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Aug 21, 2010 by Bob Temmerman
Day 56 -- Saturday, July 31, 2010 -- Belfast Harbor, ME to Bar Harbor, ME
Today is my final day of cycling on this Sea to Shining Sea Odyssey adventure for 2010. It started with a picture of myself with Carol and Dick, a husband and wife team that own Timberline Adventures and who organized the special trip. They are truly special people with a lot of patience
It was a beautiful day for riding with temps in the low 70's and no winds to speak of. We were in and around bays and inlets for what seemed like all day.
Our travels took us past Fort Knox on the Penobscot River, a fort built after the War of 1812 to repel the Brits.
We crossed the Penobscot River on an amazingly designed bridge with interesting angles and supports.
The smell of salt water was heavy in the air.
We took country roads to avoid heavy traffic most of the day which meant for some bad roads with no shoulder to speak of. But it didn't matter as I was reflective all day long and riding at my own pace, which meant slowly. I wanted to savor every remaining moment..
I rode most of the day alone, but was occasionally joined by one or more members of this cross country band of friends.
We would ride together for a bit, chat and then we were shortly back to being solo riders.
As we approached Mt. Desert Island and Bar Harbor, I continued to exchange text messages with my daughter who was trying to catch a cab from the small airport to Bar Harbor. She was complaing that there were no cabs that would come for about an hour or so. When I finally realized that the airport was showing up on my Garmin, I took a detour to the airport only to find she had rented a car and left the airport about 5 minutes before I rode in. So I headed back out to the finish line.
I crossed the bridge onto Mt. Desert Island where Acadia National Park is located. And now I was riding even slower than my historically slow pace. I took another nature break. I took more photos. I stopped every opportunity I could.
It was a bittersweet day for all of us. We knew it was coming to an end but we really couldn't comprehend what that would mean for each of us. For me, it means going back to the office to see friends, clients, colleagues, and co-workers. But how do you describe an adventure like this. There really are no words or pictures that can adequately share the experience of a lifetime.
And I continued on. I entered Acadia National Park. The end was now just a few miles away.
I stopped again to overlook Frenchman's Bay.
For a good part of the day I would stop and text my daughter Alicia. I knew she had made her connection to fly to Bar Harbor (just barely). I knew she had rented a car. I knew she would be at the finish. I couldn't have been happier and was anxious to see her in Bar Harbor for the ceremonious wheel dipping in the Atlantic. It meant a lot to me that she would travel cross country to meet me and join in the celebration. And finally I saw her in the hotel lobby and the emotions overwhelmed me.
The adventure was over but for the ceremonious wheel dip.
So our band of cross country adventurers headed to the town harbor together. Here are just a few of the many pictures that captured the finish, The first is one of my daughter Alicia and myself.
This next shot is one of all of the intrepid adventures who rode the entire trip across the North American continent. By the way, the average age for this group was 64.
And then finally, my daughter captured this following solo shot with my front tire in the Atlantic. This ride was over.
After all the finish photos were taken, we checked into the hotel, showered and got ready for dinner. Alicia and I both enjoyed Maine lobster and California chardonnay. Fitting, don't you think.
After our meal was over, we were treated to a one hour slide show set to music of photos taken by just about everyone during our adventure. It was special and meaningful to all the participants and family members that were present. And it was a nice way of saying thank you to our group leaders, Dick and Carol.
So it is hard to finish up this journal/blog. I have grown accustommed to writing it. While I was finishing up my last miles of this cross country cycling adventure, I tried to put some of the ride statistics into perspective.
I rode in all types of weather -- frigid cold, steamy hot, drenching rains, sweaty humidity, pleasant temps, and unpleasant temps. But we didn't have any snow, tornadoes or hail to deal with.
I experienced all kinds of winds -- blasting headwinds, blow you off the road crosswinds, and the thrill of a 30 mile an hour tailwind. I also had days of almost no winds.
I rode over 4,000 miles in 48 days of riding not counting rest days. I changed only 5 flat tires on my bike (and many more for others) and had no major mechanical issues (one broken spoke).
I climbed over 115,000 vertical feet, most of which was in the first two weeks.
I had no crashes, although a few close calls with vehicles that I would just as soon forget.
I took over 1,000 photos.
At last count, I raised over $17,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society as the ride was dedicated to Mom, who died from lymphoma a couple of years ago.
And to the numerous donors who supported LLS and my ride, I can only say THANK YOU.
All in all, it was an epic journey with lots of fond memories of the people I encountered along the way and some rather spectacular sights.
I didn't lose or gain any weight (I think I may have gained a pound or two) but my legs are stronger as is my back. I have a voracious appetite that will have to be curbed starting tomorrow.
My sore butt will recover and enjoy the reprieve from the bicycle saddle. I plan to rreplace the saddle some time later this year. There have to be better saddles out there.
I recommend this type of epic adventure to every person who has a goal. It doesn't have to be cycling. It could be hiking, climbing, walking, or any activity that gives one plenty of time for some serious reflection on what is important in life and on the road.
Enjoy the ride. I did!
Day 55 -- Friday, July 30, 2010 -- Wilton, ME to Belfast Harbor, ME
It's not Acadia National Park but today I spotted sea gulls and smelled salt water. We had our first sighting of the Atlantic Ocean, albeit a small harbor, but nontheless it was an emotional high.
Our 80 mile ride was described as more of the same type of terrain that we experienced the last few days, namely some rollers. It didn't say it would add up to over 5,000 feet of climbing. But I can say I am getting used to it. Don't like it. But getting used to it. I checked out a cemetary on my way out of Wilton and some of the tombstones dated back to the Revolutionary War. Pretty impressive.
As it was in the beginning of my journey, I rode primarily with Jim Ellis and Craig Needham today. While I was searching for my morning latte stop I experienced my 5th flat tire. Bummer. After I pulled the shard of metal out of my tire, I finished my repair and was back on the way. Up, down. Back up and some more down.
At about mile 46, we crossed over the Kennebec River and snapped off the following photos.
We then decided food was important and stopped at a country store in Albion for our lunch. Our bikes out front enticed about a dozen more cyclists to stop and eat.
We continued climbing and descending until at mile 80 we had our first sighting of sea gulls since we left the Pacific Ocean on June 6th. We could even smell the salty breezes coming in off the Belfast Harbor and the Atlantic Ocean.
While we still have a ways to go to get to Acadia National Park, it was certainly an emotional high. I couldn't stop taking pictures.
Tonight is lobster. Loads of butter. Corn on the cob. And lots of bad cholesterol. Too hell with the cholesterol.
Tomorrow is Bar Harbor and wheel dipping at Sand Beach in Acadia National Park. In a few hours my daughter Alicia will catch the red eye out of San Francisco so she can fly cross country in 5 and a half hours (as opposed to 55 days of cycling) and meet me in Bar Harbor tomorrow afternoon for the ceremonious front wheel dip. I am excited she is coming out to be part of the welcoming committee.
I am down to 55 miles to go.
Day 54 -- Thursday, July 29, 2010 -- Dixville Notch, NH to Wilton, ME
Another 70 miles. Another 4,000 feet of climbing. Another State (Maine). Another lake to swim in when the ride is over.
Today started with a fabulous buffet at The Balsams Resort. I ate cream of wheat for the first time on this trip and a lot of fruit. We jumped on our bikes about 8:30am, which is kind of a late start and when we turned left our of the resort we were greated with our first steep climb of the day. We had many steep climbs today, some exceeding 19% in parts.
I began the ride cruising along with the Longs (Bob and Sue) and Ken W.
We passed Umbegog Lake and entered our 13th and last State of Maine while we were on a climb.
After getting the obligatory photos of me standing under the State sign we proceeded on across the Appalachian Trail and into the town of Andover where I refueled and talked to some hikers doing a large segment of the Appalachian Trail. We crossed the Ellis River (of course my buddy Jim Ellis got his picture taken) and proceeded to climb a 20% grade hill for what seemed like an eternity. We finally crested Roxbury Notch and then enjoyed a nice descent into a town called Mexico where I had my second root beer float of this trip.
I have now passed more than two dozen signs warning me of Moose crossinga and to watch out. The only moose I have seen on this trip (beside the head of a moose back in North Dakota) is the following unstable fella.
We continued to ride and climbed some more hills through Dixfield and finally to the town of Wilton, ME where we are staying at the Wilson Lake Lodge.
After packing away the bike I went for a very refreshing swim in the lake.
Today I climbed only 4,000 feet of vertical while riding slightly more than 70 miles. I also bagged my 13th and final state (Maine) and have only two more days of riding left before dipping that front wheel in the Atlantic. Hard to believe!
Day 53 -- Wednesday, July 28, 2010 -- Newport, VT to Dixville Notch, NH
Today we bagged our 12th State/Province, namely New Hampshire. Our 70 mile day was relatively light, but I did enjoy (not!) some 17% grade climbs. The mountains here are short, but the rollers can and are quite steep at times. We ended up climbing over 5,000 vertical feet in our short 70+ mile day.
We went back to the Eastside Restaurant for breakfast and the buffet was delicious.
Shortly thereafter we were back on our bikes heading first southeast and then northeast back to the Canadian border. I grabbed a bunch of photos along the way including this one of the large lawn to be cut.
We passed Seymour Lake to our south near the town of Morgan where I refueled and took the following shot.
Today the roads were newly paved and spectacularly smooth which is very kind to one's butt. It is a whole different experience when you have confidence in the road. You aren't worried that some tire width crack hidden in a shadow of a tree won't take you down while on a descent.
We again hugged the Canadian border and most of the personel in the local stores spoke French. I got this shot of the Town's welcoming boulder and then my ride group along Norton Pond. My ride group for the day consisted of Sue Long, Craig Needham, Ken Whiteside and Bob Long.
At about mile 45 we crossed the Connecticut River which marks the border between the States of Vermont and New Hampshire. Here is the now obligatory picture of me crossing the State line.
At about mile 50, I entered the New Hampshire town of Colebrook where Jim and I discovered a nice French bakery where we enjoyed our cafe au lait with some tasty croissants.
After our short rest we continued to climb up to Dixville Notch and head to the famous resort where we are spending the night, namely the Balsams Resort. My Garmin computer was registering another big day of climbing with over 5,000 vertical feet registered in our 70+ mile day. I will likely sleep well tonight.
The resort is fancy, much too fancy for our ragtag group. Jackets for men are required after 6:00 pm. I am digging around in the bottom of my suitcase for my rain jackets so I can go to dinner.
On the way to dinner we discovered the Ballat Room where the first votes in any federal presidential election are cast.
We also discovered the map room where our tour guide leaders/owners showed us where we have been and how far we have yet to go (not too far).
The dinner was phenominal. I enjoyed every morsel as well as a nice glass of wine. If you are ever in this part of the country, The Balsams is worth looking into.
Day 52 -- Tuesday, July 27, 2010 -- St. Albans, VT to Newport, VT
St. Albans is in northern Vermont, not far from the Canadian border. Today’s route took us further north and close to Canada and also gave us some mountains to climb, a welcome change of pace. Our last mountains were left behind in Glacier National Park, in western Montana, almost 6 weeks ago.
I started the day with Jim, Craig C and Brad and we road back into town for our morning latte at the Cosmic Café. After enjoying our coffee we got on our bikes and started our ride. But today I didn’t want to push hard as we only had a 65 mile day. So I quickly dropped off the pace and used the day to enjoy the Vermont countryside and get some pictures. Here is a pic of one of the rivers we followed for a ways.
Our roads in this part of Vermont were either spectacularly newly paved or simply atrocious. In fact I would call them the most dangerous roads we have ridden this entire trip.
We went through some small towns including Sheldon Springs, Enosburg Falls, Berkshire and Richford before we started our significant climb of the day about halfway through our ride. The climb took us up and around Jay Peak, one of the more majestic mountains in these parts and a ski area in the winter.
After about 10 miles of climbing we reached the summit and began our steep descent on more poor Vermont roads which prevented us from enjoying fully the fruits of our laborious climb.
Our next town was Troy with a mandatory stop at the General Store to refuel.
We finally arrived in in the town of Newport and as we descended into town we couldn’t help but be mesmerized by the beauty of Lake Memphremagog, a lake that straddles both the US and Canada. The name is derived from the Abenaki Indian word meaning “beautiful waters.”
But the road into Newport was under construction and we had to take a detour which cause us to hike a bike through some baseball fields and trenches to get to our destination for the night.
Here we pulled into the Newport City Motel were a small group of us enjoyed a Corona or two on the deck outside our rooms.
Tonight we had dinner at the Eastside Restaurant and ate out on the deck enjoying a fabulous sunset as well as an apple, cranberry stuffed chicken breast.
In summary, we climbed over 4,000 feet on our 65 miles of cycling today. Legs felt great but I wasn't pushing too hard. Let's see what I feel like tomorrow.
We are now almost done with our trip. We have four riding days left. Tomorrow we enter our 12th state/province of New Hampshire, and the next day we enter Maine and make our way to Bar Harbor. This trip has been epic. I would do it all over again if I could.
Day 51 -- Monday, July 26, 2010 -- Montreal, QC to St. Albans, VT
Today was a century ride with the first 16 miles on the fabulous bike trails of Montreal, which by the way are second to none. The sun was shining. The temps were perfect. And our fearless leader gave us the option of adding distance to our route by allowing us to go north to stay on bike paths before heading south. So a group of 11 of us departed from the main group so we could ride "EFI" ("every f...ing inch", but not an inch more).
Here are some pics from the early morning departure. The first shows Craig being challenged by trying to balance two bikes at the same time..
The second shows the four Amigos from today's ride, Craig, Bob, Craig and Brad.
The next shot show our group ride out of Montreal on terrific bike paths.
Finally we crossed the St. Lawrence River on a bike only bridge.
Once over the St. Lawrence River, we had almost 10 miles of a sand pit private road along the east shore of the St. Lawrence where we bid a fond farewell to Montreal.
And from the sand pit, we traversed into Sainte Catherine and began our trek south out of Canada. We reached the US border at Overton Corners, NY where surprisingly they let us reenter the States.
And of course I found the monument marking the border with the US and Canada.
We entered the State of New York and it is our 10th State/Province.
After a short break for lunch, and 5 miles of pedaling we crossed into our 11th state of Vermont when we crossed Lake Champlain.
So we pedaled another 30 miles to get into St. Albans where dinner was at Ciao Bella and a good time was had by all. Tomorrow we start crossing the Green Mountain State by climbing some hills along the Canadian border.
Bar Harbor is now only 5 riding days away.
Day 50 -- Sunday, July 25, 2010 -- Montreal, QC
Today is a layover day meaning we don't have to pack up and get on our bikes. This is good. I slept in til about 7:00 am (unheard of for me) and after breakfast even did some laundry (out of clean bike clothes bibs and jerseys). Later in the morning I caught a cab to the bike shop to talk to the owner and pick up my bike. They fixed the broken spokes and trued both wheels and I promised I would not go off road again until I was backhome in sunny California. After riding back to the hotel I jumped on another cab and headed into old Montreal to meet my buddies for an elegant dinner at Chez l'Espicier. I had a lamb chop to die for. Here are a few pics from my days activities.
Day 49 -- Saturday, July 24, 2010 -- Cornwall, ON to Montreal, QC
Our day started at breakfast with our tour leader Dick handling out supplemental maps to help us navigate some bridges into Montreal. We were wished good luck as van support would be infrequent if at all available.
But it was sunny at departure and a welcome relief from the rain of yesterday.
The above pic shows the boys getting ready to depart Cornwall.
Here is Craig C. navigating the bike path along the St. lawrence River follwed by Brad below.
Even Craig N. had a smile on his face today.
We followed bike paths where we could and local roads close to the river when the paths terminated. Both gave us spectacular views of the river and its many islands.
We finally entered into our second province, namely Quebec. Here the dominant language is French (a language I can't read or write despite three years of high school French). All the road signs are also in French.
We stopped at the border of Ontario and Quebec and the local homeownder showed us the rock that is about 10 feet deep marking the official border stone between the provinces.
Here are the boys at the border of Ontario with Quebec starting into La Route Verte, a fabulous bicycle trail system in the Provence of Quebec. Here is the official welcome sign to Quebec.
We continued along La Route Verte and observed a number of bicycle friendly antiquities.
I learned today that the city of Montreal is actually an Island which requires navigating a series of bridges. One of our navigational challenges found that the route we were supposed to take was closed due to construction but they built a special crossing for cyclists. Here are a couple of shots demonstrating the "interesting" cycle path. Craig wasn't about to try to ride it.
We continued on following our route sheet to get us to the Isle of Montreal and after some discussion, we finally figured out how to cross the river on the newly discovered bike trail which was not on our route.
After a great salmon salad at a cafe along the river, we jumped back on our bikes and rode along Rue Sainte Anne and Rue Lakeshore through a series of quaint french neighborhoods and some local small towns. I saw a bikeshop that proved to be fortuitous as I later discovered they were open on Sunday and I could get my rear wheel repaired ( I managed to break a spoke on my off road activities) and get both wheels trued.
Here is a shot of our final peloton into Montreal.
Tomorrow is a layover day allowing me to catch up on laundry, get my bike fixed, and if time permits, explore portions of Old Montreal. Then we will leave Montreal and Canada where we have spent a marvelous 9 days and head back to the States and to our finish in Bar Harbor, Maine next Saturday.
Day 48 -- Friday, July 23, 2010 -- Grananoque, ON to Cornwall, ON
Today was a fast paced 95 mile day in a paceline of 5 riders. I rode with Jim Ellis, Craig Cousins, Brad Jones and Tom Fortmann, with each of us taking 5 mile pulls at the front.
We left Grananoque, ON in a light drizzle about 7:00am hoping to outrun the rain. But such was not the case. After about a mile the infrequent raindrops increased in frequency and intensity and in under 5 miles we were drenched.
Today's route was NE along the beautiful St. Lawrence River and the land of 1,000 islands. New York State was just on the other side of the river and there were a few bridges offering crossing back into the US. Our paceline required concentration and effort so there were few side diversions and even fewer pics. So for the scenic pics from today taken by others in our group go to the following website and look at Day 49: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/seatoshiningsea2010
After about 35 miles we finally pulled over in a little town of Brockville, ON and found a little cafe. The owner, Kathy Lewis, was very gracious as she was a elite Canadian pro female cyclist. We all had lattes and muffins and watched portions of the Tour de France which was on TV. Here is a pic of the 5 of us paceliners in front of Kathy's bikes.
After our little break, we motored on along the St. Lawrence river at a pretty good pace, occasionally catching glimpses of the river and islands. At the finish in Cornwall, we couldn't resist rewarding ourselves with root beer floats. Tasted pretty darn good, although not exactly nutritious. Jim passed on the floats and opted for the carbohydrate laden beer instead.
Tomorrow we leave Ontario and enter french speaking Quebec and the city of Montreal.
Day 47 – Thursday, July 22, 2010 – Pictin, ON to Gananoque, ON
Today we said goodbye to the last of the Great Lakes and hello to the St. Lawrence River and the land of a 1,000 islands. Our day was relatively short by our standards, only about 60 miles. However I convinced Jim to join me in numerous off route excursions that lengthened our day by about another 10 miles or so.
The morning didn’t start off to well as I poured hot coffee all over my cycling shorts. Ouch! After I downed my french toast, I went through town in search of my latte and found a great little café right in the center in town. Walked back to our hotel and changed out my front tire with a new tire I had brought along. I had about 3,500 miles on that tire. Not a bad distance.
We started out of town by climbing a good size hill and rode about 5 miles before we had to board the ferry at Glenora.
It only runs about every 30 minutes so we had to wait a bit. By now we had a good crowd of cyclists. Once over into Greater Napanee township, we were able to cruise without any traffic to speak of for about 15 miles.
At about mile 30 I caught up with Jim and talked him into some off route diversions including one at the end of Lake Superior not too far from Collins Bay. We went out to an ald lighthouse point and found a deserted park. Lake Ontario looked too inviting to pass up so after getting rid of all the electronics in our pockets, we jumped in the lake, making it the third Great Lake that we went swimming in. The water was truly refreshing. It was nice to swim in fresh water that was warm. So different from tipping one’s toe in the Pacific near Santa Cruz.
After drying out we continued our sightseeing journey through some small towns including Bath, Millhaven, and finally Kingston. Kingston is a good size town. But before entering the downtown, I found another diversion and talked Jim into some mountain biking on skinny tires. We rode along the shore of Collins Bay through Lamoine Point Conservation Area. Jim learned the fine art of negotiating tree roots, rocks, small drops, and some good climbs improving his mountain biking skills immensely by the time we had negotiated about 4 miles of off road trails.
We finally entered the sizeable town of Kingston and stopped at the Maritime Museum of the Great Lakes and met up with a nice old guy that had retired as a local editor and fountain of all knowledge Canadian, and particularly Kingston oriented. We could have stayed for hours talking with him but still had about 40 more miles to ride.
After getting out of Kingston, the roads turned rural again all the way into the town of Gananoque, ON where we are spending the night. Off course we were close to winning another stage of the Tour, but ended up passing Larry (from Maine) with about a mile to go into town. But it didn’t stop us from going directly to a Tavern and enjoying a local brew and some salads designed to hold us over until dinner.
Tonight dinner was at a local Irish Tavern which they shut down just for our group. Great fun. On the walk back to our hotel we saw what appeared to be a structure fire on Tremont Park Island, one of the many thousands of islands that dot the St. Lawrence River. It was perhaps all of about a mile from our shore. It was interesting to watch the local fire department respond by boats carrying pumps and hoses. I am confident that the structure was a total loss as the building burned for about 40 minutes before emergency personal could respond.
What impresses me most during the past month is how much water plays a role in our trip. We have gone through the lakes district of Minnisota and Wisconsin. We have traveled the shores of Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, and Lake Superior. Now we are riding alongside the St. Lawrence River. In about a week we will be at the Atlantic Ocean. And there hasn't been a bad day in the bunch.
Tomorrow we continue along the St. Lawrence River to a town called Cornwall. Then we head to Montreal where we will spend a layover day exploring that magnificent city.
Day 46 – Wednesday, July 21, 2010 – Colbourg, ON to Pictin, ON
Today was the Lake Ontario Waterfront trail which is really a misnomer as only part of the trail is along the Lake Ontario waterfront.
Our general instruction for the day was to keep Lake Ontario to our right and look for the waterfront trail signs.
Jim and I started our ride with Team California (Craig, Craig, and Brad) but they were off shortly after thispicture was taken.
Then I lost Jim at the Wildlife Sanctuary when I went back to find our missed turn. I was so enthralled by the sanctuary I pedaled about the grass trails for more than an hour taking the photos that follow,
Shortly after my lengthy escapade I made another diversion into the Ontario Provincial Park and rode around on the gravel trails for another hour or so stopping to get some photos as well as to repair my 4th flat tire in about 3,500 miles of riding. My offroad activities had caused some sidewall damage and I was able to repair it using a map from the local bird sanctuary.
By now, I was so far behind the main group I was on my own. I refilled water bottles whenever I saw a store and took more pics along the way. Here is apic of a local canal with a bridge tender collecting tolls from the boats when he had to close the bridge to auto and cycle traffic to allow the boats to enter the navigable waterway. Makes me think of church only with longer handle on the collection basket.
I went through a number of small towns and began to enter Ontario wine country as I passed by no less than 10 wineries. Of course I didn’t stop as I was still a bit dehydrated from the hot and humid day of riding. But the roads were not populated.
I passed by a bike shop and replaced the tube I needed to repair my front tire and topped of the pressure in both. I was invited to join the local club ride in the evening for a nice 50 mile ride, but after my 80+ mile day I was cooked and needed a shower and some real food.
Walked through town to dinner and had a terrific salad and pecan crusted chicken with fresh vegetables. But I also had three desserts. Woohoo. Now I am full.
As you can see this trip is all about cycling and mostly about eating.
Day 45 – Tuesday, July 20, 2010 – Newmarket, ON to Cobourg, ON
Today was our first century ride in a week or two. Surprisingly, I was craving a longer, more difficult ride as our past few rides were of relatively short durations...not long enough to warrant a beer with dinner.
It started in bright sunshine. Since we are heading east, and always facing the sun in the morning, I decided to wear my Going-to-the-Sun jersey from Glacier National Park. Of course I was sporting my morning latte in my left hand.
Getting out of Newmarket was a bit challenging. The traffic was very busy and the roads had little to no shoulder to ride on. Even with my mirror, all I knew was that the trucks were coming up behind us and there wasn’t going to be much room. I got blown off the road once by the wind blast from a truck and managed to to stay upright on the loose gravel. Close call. But after about 25 miles, we got out of traffic and into some more of the beautiful country roads that we had experienced earlier in our journey through Ontario. We even got onto some unpaved roads for some short distances which taxed my mountain biking skills with skinny tires.
I found a country store that had both homemade muffins and lattes so I was happy. My pumpkin spice muffin was all I needed to keep me going throughout the 100 mile day.
My newest bike buddies, Brad and Craig were looking lost and confused.
In fact I am hoping Brad wakes up in time to ride tomorrow.
I felt good all day and road hard. Both Jim and I were the first cyclists in the town of Port Hope, Ontario located on Lake Ontario. And rather than following the directions to our hotel about 10 miles away, I led Jim on a little adventure along the waterfront trail. First we had to dip our rear wheels again into our third Great Lake.
Second, we had to ride on dirt and a boardwalk along the waterfront to what apparently is an out an back trail. Here are a couple pictures on the boardwalk and at the end of the trail.
Then I told Jim about my cycle cross experiences and hike-a-bike challenges. Rather than return on the same trail we rode out on we decided to hike a bike through some dense vegetation and over railroad tracks. Jim is a quick learner, especially when the mosquitoes are feasting on you.
Eventually we made it to our hotel in Cobourg, ON but since our rooms were not ready we went into town in search of a decent tavern and light appetizers. And we found one as can be seen from the following shots.
In summary, it was a fast century ride for me and a good workout. Surprisingly, the rollers added up to over 5,000 feet of climbing. But the extra effort didn’t seem to have much effect on me. I felt genuinely refreshed after my shower and feasted on some nice salmon and fresh vegetables for dinner. I also had homemade pecan chocolate cake for dessert.
Day 44 – Monday, July 19, 2010 – Elora, ON to Newmarket, ON
As we continue our epic journey across the North American continent, I am amazed at the diversity of the topography as well as the locals. Each and every day brings moments of pure joy and something totally unexpected. It could be around the next bend in the road or inside a coffee shop. It might be someone maintaining the immaculate lawns that dot this area, a church, or even a small town cemetary.
Today was a nice 73 mile ride day in moderately cool temperature without the threatened thunderstorms materializing.
I left Elora about 7:30 am and crossed over a pleasant flowered bridge.
I rode with Bob L., his wife Susan L.,and our Canadian friend Ken. Here is a pic of Bob followed by a pic of Susan
We struck up a reasonably nice pace but not too fast which made for a relaxing day. Our route was designed to take us around Toronto in a northerly arc around the city, while staying in horse and farm country. This region of Ontario is truly beautiful. The farmland is cloaked in wheat, corn, soy beans, carrots, and numerous other vegetables and fruits and the hillsides are dotted with forests and lakes and rivers.
At mile 38, after climbing up lots of rollers, we were met at a T intersection with a general store that was just calling out to us. But this was not just any general store. No, this one served big, fat, hot lattes in a huge bowl sized cup. We each ordered up our favorite coffee drink and then sat around outdoors enjoying our morning coffee. Here is a picture of our little ride group today taking a break.
After our brief respite, we continued along some rolling terrain, past a small ski area, in generally a northwest direction aided by some pleasant crosswinds that turned into slight tailwinds. The cloud cover kept us cool most of the day.
As we got closer to Newmarket, the roads became busier and the traffic increased much to our dismay. But we finally navigated our way into this busy town and located our hotel. Fortunately it had a nice hot tub and pool. I alternated between the two for a good hour or so while doing my laundry. I have about a five day supply of riding gear
Dinner tonight was at the India Gate which feature exclusive Indian cuisine. Jim and I thoroughly enjoyed it, because it was such a change from our regular diet and routine. Appetizers included Vegetable Ghaji (finely chopped vegetables), Samosa (dough pockets stuffed with potatoes, raisins and cashews), Merg Seekh Kebab (ground chicken marinated with cream cheese and herbs), and Achari Machhi Tikka (fish marinated in something). Our entrees included Achari Murg Tikka (chicken), Gosht Chops (marinated lamb), Jhinga Saagwala (shrimp in spinich) and various sauces and breads. I was the last to leave.
All in all, we climbed about 3,000 feet today which gives you an idea of the many rolling hills we encountered in our short ride. Tomorrow is a century ride.
Day 43 -- Sunday, July 18, 2010 -- Stratford, ON to Elora, ON
Short day. Only 50+ miles in some beautiful rolling terrain. Today we were joined by a couple more bike buddies, Craig Cousins and Brad Jones, good friends of Craig Needham and strong riders. Here is a shot of the bike buddies group of Brad, Craig C., Craig N., and Jim.
We headed out of town together navigating Stratford, despite our fearless leaders instructions and map directions. About 20 miles out of town, we came across one of our Canadian colleagues cycle club team that rode out to join him and to usher him (and us) into the town of Elora. Here is a shot of the Cyclepaths.
The cyclepaths are all strong riders and we flew the last 30 miles through menanite country as we passed a number of horse and buggies. I didn't have a chance to stop and take any pics other than of our pelaton.
Here is a post ride shot of our buddy Ken in the green jersey and his Toronto based cycle club.
We pulled into Elora well before noon and of course our rooms were not ready, so we headed out to the Mill Inn for a beer or two and were pleasantly surprised by its location along the gorge.
We enjoyed beers and sandwhiches overlooking the gorge for a couple of hours.
After a while a few daring kayakers came down a good waterfall and then played in the pool below us reminding me of my earlier kayaking days.
After thuroughly hydrating ourselves, it was time to head back to our hotel (if you could call it that), and enjoy some of the sights of the town.
Here is a pic of the bike buddies out of their cycling gear and roaming town in search of food.
During our travels we encountered the canoe with black lab, as well as some local color.
Tomorrow is a bit longer of a ride day as we will continue to head northwest around the city of Toronto.
Great day. New cyclists in our group. Some truly outstanding scenery in rural Ontario.
Day 42 -- Saturday, July 17, 2010 -- Stratford, ON (Layover Day)
Today was a day of rest and relaxation. I slept in til about 7:00 am which is quite late for me. Jim and I went down to the local latte shop and got our morning latte. They also have a great bakery and I decided since I wasn't riding I would avoid the huge chocolate chip cookies.
After breakfast, I went to the bike store to pick up my bike that had some minor maintenance done and took it for a long spin on some dirt trails around town. True cyclecross without the racing element.
I rode all over Stratford and along the Avon river. Beautiful town. Some terrific stately old homes. Lots of fascinating stores, including some good bookstores.
I strongly recommend visiting this town in the summer and taking in a couple of plays. You won't be disappointed with Stratford, or with rural Ontario.
Day 41 -- Friday, July 16, 2010 -- Grand Bend, ON to Stratford, ON
Last evening at our resort hotel (Oakwood Resort) we experienced an awesome lightning and thunderstorm, dropping more than 2 inches of rain in under an hour. fortunately we weren't riding in it. But we enjoyed the benefits the next morning as the air was fresh, the sun was shining, the skies were clear and we had a light tailwind.
Today was a short day, so my riding partner Jim and I decided to treat it as an extra layover day by going easy. The goal for our 45 mile ride was not to exceed 100 bpm on our heart rate monitor. That is hardly working and not breaking a sweat. We wanted to finish dead last and in our group that is not easy to do as we were competing with the likes of Ila, Harold and Caroline, all Septagenarians and nimble oldsters.
We left the Oakwood resort dead last in our group. We never saw Craig depart as he is now on Craig Time. Here is a pic of Jim and I on the practice green getting ready to depart on our short route day to Stratford, a total of 45 miles or so.
Keeping one's heart rate down while exercising requires focus and constant monitoring. No extra effort will be tolerated or the heart rate just shoots right up. So we stopped at some abandoned churches.
At about mile 23, one of our cycling buddies from Ontario had arranged for a tour of the family farm which had been in his family for four generations. Ken W and his sife Caroline arranged a welcome committee and appropriate signage.
But taking the detour of the beaten path meant getting lost in some cornfields.
We finally arrived at the old stone farmhouse (dead last so we missed the group picture as well as the reporters from the Globe and Mail) but were welcomed with homemade muffins (I ate three) and juice.
Caroline's brother (Ron) gave us a very interesting presentation on the economics of agriculture over the past 50 or so years in this region of Ontario as well as describing some of the technological innovations.
Here is a pic of Ken and his wife Caroline who arranged our delightful detour.
You should note Ken's black eye has healed up quite nicely following his crash a week earlier in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
And here is a pic of Caroline's brother and his wife (joined by Ken and Caroline) who owns and runs the farm as 4th generation farmers.
We bid farewell to our hosts and were off again at our blistering pace of less than 100 bpm's. Notwithstanding our best efforts to go slow, Jim and I caught up with our nimble oldsters and realized this was going to be a tight race to the finish. We maintained the back of the peloton role keeping a sharp eye out for any detours or wrong turns that could have taken us out of the lead. Finally we entered the Shakespearian festival town of Stratford and gave turn by turn directions to Harold and Caroline who were slightly ahead of us. Jim and I were lucky enough to catch a red light, but when we resumed riding Ila was no where to be seen. Ila is a crafty old gal and with less than one mile to the hotel she had decided to stop at the local store to buy some chocolate milk to fuel her final sprint into the town. We found her and took the same detour. In fact we bought her the chocolate milk, while I fueled up on a Starbuck's iced latte. After downing our drinks the race was on. And I am proud to report that both Jim and I arrived at the hotel dead last, Ila finished with a time 5 seconds faster than both of us.
My average speed for the 3 hour and 20 minute race was a blistering 13.6 mph. My average heart rate was 89, but I did exceed my goal of maintaining less than 100 bpms on a few occasions (they actually have hills in Ontario and I couldn't climb the hills slow enough without falling over and keep my heart rate down). It was indeed a great day to spend on a bike and it will be remembered as the day Jim and I finally took a stage win in the Sea to Shining Sea Odyssey Adventure.
We checked into our hotel (Best Western Palour Inn and Suites), had our urine tested for drugs, showered and then decided to get back on our bikes and tour the town before dinner and theater. I dropped my bike off at the local bike shop (Totally Spoked) for some minor maintenance and cleaning. After feasting on poached halibut, I strolled down the Avon River and joined by about 15 of my cycling colleagues, went to see Christopher Plummer as Prospero in Shakespeare's The Tempest. Simply wonderful!
Day 40 -- Thursday, July 15, 2010 -- Lexington, MI to Grand Bend, Ontario (Canada)
I struggled a little bit getting back into a different routine than the routine of the Temmerman Family. My roommate Jim had spent the last week cycling with his brother and entertaining his wife who flew out to join him for a few days in my absence. But now we were back to our routine of getting up at 5:00 am, figuring out the weather and route, dressing, getting to breakfast by 6:00 am and cycling by 7:00 am. And we were prompt. We left Lexington precisely at 7:00 am cycling down Lakeshore Drive along the shores of Lake Huron just north of Port Huron. As a small child I remember vacationing with my Aunt and Uncle and their children on a cottage on the Lake. But now the small cottages had turned into some large year round homes. Still beautiful but much different than I had remembered it. Jim and I road together for the 25 mile southerly jaunt down to the Blue Water Bridge which was to take us into Sarnia, Canada. Our instructions for the morning were to get down to the bridge with your passport and we would figure it out when we got there. Craig got there early and got this shot of him on the ramp up to the bridge.
So Jim and I road up the entrance ramp to the bridge, pulled out our $3.00 toll, and found out the pedestrians and cyclists are not allowed on the bridge, but if we moved off to the side, a nice lady from the Michigan Department of Transportaition would put our bikes in the back of her pick up and take us across the bridge in her pick up. Except, she did something much, much better. Debbie, as we found out arranged to close the bridge to traffic and allow us to ride our bikes across the border into Canada where we were met by a Canadian immigration truck and ushered into customs. To my knowledge, it was only 6 of us that were able to ride across the bridge, fully without any traffic. Everyone else in our group rode in the vans. But to have them actually hold all traffic at the toll booth for about 10 minutes while we rode across was indeed special. Here are some pics from the day which I will add to later. Here is the Blue Water Bridge connecting the US and Canada.
Here is a pic of me standing at the toll crossing waiting for them to close the bridge and lead us across the Blue Water Bridge.
And then here we are riding across the bridge. What fun. Notice the aqbsence of traffic.
Watch out for those expansion joints. They eat bicycles.
And here is the pic of smiling Iowa Mike as he is part of select few cyclists who were able to ride their bikes into Canada and remain part of the EFI club ("every f...ing inch"}.
Once we cleared customs in Sarnia, Ontario, we began our ride north along the eastern shore of Lake Huron. It was a hot, muggy day and you could feel the thunderstorms building up. I stopped at an ATM and got some Canadian coin and finally Craig, Bob L. Susan L, Ken and others caught up with Jim and I and we got this group photo on the shore of Lake Huron from the canadian side.
One of the first noticeable things about Canada is how courteous the drivers are to cyclists. Granted, the road have little to no shoulder to ride on, but the drivers do give you a wide berth when passing. That is refreshing.
Another noticeable thing is how tall the corn is.
After heading on a NE direction along the Lake Huron coastline, we finally reached the town of Grand Bend, a small touristy town where everyone on the hot day was on the beach or swimming in Lake Huron. We stopped at the Growling Gator, a nice little bustling reastaurant on the beach and had a couple of cold Canadian beers and a salad. A great way to end an eventful day.
The next ten or so days we will be visiting our Canadian friends to the north as we work our way to Montreal.
Days 35 - 39 -- Saturday, July 10, 2010 through Wednesday, July 14, 2010 -- Temmerman Family Reunion on Lake Leelanau, MI
The Temmerman Family rearranged its family reunion and pushed it back a week so I could join in the activities for a few days by taking a break from my cross country cycle adventure and join my father, four siblings, their spouses, and some of the many nieces and nephews at our traditional cottage on Lake Leelanua in Michigan not far from Traverse City, the cherry capital of the world.
This is a high energy family where the day starts at about 6:30 am with the start of the engine to the water ski boat graciously trailored out from Colorado by my sister Jo and her husband Dan. Generally it is my sister Becky, my brother in law Dan and myself getting in some turns while the lake is still like glass. By 8:00 am our bodies are worn out, the coffee needs to be refilled, and it is time to head back and see what members of the family have opened their eyes.
Here is some pics from our early morning water skiing.
My sister Becky cranking a few good turns in the early morning hours.
And we wouldn't be skiing at all if it wasn't for the generosity of my brother in law Dan who spent three days towing his well maintained Mastercraft ski boat from Boulder Colorado. Here is a shot of Dan sending up some spray in his turn.
This year featured the first annual corn hole tournament. I am proud to announce that after carefully checking the rules of the national association of corn hole players, my daughter and my son doublles team won the tournament when they skunked my sister and her husband 9-0 in one "inning". Don't ask me what net score is, becuase I think my brother in law Joe was making up the scoring system as we went along. Google corn hole game for more information on what I am talking about.
I also managed to get in a good road ride, some tubing behind the ski boat, many great meals, sailing, and some good conversation with many different family members. We also had some spectacular weather.
Here are a couple of shots of the Temmerman clan. The first is Rob, me, Alicia and my sisters, Therese, Jo and Beck. The second is everyone.
But by Wednesday, it was time for me to head back to my cycle group and rejoin the tour. By Wednesday night the cycle group had travelled from Mackinac Island to Lexington, MI, generally a route that took them north to south down the east side of the lower peninsula of Michigan along Lake Huron, another of the Great Lakes. My daughter Alicia was kind enough to drive me 5 hours to Lexington and then turn around and drive back another 5 hours to rejoin the rest of the Temmerman family. Thanks Alicia.
Tomorrow I get to experience what muscles water skiing and road riding have in common.
Day 34 -- Friday, July 9, 2010 -- Manistique, MI to Mackinac Island, MI
Today was a relatively easy century ride. We enjoyed mild temperatures, calm winds, sun, good roads, and beautiful vistas along the shores of Lake Michigan. Perhaps the best day for cycling yet. The only downside was one of my riding buddies (Ken W from Canada) crashed and suffered some relatively minor scrapes, bruises, torn lycra, and a black eye. It could have been much worse but he was very lucky -- he didn't crash into the traffic lane but into the gravel to the right of the road. We were riding in a four person paceline when he hit a rock about the size of a baby fist, but large enough to take him down. After some quick first aid (my crash pack) we got him to a local medical clinic and then to a new hospital in St. Ignace for xrays of his eye socket which thankfully came back negative. His crash served as a reminder of how fortunate we have been on this trip and how easy it is to have an accident while peddaling across the continent.
After attending to Ken, we continued our travels along the northern shore of Lake Michigan trying to catch glimpses of the Lower Peninsula from time to time. Jim finally climbed aboard our paceline which had slowed considerably following our incident. We were trying to make the 12:30 ferry to Mackinac Island but realized we would not make it and took our time. We finally got within view of the Mackinac Bridge (a five mile suspension bridge connecting the Lower Peninsula of Michigan with the Upper Peninsula .
After taking a ferry to Mackinac Island and finding out my room was not ready I decided to grab Jim and add some more distance to our daily mileage. Jim and I rode around Mackinac Island and its interior exploring many of the off the beaten path sites. It was spectacular.
I also arranged to meet my sister Therese who came to pick me up and take me to the 21st Annual Temmerman Family Reunion on Lake Leelanau. Therese and I and her daughter Jeannie met at the Iroquois Hotel for a drink and to swap stories of our repective travels over the past year. Here is a pic of Therese and yours truly enjoying the warmth of Mackinac.
Tonight is dinner and then tomorrow I will depart my cycling bud for a few days to attend the family reunion. The cycle tour has a layover day and then will travel north to south in Michingan (not west to east) while I join up with my family for a few days at our rented cottage on Lake Leelanau and get in some family fun like water skiing and other activities that are sure to cause more sore muscles
Day 33 -- Thursday, July 8, 2010 -- Escanaba, MI to Manistique, MI
Today was a light 63 mile recovery day. Jim and I started out touring the town of Escanaba including the old lighthouse, marina and of course the local java store. Since I forgot to recharge the batteries in my camera the following pics were taken with my cell phone. This first one is a little dark but it is of the old Escanaba Lighthouse.
The next shot is riding around the marina in Escanaba.
After touring most of Escanaba, Jim and I started to head out of town, only to be delayed further by the required stop at the local java drive through. The gals operating the drive through gave us stools to sit on while we were drinking our lattes.
I treated today as a recovery day since the distance we were covering was only 63 miles. My max heart rate only got up to 118 today -- very low for an aerobic activity. My average heart rate for the ride was only 83 bpm. And I was burning rubber with an average speed of 13.3 mph. Jim and I were the last to finish our ride. We never saw Craig all day.
Here is a pic of our rear wheels in Lake Michigan. Can't see the other side of the Lake, but it is not yet the Atlantic. Just practicing for Bar Harbor, Maine on July 31.
We finally arrived in Manistique as shown by the Map of Michigan below.
Tomorrow we head to Mackinac Island so our plan tonight is to eat a good carbo loading meal and then hammer the century ride to St. Ignace where we will catch a ferry to the famous island. Tomorrow I rondezvous with my sister, Therese, and my niece, Jeannie, on the Island. Should be fun.
Day 32 -- Wednesday, July 7, 2010 -- Iron river, MI to Escanaba, MI
Finally a beautiful day for cycling. No rain, moderate temperatures, light headwinds. It all started with the sunset last evening. What is the old saying "Red sky at night, sailors delight". Here is a pic from last evening's sunset:
So I was expecting a terrific day following what seems like weeks of rain. And the gods delivered. At mile 15, we entered the town of Crystal Falls. It seemed like a typical town up in these parts. Here is Craig going over the bridge over the Cross paint River.
After Crystal Falls, we stopped at a woodworking store and found a sign that reads "Jesus loves you, but I am his favorite". If the store was open, I would have purchased the sign for my dad.
After riding with Craig for about 20 miles, he turned it on after a quick stop for nutrition and nature, and dropped me like I was standing still. So I rode on and caught another rider and we road together for a few miles taking in the sights. Then I finally caught up with Bob Long, his wife Sue and Ken and road with them the last 25 miles into Escanaba. Here is what it looks like being in a paceline on my bike doing about 20 mph.
And here is the same paceline without me as I am taking the picture.
After about 90 miles, we pulled into Escanaba, Michigan on Little Bay de Noc. Tomorrow we head to Manistique but plan to do some extra miles to sightsee along the shore of Lake Michigan. Hopefully our one day trend of good weather will continue.
Day 31 -- Tuesday, July 6, 2010 -- Minocqua, WI to Iron River, MI
Today we bagged our 7th State -- Michigan. We have now been riding a month and we have covered 6 states, Washington, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. I have one clear opinion. America is one big country. We have logged about 2,500 miles and we still have about 1,500 miles to go. We have climbed over 72,000 vertical feet (roughly 13 and a half miles straight up). Every town, lake and river is beautiful in its own way.
This morning we loaded the luggage into the vans and rode in the rain to Paul Bunyan's Cook Shanty.
After filling our tummies with copious amounts of pancakes, french toast, eggs, sausage, orange juice and coffee we were off -- in a downpour. Heading east on county roads, we passed numerous small lakes and state forests on our way to Eagle River where I was to meet my colleague, Tim Maximoff and his wife Kristi. Tim is a great lawyer in San Jose and his family hails from Wisconsin. It just so happened that his family reuinion and our route crossed paths. So we scheduled a rondevous in Eagle River at a local coffee house. Little did Tim know that I was bringing 8 of my closest bike buddies with me. And since it was raining hard, everyone in town was at the coffee house. We had a great, albeit short, time chatting about our epic adventure. Tim has been following my blog as well as Tom Fortmann's blog (if you haven't already checked it out it is a good blog with many more humorous takes on our little group -- see http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/seatoshiningsea2010).
Here is a pic of Tim, Krisit, and Anna with yours truly after my latte.
After we left Eagle River, the rains let up and the roads got a bit more rolling. It turned out to be a nice riding day after all, and before we knew it we were crossing the Brule River which borders part of the boundary between the States of Michigan and Wisconsin. Since I was born in Michigan, this was like coming home. Jim, Craig and I crossed the border and it was pure -- just as the welcoming sign said it would be.
We road a few more miles into Michigan and snapped this shot depicting an agricultural heritage in the U. P. (Upper Peninsula of Michigan). Jim Ellis also hails from Michigan so we were singing its praises to Craig, who remained skeptical, or perhaps just bored with
our observations of how beautiful the State was.
We finally rolled into Iron River, and since I needed a haircut, I located a local barber (appropriately named Bob) and got myself a $9.00 haircut.
Tonight's dinner was at the Zippity Duda. Nothing special but I got myself a trout for dinner.
Tomorrow we set our sights on Escanaba, about 90 miles East.
Day 30 -- Monday, July 5, 2010 -- Hayward, WI to Minocqua, WI
This was another century ride for our little group. These centuries seem to be fairly common. We left Hayward and continued through the lakes region of upper Wisconsin. And for 58 miles there was nothing. No towns. No gas stations. No nothing. So there wasn't much reason for stopping as we were in various Wisconsin State Forests along our route. But I did take a shot along the Flambeau River.
Finally at about mile 60 we arrived in the only town along our route, namely Fifield, WI. So we gathered in the only cafe in town and I had a chicken salad at the Kountry Cafe.
I went to take some photos only to find that my camera batteries had died so I used my blackberry cell phone to take a few pics along the way.
But because we had territory to cover, there was no lingering. We took off after lunch and Jim and I got caught up in a hectic pace in the hopes of outrunning the gathering storm clouds. We were not successful, and by mile 72 it started to rain and then pour on us. We eventually caught up with Bob L and his wife Susan and Ken. We passed the van just because we wanted to get to the hotel and get out of the rain. We made Minocqua, but since it was at the end of the 4th of July holiday weekend, we got caught in a significant traffic jam. So we beat everyone when we got on the sidewalk and pedaled for the last 2 miles.
Minocqua actually has a bike store (actually two, maybe three) and I picked up a few supplies like energy gels and CO2 cartridges. The rain intensified and we went to dinner on a lake at a restaurant known as the Thirsty Whale. I don't have a clue why it could be thirsty in these parts. It rains all the time here. And the Whale was spouting in all directions, but mostly a downpour.
So the promised fireworks had been rescheduled from the 4th of July to the 5th of July just for our convenience. Actually it was also pouring on the 4th so they postponed the fireworks display a day. Unfortunately, when we returned from dinner we learned that the fireworks display was postponed indefinitly due to the rain. Oh well, I was tired and needed the sleep.
Tomorrow is an easier day. . . only 60+ miles. And we get into a new state - - my birth state of Michigan.
Day 29 -- Sunday, July 4, 2010 -- Hinckley, MN to Hayward, WI
Today was hot, steamy, and wet. And I am not talking about passionate sex. But notwithstanding the conditions, my spirits were still soaring this 4th of July holiday.
It started to rain just as I left breakfast. But because it was warm, I decided to skip my rain jacket and try to catch my friends who I thought had already hit the road. After pedaling hard, I caught one of my fellow cyclists Mike and we pushed on together for a few more miles until I caught Bob and Susan Long and their good friend Ken. Mike dropped off and the four of us pressed on in a downpour. At mile 25 we finally crossed into our 6th state, Wisconsin. The St. Croix river marks the border with Minnesota and Wisconsin.
The van caught us at the town of Danbury where I had to don my rain jacket. The rain never let up but my spirits were high as we pushed on strong. I had a front headlamp so I pulled the group for most of today's ride. We had very poor visibility due to the rain. So Bob L. took the rear with his bright taillight and I took the front since the road didn’t have a shoulder we could ride on.
Bob, Sue, Ken and I pushed hard right into the town of Hayward. Over 80 miles logged for the 4th of July. When we discovered our rooms were not ready, we went out in search of some lunch. After suffering through the strongest downpour of the day, we finally discoved a restaurant that would allow some soaking wet cyclists onto their premises. I ordered my first Canadian Walleye to accompany my vodka martini and put the wetness of the day behind me.
Day 28 -- Saturday, July 3, 2010 -- Madden Resort on Gull Lake (Brainerd, MN) to Hinckley, MN
Today we left the luxuries of Madden Resort behind us and continued our trek across this vast country. The day of rest and relaxation was nice and helped me recover from some sore muscles.
Our routine was restored as I woke up at 5:00 am, checked the weather report, dressed, packed and loaded luggage at 6:00 am. We went to the dining room which they opened early especially for us and had my protein shake, raisin bran, fruit and a couple of pancakes for some sustained energy.
Jim, Craig and I were on the road just after 7:00 am and we had a long day in store. The temperature at 7:00 am was 74 and rising quickly. Of course, the winds were in our face but were modest at 15 mph. But they increased as the day wore on. It was going to be one long, hot, humid day; the warmest day of riding yet on our trip.
We went through the town of Brainerd, MN and continued east on MN 18. We stopped at Paul Bunyan Land at 8:30 am and got a pic of Babe. He is rather large, don’t you think?
As the day wore on the headwinds became more of a factor, particularly as we circled one of the largest lakes in Minnesota, namely Mille Lac. When you can’t see across a lake you know it is large.
The temperature continued to rise as well as the humidity and the day quickly turned into what we call a grind. Don’t stop or you might not start up again. But because of the temps it was critical we continued to hydrate and fill our water bottles at every opportunity. A lot of water and Gatorade was consumed today.
At mile 87 we decided to pass on lunch at the local café just to get this ride over. Standing around in the sun was stifling. I filled both water bottles and took another bottle for good measure and got on a nice bike path for the last 15 miles heading south into a 30 mph headwind. Passed by some beautiful areas as we pulled into Hinckley.
When I arrived at the Grand Northern Inn in Hinckley, MN, I had ridden 105 miles, drank 18 water bottles of fluid,, consumed 2 V-8 juices, 3 energy gels, 6 power bars and a lot of cashews and almonds. I immediately took a shower to get the road grit off my salty skin and next I will attempt to locate a saloon/bar to find a nice, wet locally brewed beer.
Tomorrow we enter our 6th state – Wisconsin.
Day 27 -- Friday, July 2, 2010 -- Layover Day at Madden Resort
Slept in. Ate. Did laundry. Played 18 holes of golf. Ate some more. Had ice cream cone. Relaxed. Tomorrow will be another century ride with hot and humid temps forcast. Winds again out of the south at 25 mph. I would die for a nice tailwind one of these days.
Day 26 -- Thursday, July 1, 2010 -- Walker, MN to Brainerd, MN
For the first time on our odyssey, we changed direction, and we rode 80 miles directly south. And you guessed it, right into the face of a 30 mph headwind coming directly out of the south. These headwinds are getting old. After topping off the tire pressure, Jim and I headed out very slowly. We both had massages the prior evening and my entire body was very sore. My legs felt like they had nothing left in them. So we decided to send Craig off on his own (which he did anyway when we weren't ready to go at the start time of 8:00 am sharp). Here I am when the temps were still hovering about 65 degrees.
Jim and I headed south into the teeth of the wind. We were the last to depart which didn't bother us in the least. The temps slowly climbed upwards to 90 degrees and we were going through water quickly. At every town we took the opportunity to fill up our water bottles. And we passed through a number of small towns on the Paul Bunyan trail including the likes of Hackensack, Backus, Pine River, Jenkins, Pequot Lakes, and Nisswa. Here we found Paul looking dapper and strong.
In the meantime we found other weird carvings along the trail and route. Here is Paul's sweatheart, Lucetta Diana Kensack. She apparently lived in Hackensack.
I don't understand the significance of the following carving
Finally we came across Babe, the Blue Ox
Babe looks a little green to me.
After a few more hours of battling headwinds Jim and I were the last one into Madden Resort on Gull Lake. Beautiful Resort. I had no problem relaxing in the pool before dinner,
Tomorrow is only our second layover day since we started this ride and it will be well deserved. I will get caught up on laundry and hope to get a round of golf in too. The forecast is for high winds which also plays havoc with one's game of golf, not that mine was ever anything to talk about.
Day 25 -- Wednesday, June 30, 2010 -- Mahnomen, MN to Walker, MN
It seems as if the wind only blows into our faces whether we head east, southeast or south. Today was more to the east and southeast, but the monster headwinds continued for the entire 80 mile route.
We left Mahnomen early to try to get a jump on the anticipated strong headwinds, heading east on MN 200. About 10 miles into the ride the terraine began to change from flat to rolling hills as we gained about 2,500 feet of elevation during the 80 mile ride.
At mile 16 we entered the Minnesota State Forest. What I saw was swampland.
We then began entering the lakes region of Minnesota which is spectacular. Lake after beautiful lake dotted our route.
At about mile 40 we crossed the Mississippi River. Not the river you see down at St. Louis, but rather the headwaters of the Mississippi up in Northern Minnesota when it is a mild stream.
After passing a few more lakes, we stopped for a chicken sandwhich in La Porte at mile 65 and made a bunch of new friends as we talked about our journey with many local fisherman. Walleye is big in these parts.
After lunch we got on a bike trail for the first time in Minnesota. It was nice to get off the road and the trees helped block some of the headwind. Of course, the trail was called the Paul Bunyan trail and was an old railroad right of way that had been converted into a long bike trail.
The lakes region of Minnesota truly reminds me of Northern Michigan. . . dense woods, plentiful fresh water lakes, and friendly locals.
After traveling of the trail for about 15 miles we finally arrived at our destination in Walker - - an historic hotel on Leech Lake clled Chase-On-The-Lake. I recommend this place to all of you if you are ever in these parts.
I am going to go get a massage to get the lactic acid out of my legs. Need one after 25 days of cycling with only one day off.
Day 24 -- Tuesday, June 29, 2010 -- Mayville, ND to Mahnomen, MN
Today we entered our 5th state, Minnesota. Montana was 9 days and North Dakota was 7 days. Minnesota will only be 5 days.
The day started bright, sunny and provided us with moderate temps. Yes we had headwinds and they got stronger as the day progressed. At times they were as much as 25 mph to 30 mph straight in our faces. Today was a day I learned how to pedal going downhill.
I started with a flat tire in the parking lot which took me a few minutes to change. After getting on the road I snapped the following shot of Craig Needham heading east .
Today was to be a play day with only 80 miles. But we did stop at the Red River at about mile 30 which marks the boundary between the states of North Dakota and Minnesota.
Yes, the river is more brown than red, but it didn't matter to us as we were just happy to make progress and enter a new state. Here are the three amigos (Bob, Jim and Craig) in front of the obligatory new state sign welcoming us to Minnesota.
As we continued on into Minnesota we noticed the quality of the roads diminished. We no longer had a nice wide shoulder to ride on. And we noticed these road aren't heavily trafficed as grass has time to germinate on the cracks in the roads, whcih there were many.
Road pavement is a significant factor in any long distance bicycle event. As can be seen from the above shot, we increased our road vibration and bumps in Minnesota due to the poor quality of the pavements which translates to sore hands (a contact point with the bike) and more importantly, a sore butt (the major contact point with the bike).
At mile 50, we stopped in the town of Ada, Minnesota for a salad. After lunch we talked with a gentleman by the name of Ross, who was the owner of the local rag, staff photographer and editer. He snapped our photo of the three amigos and told us hat we would be front page news the next week when the rag was published again. Apparently, Ada doesn't get a lot of cross country cycling idiots.
After lunch we continued on a few more miles and found our hay bales that I had been searching for across 5 states and snapped a few shots of crazy guys on hay bales.
Finally, after much prodding we got Craig to get on the hay bale only to here him complain that they are round and move. Here is Craig being quite tentative. You know he is an urban boy when he can't balance on a hay bale.
We finally made the town of Mahnomen, MN and fiinished our 80 mile day which with the strong headwinds felt more like a century ride. Staying in a casino and planning on a big dinner. No gambling on the agenda. . . just food and sleep.
Day 23 -- Monday, June 28, 2010 -- Carrington, ND to Mayville, ND
At dinner the prior evening at the local golf course, we were entertained by the caterer and her assistant, Miss North Dakota 2010. What fun! Both were very bright and witty and they shared some of the local flavor of Carrington which as I understand it involves the Dakota Pasta factory which employs most of the local work force and operates 24 hours a day. Here is a pick of the bike buddies, Miss ND and the caterer.
On Monday morning we got ready for our ride from Carrington in an easterly direction on ND 200 for our next century ride. Skies were still blue and the temps mild. Most importantly the winds were light although in our face. We first found the local sites beautiful even though they stood out in the middle of nowhere ND. Here is a pick of the local church.
We were told that an interesting diversion could be found at mile 50 in the small town of Cooperstown where we could visit a decommissioned Missile Launch Facility. So after asking a bunch of locals, we finally determined which way we needed to ride since this is not marked at all. So Jim, Craig and I rode north out of town and into a strong headwind heading for something that we weren't sure would be marked. But in the prarie, anything out of the ordinary stands out like a sore thumb. Up on our left at the 5 mile mark we came upon a barbed wire enclosed facility that was labeled Oscar Zero.
We entered the facility fearing we might be mistaken as terrorists given our lycra outfits but surprizingly they let us in. After paying the $30 fee for the one hour tour we learned an immense amount...so much that all we could say was that the entire experience was sobering.
The US and USSR were allies during World War II but after the war, ideological, political and economin differences led to mounting tension and hostility between the countries. I recall the duck and cover drills in the 1960's in grade school. They were scary times. The US and USSR raced to increase their nuclear arsenals and it soon became clear that each nation had the ability to totally destroy the other. The theory of mutual assured destruction was the deterrent to actually launching a nuclear strike against the other country. Part of the US deterrent force was the ICBM (Inter Continenatal Baliistic Missiles) of the Minuteman missiles based in the central plains. In our travels across Montana and North Dakota we became aware of a number of missiles based in farmers fields well below ground. By 1967, there were over 1,000 Minuteman Missiles buried in silos across the great plain states. We got to visit Oscar Zere Missale Alert Facility (MAF) and November 33 Launch Facility.
Oscar Zere controlled 10 Minuteman missiles located anywhere from 10 - 50 miles from the MAF. We got to tour Oscar Zero MAF Here are some pics of that facility.
We got to go underground into the actual launch control room were each of two missilemen spent 24 hour shift waiting for word from the president to Launch. Fortunately for you and I, that word never came.
Here is the desk of one Missileer. The other was about 15 feet away. It took both Missileers to verify launch codes given by the President and to simultaneously turn their keys to launch mode.
As I indicated, fortunately those orders were never given and negotiations between Bush and Gorbachev in 1991 led to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty which recognized that a nuclear war can never be won and must never be fought. Significant reductions in the nuclear arsenals of both the US and Russia were agreed to. And although we have reduced our nuclear force from 1,000 missile sites in the great plains, over 450 missile sites still are active in ND, Montana and Wyoming.
After leaving the Oscar Zere Missale Alert Facility, we went back into Cooperstown and saw the following and couldn't resit the irony of nuclear destruction controlled just miles away and the following picture of harmony with nature
I also got a shot of the local county courthouse in Cooperstown.
On the way out of town and back on the road, we stopped at November 33 Launch Facilit which was a missile silo that is now decommissioned. i couldn't resist standing on top of the silo door.
We finally got back on the road and into our headwinds only to have a mechanical breakdown at mile 75 that set us back for another hour as we completed repairs on Jim's drive train (chain suck).
Our ride into Mayville was remarkably silent as Jim, Craig and I contemplated what we had seen during the day. I can honestly say there was nothing fun about the day. It was scary and it was sobering. Let us pray that we will never have occasion to use any further nuclear weapons against any nation.
Day 22 -- Sunday, June 27, 2010 -- Harvey, ND to Carrington, ND
Sunday is a recovery day. We only had 55 miles to ride, one of the shortest days of riding yet. And to make it even easier, we had blue skies, moderate temperatures, and a tailwind that a cyclist would die for -- about 20 + mph right at our back for most of the ride.
So my riding bud Jim Ellis and I slept in, had a late breakfast over at the bowling lanes and took our time getting ready for our ride. We decided to keep the day light and hardly pushed ourselves at all. Nor did we need to with the tailwind. We started our recovery ride at about 8:45 am and decided it would be a photo day.
The first turn on our route map had me stop and get the following shot demonstrating we are definitely in agriculture country.
I have no clue what these machines do but I suspect they make the harvesting job easier and more efficient. I also suspect the sticker price on one of these items of machinery would pay off my mortgages.
We turned another corner and saw an ag coop that was one of the largest in these parts.
I finally found my hay piles and staged the following photo.
Jim and I turned a corner and found a county fair that was hosting a demolition derby later that day. Unfortunately it was too late for us to hang around and watch. Plus two cyclists in spandex in this part of the country at a county fair is probably not a good idea when everyone else is driving pickups and wearing cowboy hats. So instead, Jim and I visited a deserted local town of Fessenden, ND. Truly a sad visit to a dying town.
Fifty years ago these small towns were thriving. Today they are struggling as the family farm dies to corporate agricultural interests.
A little further down the road we came across a buffalo herd. Unlike cows, buffalo are skittish and I couldn't get too close. One herd ran hard to the west and this herd departed shortly after the following shot.
We finally arrived in the next small town of Carrington and rode around town for a bit looking for any shop that might be open for lunch. In our search I found the local water tower and couldn't resist a pic.
Tonight is dinner at a golf course. It is apparently being catered by a local caterer as most places are closed on Sunday. Tomorrow we crank up our distances as we have another 90 mile plus day scheduled. Hopefully the weather will continue to cooperate.
Today was travels through the breadbasket of America. And the family farm may well be an enterprise demoted to history.
Day 21 -- Saturday, June 26, 2010 -- Minot, ND to Harvey, ND
Despite an early start, we couldn't avoid the lightning storm and the rain.
We started on down the road questioning our judgment and looking to the south as the storm cells were coming from our right and from behind. I continued to push into a strong headwind but could only maintain 6 mph to 10 mph when facing 20 mph headwinds. About 10 miles into this struggle I also suffered my second flat tire. Again a quick fix put me back on the road and the weather began to improve.
Bad day for a wedding. Here the crosswinds made riding a bit challenging. But as we pushed on, the winds turned around and started to push us along at about 25 mph which always make for a lot of fun. My riding buddies, Jim and Craig, both suffered two flats each so our day was puncuated by fixing flats.
But eventually the sun came out and the tailwinds subsided a bit and we had a pleasant day of riding.
We are almost through North Dakota now and have just another day and one half before we enter Minnesota. But before leaving this fine state, here is a pic of where we are staying. Note the bowling lanes next door to the Motel which is where our group will enjoy something for dinner this evening -- probably beer and a burger.
I thought I would share with my now cycling friends some of the routine I go through each morning before heading out on the road, It starts with waking up at about 5:00 am and then spending 15 minutes watching the weather channel and logging on to the internet to get hour by hour forecasts for our departure city as well as our arrival town. Because weather will determine what I wear.
I next pick out my cycling shorts. Now cycling shorts have what is referred to as chamois cloth stategically placed in the butt region. Chamois is critical to making life on a bicycle seat tolerable. Here are pics of my cycling shorts and the padded chamois,
Next comes the butt butter. I use Assos Chamois Creme. This is spread all over the chamois in the cycle short in order to reduce friction and prevent chafing and infection. And first thing in the morning, it is cold to put this slimy stuff into your shorts and then pull them on. But that is exactly what I do as well as most other cyclists that do any sort of long rides.
Depending upon the weather, I put on a base layer, jersey, arm warmers, knee warmers, wool socks and my cycling shoes. A rain jacket may be added depending upon the weather forecast.
Next comes all the goodies that I will pack into my jersey. This typically includes some energy gels, a peanut butter and jelly sandwhich, a wind vest, tubes, chapstick, sunscreen, etc.
Then I finish packing my suitcase and drag that down to the van. After breakfast, my backpack and computer go to the van and I am ready to ride. On most days we are on the bikes between 6:00 am and 7:00 am. Depending on the mileage for the day we will be finished riding about 2:00 or 3:00 pm.
This adventure is about small town America. Many of our best experiences are when we stop for water or a bite to eat in a small town and get a chance to talk to the locals about what we are doing. America is certainly a very friendly place. I have enjoyed every day of this adventure, bad weather included.
Day 20 -- Friday, June 25, 2010 -- New Town, ND to Minot, ND
Today can best be described as one where we danced with lightning and thunderstorms all morning. The ride started off ominously. Shortly after crossing the Missouri River (see pic below) I had my first flat in 1,500 miles with only two miles of riding under my belt. Rear wheel, of course. A quick fix put me back on the road but now I was at the back end of the pelaton at 6:30 am and some distance to make up.
Here is a pic of the thunderstorm clouds to our south as we pedaled our hearts out to avoid encounters with lightning. Remember, North Dakota is BIG open plains. There are not a lot of places to shelter from a storm.
After determining the direction of the thunderstorm line, we slowed our pace to allow the storms to pass in front of us. That allowed us to take photos of some of the local architecture.
And for those of you wondering how I am doing sitting on a bicycle seat for more than 6 hours every day, you should note that I am advil free for 48 hours. That doesn't mean I am pain free. Rather it means I decided it was not healthy to continue my large doses of pain meds on a daily basis. Tomorrow I will share some of my necessary daily steps I take to avoid having problems that can derail this cross country adventure. Just remember, i spend the better part of the day on the following bicycle seat.
Tomorrows forecast is for more thunderstorms, starting about 11:00 am. So we are going for another early start.
Day 19 -- Thursday, June 24, 2010 -- Williston, ND to New Town, ND
Started out this sunny day riding through the residential area of Williston down University Avenue, by North Dakota State University until we turned left on North Dakota Hwy 1804. We then left the small town and all forms of human life behind for the next 75 miles. Truly there was not a store, café, or gas station between these two towns. Rather we had miles upon miles of rolling hills.
Our travels took us just north of the Missouri River on a route that went east. And like Montana, the road went straight for as far as the eyes could see. Here is Craig pointing
to the Missouri and the fact we have to be on the other side by the end of the day's ride.
Rollers on a bike break up the monotony of a ride. You have to stand and pedal when the grade gets too steep on the climbs. And on the descents you make yourself as small as possible to let the wind go around you and your try to carry your speed into the next hill. And you are constantly changing gears. Big gears, little gears, and back to big gears.
Today ride was deceivingly hard. First we had a headwind. Second I had no paceline to help in the effort. Third, the development of the oil and gas industry in North Dakota meant we had to deal with big trucks moving at big speeds and spewing gravel and other goodies at you when they passed. And finally there is the North Dakota Redneck – a travel hazard that can just ruin a nice day of riding.
My riding partner was Craig for the better part of the day. We started about 7:30 am and rode hard, sometimes together and sometimes separated by miles, leapfrogging each other depending upon natures calling. About mile 25 I had my incident with the ND Redneck driving a fire red dually. I was descending a rather long hill at about 25 - 30 mph when he passed me like I was standing still and then locked up his brakes swerving left and right until he came to a stop. Of course I had to get on both of my brakes to avoid running into him. When I got to his passenger side window he let loose with a string of profanities that would have made Mom blush for a long time. When he finally said I should not be on the road as I was endangering him – I simply stated he was driving too fast for the conditions and should slow down. That didn’t help matters and the adrenaline rush was starting to take over when Craig also started to pull up as he witnessed the whole thing. Mr. Redneck decided he had had enough and took off squeeling his tires for good measure. Although I got his plates I decided against calling it in because he would likely take out his vengeful behavior on another cyclist some day, something I didn’t want on my conscience.
It took about 15 miles of additional riding to finally let go of that incident and begin to re engage with the scenery.
Oil is big industry in North Dakota. About every mile or so, you could see new drilling rigs or existing rigs. We learned most of the oil is from shale and not terribly efficient, but it seems to justify the cost of drilling which in most cases is straight down for a mile or two and then horizontal to locations under the Missouri riverbed.
Here is Craig at mile 40. Note he still has half a waterbottle Both Craig and I made a drastic error in our daily calculations of water intake. We passed on stopping at the van to refuel and rehydrate since we were making good time and were ahead of the main pelaton. But the temperatures were rising and the van didn't return to the front of the pack. Both Craig and I were soon out of water with about 20 miles of riding left in 80 plus degrees -- not a situation you want to find yourself in. In 10 more miles we stopped at a mud puddle and contemplated the desease and germs we could intake if we drank the mud.
But shortly after the above picture was taken, the van pulled up, Craig and I waived our arms to signal a stop and Dennis provided us with lifesaving water. When you are that dehydrated, your mind begins to play tricks on you. And a few miles down the road we saw this mirage which we captured on film of a guy perched up in an outhouse above the road. Only in North Dakota.
And when you finish one of our 80 mile days, diet and good health just go out the window and demonstrated by one of my riding colleagues, Vici Yoder.
So I earned the yellow bandana for passing the van 3 times without refilling our water bottles and running out of water with 15 miles to go. I will display it proudly om my arm all day tomorrow as it is being passed around our riding group depending upon what particular incident during the day warrants the award. Tomorrow night I get to select the recipient.
Day 18 -- Wednesday, June 23, 2010 -- Culbertson, MT to Williston, ND
I knew I was in North Dakota when I got my first "you betcha" response from a road construction worker when I asked if it was OK to ride through the construction zone. Brought back memories from the movie Fargo.
Today was an easy day, only 67 miles so we did a lot of sightseeing. We went across the Montana - North Dakota border a few times in a couple of places since we reversed course to visit some historical monuments. Here are some pics from our sights today:
Jim walking his bike through the construction zone above. He is determined not to get any flats. I rode it. Mountain biking skills come in handy on a road bike.
Some of the unexpected hazards of encountering construction zones along the way.
I could have bunny hopped the two foot drop off the bridge, but I only brought 3 extra spokes and didn't want to take the chance.
And we finally made it into North Dakota after all of the construction. Our fourth state in almost three weeks of riding. And it will take us about 8 days to get through North Dakota.
Checking out the confluence of the Missouri River and the Yellowstone River, Lewis and Clark style. Craig Needham is such a ham!
We went to the Fort Union National Monument and checked out the historic Hudson Bay Trading Post.
And who looks better here -- Craig or the buffalo?
And at the Confluence Interpretive Center, I captured this quote from Meriwether Lewis.
And yes it is true, we crossed back and forth over the Montana - North Dakota border about 5 times today. Here I am reentering Montana before entering ND for the last time.
Tomorrow is about an 80 mile day as we head east along the Missouri River a little off the beaten path. Hopefully we will continue to have success outrunning the afternoon thunderstorms. Today we got in just in time.
Day 17 -- Tuesday, June 22, 2010 -- Glasgow, MT to Culbertson, MT
Today was fast. Very fast. It was the first time I have done a century ride in under 5 hours. And I was joined by some good paceline riders who all contributed to the speedy effort, namely my bike buddies, Craig and Jim, and three others from our odyssey, namely Tom F., Bob L., and Ken W. The six of us pushed the big ring for the better part of our ride today and it was fun. Focus and concentration were required at speeds exceeding 24 mph for a good part of our ride. If you dropped off the paceline it was next to impossible to jump back on.
Above is Bob L., Tom F., Craig Needham, Ken W., and Jim Ellis.
We stopped about mile 70 at a small town of Poplar and took some pics at the local historical museum. That is me pretending to push a bigger ring than the one on my bike.
At about mile 90. we stopped and got a tip from some locals that had us deviate from our planned route on . . . you guessed it, US 2 East and instead we went on Indian Highway 1 which brought us closer to the Missouri River. It was beautiful and there were no cars or trucks to bother us. Here are some pics of my riding buds along that highway:
That is Ken and Tom above.
Above is Bob Long who pulled us for more than his fair share today.
And of course, there is bike buddy Craig down in his aerobars pulling his imaginary friend.
We finally ended our day at the King's Inn in Culbertson, MT, tired but happy and thankful for a nice tailwind throughout the day.
Day 16 -- Monday, June 21, 2010 -- Malta, MT to Glasgow, MT
The first day of summer brought moderate temperatures and the first hint of thunderstorms. We knew severe storms were predicted for the afternoon so our goal for this short day was just to beat the storms into Glascow. Since our distance was only about 70 miles and more of the same scenery -- straight roads, unlimited wheat fields, one railroad track to break up the horizen -- we just wanted to get there.
Jim and Craig started out fast and I didn't have it in me. So I plodded along today with the main pelaton taking pictures of historical monuments here and there. The key word for today is mesquitos -- they are abundant and big. I stopped in the small town of Saco (the only town between Malta and Glascow) to take a picture of the town park and withing two minutes I had over 100 mesquitos on both legs and arms. I quickly took the pic, jumped on my bike and didn't stop for over 50 miles. Tomorrow I buy mesquito repellant in addition to my daily dose of sunscreen. Here are today's limited pics as I didn't stop too frequently.
I liked the rocking chair brand and could have used one today.
The above photo was taken just before I would have been airlifted off by the local mesquito population. They are big and take no prisoners. I had to outpedal them to have a chance. The final pic below was taken just outside of Glascow, MT in the heart of Buffalo Country.
We outran the thunderstorms and hail but it is headed this way. The tornadoes are sure to get the RV's parked just outside the hotel but we should be safe.
Tomorrow is another century day so it will be a good night's sleep as we will again have to deal with some storms in the afternoon.
Day 15 -- Father's Day, Sunday, June 20. 2010 -- Havre, MT to Malta, MT
Today was a long, flat ride that was perfect for pacelining. With sunny skies we started out at a quick pace and then maintained it. Got a good paceline going with both Craig and Jim and then we were joined by guides Dave and Erin. We average over 20 mph for the first 60 miles all taking turns at the front. We kept our breaks short with just enough time to refuel and rehydrate and got back on the bikes and picked up the pace. Erin and Dave dropped off at about mile 40 but Jim, Craig and I continued the pace until Craig had a mechanical issue with his chainring at about mile 65. I stayed with Craig and came in tired but pleased with our day's performance. Total mileage for today was about 90 miles.
The next pic is of Jim, Erin and Dave (Craig is off the back).
The next pic is of Erin leading the pack. Note Craig has moved up to third position.
The next shot demonstrates my ability to shoot pics at 22 mph while looking back over
my shoulder at Erin, Dave and Craig. I didn't crash and take everyone down.
The final paceline shot is my favorite. We are lined up at the bar in our favorite saloon with Erin bringing us home. Note Craig is still at the back of the line drafting on all of us. I picked up the bar tab today and it was hefty.
Now for some fun facts about Montana because I don't think we will ever get out of this state. It is huge.
Montana's population is less than 1 million people.
Montana is the only state with a triple divide -- water flows to the Pacific, Atlantic and the Hudson Bay.
Bears can run up to 40 mph. I can only ride that fast on a steep downhill so I just have to be 1 mph faster than my riding buds.
Cows outnumber humans in Montana 3:1.
Tomorrow is another day in Montana.
Day 14 -- Saturday, June 19, 2010 -- Shelby, MT to Havre, MT
We knew this would be a long, tough day. It was listed as another century plus ride. but we didn't know we would start in wet, cold fog. We were rolling by 7:15 am but truly couldn't see much more than 100 feet ahead of us. I wasn't concerned about what we could see because our instructions were to stay on the same US 2 for over 100 miles. No I was concerned about trucks and other vehicles that might be operating at conditions in excess of safe speeds given the limited visibility. But we were blessed as few vehicles were actually on the road before the fog lifted by 9:00 am. Here is a pic of Jim and Craig navigating in the fog.
We continued east and came upon the historical site for the Baker Massacre in 1870.
So riding across the great northern plains is tedious when you have a headwind and there isn't a tree to be seen on the horizen. So any break from the routine is welcome. The following show some of our breaks during the ride today.
Craig Needham on the center line with his new USC bike attire.
Bob playing on the train tracks.
Wrestling my bike back from T-rex.
We finally pulled into Havre, MT about 4:00 pm and quickly jumped in the pool and stretched our weary muscles in the hot tub. Dinner tonight consisted of a large salad and scampi. Ummm good.
Tomorrow will be more like today. Long, straight, tedious, and into a headwind.
If you want another blog to check out and for more pics of our crazy little crew, check out the following link: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=RrzKj&doc_id=5019&v=R8
Day 13 – Friday, June 18, 2919 – East Glacier, MT to Shelby, MT
Got up at 6:00 am, looked out the window and surprize, the forecasted rain was not there. How long it would hold off was anyone’s guess. The clouds looked ominous enough and it was definitely cold – about 38 degrees. Breakfast was lighter than ususal, just oatmeal and fruit as I still felt full from dinner the night before.
Today we put the Continental Divide and the Rockies and the Cascades behind us and initiated our trek into the great plains. Here is Craig with the Rockies in the background.
As we continued our trek east on US 2, we passed by a couple of historical sites. However, the town of Browning which is on the Blackfeet Reservation is severely depressed. They may still be a proud nation, but they are hurting.
The next historical site was of Lewis and Clark expedition.
For the better part of the day I was attempting to outrun a raincloud, mostly without success. Here is a shot of a grain elevator set on the great plains of Montana with a train approaching in the background. In the foreground you can see the dreaded rumble strip
At about mile 50 I stopped for lunch at the Cut Bank Cafe, a traditional small town restaurant that is truly Americana at its best. I had navy bean soup and a small salad. And just outside, the following historical photograph called for me.
Guide Dennis and I rode from Cut Bank into Shelby, MT in record time, assisted by a decent tail wind out of the northwest.
In summary, a good 70 mile day with moderate but not heavy rain, and temperatures that still required 4 layers, but were not freezing. We still have a number of days to get through this gigantic state of Montana but the spirits are high now that we have all had a day of rest. Tomorrow is a longer day (100 miles plus some), but likely just as flat as today. And now that my laundry is done, I can break out some more cold weather gear if necessary.
Day 12 – Thursday, June 17, 2010 – East Glacier, MT (Layover Day)
Slept in this morning. Had my latte with breakfast which consisted of a bowl of oatmeal, eggs, pancakes, bacon, sausage, and fruit. You would think I was going for a ride today. Yesterday was a drizzle. Today is real rain and high winds. Great day for a layover day. I roamed the old lodge and took some pics and wrote some postcards. Too cold and wet to go hiking. Great day for sitting in front of the fire and resting. Here are some shots I took on our layover day. The one below is of the Glacier Park Lodge lobby where we are staying.
This next shot is of Craig Needham modeling the much envied sweatshirt given to him by his grandchildren while we walked in front of the lodge to the East Glacier train station.
The next shot is of the train station at Glacier Park.
This last shot is of Dave Holt leading his solo stretch class in the lobby of the hotel. Go Dave.
Day 11 – Wednesday, June 16, 2010 – Apgar, MT to East Glacier, MT
Today was supposed to be the spectacular climb through Glacier National Park on Going-To-The- Sun Road and over the Continental Divide at Logan Pass. But the road is still closed due to the heavy snows so instead we followed our alternate route and traversed the 60 mile distance on US 2 just outside the park.
I knew from the forecast that the day was going to be both wet and cold – cyclists just hate this kind of riding environment. I donned 5 different layers of cycling clothing including my rain pants and rain jacket and with the temperature hovering at about 38 degrees I headed back down the bike path to the town of West Glacier, where I passed up my small non fat latte at mile 3. Big mistake.
I could have used something to keep me warm. And Jack Daniels was out of the question. In about a quarter mile Jim Ellis and I started our long, gradual climb along the Middle Fork of the Flathead River. This is about a 40 mile climb. It was all in light drizzle and overcast skies. I was soaked to the skin in about 10 miles either from the rain or from the perspiration of the climb. About halfway up the climb we stopped at a little café for some herbal tea to warm the insides. After a little break we continued climbing up to the top of the Continental Divide and Marias Pass Summit at about mile 45. It was a welcome break because the climb was not difficult by percentage grade standards, it was just interminable. And of course it was wet and cold. At one point, we were following the Burlington Northern and Sante Fe Train up the grade and the train engineer in the caboose couldn’t believe the idiots he was watching on their bicycles in the rain and just laughed out loud at us. We waive back enviously.
At the Continental Divide, Mother Nature couldn’t decide to rain or snow on us. It was cold. Both Jim and I were tired and wet and wanted the day to be over. We thought, that there would be a nice descent into East Glacier but we were wrong. We had another 15 miles of rollers – small gradual descents followed by more climbs. I arrived at East Glacier first and took the following pic wishing the Flathead Indian would just throw the spear at me and take me out of my misery.
After waiting in the cold drizzle for about 30 minutes for Jim, I had a tough decision to make – ride back and find him or ride on the quarter mile to the lodge and get warmed up. I should have gone back because he had three more flats and was out of tubes and CO2 cartridges and was walking the last 3 miles when the Timberline Van found him and gave him a lift to the lodge. I owe him big time. But not nearly as much as Craig Needham who left his bike buddies at the 2nd mile of the route never to be seen again. That is two days in a row Craig has blown off his bike buddies. Craig bought drinks at dinner.
Tomorrow is a rest day. Forecast is for rain and more cold temps. I may stay in bed all day.
Day 10 – Tuesday, June 15, 2010 – Kalispell, MT to Apgar, MT (Glacier National Park)
Today was a short ride, all of about 40 miles. We call these days recovery days. I slept in till about 7:30 local time, packed up (now have this down to a routine), had a big breakfast and headed out with Jim Ellis, our guides Dave Holt and new guide Erin (subbing for our head guides Dick and Carol). We got about 1 block before our first flat tire (Jim’s second flat of the trip – I am still flat free). After fixing that, we headed to a local bike shop that opened at 10:00 am, picked up some spare tubes and CO2 cartridges, and headed of course to our necessary pre-departure espresso shop. After downing my usual small non-fat latte, it was now about 11:00 am and we had covered all of about 1.5 miles. Better than yesterday where we didn’t even make it a mile before stopping.
Below is a picture of two of our guides, Dave Holt and Erin riding her brand new Specialized Roubaix (which at this point had all of about 10 miles on it).
Today’s route took us by some incredible and beautiful Montana ranches as well as the Hammer manufacturing facility.
Hammer makes a number of energy gels, electrolyte replacement powders and other bicycle friendly products. We even got to try out one of the new products, Montana Huckleberry gel.
Rick, our Hammer tour guide was terrific as can be seen in the following pic with Jim Ellis.
After passing Bad Rock Canyon where the Flathead and the Blackfeet had a little skirmish, we entered Glacier National Park, one of the most beautiful parks in the National Park system.
But cyclists can only ride on the road before 11:00 am or after 4:00 pm. So we chilled after our 40 mile leisurely jaunt and relaxed in the warm sun...which according to the weather reports won’t last long. Tomorrow’s forecast is for a high of 42 (colder on the passes going over the Continental divide) and for rain and thunderstorms all day. Since Going-To-The-Sun Road over Logan Pass has not yet been plowed, we have no choice but to get back on Hwy 2 and get to East Glacier by going back outside the park, and taking US 2 over the Continental divide and Marias Pass. After tomorrow, we get a well-deserved layover day but the forecast remains for more rain and cold so hiking may not be a viable option. We shall see. But if I am not on a bicycle seat for a day, I will be happy doing anything.
Here is a pic of Craig, Jim and Andy enjoying the little bit of sun at our Apgar hotel.
Day 9 – Monday, June 14, 2010 – Libby, MT to Kalispell, MT
The day started like all others. We had a hearty breakfast at the Venture Inn and hit the road by about 7:30am for what was to be a 90 mile day. Getting back in the saddle hurt so we stopped at the first espresso stand along the way. And instead of riding through, we got off our trusty steads and went inside for what is now my standard small non fat latte. Jim Ellis, Craig Needham, myself and our guide, Dave Holt were chatting away as usual trying to delay the inevitable pain of remounting our bikes. The highlight of the day was a joke a Canadian told us which isn’t fit for posting but when you see me again, ask me about a Canadian nickle...it has the Queen on one side and a critter on the other.
Libby is a town with extremes as can be seen from the following picture of a local fish:
Once we downed our lattes we were back on the east-west highway of US2. We began climbing almost immediately and for what seemed forever. Pavement composition becomes very critical. Smooth asphalt gives one loads of gliding (less energy needed), but Hwy 2 is primarily chip seal. It might be smooth out in the traffic lanes where gigantic logging trucks and semis roam, but to the right of the white line, it is loose stone and very rough. And occasionally, the highway engineers puts in these two inch deep rumble strips to the right of the white line (to wake up any motorist who might be drifting to the right) but unfortunately giving cyclists a very narrow margin for riding. Even a full suspension mountain bike can only handle rumble strips for a few feet before your entire body is vibrated right off the bike. The route was a gradual climb for about 60 miles. We finally stopped at Happy Café for lunch where Craig did his usual thing of working the crowd. Before we knew it we were best friends with four generations. Here head honcho Carol poses with granddaughter (the waitress) and a great grandchild who was only 5 months.
I did not want to get back on the bike because my butt was more than just sore. I haven’t built up the cyclist callouses where more fit cyclists don’t experience the level of pain of the mere weekend warrior. Yes, my butt is sore. But because we were now about to descend I could stand on my pedals or at least find another riding position without having to sit and climb.
Our mountain descents up until today were generally very pleasant (unless of course you are descending in a thunderstorm). But today’s 15 mile descent was truly scary. At 35 - 40 mph every muscle is focused on the road ahead of you. And oftentimes you need to take the lane where the pavement is smooth. But logging trucks heading downhill have little regard for cyclists in these parts. And a wind blast from one of these beasts passing you at 70 mph can literally throw you off the road. I had three pass me, one literally within a few feet. I was never so happy to reach the bottom and get off the road and onto a rails to trails bike path as I was today. I hate logging trucks, or at least their crazed drivers.
Within 10 miles of the town of Kalispell we transitioned to a bike trail and it was refreshing. I only had to worry about other cyclists or pedestrians. I even smiled.
Above are my bike buddies Jim Ellis and Craig Needham enjoying the Bike Trail to Kalispell.
We stayed at the Hampton Inn, a fine first class hotel. I used the laundry facilities, hot tub and swimming pool all before a wonderful dinner of stuffed halibut and chardonnay. Sleep we did, sore butt and all.
Day 8 -- Priest River, ID to Libby, MT
Today was definitely the hardest day so far -- 122 miles on a very sore butt. The amount of climbing was mild at about 4,000 feet. And the spectacular vistas along the way did little to relieve the pain in my rear. I would stand and pedal just not to sit down.
We started the day early with a hearty breakfast and left Priest River at about 6:45am. We then came along Lake Pend Oreille which was truly awesome with snow capped peaks in the background. After passing the Lake, we rode along the Clark Fork River (of course upstream like the salmon) until we reached Mom's Cafe on Clark Fork where I indulged on a salad and a protien shake. Then my buddy Jim took us on a detour across the river where the views were even more beautiful than from the other side of the Highway. After crossing the border into Montana, the road went from poor to fair pavement to loose gravel. Here are some shots of the Montana border with Idaho that is not well marked.
What Jim didn't tell me is that I should have taken my mountain bike. When we went through a road closure I knew we were in trouble.
Here is a picture of my friend Craig navigating the loose gravel off the beaten path somewhere in western Montana.
After stopping at a school where Jim's son attended for a couple of years we finally got back to a real paved road and intersected with MT 56 at about mile 70. Then we turned north on MT 56 and followed the Bull River north (and of course upstream which means uphill). We stopped at a biker bar to refuel with water. They have budweiser and they have water, They don't have any energy drinks. But the rough crowd treated us fairly and commended us on our adventure. I was willing to trade my bike for any one of theirs since they had motors and softer sears and we didn't. But I had no takers. We continued north past Bull Lake until we reached the junction of US 2. We followed the Kootenai River (of course upstream) for another 15 miles into Libby, MT. Needless to say I was exhausted.
I had another steak dinner with two salads and a big ice cream brownie with extra ice cream, whipped cream, nuts and hot fudge.
I will sleep well tonight as we have another 90 mile day tomorrow.
Day 6 -- Republic, WA to Colville, WA
This was an easy day and a welcome easy day after two long and difficult days. We rode only 54 miles and had about 4,000 feet of climbing. We started climbing right out of Republic after having a hearty breakfast at the women's auxiliary of the Eagles by climbing for 18 miles up to Sherman Pass Summit. Fortunately, it was a gradual climb and I was able to save my knees by going relatively easy. It was cold (about 40 degrees) but little wind and the rain held off until the descent. Then the ubiquitous rain cloud found us and followed us for the 15 mile descent. Definitely made for what was supposed to be the payoff for the climb into a very terrifying descent where visibility was reduced and torrents of rain swept across the highway making traction questionable at best. Finished the day with 5 layers of clothes soaked to the skin. Finally hit the local town laundrymat and taught my buddy Craig how to do laundry -- hot water and hot dryer. He won't have anything that will fit him tomorrow. I will upload some pics after I figure out how to reduce the size.
For a link to today's route check out: http://www.bikemap.net/route/420340.
Day 6 -- Winthrop, WA to Republic, WA
Today was one of the longest and most difficult days of this adventure -- 110 miles and 7,000 feet of climbing. Again it rained. But not in the valleys. No it always rains in the mountains making the descents treacherous and hazardous and putting a chill to the bones so gripping the brakes and actually feeling them engage is a welcome relief.
The day started innocently enough. We had sunshine coming out of Winthrop, albeit the temps were not much above 40 at our 6:45 am start. At about mile 15 we started our first of two major climbs of the day with a beautiful descent into a semi arid Okanogun Valley. After stopping for our obligatory latte at the "bike through" expresso shack, we continued our journey northward to the town of Tonasket, WA. Here we refueled for the second major and longer climb of the day -- a thirty mile climb that started at mile 70 and came at you in waves. And just when you think you have hit the summit, it teases you and gives you a slight descent only to make you climb another 5 miles. But by now the rain cloud I had been trying to outrace caught up with Craig and I. As we donned our rain gear we saw that just about everyone else in our group had better sense than we did as the support vehicle passed us with about 10 bikes loaded on top. Well to make a long story short, Craig and I made it down off the summit riding in sheets of rain and cold temps and getting chilled to the bone. When we got to the hotel we were only two of six people who had completed the entire ride that day. I took a 45 minute hot shower to get the numbness out of my feet and hands.
Dinner was a bareque rib night at a local Prospector Days gig. I ate about 15 ribs and could have had more but they put them away before I could go back for fourths. I was asleep before my head hit the pillow. I slept soundly.
Day Three -- La Connor to Skagit River Resort (Marblemount, WA)
Day Three was a recovery ride -- only 62 miles at a leisurely pace and in full sunshine. The Pacific Northwest is beautiful when the sun is out. No wonder everyone up here has tractor mowers. They must mow their lawns every other day. Everything is green. We headed out of town and actually passed an expresso shop without stopping -- its hard to stop when you haven't even ridden a mile. But we did get our expresso at Clear Lake about 15 miles into the ride. We followed the Skagit River upstream today for about 40 miles. The Skagit is beautiful and no doubt teeming with salmon that I will never have a chance to catch. Below is a pic of Jim, Craig and myself just short of our destination and still smiling. It is easy to smile when you ride in sunshine.
And for a map of our route today, check out the following web page: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?o=RrzKj&page_id=139673&v=Fg#pic_627299
Day Two -- Port Angeles to La Connor
Day Two was our first century ride on this cross country adventure. We started out on a beautiful bike trail for about 25 miles along the Straight of Juan de Fuca which separates the US from Vancouver Island in British Columbia. Here is a pic from the trail:
And as it has a tendency to do in the Pacific Northwest, it started to rain, which it did continuously for about the next two hours making for some cold, miserable and particularly dangerous riding with heavy traffic to get to Port Townsend. We then took a ferry to Whidby Island and continued riding north on a fabulous country road only getting lost twice. Compared to some of my colleagues, we didn't do so bad. After about 103 miles of riding we finally arrived at a little touristy, nautical town of La Connor where we relaxed with a glass of Cabernet and some halibut for dinner. According to my roommate Jim, I was asleep before my head hit the pillow. I was tired and sore. The pick below is taken from a bridge between Whidby Island and Fildago Island and is called Deception Pass.
For a link to my colleague's journal, click here or cut and paste if necessary: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?o=RrzKj&page_id=139671&v=Gc
Day 1 -- Hobuck Beach to Port Angeles
Day one was from Hobuck Beach/ Cape Flattery in the far northwest corner of the United States to Port Angeles about 75 miles to the east. This ride started my cross country adventure. It marked the beginning of 58 days of riding toward my goal of parking my front wheel in the Atlantic Ocean near Bar Harbor, Maine.
There were a couple of highlites. One was a prayer service conducted by a member of the Makah Indian Nation tribe prior to our departure wishing us safe travels. The other was stopping for a Latte at mile three--you can never pass up an expresso drink while on a ride of this magnitude. The last highlite was having a Blackberry Salad at the Blackberry Cafe at about mile 50 -- a treat worth riding for.
Here are a couple more pics from todays ride -- the first is of my riding buds, Craig Needham (the Captain) and my friend Jim Ellis:
The above picture was taken at mile 2 from our ride -- and I trust cars will heed this advice during the next 57 days of our journey.
Day One was wet -- miserably so. It started raining at mile 20 and rarely let up. Good rain gear is a must.
Tonight everything is drying out and will hopefully be ready for our 95 mile ride tomorrow. It includes a ferry ride to Whidby Island. We end up in La Connor -- wherever that is.
So only 57 days to go. Wish me luck and stamina.
One Week to Go -- Picking up My Trusted Stead
In one week, I will embark on a 4,000 mile odyssey on my trusted stead, aka my Calfee Tetra Pro road bike. Cyclists talk passionately about their bikes. Spouses often describe them as "the other woman" or "the other man". But to a real cyclist, it is a love affair. To me, it is a means for getting from point "A" to point "B", in this case from Neah Bay, WA to
Bar Harbor, ME on a mode of transportation that is reliable, lightweight, and fun, Yes, I said it. It is fun. Whether my bike will be fun for 4,000 miles remains to be seen. But today "she" was fun. You see, I picked up my bike from my local bike shop after having it overhauled by my favorite bike mechanic, Tom Jelmyer. That is Tom below putting the finishing touches on my stead
In preparing for this adventure, I essentially had my bike overhauled...new drive train including two new chain rings, new rear cassette, new chain, new cables, replaced bottom bracket bearings, wheel bearings, and new tubes and tires. Now, where was that spare motor?
Tomorrow I will take my overhauled bike out for a short test ride and then start disassembling it for the flight to Seattle next Saturday morning.
I am excited and nervous all at the same time. But I am confident that i won't be alone in this adventure. In addition to the 19 others that are making this trek cross country with me, I have your good wishes and encouragement for which I am grateful.
Next report will be from Washington State. In the meantime, check out the route that we will be following by copying and pasting the following into your browser: www.bikemap.net/route/398676
Bob and his Overhauled Stead
Bob's Cross Country Cyling Adventure Starts June 5, 2010
On January 1st, 2010 I started training for an event by climbing up Mount Hamilton with a few of my buddies. Below is a picture from that day.
In less than two weeks, I will start pedaling my bike from the far west corner of the Olympic Peninsula in the State of Washington to Acadia National Park off the coast of Maine -- 58 days and 4,000 miles. I am doing this with a couple of local cycling buds (Craig Needham and Jim Ellis) and about 20 others that have a lot of courage. I mean really -- think about it -- have you met anybody you ever wanted to spend a 58-day straight days with -- especially if they sweat alot? I am going to get to know these soon to be best friends better than their priests and rabbis. But what is more frightening is that they are going to get to know me. There won't be any secrets left when this trip is over.
So why am I cycling 4,000 miles across the country? Well it is a question I have asked myself numerous times as I continue my training spending weekends in the saddle and bitching about climbing god awful hills. And the primary answer has to do with my mom. About 10 years ago mom got diagnosed with non-hodgkin's lymphoma. Lymphoma is blood cancer that affects the lymphatic system in our bodies. The news was a devastating experience for me and my family. But when I contacted the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, they supported our family and provided me with invaluable information.
Mom lost her battle with cancer a little over two years ago but the treatments developed in part with funding from LLS allowed me, my father, five siblings and numerous grandchildren to have some very meaningful adventures with her before she died -- memories that I treasure to this day.
So I am cycling to help raise money for medical research to help find better treatments and cures for leukemia, lymphoma, and other forms of blood cancers. I want others to be able to spend more quality time with their family members who are battling and struggling with these devastating deseases.
I am a little anxious about this trip. "Can I really do it?" is a question I ask myself almost daily. From what I can tell from looking at pictures of some of my soon to be best friends, most appear to be serious cyclists. They also appear to be fun -- after all they appear to be smiling in almost every photo. But for me, I am trying to calculate exactly what I have signed up for. So if I divide 4000 miles by an average of 14 miles per hour you get almost 300 hours of pedaling. And if you divide 300 hours by 53 riding days then what I can reasonably expect is that I will park my butt on a bicycle seat for almost six hours a day for almost two full months. And for the first two weeks it will be much more than that as we climb over the Cascade mountain range and average only 8 - 10 mph.
I have a question for you -- if I can pedal 4000 miles, can you donate to LLS a mere penny per mile toward my goal of helping find a cure for cancer. That is $40 which you can do in 40 seconds. Every penny raised goes 100% to LLS. None of it goes to help subsidize this crazy adventure. If you can donate more, I would be eternally grateful as will the family members of hundreds of thousands of people who will be diagnosed with cancer this year alone.
So while I am sitting on my bicyle seat pedaling up mountains, bitching about my sore butt, fighting some strong headwinds, suffering through torrential rain, hail, snow, heat, humidty, bugs (I have been warned about big bugs in Minnesota, Wisconsin and northern Michigan), I will think I have it easy -- because those that are battling cancer are fighting for their lives.
And as an incentive to helping find a cure for cancer, and with full acknowledgement to my cycling colleague Rick Johnsonfor the question, I will reward the donor who can accurately answer the following question with an all expense paid dinner including the wine of your choice while I share with you stories and pictures from my 58-day adventure. Send me your guess when you contribute online. The question is how much weight will I lose (or gain) while crossing the continent? If more than one donor guesses the correct weight loss/gain, the winner will be determined by who donated more to LLS. I estimate I will burn between 6,000 to 10,000 calories per day depending on the length of time in the saddle and the amount of climbing I do each day.
A) None -- bring on the ice cream and hot fudge and nuts and whipped cream.
B) Less than 5 pounds - only clothing size that will change is my helmet size.
C) Somewhere between 5 and 15 pounds - take lots of pictures because next time I will be this fit will be after I do another 4000 mile trip (which ain't gonna happen).
D) Over 15 pounds - time for a new wardrobe.
Please make a donation today to help advance LLS's mission.
I hope you will visit my web site often. I will update it regularly with pictures from my trip. Be sure to check back frequently to see my progress. Thanks for your support!
P.S. If you are interested in the route I will be riding, copy and paste the following into your browser: www.bikemap.net/route/398676