Events: The 2016 Festive 500 Day Eight
(2016) Ride Distance: 0 Miles / 197 Miles Remaining
One-hundred-ninety-seven miles in one day is completely ludicrous. Therefore I did not try to chip away at the 500 kilometer total on the final day of Rapha’s Festive 500. The pathetic balance of uncovered distance leaves me with a low hanging head of shame. Or would I have wanted it to be tantalizingly close instead?
When I attended Gettysburg College, a lesser discussed ghost story involved two men debating on the battlefield. One man stated, off topic, that George Washington was an overrated man. Much to the dismay of both men, their car would not start for exactly one hour afterwards, and, I might add, after the offending comment was redacted. It is believed General Washington was the first ghost of Gettysburg as multiple soldiers reported seeing his apparition ride between the two armies on the final day.
Herein this ghost tale lays one of the possibilities for not finishing the Walking Purchase. Perhaps my harsh rhetoric of those involved decided to create barriers for this year’s edition of the Festive 500. It is a fact that three days involved icy precipitation. Pair that with a persistent nagging head cold and hardly a case needs to be made to stay indoors. Further hurdles included heavy traffic on the Walking Purchase route. A general sense that either option, riding through the city of Allentown or taking the highway to stay true to the Walking Purchase path, were not prudent plans. What if I took back all the candid words about those who swindled the Native Americans out of 1,200 square miles of land? Would I suddenly ride two hundred miles today?
The truth of the matter is that nobody involved in the Walking Purchase really won anything. I mentioned Solomon Jennings dropping out at mile eighteen; he would never recover from the effort. James Yeates would pay an even greater price. On the second day Yeates collapsed and would die hours later from exertion. The final ‘walker,’ Edward Marshall was never paid his five dollars plus fifty acres for walking the farthest. Even worse was the revenge killing of his family by Lenape/ Delaware Natives for his role. Marshall would remarry only to have that family killed, too. Meanwhile the Lenape/ Delaware Native Americans were sent west to fend for themselves as targets of the Iroquois Confederacy, who, by the way, did not care for them.
Perhaps it was wise to pull the plug on this adventure based on previous fallouts and results.
What is interesting about planning this route are the unique ways people have explored this event. In my research I found a man who drove the entire route in his Jeep, stopping at each marker. Interestingly I came across a man who ran the entire distance in the same amount of time as Edward Marshall. With a little more planning, a more researched path, and some support in form of a follow car, it would be a great single-day ride for anyone willing to attempt the heavily trafficked roads of the Walking Purchase route. In the meantime, I’ll continue to do math until midnight to figure out how fast I need to go each hour to make a last minute effort to earn my roundel. Otherwise, there’s always 2017.