Saturday was supposed to be a 25 mile warm-up ride but Hurricane Matthew kept us all inside. It rained all day and the winds were whipping but we never really had severe conditions. Just conditions that made it unsafe to ride. I did find the necessary Starbucks in the rain early in the morning however!
It was great seeing old friends in the hotel, checking in and getting the Tour gear. Our safety briefing was an important part of the day since we did not get to get out and ride as a group prior to launching on Sunday. Safety is a key and necessary part of a long ride like this.
We all got in buses late in the afternoon and headed out to the Bartlett Arboretum and Research Grounds. The storm kept us from getting a tour of the 400 acres which was a bummer for so many. It is one of my favorite places so I felt badly that other arborists couldn't experience that awesome place. We did have a wonderful tree planting and dedication for my friend and former teammate Terrill Collier. Terrill inspired me to ride in the Tour back in 2012 when it was in Oregon. I spent some great miles riding my bike with Terrill while he was battling cancer. Terrill's wife Janet and sons Brandon and Logan came to Charlotte Saturday to be there for the tree planting and dedication.
It was pouring as we rode the busses to the arboretum but when we started the tree planting the rain stopped. At one point the sun actually came out during the ceremony and many of us had goosebumps and we knew Terrill was with us.
We finished the night with a great dinner and briefing for our first day of the ride. Now let's get riding on Sunday!