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