Todays Distance: 29 miles
Cycling time: 2 hrs 19 mins
Average Speed: 12.7 mph
Centuries so far: 13
Punctures so far: 11
Dedication: There is a double dedication for this special final day.
I cycled in gratitude to all those who have contributed to Providence because of this cycle. Your contributions go in full to the benefit of the children. The fund is still open for others to contribute.
I also cycled for the Unknown Soldier. There are people, I am sure that I should have mentioned. And there are children in Providence who did not appear in the dedications. Do not think that you are not included. You are. This most special day is for you.
Now on the final day. Unbelievable that it has arrived. This day will see the culmination of something that started almost two years ago as a grand notion and aspiration. I knew it would be an emotional one.
I had stayed in Ted’s house overnight and for the first time in seven weeks I didn’t have my bike in the bedroom. Would it be OK and cosy in the garage? Should I drop down during the night just to re-assure it in the early hours? However, both of us got through the night just fine.
Only had 29 miles to do today to complete the challenge. Today would be heavily charged so I was glad I got plenty of mileage done yesterday. Started at 11 am (a late start) on Walpole Road just where we had finished. The weather was fine though the forecast was for trouble. Still on rural roads for the 4 miles to the rendezvous with Bob.
Along the road I had to struggle to concentrate. The occasion was very much on my mind. A lapse could spell disaster at any moment. What a pity that would be. I spotted a number of roads that reassured me and I just knew that they were guiding me. There had been so many Charles Roads back Boston way and one near my route in Pawtuckett. No sign of a Barrie (Barry) Road. I didn’t really expect to see a Sinead Road or a Saoirse Street. As time went by and with Ted and Michael firmly in control of navigation I regained my focus. No call for any heroics at this stage (or at any stage)
We rendezvoused with Bob as arranged at the junction of Washington and Hickory Road just south of North Attleboro. He was going to lead me along a bike-friendly route to central Providence. The skies were inclined to put a stop to our gallop. Motorists at the junction suggested that we take shelter from the approaching storm. A nearby pharmacy was established as base. Very fortunate. For almost half an hour it bucketed and there was no going anywhere. When it had eased off and the lightning had stopped Bob and I pulled out for this stage….a little over twenty miles ahead.
With so much surface water about and trying to keep an eye on Bob there was no opportunity for photos. Puddles of water could be hiding serious hazards. Bob’s route zig-zagged through built-up areas and his flashers were my lifeline. If I lost those I was lost. He excelled by slowing at every type of junction. On the roads we took there was no Welcome to Rhode Island notice for a photo. The rain (eased a little) was another factor against photos.
I cycled through Cumberland and Pawtuckett and down Blackstone Boulevard (with its new bike lane) before swinging in by the Amtrak Station in Providence. The first thing I spotted inside the central concourse was a large welcome sign. I accepted graciously.
Ted had arranged a ‘few people’ for an official arrival at Water Place Park just beneath Rhode Island State House, atop of which stands the Independance Man. It is a Venice inspired area for strolling and for free concerts.
The plan was that I would arrive at 3.20 pm by coming through the tunnel at the far end and cycle around to the right to finish at the covered section. There had been pretty constant rain but it eased off at this stage.
I arrived to a welcome by the Mayor of Providence, David Cicilline, members of the India Association of Rhode Island, Michael Ryan, Pat Dalton (Golden and Providence) and many friends of Ted and Karin. It was emotional to finally complete but also to be received graciously. Michael and Ted had a Welcome banner up with the Ireland and India flags. In time the wind vented its anger on the same banner.
The mayor congratulated me on the achievement and presented a beautiful Citizens Citation. I was chuffed. I thanked all for their welcome and for being there and spoke of today as the culmination of an undertaking that was almost two years old. It was always going to be for the benefit of Providence from the start. The 4000 miles had been cycled; the USA had been traversed; the 54 days finished and the challenge complete. Thank God there had been no ill-effects or health issues. I had been so lucky.
Last night Ted and Karin hosted a reception in their beautiful home for friends to mark the conclusion. Was thrilled to meet so many genuinely interested people and relax in a friendly atmosphere.
Thank God for the health and thank god for the energy.
NUMBERS FOR THE COMPLETE TRIP
Distance cycled: 4,021 miles. (6721 km)
Hours of cycling: 288 hours.
Feet climbed: 129, 857 feet (25.76 miles or 41 km)
Calories burned: 252,509 calories.
Average Heartbeat: 109 beats per minute.
Average Cadence: 75 revs per minute.
Number of lbs lost ; 11 lbs
Days: 49 days cycling; 5 days rest.
States crossed : 15
Time Zones: 4
NB: There will one more general posting to the blog in the next few days. Thanks to all who kept in contact by means of it and to those who contributed comments.