Saturday, August 9, 2008

Day 47-48: Did we even bike today? - El Fin!

50 miles is nothing. The day flew by so quickly that I was convinced I didnt even get on my bike. It was a remarkably easy ride today. All downhill with some rollers. Everybody was itching to get to camp, so that might be why we flew through the course so quickly. The only stop we made was about a half hour for lunch.

That night was party central. We were all so excited to be done tomorrow that most of us decided to express it in the form of moonshine and beer. This resulted in making a fire from a 250 pound log we found in the forest and farting on each other until 11 at night. It was a night to remember. Unfortunately it ended up getting broken up when all of us pissed on the fire until it was out.

I couldnt sleep at all that night. Maybe it was from the excessive drinking, maybe it was from the four hour nap I took that afternoon, or maybe it was because I was so excited to make it to DC. Regardless I only got about 4 hours of solid sleep. Waking up the next morning sleep deprived on top of a hangover didnt make me feel all that confident about the ride. Even if I only had to pump out 50 miles to the finish line. But I managed.

The second I got on my bike I was on fire. I stopped at the first water stop just to fill up my water bottle and I was off. Me and Joe rode in at a fast pace. A FAST pace. The last 10 miles into DC were all on a very nice path. The only downside was all of the congestion. I discovered that riding across the country makes you very cocky. I kept on looking at all of the bikers on the path thinking, "what horrible form! I can bike faster than that! That guy looks like a douche bag!" Oh well. I think I deserve to be a little bit arrogant after completing a ride like this.

Joe looked over at me at one point on the path and said, "I think we just passed into DC." This took a second to register between the two of us. When it hit us we looked at each other and gave a huge high five. I think I might have been a little to excited because I almost knocked Joe off of his bike.

Once we got off the bike trail and had the final stretch to the finish, I decided, "I want to be first!" Not that it really matters, its not like I would win anything or gain any glory, I just wanted to be first. Its a good thing I know how to bike on city streets because I was dodging in and out of traffic like nobodys business. And yes...I did make it first. Woo Hoo!

Before we were actually able to cross the finish line we had to go to a lunch. The best food of the trip! It was a previous rider who owns a greek restaurant in downtown DC. He was nice enough to make food for all of us for free! Thank you Costas!

When we left for the finish line, we were greeted by alot of family and friends. It was nice to cross the finish line and have my mom standing there to greet me. Nice to see a familiar face after biking 3300 miles.

After everyone made it to the finish, I headed off to my hotel for a much needed shower. I then headed to a reception hosted by one of my fellow riders for the final goodbye. Tear...

All in all this was one of the most remarkable experiences of my life. I learned alot about team work, coexistence, my limits and many other things that dont need to be mentioned here. I feel that I have truly developed and gained some perspective of the world.

Thank you to everyone who made a contribution to me and the organization. Thanks to all for the moral support. I wouldnt have been able to do it without you. Thanks to Brian at Shockspital for the help with the shifter. Thanks to Hurl at CRC for his vast biker knowledge and advice on how to be a badass. You da man. Thanks to all of my friends and family for not telling me I was crazy for attempting something like this. And especially to all those on the Big Ride who made it a truly memorable experience. I hope to see all of you again soon.

As Ernest Hemingway says, "Im no walker."

Until then,
Ride Hard

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Day 46: Final Exam...A++

Its done! At least it mine as well be done. When you are on a cross country bike trip and finished what is referred to as the final exam, you are done. Especially when you only have two days left, both of which are 50. In all honesty today wasnt even all that challenging of a ride. Yes there were hills, but they werent all that steep and werent as long as I was expecting. After Mt. Davis the other day though, with climbs that were 19% grade, anything was going to be easy.

The hardest part of the ride was the length. I dont really remember feeling fatigued until about the last 30 miles. That was probably due to the fact that me and Chuck somehow got ahead of sag and didnt have water for the last 50 miles. Not fun. Maybe that was just the extra credit section of the final exam. "Make it the last 50 miles without passing out from dehydration and you get 25 points extra!" Fucking ridiculous! Luckily we found a convenience store and were able to get some much needed water for the last 5 mile stretch.

Part of the day was really beautiful for a change. Then again after the last couple of days with the majority on Highway 30, anything was going to seem beautiful. Anyways, we got to bike through a state park for about 20 miles of today. It was a great break from crappy roads and obnoxious semis. Nice shade cover, beautiful forest on either side and mostly flat road.

Looking back at the ride I only have one complaint. Chappy! He was a friend of Patty, a fellow big rider, that was invited to join us for the rest of the trip. I met him the night before and he seemed nice enough. But once we hit the road this morning, his true colors started to show. Now if I were in his position, I would have been riding with Patty the entire day. After all, she invited him to ride with HER. But he did no such thing. Not only did he ride out front with me the entire day, without Patty, but he continuously tried to show us up. He would sprint up every hill, pass us every time we would try to go by him. All in all he was one of the most obnoxious people I have ever ridden with. A word of wisdom to all of you: if you join a group of riders that have been working their asses of for 45 days, DONT TRY TO SHOW THEM UP. It really got to me when he dusted us with 15 miles left, riding by himself into camp! What the HELL! Oh well. Instead of coming here, riding with us and becoming our friends, he has just made 36 enemies.

Thats it everybody. Im off for my last rest day! Hooray!

Until then,
Ride Hard

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Day 44: Highest Point In PA

More starting to think that I am doomed to a life of climbing. I cant exactly complain though, we did have the option of taking the mountain pass today. I bet you can guess which path I took...give up? I took that mountain pass.

The notion of going up to the highest point in PA wasnt all that scary, considering that it was only at 3200 feet going from 1500. Boy was I wrong. On the way up to the top we had climbs upwards of 16% grade. I dont know how to put that in plain terms...lets just say its really fucking steep. But getting to the top sure was rewarding, especially for the screamer downhill that we had. I didnt break my ladnspeed record on this trip, but thats mostly due to the fact that the roads were slick from rain and I didnt want to risk my neck for bragging rights.

Back off the mountain pass, me and the few brave souls that attempted it met up with the rest of the group. We were pretty sure that from here out it was going to be smooth sailing on rollers...wrong again. We had some long climbs followed by longer climbs for the rest of the day. They werent that steep, but when you have one after the other its impossible to get into a rythm. Cant tell you how long this makes the ride seem.

At about mile 65, with 13 miles left, Dewayne decided he wanted to challenge me to a sprint to camp. I think that was probably the bad decision on both of our parts for the day; his for challenging me and mine for accepting.

We were welcomed into the Friendship Village Christian Campground by a nice downpour. Not fun conditions to set up the tent in. Oh well. I decided that I would try to head into town to get my phone fixed. Lucky for me there was a sprint service center in town. I tried calling them to see what time they were open and got the recording with "9-8." I went to the store and found out it was "8-7!" I think people in this part of the country are just two clicks back on brain speed. I wont even get into the conversation I had with the camp director on trying to find the sprint store. I dont think you would believe it even if I told you.

Im off to bed to rest up for the "final test" of the big ride! Nighty night.

Until then,
Ride Hard

Day 43: Technology isnt all its cracked up to be

my phone is now broken. I dont think there is any hope left for it. It turns on just fine, but when it comes to placing a call...forget it. Oh well. So if my blog entries are delayed for these last few days, like this one, its due to my piece of crap phone.

Anyways, todays ride was nothing that out of the ordinary for an average day on the big ride. Lots of gigantic "hills" and high humidity. Nothing that my body cant handle at this point though. Todays ride did have its upside though, aside from the gigantic hills that is. We got to ride on a beautiful trail for about 50 miles. I think it was called the YRT trail, not positive though. Crushed limestone trail that is shade covered by a beautiful sparse forest on either side. With the river flowing by down on one side, it was a really nice break from heavily trafficked roads and a narrow crappy shoulder.

About 30 miles outside of camp, an alumni from a previous Big Ride year met up with us. He hosted a lunch stop and had a smorgasbord of food. The best part of the stop was the sign that was directly above the pavilion we were under, "Washington D.C 280 miles East!" We could have actually stayed on the same trail for another 280 miles and hit D.C. For the first time on this trip, the fact that I was biking across country really sunk in. I think it might have been the fact that I am only 280 miles away from finishing! Holy shit!

Thats about all of the excitement on yesterdays ride.

Until then,
Ride Hard

Sunday, August 3, 2008

day 42: the smackdown has been brought.

I don't know how many flats I've had this trip, but ice had enough to annoy me. Today, right as I broke away from my riding buddies while they stopped to eat lunch, I got a flat. I had to sit on thr side of the road for half an hour before anyone from my group went by. Unfortunately I decided to ride light today and didn't bring any tube or pump. Big mistake.

One our rest stops was at a cemetery today. One of the locals didn't seem to find this appropriate. After she laid the verbal smackdown of the century on us, she left saying, "if you're not gone when I get back I'm calling the police!" I'm not sure what happened in the end because I left right after that, but as far as I know no one from the group got arrested.

Just for those of you who haven't been to Pennsylvania before, let me give you an idea of the terrain...AGHH! This fucking sucks!! It was virtually impossible to get into a rythm on todays ride. We were either doing a massive climb or going up hills that were steep and long. Probably close to 75 percent of todays ride was climbing. It was a ride awakening after the past 2 weeks of flats. But get, good thing I'm in shape after riding 40 days. Withing the first 20 miles, I was informed that we had already done 2000 feet of climbing.

Hopefully todays ride will put me in the right frame of mind for the upcoming ride into getttsburg. It has already been referred to as the "final test" of the big ride.

Talk to you all soon.

Until then,
-ride hard

Saturday, August 2, 2008

day 41: 58?!

Nice to know people at bike shops. Bryan was nice enough to get the shifter out to me. Now I don't have to crank up big hills on my big chainring. Thanks a lot man. Wouldn't have been able to finish the trip without your help.

Todays ride was nothing special. Nice and simple 58 miles. Great way to bring the ride to a close and get out of the rest day. We rode nice and slow, taking nice and long rest breaks at each of the stops along the way.

Dinner was really great today, probably the highlight of the day. Fajitas made with fresh grilled beef. Delicious. After dinner we got a little bored. Me and a couple guys decided a couple pranks wouldn't hurt.

First we put a picnic table in dougs mansion of a tent. Set a place for six and an entire meal out on the table. Pretty funny stuff. Then we captured around 50 fire flies and set them loose in joes tents. That was fucking hillarious. You could see his tent lighting up from across camp.

I'm off to bed. Have to wake up early tomorrow to do breakfast setup. Night.

Until then,
Ride hard

Friday, August 1, 2008

day 39: clevland rocks! clevland rocks!

Long ride today. 92 miles with a lot of hills. The fact that we had a long detour due to construction didn't improve my mood much. When I found out how far the detour took us off course I decided to needed to bump it up a notch. I pulled 25mph for a straight 20 miles. I realized that when I get mad on a day like today, the only thing I can do is go balls out and make it to the rest stop. Its the only thing that improves my mood.

I started to feel even better when I realized that we were biking right by the rock and roll hall of fame. Me and a couple guys decided to stop. Even though we blew 2 and a half hours there, it was well worth it. I got to see Jerry garcia's guitar! Holly shit! That was probably the non bike riding highlight of this trip.

Unfortunately after the slight rock detour we had to get back on our bikes and do another 45. I decided that I wanted to get to camp, so I told ed and Austin to hammer it out. Big mistake! I forgot that I was stuck in my big ring due to a broken shifter, so when the hills came I was barely hanging on. They were making me work for that last stretch. It wasn't easy.
I was welcomed into camp by some moonshine and Sharon, our new ride leader, cooking idian food. Best ride day meal of the trip.

I'm off to clean my bike and go to bed. I figure I should get at lest 12 hours of sleep if I want to be fresh for the grueling 50 miles we have on Saturday. Goodnight all.

Until then,
Ride hard

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

day 38: who needs a TV to watch Jerry springer?

Last night we were all treated to a fight between a rednecky biker and his was straight out of Jerry springer. A bunch of us sat on the benches and listened across the street as biker and girlfriend traded insults. Probably the best entertainment ive had all trip.

Todays ride was pretty nice. Easy pace, flat land, a nice tailwind and a big supergroup of riders. Unfortunately the ride took a bad turn right around mile 50. We were about to go over a bridge only to find that there was construction. The leaders turned onto the freeway, so I took out my cue sheet to make sure that we weren't going the wrong way. Right as I was doing this someone yelled slow down. I looked up only to find that a rider was at a dead stop directly in front of me. I went into his back wheel, sending me off the side of my bike, breaking my left shifter. Don't worry nana, its not as bad as it sounds. I made it out with only a few bruises on my leg. All is well.

Once I made it to camp and settled down for a while, a bunch of us decided to go to cedar of the biggest roller coaster parks in the us. I can now say that my top speed on this trip is 120mph. Yes its true, one of the roller coasters went 120mph.

That about all the excitement I can handle for one day. Off to bed. Once again nana, I'm fine. A special thanks to b rose at shockspital for sending a shifter to me over night. I owe you one.

Until then,
-ride hard.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Day 37: A slow day you all know I need!

Cant believe I for got to say this in yesterdays post...Thank you to all of my friends and family (especially family) that wined and dined me while I was in Chicago. It was a real treat and nice break from what I have been eating while on this trip. So thank you again. Very nice to see you all as well.

Today was a very easy and slow paced day. Nice a breezy 70 miles that actually took me longer than some of the centuries I have done. Now you all can breathe a sigh of relief that I didnt punish my body today. I did get off to a bit of rocky start this morning though. I forgot that when Iswitch time zones my phone doesnt do so automatically. So when my alarm went off this morning at 5:30 and I stepped outside, I found that I was the only one with a tent still up. Oh well. Good thing no one was rushing this morning or I would have been riding by myself all day.

The course itself was nothing to special. Nothing all that exciting to report. Just another day of rolling hills, high humidity and endless corn fields. We did hit state #11! hooray. Ohio is much the same as Indiana, lots of friendly people and corn fields...big surprise.

Towards the end of the day, a whole bunch of us decided to team up to tackle the last 10 miles. All in all we had a pace line of about 18 people. I looked back when I was riding by myself into camp and it looked like a car was coming up behind me. I moved over to the side only to find that it was actually a whole pack of bikers. Pretty fun to ride in a group thats big enough to intimidate a car.

Another easy day tomorrow as well...thank god. Maybe another chance for me to let my body rest.

Until then,
Ride Hard

Day 36: 10 down, 3 to go!

I guess a couple of people missed my references from the last blog - jane! The chi chi train was supposed to be short for chicago...ha ha. Ive got some comments from people regarding my fast pace and reckless downhill speeds, but rest assured everyone, sometimes its just better to go fast. Most of the accidents on this trip have actually happened at slower speeds rather than faster. Im not forgetting to stop and look at the scenery either. If I dont go fast and skip some of the endless corn fields, I feel like im getting nowhere. Its actually harder to go slow rather than fast...most of the time. So dont worry, im still getting the same amount out of this trip as those who finish last everyday.

Todays ride was another rough and tough 110 miles full of rollers. It was a great way to get back into the swing of things after a rest day. Unfortunately the ride leader decided that today we wouldnt leave until 7:30. That on top of 110 miles and loosing an hour was alot to take in after a rest day. We ended up getting in at 5:30! Needless to say that it was a little rough...we still managed to have fun though. Stopped a few times along the way to take in the soy and corn fields...took a leak on the soy and corn fields a few times as well. Around mile 97 we found a really nice homemade ice cream shop. It was like reaching mecca! I was pretty tired and the guys I was riding with were working...relentlessly. You can only imagine how good that ice cream tasted. Or maybe it tasted that good because I was sitting back in a booth and not riding 21mph on a saddle.

Todays ride was much improved by the fact that I had four the same place on my back tire! Me and the mechanic checked every part of the wheel and couldnt find any debris...its truly a big ride mystery. Let me know if anyone knows how road debris can hide in a tire. It was by far one of the most god damn annoying things ever. Right when you get into a rhythm only to hear, "psssssss." Hopefully I can find someone to let me borrow a back tire...end this madness!

Tomorrows a nice and easy 70 miles. Time for bed and some nice led zeppelin to lull me to sleep.

Until then,
Ride Hard

Saturday, July 26, 2008

day 34: the chi chi train

Finally a rest day. That's all I had running through my head for the entire ride today. If I had to ride another day, I probably would have had to sag. Me and Steve paired up today and decided we would hammer it out...we were both just ready to be done with our long ride week. The two of us started going strong, me leading, pulling about 22mph. We got to about mile 15 and looked at eachother, "weren't we supposed to make a turn? I didn't see a sign for river road." unfortunately we had in fact missed our five miles. We started riding back in the other direction and hit Sam, he had missed the turn too. Doing 10 bonus miles on what was supposed to be a short day really put a damper on our cheery attitudes.

We hit the first rest stop and felt better. Passing a ton of people put us back in the right frame of mind. I ended up pulling for the entire was really rewarding to feel like I did the work for the two of us to make it to the city. So in the end what was supposed to be an easy 83 miles, ended up being a haul ass 93 miles...oh well.

I'm off to Chicago for the weekend. Can't wait to see everybody that awaits me there. The hand is feeling better by the way. I wore a brace during todays ride. It seemed to help a lot.

Until then,
-ride hard

Friday, July 25, 2008

day 33: take it easy

I think the 3 centuries in a row hit everybody pretty hard this morning. This was the first time on the entire trip that everybody woke up late. Everyone seemed to be a little more tired and quiet than usual. Once we hit the road, it really startrd to sink in. All of my ride buddies, including myself, were incredibly lethargic. It took us all a good 20 miles before we really started moving.
It was a little frustrating to have such a slow moving day, especially after biking with Scott yesterday. But things slowly started to improve. Once me, ed, Austin, and Steve started to realize we weren't moving anywhere we decided to crank it backs notch and have fun. When you're on a bike ride like this, things can get boaring. The only thing you can do is try to come up with games that will pass the time. We played the would you rather game...I don't need to get into the specifics. Needless to say it got to a point where it was pretty damn dirty. After a few rounds of that we went onto a big ride favorite...coasting races. The game goes like this: everybody lines up at the top of a hill. Everyone pushes off with their foot and coasts down the hill. The biker to go the farthest without pedalling wins.

After about 10 rounds of this we pumped out the last 25 miles to camp and took a nice swim at the lake. Apparently the lake is private, so we had to follow a whole bunch of outrageous rules while there. Like no jumping off the diving board, only does that work?

Anyways, I have unfortunately had my first injury of the trip. According to the doc on the trip I have a pinched nerve in my left had. Mt pointer finger has lost most of its strength...its pretty fuckinh annoying. He said there's nothing I can do but let it heal. If anybody has any other suggestions please let me know.

Until then,
-ride hard

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Day 32: now were riding fast.

today I had the priveledge of riding with Jim's friend Scott. After a long day of 110 yesterday, it was nice to have some one pull me. For the entire 98 miles today, Scott was upfront pacing me, jim, ed and austin. boy can this guy ride. Hes a Cat 3 from Portland. So when I get out there this school year, it looks like ill have some riding buddies that can keep up with me.

Nothing too exciting to report today. Another day in the life of a endurance bike rider. There was alot of up and down today, which did start to get pretty rough after 50 miles. Excitment of today was by far hiting IL. This makes state #8! I cant believe that I have already made it this far. I can remember the other day when I was just in Washington. The finish line seems so close now that I can almost feel it.

Hopefully the scenery will start to get a little more interesting once I get out of Illinois. Right now theres really not much to look at. Cant wait to see everybody in Valpariso.

Until then,
Ride Hard

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

day 31: too long...too long

Long...long...long. This was by far one of the most monotonous days we have had on the trip. On top of the fact that I was exhausted from last nights birthday, we had 110 miles to do. And believe it or not...Wisconsin is fucking hilly. There were rolling hills the entire way.

The trip didn't get truly grueling until the last 20 miles. I felt like I was on the verge of tears. When I finally made it into camp, tge road leading in didn't improve my spirits much. A bumpy road with loose mulch. I was pretty much fish tailing my way to camp. If somebody thought this was a good joke, they were pretty twisted.

Big news, aside from the pain in the ass ride. The ride leader, Daniel, is no longer with us. I don't post this as I told you so, more as a I saw it coming. I won't bash him online, so if you want to hear specifics you'll have to wait until I get home. Let's just say I won't have to worry about eating food that was saliva in it.

Well that's all for now. I need some sleep in preperation for tomorrows 96. Goodnight all.

Until then,
-ride hard

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

day 30: please dont feed the amish.

Nice short and easy ride today. Well...for the most part. Today was only 69 miles, and the first 30 to la crosse was a piece of cake. My pal Doug happened to have a friend who works at a home made ice cream shop in la crosse. Needless to day we decided to pull off, after we saw the worlds largest 6 pack. Don't worry...there are pictures to follow.

After the short ice cream stop things started to get a little more challenging. But after the Rockies I don't think it was anything we couldn't handle. It was rolling hills the entire last 39 miles to camp. But it mine as well been all up hill. Not to say that there weren't some great downhills, but it was still all uphill.

The best part about todays ride was that on the cue sheet, it said do not take pictures of the amish. Why? We decided that it would probably be alright to take we did. I can't tell you how many shity looks we got. Anyways...don't take pictures of amish.

We got into the camp city and things were great. Not only was it dougs birthday, but there was a great coop in town to. Great organic food and celebrating a buddys birthday. All in all, this was a great after ride camp day.

Not much to say as of now. There is still a lot of birthday party to be had. I hear there's naked swimming to be had...actually that's what I'm on my way to do right now.

Until then.
Ride hard

Monday, July 21, 2008

day 29: goodbye Minnesota.

Its been fun Minnesota. Were leaving behind some good memories: 20 plus flats, lots of rolling hills and a lot of fog. Today was a little bit smoother though. Maybe only a couple flats, and no fog. One of the riders did get in a slight accident, but she's alright. No damage to her bike, a cracked helmet and a couple of scratches. Good thing it happened right outside of Rochester, because now she's getting some of the best medical treatment in the world at Mayo.

On the ride into winnona, we passed through a little town called Stockton. This little boy followed me, Doug and Tony to our rest stop there. It was sort of like children of the corn. He kept on creeping up behind us and telling us to go to a bike shop in winnona. Got a little to close to us for comfort. After we finished up at our rest stop, Doug and Tony took 23 into town. Nick informed me that there was a really good climb on 14 with a great downhill. Needless to day I decided to take that route.

The climb wasn't very steep, but it was long. The descent wasn't very steep, but I still managed to get going. I hit the bottom of a hill and a cop pulled me over, "son you know you were going 47 down that hill? You can't go faster then 30." he let me off the hook, but it was sort of cool to be pulled over by a cop for going to fast on a bike.

That's about all for now. I'm off the eat, and eat, and eat.

Until then,
-ride hard

Sunday, July 20, 2008

day 28: in the Early morning fog.

Ever feel like you're riding through a cloud? Because I think that that is exactly what I did today. The first 40 miles of today, we were biking through fog so thick, you could barely see 50 feet In front of you. It might sound dangerous but its actually my preferred way of riding. When you bike through fog, you are forced to look directly in front of you. Not being able to see what lies off in the distance make you go a lot faster.

Me and Jim started to get bored around mile 45 so we said, "fuck it," and we mashed for a 15 miles up to the next rest area. By this time, everything turned to overcast. The fog had cleared and we could feel the heat coming. We took off once again for the last stretch, hammering it out and leaving everyone in the distance.

When we got to camp to start setting up our tents, a hockey game had just let out next to our site. All of the locals were gawking and wispering as we walked around in our spandex. I felt like some sort of animal behind a pain of glass in a zoo. Now I know what those fine folks at PETA are working to eliminate. Stop staring at bikers and wild animals! We don't like feeling caged!

So being stared at was about the height of my excitement today. It was good to see everybody in Minneapolis.

Until then,
-ride hard

Saturday, July 19, 2008

day 26: sweet home Minneapolis!

I had motivation. That's about the only way I can put it. Even though I felt like crap when I woke up this morning, the prospect of home made me ride fast. I found chuck and said, "I hope you're planning on going fast today, becusr I need someone to pull me." I can't even tell you what the scenery was like today. All I was looking at for the majority of the day was chucks back wheel as I was drafting. So I hope I didn't miss to much.

When all was said and done, we made the 86 mile ride to new ulm in 4 hours. Joe pulled in shortly after us (he's the other one in the bare ass pick) and said, "man I almost had you guys!" all I could think of when I heard this was the line from that shit movie fast and furious, "man you never had me...there's no such thing."

I felt a little bad leaving all of my friends in new ulm while I got to Minneapolis. But hey, I don't think they blame me. They were talking about renting a box truck and agoing everybody in back. I'm pretty sure they were joking, but considering how desperate they were for a night life I wouldn't be surprised. I did have 3 open spots in my car, but I didn't think that was fair.

I'm off to the city for the weekend, to eat some real food and chat it up with some people that have the right idea.

Until then,
-ride hard

Thursday, July 17, 2008

day 25: made it this far without rain...oh well

I woke up this morning to a downpour. Generally we try to hit the road by 6. Today we didn't hit the road until 7:30. That gives you an idea of how hard it was coming down. Due to the rain the first 40 miles of the ride were pretty rough. Rainging on and off most of the time and pretty cold and wet the whole way. My shoes got to the point where I literally thought I was walking on water.

Today everyone on the ride learned the best way to get out of having to take a shower: "powerwash." we were on the interstate for most of the day and every time an oncoming truck would go by, it was as if we went through the power cycle of a car wash. Everyone hit the 40 mile rest stop and was soaked through ?nd covered in mid freckles...needless to say everyone looked pretty atractive.

Today we were in brookings south Dakota. As much as I hate burgers at this point, I can't tell you how much "nicks burgers" rocked. One fry cook making burger after burger at a traditional diner style counter. Only a dollar thirty for a burger. Awesome.

We went to a bar when we made it to camp in honor of eds birthday. When we got there, I was chating it up with one of the locals. I happened to mention that we were doing a charity bike ride. Upon hearing this the guy said, "one second." he came back shortly and handed me 10 bucks saying, "don't spend this at the bar." it felt good to have a complete stranger recognize what we are doing and decide to make a donation. So a special thanks and shout out to brad of Tyler, MN.

Oh yeah...I crossed the Minnesota border today! Hooray!

Until then,
-ride hard

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Day 24: South Dakota...Not Pee Friendly

Cant believe some of the stuff that I have forgotten to write about, as well as everything that has happened this past day. Yesterday was my boy Chad's 21st birthday party. Nothing to exciting, we took him out to a bar, bought him a few drinks and he got hit on by a 45 year old swedish masseuse. Sweet! He woke up this morning looking surprisingly good and not hungover. However when I hit a rest stop at miles marker 60 today, I was informed that he was 3 and a half hours behind me...I guess hes a pretty good actor.

The route today was very similar to yesterday. Flat land with a head wind and heat. Nothing much to look at aside from farmland. Me and my riding mates (some were female Nana), ran into a very nice railroad worker who talked with us about our trip and the midwest railroad system. Pretty interesting stuff. Apparently a train derailed a week ago over the Mississippi sending the whole train into the water. Scary.

Unfortunately ive had a sore throat since yesterday. I think the lack of sleep and biking isnt helping it very much. I ate a tin of "Daily-C" and that seems to be helping. Im hoping that by the time I go to bed tonight that everything will be feeling better. Biking with a sore throat is not very fun.

Now to explain my blog title for the day. When you are biking cross country, you go when you gotta go. Most of the time youre lucky enough to be by a bathroom when you have to take a leak, but thats not always the case. One of our riders, who will remain nameless, was on a stretch without services for 40 miles. He had to take a pee, so like and endurance cyclist on this trip and in their right mind, he pulled off to the side of the interstate to go. Right as he was relieving himself, a highway patrol officer happened to roll by. He slammed on his brakes and backed up. "Son, I dont suppose you noticed the restroom 20 miles back?" "Yeah I did, I went there and have got three times since then!" "You know I could ticket you for indecent exposure in public?" "I dont know what to tell you." "If I decide to give you a ticket, you are required by South Dakota law to register as a sex offender. How do you like that?" This went on for a while, but luckily the cop let him off the hook and he didnt have to register as a sex offender.

Im off to clean my bike and take a nap. I hope everyone is doing well. I look forward to seeing everyone I can when I hit minneapolis on friday. Take care.

Until then,
-Ride Hard

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Day 23: Not a hill in sight.

Finally! Some actually, real flat road! Long time coming! I cant tell you how excited I was to look off into the distance and not see any rollers or big climbs. Nothing but flat all the way. Unfortunately we had a temperature of above 100 degrees and headwind pretty much the entire ride. Good thing today was only 75 miles.

Today was just another day in the life of the Big Ride Across America. Nothing to exciting to mention. Saw some road kill, ate some food and rode a bike. Although one of the older riders, probably one of the coolest as well, dewayne had some problems with his bike all day. His shifter cable snapped meaning that he could only use two different gears on his bike. So he was either pedaling really fast or really slow. Props to the guy for making it to town and not giving up. He his one bad ass endurance rider if you ask me.

Every day that goes by just means that im that much closer to home and civilization. I cant wait to make it to that rest day and eat some real food, and talk with some people that have the right idea. Thinking CRC for some caffeine and then off to Seward Cafe for some delicious greasy hippy food.

Thats all for now everybody. Hopefully tomorrow with be a little cooler than today. Nothings worse than having to ride in probably take the hills over it.

Until then,
-Ride Hard

Monday, July 14, 2008

day 22: why do we have to loose an hour?

The scenery today was like a flashback to Wyoming. Nothing but rolling hills and boring farmland for a straight 95 miles. Today was one of those days that you are thankful to have people to ride with. I can't imagine trying to pull of today by myself, especially when you combine the terrain with high heat and humidity. 95 miles and 95 degree heat.

All in all today wasn't that challenging of a ride, the hardest part was the camping arrangements. We arrived at the city park in Pierre only to be welcomed by a sign that read, "beware of homeless people and panhandlers"...for some reason that didn't seem very comforting. Luckily Jim booked a room in a hotel and offered me a place to stay for the night so I wouldn't have to sleep with Dion and Chris the local drunks.

Dinner tonight was by far the most satisfying I have had so far. Pizza buffet and salad bar...unlimited! Only 8 bucks!

Got to talk to my momma Amy today. That was much more exciting than the ride. Her and my aunt beth got to go on a safari today. Saw tons of animals.

That's about it for today. Look forward to hitting Minnesota. Crossing into central time today makes me feel that much closer. See all of you soon!

Until then,
-ride hard

Sunday, July 13, 2008

day 21: is that all youve got mother nature?!

Todays ride has been built up for a long, long time. This was a pie big bad 100 miles through the badlands. And in all honesty it was probably the easiest and most fun ride of the entire trip. I'm not sure why, maybe because we were coming out of the rest day? The first 30 miles of today was a good indicator of how the day was going to be; we finished it in an hour with a pace line of 18 people. What a good time.

I'm not going to lie...I was scared shitless coming into todays ride. I kept on thinking, "oh no, badlands." especially when we crossed a sing reading, "caution, praire dogs have plague." well that sounds rather unfortunate! Who wants to be taking a puss on the side of the road only to be bite in the ass by a praire dog?!

Once we hit the actual badlands, I realized that the build up was all for not. The scenery and land wasn't scary at all, it was actually the most beautiful scenery we have seen yet. Limestone mountains as far as the eye could see; it almost looked like a mini version of the grand canyon...except all white. Absolutely stunning scenery.

That's the ride in a nutshell for you...very breezy and easy with great views the entire way. And just for all of you that might be a little worried after reading my gummy bear and beef jerky entry, tonights meal was very substantial and healthy. Beef, fried chicken and a salad bar...mmm'mmm!

That's all for now folks. Its been great to hear from all of you through your blog comments. Its great to get the support! I don't want anybody to think that I'm ignoring your comments, but I don't have a way to respond. Just know I'm reading what you're writing and enjoying it.

Until then,
-ride hard.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Day 19: Ill take a nice and stiff headwind if you please.

The ride this morning was spectacular. Nice and easy rolling hills with no wind what so ever as we went into state #5...South Dakota! The climbing that we had today wasnt all that difficult; In fact it was sort of built up on the cue sheets. Steep downhill followed by steep uphill followed by steep downhill.

The highlight of the ride was by far Custer State Park. The road sucked because there was no shoulder, but aside from that the view was great. Long curvy downhill pretty much the whole way with mountains on either side, a nice forest along side the road, and even a creek than ran throughout. Not much wildlife though. We were told to expect lots of buffalo, "Just make sure you dont get to close to them or theyll gouge you!" Towards the end of the park I ran into a whole group of wild donkey on the side of the road. They were swarming a group of stupid tourists who were feeding them cheerios and licorice...somehow they missed they 6 signs that said, "dont feed the animals!"

Once we got out of the park I met up with Nick, the mechanic. He informed me that there were headwinds outside of Rapid City that held 35mph with gusts up to 50mph. Lots of fun. Needless to say that the last 25 miles of the ride were not very easy. Once I got a few miles out of the park I was hit by a strong side wind. I felt as if I was leaning at a 45 degree angle into the wind just to keep from falling over.

After a grueling 10 or so miles I hit a T intersection and started heading directly into the wind, on my way into Rapid City. Holy hell were those winds strong. I probably went the last 15 miles at a steady 10 mph...and even that wasnt very easy. The gusts nearly through you backwards off of your bike. But just like my 112 miles day, the thought of a double shot of espresso kept me going.

I rolled into camp with espresso in hand to find that only about 10 other people had made it in. Amazingly everybody braved the wind and made it back to camp safely. One member of our group, Joe, decided that he wanted to take a detour to see crazy horse and Mt. Rushmore. That turned his 80 miles day into 110. Unfortunately for him, he didnt know about the strong headwinds until he had already taken off. Im writing this at about 7:45 and he just made it in, while I got in at about 2...that gives you an idea of how long it took him.

Thats all for know folks. Im off to party...I think I deserve it after this long week ive had. And hey, its a rest day tomorrow...hooray!

Until then,
-Ride Hard

Storm The Night of July 3rd

Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Day 18: Need meat.

In comparison today wasnt as hard as yesterday. Only 75 miles instead of 112, mostly rolling hills but not as steep. All in all no major complaints beside the constant headwind. Today wasnt very exciting in riding terms. Relatively slow pace, good riding companions and nothing but open farm scenery. I have more important things to write about anyways.

I keep on forgetting to add this in, mainly because the first that that occurs to me to write about is the ride. But really the best part about this trip is the company. I cant believe that I was considering doing this trip on my own. When I registered for this ride, I assumed that I would be riding with a whole bunch of serious old guys with no sense of humor. I was wrong about that. I have never been around so many fart jokes in my entire life. If you know me, you know that I love me a good fart joke. We'll all be riding along and all of the sudden someone will let one rip, "man that was bad!" No excuse me, or sorry, just, "Shit that smells." Its nice to be with a group of people that arent uptight. Everyone has finally let loose and started to have some fun.

Youll appreciate this Cathy. Here is the new and improved Big Ride Across America dictionary...

Fump: A combination of jumping and farting. The act of running up behind someone, jumping to head height and letting one go. Jump+Fart=Fump.

Sarddle: Farting while sitting on your saddle (bike seat). Saddle+Fart=Sarddle

Thats all for now. I think ill go take a nap before dinner. Need to get some rest in preparation for the big climb we have tomorrow.

Until then,
-Ride Hard

Day 17: The Long and Winding Road

Just a few quick notes first...
1. Somehow I miscounted on days and it is actually day 17. I guess I missed an entry on a rest day and forgot to add a day.
2. Cliff, our oldest rider, has changed his mind and decided to ride with us.
3. My flickr account is full. So until I find another way to add photos it might be a while before I get more online.

Any who, today was BY FAR the hardest day of the ride. Technically there were downhills, but the whole day was uphill. Usually when we reach a town there is a downhill into civilization...not this time. Literally all uphill.

The day actually started off really nice. Probably just because everyone still had a good amount of energy in them. Me and a few of my "strong" riding buddies, ed, austin, and tony, set off with a strong pace line averaging around 28mph. We were able to keep that up for a really long time...probably about 40 or so miles. Then all of the sudden everybody started dropping like flies. Ed and Austin took off leaving me and Tony behind. A few minutes later I took off on a uphill leaving tony behind. This is when things started to get really tough.

The downside to Wyoming and Montana is that there is no shade on any of the roads. So if you get tired and need to stop and rest for a while, your pretty much shit out of luck. On top of that, there are services at minimum of every 40 miles. So once you are the road you better hope that you have enough food and water to make it to the next rest or sag stop. Lucky for us there was a rest stop at 75 miles. Right when I thought I couldnt ride anymore, couldnt possibly go up another hill, I saw a sign for the mile 75 diner off in the distance. Now I know what real speed is; the second I saw that sign I booked it as hard as I could. I was pulling a solid 28mph uphill just to get there.

When I arrived at this diner, I knew what the journey to Meca felt like. I have never been so happy to see some little shit-hole greaser bar in my entire life. I walked up to the bar and looked in the window. There was a sign that said, "city of spotted horse, population 2." "Oh my god...where the fuck am I." Thats about all I couldnt think about for the next hour. I stepped in and met the 2 citizens of spotted horse, who happened to be the proprietors of the diner. Unfortunately they werent very nice. The man seemed to have severe social issues, as he didnt make eye contact with me the entire time I placed my order. The woman wasnt much better. Very bad mood and very rash; one of the locals was kind enough to inform me that she had menopause.

When I got up to leave the diner it hit me that I still had another 42 miles to go. The thought of that almost set me over the edge, but I had to motor on. Me and Austin set off into the headwind for the last long stretch. Fortunately the sky went to overcast and we were able to get some "shade" for the rest of the day.

The last 10 miles were the hardest part of the day, but luckily I had my pal Jim to pull me into the city. Jim is 56 and probably could kick everybodys style. Sometimes he will backtrack the route just to ride with other people; the guy has probably already rode 3,300 miles. Anyways we hit the last 10 miles and finally say the city. We began to go down the hill only to find that it wasnt actually the city, it was just a little patch of civilization leading into the actual city of Gilette. "Whoever designed this town must have had one sick sense of humor," I thought to myself. That was the biggest let down of the day. We went another 5 miles only to hit another monster hill leading into camp. Jim couldnt keep up with me on the hill as I biked toward camp. At this point the only thing keeping me going was knowing that there was a gas station ahead where I could buy a candy bar, coffee and beef jerky.

The second I made it back to camp I was welcomed by my comrades, ice cold coca cola, and gummy bears...the snack of champions. I downed as much as I could before I fell asleep and took a 2 hour nap.

As hard as the ride was, it was by far the most rewarding ride I have ever done. Thats all for now.

Until then,
-Ride Hard

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

day 15: Another one bites the dust.

Today was a beautiful riding day. Gorgeous weather and nothing but flat roads for the entire day. We hit State #4! Hooray! The change in scenery was crazy between montana and Wyoming. The second I hit Wyoming I thought to myself, "Oh man, riding just got fun again." It was so great going from boring flat land with farm country, to rolling hills and mountains off in the distance.

I took it easy again today. I figured everyone would be glad to hear that. I didnt even make it back into camp in the top half of the group. Hopefully later today, I will finish of my easy ride with a little bit to Stage 4 of the tour de France. If anyone has the chance, I would reccomend watching the tour. All of the "big name" riders are out of the tour this year due to doping scandals. The tour is way up in the air. There is some great riding and alot of suspense due to the fact that nobody has any idea of who might win!

Until then,
-Ride Hard

Monday, July 7, 2008

Just some random notes

Good news. My phone is working again. So dont fear or fret, I will continue to post on my blog. On another note, everybody should really appreciate how diverse of cities you live in. I cant tell you how sick of small minded, white america I am. Really, cherish it!

Until then,
Ride hard

day 14: really nothing to say.

Today was rather uneventfull. We rode a very, very easy 50 miles. The "hard part" was a 400 foot climb over a span of 11 miles. Anywho, there's nothing really interesting to say. In the middle of nowhere today, rode past custre reenactment site. By far the best part of the day was biking with my new pal Doug. He lives in Portland. So going to school I will have a new friend. He's a gem dealer to tiffanys and by far one of the least judgemental people I have ever met.

Until then,
-ride hard

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Day 13: dont worry, today was an easy day.

Nothing to exciting to report to everyone today. However, our fourth of july was definitely something to remember. We were camped next to the rodeo that happened to be going on in town. Today small town, redneck America. It was sort of terrifying. To give you an idea of what is sounded like, "Now im handing the microphone over to Ashley so we can all hear the greatest song ever written...Oh say can you see..." Oh yeah...thats where we were.

The best part about small town America is that they have no rules about fire works. We mine as well have been lighting off quarter sticks. You know the fireworks you see at a display in a city? Thats what we were lighting off. By the end of the night, we had collectively lit off $200 worth of fireworks. It was amazing and so much fun. A true bonding experience.

Anywho, we didnt get to bed until about 12:30, leaving us with about 4 hours of sleep. Its a great way to go into another century. When we woke up in our luxurious motel room that a few of us decided to split, we headed down to camp only to find out that there was no breakfast or cue cards due to locals that decided to loot our truck. Oh well. Instead we were treated to a delicious diner breakfast. the downside to that is we didnt hit the road until about 8:30.

After the yesterday, I decided that I could afford to take it easy. I road with the back pack and sang my way into the rest stop. It was alot of fun; a nice leisurely pace with alot of singing and fun people.

Well thats all for now. Just a heads up; my phone is broken and I might not be able to blog during the week until I get it fixed. Ill update you when I know more.

Until then,
-Ride Hard

Friday, July 4, 2008

Day 12: Tailwind...there you are...oh wait...nevermind.

There are only a couple of really strong riders on the trip, myself being one of them. But so far one rider has made it back to camp first everyday: Chuck. I woke up this morning and decided that today would be the day that I make it to camp first. Lucky for me Chuck only got two hours of sleep last night due to the torrential downpour. Anyhow I started off the day relatively slow. I left camp close to last and had a lot of ground to make up...I was in for a rough day (it was a century by the way).

The ride started off with a nice and breezy 12 mile climb. Its not as bad as it sounds though: it was pretty slow and steady. It took my legs a good 45 minutes to really wake up, but once they were nice and warm I was off. Within an hour I had already took the lead of the pack. Not bad for a youngster like myself. After the long climb we had a nice long and stead descent...and guess what...we had a tailwind! It only lasted for bout 25 miles, but it was by far the greatest part of the trip.

I made it to the second sag stop, 40 miles in, and was already 15 minutes ahead of the group. From there out it was a piece of cake. The day really didnt get rocky until I hit mile 93. I "bonked" in cycling terms. This means that your blood sugar is too low and you were working to hard. Essentially you start to get loopy, light headed and have slightly distorted vision. I got off my bike and rested for a while. I chugged some gatorade, ate some cookies and managed to make it the last 7 miles in to camp.

I managed to make it back by 1:00. That means I pulled 100 miles in 5.5 hours! The next riders didnt arrive until 3:00. The group was pretty impressed by that to say the least. I got a few high fives and some major street cred. Our ride leader Daniel gave me one of the biggest comliments I have ever recieved. "Dude your form is amazing. When you do climbs you look like some of the pros that ride for Toyota United." He said that at the end of the trip, hes going to hook me up with the Toyota United Racing Team! This is big! Hooray! A pretty big self-esteem boost to hear something like that from a seasoned rider.

Well thats about it for now. The computer im using is about to die. Thanks to everyone who has been leaving comments. Its really nice to hear from you all.

Until then,
-Ride Hard

Thursday, July 3, 2008

day 11: "i wanta, i wanta, i wanta take you higher!"

Today was a great day for riding. A nice and easy 60 miles, cool in the morning and only a high of 80 in the afternoon. Not to mention that today we crossed the continental divide! Hitting a high of 6500 feet, a 4 mile climb, followed by a 12 mile descent. Today was by far the easiest ride of the trip.

After reaching the top of the pass we went to tha scenic overlook. The view was absolutely fantastic; a 360 degree view of the mountains, the forest and the valley. Hopefully ill be able to get pictures online soon.

Aside from the big climb and reaching a top speed of 45 mph oh the descent, today was a short and breezy day. Expect to hear a little more tomorror with the century we are riding.

Until then,
-ride hard

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

day 10: next time im going east to west!

Everybody I told about this trip told me it was the way to go. "oh don't go east to west, you'll have headwind the entire way!" boy were they wrong. These past few days have been headwind the entire way. But this isn't any headwind, this is a damn stiff one. The fact that we had a century today wasn't helped by The fact that the headwind was relentless.

I've been looking back at some of my other posts and have noticed one common theme: every day sounds grueling and not very fun. I can't tell you how far from the truth that is. The sights combined with the pure challenge of this ride make it worth it. Not to say that I really dislike parts of my day on the road.

Part way through the day today I stopped to take a picture. While I was looking out across the plains, the magnitude of what I'm doing hit me. All of the sudden I started getting anxious and jittery. "40 more ducking days of this!" I thougt to myslef. And then just like that I realized, "wait, 40 more days of this!" I can't tell you how humbling cycling is. One moment you want nothing more than to quit, and the next second you want nothing more than...more! Its realizations like these that make me get back on my bike. I can't even begin to imagine how much stronger this will make me: ohysically and mentaly.

Well I hope those words of wisdom are what you all were hoping for. Its certainly what I was hoping for.

Until then,
-ride hard

day 10: next time im going east to west!

Everybody I told about this trip told me it was the way to go. "oh don't go east to west, you'll have headwind the entire way!" boy were they wrong. These past few days have been headwind the entire way. But this isn't any headwind, this is a damn stiff one. The fact that we had a century today wasn't helped by The fact that the headwind was relentless.

I've been looking back at some of my other posts and have noticed one common theme: every day sounds grueling and not very fun. I can't tell you how far from the truth that is. The sights combined with the pure challenge of this ride make it worth it. Not to say that I really dislike parts of my day on the road.

Part way through the day today I stopped to take a picture. While I was looking out across the plains, the magnitude of what I'm doing hit me. All of the sudden I started getting anxious and jittery. "40 more ducking days of this!" I thougt to myslef. And then just like that I realized, "wait, 40 more days of this!" I can't tell you how humbling cycling is. One moment you want nothing more than to quit, and the next second you want nothing more than...more! Its realizations like these that make me get back on my bike. I can't even begin to imagine how much stronger this will make me: ohysically and mentaly.

Well I hope those words of wisdom are what you all were hoping for. Its certainly what I was hoping for.

Until then,
-ride hard

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Check This Out

This is the blog written by John, the biker that I mentioned in a previous entry. Hes biking from Fairbanks, Alaska to Fort Collins, Colorado by himself with his dog. He has some great stories on there, you all should read a couple.

-Ride Hard

Monday, June 30, 2008

Day 8: Are we there yet?

The prospect of doing a century doesn't scare me, what does is doing it in 95 degree plus weather. However, the fact that we woke up this morning to a brisk 65 degrees gave me some hope. The moment I stepped outside I knew it was going to be an interesting day.

I put one foot out the door of the high school and was immediately swarmed by about 50 mosquitoes...not a pleasant wake up call. I headed back inside grabbed my bike and literally rode out the door in order to avoid being eaten alive. We headed down for breakfast at the local diner and hit the road around 7:30. The first thing that occurred to me when I hit the road was "ride damn fast, you don't want to be stuck in the heat." I took off and left the other riders in the dust.

About 30 miles in, what seemed like only an hour, I started to get a little tired. I needed to get pumped and power forward, so I put on my ipod and blasted some heavy metal. Before I knew it I was motoring away at 23mph uphill.

By the time I hit the lunch rest stop it had already hit around 90 degrees. Everybody was taking their time and shooting the breeze, eating a little food and kicking back. Me and two other guys looked at eachother and said, "fuck it, lets go." Unfortunately for them, when I hear the word go, that means go. After about five minutes I was on my own again.

The hardest part of the day was the 4 mile climb. When I hit the base of it I was thinking, "oh this isnt that bad, it almost looks flat." Man was I wrong. Maybe I was just tired, or maybe the headwind was starting to get to me. But within a mile I bonked and had to stop every five minutes just to keep from cramping up. Luckily I was able to make it to the top of the climb without too much pain, and man was it worth it. I stopped to look and see if anyone was coming up behind me only to see the most magnificent view of a winding road and a snow capped mountain in the background.

Once I started back up again my right glute cramped up. Fortunately I had a nice steep 2 mile downhill right in front of me. I started hammering away to try and pick up as much speed as I could; I hit the down hill at about 25 and managed to get up to 45 by the time I hit the bottom. What a rush after a long grueling day. That downhill was just enough rest to get me to the end of the ride.

I pulled into the university dorm to be welcomed by some cookies and pink lemonade. I have never been happier to see store bought cookies in my entire life. After eating a little food I went up to the receptionist and asked for the closest masseuse. I called and set up a 90 minute appointment with, "the biggest, strongest, mountain dwelling masseuse you have on staff." I dont think the receptionist knew what to make of that, but she ensured me that I would enjoy my massage.

Well, its off to bed.

Until then,
-Ride Hard

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Day 7: Heatwave

When they said it would be hot, I didnt think that it would be this hot. One of the bank signs we passed today said 111 degrees! Holy Shit! Aside from that it was a truly beautiful and great ride. Well...maybe aside from the constant headwind. The morning started off with a great ride along the side of a mountain shaded by trees. The entire first half of the ride was riverside with great views of the mountains and wildlife. We saw 3 moose today.

Later on in the day we passed a rider, somebody that wasnt in the group. He had a makeshift trailer, along with a dog and what looked like 60 pounds of gear. We caught up with the guy and asked where he was headed. "Well, im going to fort collins,CO. I started out in Fairbanks Alaska though." Holy shit, this guy is serious. "Ive been pulling 70 to 100 mile days, my dog usually runs 50 along side me. Then I just crash along side the road or pitch my tent in peoples back yards." Apparently you can do this kind of ride without any plan and a road in front of you.

That is about all that I can recall right now from the day. Im going to go fall on my face and try to squeeze in 8 hours of sleep before our century tomorrow.

Until Then,
-Ride Hard

Saturday, June 28, 2008

day 6: headwind, headwind, and more headwind.

Today was a breeze! I think once you get past 4 80 mile days in a row, everything seems like a piece of cake. Me and the pack made it to the first rest stop (20 miles in) after what seemed to be 20 minutes.

There was a running joke before the ride even started that some riders go so fast they miss the giraffe on the side of the road. Well today there was a giraffe on the side of the road! Not to say that it was real, but a 10 foot tall iron giraffe on the side of the road is still pretty striking.

Another 20 or so miles in, I realized how we really were in small town America. In the middle of the interstate there was an American flag...I couldn't miss this photo op. I climbed to the top off the hill to find that this flag was a 9/11 tribute. Wow!

At the second rest stop we finally hit a big city. Unfortunately we were blocked by traffic for 2 miles back due to the parade that happened to be going on. My biggest regret of the trip will be missing a photo off the sign on the side of the road reading, "slow, rodeo crossing." we decided to stay and watch the parade for a tiny bit. It consisted of a lion king float, miss teen small city, and a 4x4 bearing a confederate flag. I started heading back to my bike only to find that I had a flat. "god damnit! 6th day and I already got a flat." I suppose I'm doing better than some people who have got 3 in one day.

After we got back to camp and settled in for the night we decided it was time for some more pranks. Some of the girls on the trip, nick named the god squad, went to mass. So me and a couple friends took all 3 of their bikes and string them up from the trees...priceless.

Well that's all for the night. I hope everyone is doing well and is less sunburned than me.

Until then,
-ride hard

Friday, June 27, 2008

day 5: say goodbye to numbness

Nothing to exciting to report today, besides the fact that I bought a new saddle! Hooray! It set me back 90 bucks but I've been assured it will eliminate numb crotch.

Blog List

I just added blogs from others riders. I thought it might be nice for you to read different view points. Some go more in depth than others, some give an actual description of the course for the day. Enjoy.

-Ride Hard

Come on Flickr!

So apparently I cant organize my photos into batches because I have a free account. That means that all of the photos from my trip will be lumped together. No way to separate them into days. But you can still enjoy the many good shots.

-Ride Hard

Thursday, June 26, 2008

day 4: "thunderbolts of lightning, very very frightening"

I think the long miles back to back are finally starting to catch up to everybody. After about 5 minutes of the road, we broke into a round of bohemian rhapsody...with full musical breaks. This was followed by a little lion king theme music and Barbra Anne. a truly musical day. The townurs fifty miles away could probably hear is coming.

After a delicious lunch break of waffles and bacon at a local b&b we hit the road. About a mile in we passed a very unusual or crazy site...depending on how you look at it; there was an RV on the side of the road completely engulfed in flame! Not something you are everyday.

After 4 straight days of riding it is finally time for a much deserved rest day. So while all of you are at work, ill be kicking back in my hammock drinking a beer at the lovely catholic school we are rooming at.

Until then
-ride hard

day 3: let the games begin

Have you ever had a dream that you were driving down a road that never ended? Today I biked that road. Today was by far the hardest bike ride of my life. I spent a good 70 miles counting down the miles. Everytime we went over a hill there was another off in the distance. Well there you go, that was todays ride. Not to say that it wasn't fun, it was just long.
Later that night, after the ride the real fun began. I was walking back to my tent after using the bathroom only to find that it was no longer there. Unfortunately my ride mates thought it would be funny to relocate my tent. Ha ha. Luckily I found it...and then I stole the pedals from the bikes of the riders that moved my tent. Payback is so sweet.

Until tomorrow

-ride hard

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Day 2: "and on the 8th day god created speed"

Today started with a ride awakening. Imagine what a choking rooster would sound imagine that blasting through a megaphone at 5 in the morning. Not a great thing.

Breakfast consisted of tea, oatmeal, and bananas. Delicious! After breakfast we had a few short announcements from our trip leader - did I mention he only has one leg and bikes with us everyday - and then we hit the road. 1 mile in my ride partner blew a flat. We had to stop on the side of the interstate - yes we are biking on the interstate - to change it. We finally got going and 3 pedal strokes in he blew his second flat...good start to the morning. Now we were in a bad mood and 30 minutes behind the lead pack. For the next 40 miles we were playing a game of catch up. It wasn't until the 2nd stop that we were able to catch back up. Luckily we successfully wore our selves out before the real fun began...a 15 mile climb followed by an 11 mile descent! Oh yeah!

Nothing to exciting about the climb, just that it was long. But at the top was a wind farm. By far the coolest sight of the day. Then the real fun began. You know that part of the rollercoaster ride when you reach the top of the drop, and get a huge rush? Imagine that for 11 miles straight. I can't really describe the sensation of pulling inbetween 45 and 60mph on a bike. Its just fucking fun! That's pretty much it for the day. Hope everyone is doing well.

-ride hard

Monday, June 23, 2008

day 1 brings sore throat and numb crotch

Oh the memories I have already created. You can't imagine the rush you get from starting out a 90 mile ride with a fever and sore throat. To top that off I managed to lose all feeling in my lower extremities! Hooray! Despite these minor setbacks, the ride has already been truly remarkable. The sites are absolutlet amazing: I only had to travel 15 miles outside of Seattle before I saw parts if the wilderness that looked as thougt they had been untouched. What truly struck me today was the sense of group. Here are 40 strangers biking across the US that are interacting with eachother as if they were childhood friends. Well that's all for now. Ill get pictures from today up as soon as possible. Ill leave you with a feww words from today. "when we met we were nothing but a bunch of people in spandex."

-ride hard

Saturday, June 21, 2008

More Mountains

Originally uploaded by BRAA2shoes
Maybe a more realistic path?

-Ride Hard

The Road that Lies Ahead

Originally uploaded by BRAA2shoes
I got a pretty good view of the path ill be taking the first couple weeks. Bring it on.

-Ride Hard

Not Bad


OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets

Just Because They're Little Doesnt Mean Theres No Fight

Ive been trying to psych myself out for this trip the past few days. But so far this has been the most helpful. Thank you Anna Rodell for this link.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Post A Comment

If you have some time, feel free to post a comment to one of my blog entries. It would be nice to hear from you all. In order to do so, you have to have a gmail account. Its free and only takes a minute to set up. Click the following link to do so.

-Ride Hard

Did It Work?

I Just tried adding my flickr account to this page (on the right hand side). It should work. If it doesnt, let me know. I will try to upload photos from my trip as much as possible. If you click on the picture below "big ride photos" it should take you to the webpage.

-Ride Hard

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Where In The World Is Rueben?!

I forgot to add this to the thank you letter. This is a direct link to the route map and route itinerary for the trip. If you happen to be in one of the towns while I pass through, stop by! We will have a drink and discuss things of deep emotional importance that I have come to realize along my trip.

-Ride Hard

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Almanzo 100

What a ball buster of a ride. 100 miles on rural gravel road. Lots of dust, lots of vicious farm dogs, and lots of fun. Thanks to everyone who put it together and everyone who showed up to make it a truly grueling experience. Out of the 59 riders that raced I managed to place 16th with a time of 7hrs and 4min. Considering that I got off to a horrible start (my frame pump fell into my front wheel knocking me off my bike), I managed to make up time and pull it off. I managed to place 3rd in my bike class (fixed gear)! Hopefully ill be around town and up for the challenge next year.

Until then,
Ride hard

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Weekend Warriors in the Masses

Just finished the 62 mile MN Iron Man. All in all lots of fun. I managed to finish the ride before it started to snow and drop in temperature. Luckily I rode in the "good weather" (47 degrees and headwind for the first half of the ride). I didnt finish the ride with the best time, but thats mostly due to the fact that my ride partner had never done more than 20 miles in a day. A slow pace for me and a fast pace for her. In the end we finished the ride with...

Average 14.1 mph
Time 4:43:24

Not bad. I only managed to get one picture from the ride, but im satisfied.