what you were dealing with. Continue with your head held high and “From sea to shining sea” you did it! Sending my donation in today!


  4. I can feel the rain and miserable conditions from your update – hope for better weather today so you can enjoy nearly 8,000 ft of climbing!!!


  5. Jeff, I have been struck and am in awe of what you have accomplished. Your days have sounded beautiful, challenging, glorious, painful and exhausting….your experience so aligns with the work that is important to do as we journey through grief and the loss of someone significant in our lives. So interesting that your amazing ride and support of the growing through grief program so mirrors what kids experience in our program….as you finish this ride remember the lives you have touched….
    Nancy Gelle


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