Saturday, August 9, 2008

Day 48 Washington, DC ....We made it!!!

Thanks, Ed. I'm glad to share this experience with one of the greatest guys i know.
and the greatest group of riders, too.
getting close to the finish line

Only 50 more miles until the end. During the ride, simon blew a tire that sounded more like a driveby shooting and Noah pulled the greatest "Fike" in Big Ride History... the bunny hop fike/fump...This takes incredible skill and believe it will never be repeated again...ah, the stupid things are what made this ride entertaining and unforgettable.

On a more serious note, the magnitude of completing the ride finally started to sink in. About 10 miles into the ride my eyes started to well up with tears, tears that quickly dried from the light breeze. As we rolled through the last 50 miles, we each gave handshakes and high fives (even hugs) congratulating and thanking one another for what we were about to accomplish and for being who they are.

After a minor setback of getting lost in DC traffic, we finally turned the corner near the Lincoln Memorial and saw the crowd of the big rider family and friends cheering us on. After bear hugs and gang tackles, I rushed over to a local bike shop to get my bike boxed. Apparently they can't box it in a day, so nick helped me out and got my bike boxed and ready for shipment (thanks, man). Ash and Pauline hosted a party in their suite with wine and cheese, chips and dip, a tub full of booze and the company of big riders and their families for one last hoorah.

well, I'd like to thank my readers. I hope you enjoyed following along and joining me on this epic journey across the U.S. as much as i enjoyed riding it.

and to my fellow big riders..."biker gang...roll out!"

Friday, August 8, 2008

Day 47 Clarksburg 50 miles

Sharon! wait up, don't leave...we need water
my view for 3300 miles...thanks ed for pulling me across the country. Ready to turn back around and do it again? I'd go, but only if you're going.
hanging near the campfire...bro-mance is in the air
me, big C and Ed having one last drink

Only one more day and it's all over...I can't believe we're so close to DC. The last two days have no more than 50 miles so we can take it easy and just enjoy each others company until the end. We've enjoyed perfect biking weather for the last 3 weeks, also. But, a jinx was set whenever a group of more than 4 people cleaned their bikes and a storm will roll through the night of. hopefully not tonight. Me, ed, letty and steve wanted to have our bikes shiny and new rolling into DC and risked the jinx. i'm crossing my fingers.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Day 46 Gettysburg, PA Rest Day

couple memorials near the battle of gettysburg (catie told me that if the war hero sitting on top of a horse that has their 2 front legs up in the air means he was killed in battle. One leg up he was injured in battle and survived or legs firmly on the ground means no injury and survived)
site where abe lincoln gave the gettysburg address (at the bottom there are 4 figures representing war, history, peace and plenty. 60 feet up Liberty holds a wreath of victory)
the shrivers home
Noah pleading for rain. but with it came some hail and a whole lotta wind

(picture from ed, who's nice and dry inside his tent) Me, noah and reuben trying to get our cribbage on inside doug's tent when his fortress collapses on us. (picture from ed, who's nice and dry inside his tent) putting on joe's rainfly (you owe me, buddy let me crash at your place in chicago. we can call it even)
nothing can stop us, well, at least Noah

I packed the rest day in with a tour of the Shriver House (nothing real special about them). The tour took us through the everyday life of how the typical family cooped with living during the civil war times, checked out the American civil war museum, some battlefields and helped save 3 tents from being blown away or drenched in the storm. Me, Noah and Reuben took shelter in Doug's tent to play some cribbage. When ed yelled out "Tent down! Tent down!" I looked outside and there were 2 tents flying up in the air. Me and noah ran out to stake them down. Only mallet. Catie ran off with it after she staked her tent down. it would have been helpful, but we used large rocks to knock them down.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Day 45 Bedford to Gettysburg 102 miles

with the rain dissipating the big riders ride on.

last part of the downhill

Ed set out to “crush” the top speed record set yesterday with the “treacherous downhills” on todays ride. But the conditions (grade, terrain and weather) didn’t allow him to. Hahaha, no crushing today buddy. Supposedly, this is the final exam. ALAW saved the hilliest and hardest century until the end. Initially, we were to wake up at 530 to get an early start on the ride, but that got shot down really quick when a huge down pour came at 430 and didn’t stop until about 6. The rain woke me up, so I threw on some earplugs and back to bed I went. With the late start and more rest, my body felt good despite yesterday’s heavy climbs. I really wasn’t concerned about the ride. I was more concerned about being the last “real” ride. I don’t want this ride to end and wish America could be longer, wider and bigger. Although, it’ll be easier if ALAW starts a different route that could go up to maine or someplace farther. It’s not the riding per se, it’s simply being around everyone, joking and laughing. It’s atypical of me to be mushy and I don’t start to miss people until I actually see them the next time. But I’m really going to miss everyone. They truly made this an unforgettable experience and I enjoyed every moment of this trip (except for breakfast duty). Thank you, big riders.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Day 44 Confluence to Bedford 78 miles

Realizing i'm no longer in california anymore.
grabbing some eats at a local cafe.

Sharon gave the riders the option to ride the YRT (slope of 0.212%) again or climb the highest peak in Pennsylvania (some parts had slopes of 16 and 19% grade). The YRT’s nice, but I already saw what the YRT has to offer: riding crumbled limestone, trees lining the river bank and river rafters...Up the mountain we go. Simon secretly wanted to be the first at the top (Simon, if you learned anything from this ride, you should know that Ed loves to go “huntin'”) and he blasted off ahead of everyone from the start of the mountain and no one saw him until Ed caught sight of him with only a mile left. Simon tried so hard to be the first atop Mount Davis but ed just demoralized him, crushed his dream of being first. That’s ed’s new nickname “the crusher”. He crushed me during the hot dog eating contest, crushed simon today, and crushes everyone elses spirits when they think that they are flying on their bike just to have Ed breeze by them while he sips on his water bottle, asshole.
simon's smiling on the outside, but crying inside (l to r- steve (either flexing his muscles or about to smell his armpits), simon, reuben, me and the asshole :)
After the climb, Simon had no desire to ride and just lumbered the rest of the 40 odd hilly miles. As for me, my eyes lit up when I saw a sign posted at the top of a hill "13% grade for 1 1/4 miles". The perfect chance for top speed and guess what, who's numero uno?...that's right me blastin to 54 mph while ed went a measley 53.86mph. Dewayne was only one "gray" hair away with 53.5mph.

campgound in bedford.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Day 43 Washington to confluence aug 4th

all you can eat ice cream thanks to Frank, an alumni big rider. Ed chowed down 4 klondikes and i had 2 choco tacos.
nick checking out the overflow from the dam in confluence
dinner time: Lasagna, garlic bread, salad and the best chocolate chip cookies.

We rode through some state park that reminds me of the santa cruz mountains that ed and I climbed during our training rides and then the YRT (youghiogheny river trail) in Pennsylvania.

click on the link to check us out

Me, Noah, simon and ed started screaming like pirates at commercialized-guided river rafters just to elicit some response. only 1 out of 20 "aarghed" back. We only did this to break from the monotony of the ride.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Day 42 New Waterford to Washington, PA

could've reached the speed limit if i had use of both feet.

Right before we enter Pennsylvania you can see the nuclear power plant and we stopped to take a picture from the distance. Sharon warned us earlier in the morning that we can't take pictures of it upclose because the cops will confiscate our cameras if we do.

This picture prevented me from reaching my true potential top speed. I unclipped out of my pedals and in the process got a rock wedged in my left cleat. I couldn't get it out until the bottom of the hill. I didn’t want to get it out while riding and risk losing balance. So I got up to 50 with just one foot. I would have been upset if i didn't get over 50 because i'm not sure if i'll get another opportunity during this ride to get up this high.

apparently we were a little too rowdy and were being disrespectful for one of the visitors of the cemetary and she threatened us that if we "don't leave in five minutes i'm going to call the cops!" So mark packed up the pbj's and drinks and found another spot.

noah can make a wrapper float in midair, cool trick.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Day 41 Burton to New Waterford 58 miles

This ride happened so fast I can’t remember anything special about this ride, other than joe getting pranked by himself. Joe saw Rueben, chad and steve catching fireflies (aka lightning bugs) in Dixie cups and wanted to join in on the fun. They told him they were going to throw them into rachel’s tent and needed him to distract her. Joe had a conniving smile and was all over it. The guys seized their opportunity and instead threw the fireflies into joe's tent.

Noteworthy: Throughout the big ride many riders haven’t quite developed their intestinal tract and have major gas at all times of the day. The guys termed the running-from-behind-jump-up-and-fart-in-your-face the “fump” and the riding-from-behind-and-fart-in-your-face, the “fike”. Pictured above Ed perfected the "fike" and steve literally got ran off this road and into the grassy ditch because of it.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Day 39 Sandusky to Burton July 31st 92 miles and Aug 1st (rest day)

simon and noah dipped their big toes into Lake Erie and claim that they were "in" Lake Erie. If you want to be "in" at least get your boys in the water. Ed did his best "noah" impression and superman'd off his bike. Fortunately his capoforma bib and pink jersey didn't get damaged in the fall...close call, buddy. (fyi, ed turned back to look for traffic and a moment later his front tire twisted 90 degrees into a pothole)

steve, rueben and i couldn't decide whats so great about cleveland...
until we saw the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame. I'm not sure if the people were giving us funny looks because we were wearing spandex or because ed was wearing spandex with a pink blouse. But, those rock 'n roll guys they came to check out (like mick jagger, david bowie, madonna and her snow cone lingerie outfit, had way funkier clothes than us).
We had our rest day here in Burton. I wanted to go to Canton and check out the NFL HOF, but no one wanted to rent a car and drive an 1.5 hours to see dead footballers they don't know about. After dinner, half the sky was perfectly clear and the other half covered in clouds and lightning. I rushed back to camp to put my rainfly on my tent but neglected to stake my tent down (as always). The weather's strange here. Absolutely no wind. and then without warning, gusts of wind so strong it blew my tent poles into me when i was sleeping. Good thing i put all my bags in my tent, otherwise i'd probably get blown away.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Day 38 Napolean to Sandusky 92 miles

everyone had a jumpin' good time except for james. Top Left to right - Simon, Reuben, Noah, Me, Joe. Bottom l to r - james, nick, ed, steph, rachel.

We woke up super early in the morning for the ones who wanted to head out to cedar point amusement park. The only thing, no one really wanted to go until 5pm when patrons pay $26 for admission. so i really didn't understand the early wake-up call. Typically, james and steph arrive into camp 1 or 2 hours after the seventy year old doctors, but not today. They blazed through the 92 mile day with a breeze. I never seen them so motivated.
We all had a hop in our step at the beginning of the day but drained and hungry by nights end. overall, a wicked experience. the rides are bigger, faster and crazier than the ones in Cali. check out the video...and sorry for the profanity...but if you ever experienced the maverick you'd understand. (my voice sounds strange in the video, i have this grunting, husky voice and then i scream like a sissy.)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Day 37 kendalville to Napolean 70 miles

color photo of boat on lake near our campground
b&w of the some big riders me taking a picture of the wind turbine and another cornfield
relaxing at the local pool. joe smoothed talked the manager into letting us in for free.

Sorry, I can’t remember much from this ride other than we went to the local swimming pool. Chad won on who could swim the farthest with one breath.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Day 36 Valpo to kendalville 109 miles

a nice change of scenery (something other than corn)
even better though was the ice cream shop

tony and steve can attest to that.

Ed pulled most of the way because the ride was flat and had no wind. I have no problems pulling him, but if he doesn’t give me the cue he’s done (wiggling his elbow back and forth- this allows the rider to keep his hands on the handlebar and still communicate), then I’m not pulling. Some 90 miles later he’s still in front but only this time we’ve got four others who hop on the “Ed train”. The only thing that slowed him down was the ice cream parlor 12 miles away from camp.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Day 35 Chicago Rest Day

"take me out to the ball game...."
"Play ball!"

Chicago Skyline

me at wrigley field

Ed and I took a boat tour of Chicago, where we saw the old post office used in the film “the dark knight”, sears tower of course, and learned some cool facts about Chicago.
Factoid: What is the Native American translation of Chicago?
Is it: a) Da Bears
b) Stinky Onion Patch
c) Land of many winds
d) Home of the Deep Dish Pizza
The answer found at the bottom of today’s blog.

After the boat tour, we cabbed it to Wrigley Field and caught the game. The second we get in Alfonso Soriano blasted a shot over the fence for a 3 run homer…Cubbies win the game coming from behind 6-1. We met up with the others who decided to watch the game at Goose Island Pub when the game ended. I finally got my sushi fix satisfied at Tsunami where I indulged in a Lychee Martini, Ahi Tuna Tartare, 4 salmon sake and their special maki roll. Ed ordered a huge plate of sashimi and a chicken fajita burrito at chipotle because he was still hungry.

If you guessed A, you must love your sports and should read something other than espn
If you guessed B, then your mama raised you right
If you guessed C, you were fooled...guess again, buddy
If you guessed D, you must love food and morbidly obese

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Day 34 Cole City to Valpo 86 miles

me and rachel salivate when we have 8 scoops of ice cream in front of us
ed starts to salivate when he sees either a beer or a girl dancing in front of him.

Getting to valpo as fast as possible so we can catch the 4 o'clock train to Chicago was my only motivation. And Ed and I completed the ride in 4.5 hours. We wanted to do laundry and wash up before we left to Chi-town, but the truck was late and we didn’t know exactly which dorm we were sleeping in at Valpo University. Long story short the twenty-somethings caught the Chicago-bound train where we stayed in Joe’s apartment just outside downtown and 1.5 miles from the train station. In between, you can find everything that you need; tons of department stores and restaurants. Mexican food, Ghiradelli, H&M and $200 later we make it to joe’s apartment. Not an hour passes before we are out the door to experience chicago’s night life. We essentially missed the street fair going on in Lincoln park, but gave us the opportunity to live it up in Grand Central, where ed dropped $100 on his beer tab. The tax is outrageous here. I think it was in Wyoming where there are no taxes, in Chicago it’s 10.25%.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Day 33 Belvidere to Cole City 100 miles

getting ready to flip or dive all without jumping (don't ask - it's one of the rules) fun
us breaking all the rules. hahaha

3rd century in as many days and my body didn’t cooperate with me until after I had a nap on the 75th mile. The only thing keeping me going the first ¾ of the ride was the off the wall topics reuben and steven were making up, so off-the-wall I cannot mention it on this blog. It’s only worth mentioning because that’s the only way I could’ve completed this ride. Today I ate at least 8000 calories. For breakfast 2 packets of oatmeal, 2 bananas, 2 glasses of oj, my multivitamin and calcium tablet. 1st rest stop – Dehydrated Apples, Trail Mix, Gatorade, apple and banana. 2nd rest stop – 2 pbj’s, 1 powdered donut, banana, 24 0z Gatorade. 3rd rest stop 48 oz Gatorade and a 10 minute nap. Pre-dinner – Chili dog, Pastrami sandwich and double cheeseburger. Dinner – 1 bowl of mangoes and papayas, 2 bowls of mango and papaya juice, 5 glasses of lemonade, salad topped with onions, croutons, tomatoes and papaya, 2 pieces of garlic bread, 1 heaping plate of spaghetti loaded with parmesan. 1 rude trip to the bathroom.
After all the food digested, the guys went out to the lake to do a little r&r after a hard week of riding (there's still one more day of riding, i can't wait until the rest day comes).

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Day 32 Madison to Belvidere, Illinois 100 miles

l to r : Reuben, Scott, Jim, Ed, and me with our MGD...thanks Joan!
Golf course - Me, jim and scott filling up on candy and gatorade

ed patiently waited for me to finish loading my bags into the truck before we left on the 2nd century in two days. We caught up with jim and his buddy scott, an ophthalmologist, yacht racer and a category 3 bike racer (that means he’s a very good rider). He allowed me, jim, ed and Rueben to draft him the entire ride. He seriously pulled us about 95 out of 100 miles. We got slowed because ALAW changed up the route to avoid heavy traffic areas and instead got the most of the riders lost. Lucky for us, Jim and Scott are from Illinois and had the general sense of where to go. Reuben’s GPS phone confirmed their male intuition and we were on our way to Belvidere. We rode in so fast we missed the sag stops. Fortunately, we found a golf course that served us free beverages, candy and topped off our water bottles. A life saver. Jim’s wife, Joan, snuck passed us and strategically placed cans of MGD on the road leaving a cookie-crumb trail that lead to her and a truck full of goodies.
For entertainment, we splashed around in the pool, played some ping pong and shot some bball. Rachel and I challenged noah and simon to game of 2 on 2 up to 7. Noah wanted to beat me so bad because he hasn’t beaten me at anything yet, including me putting an ass whoopin’ on him playing ping pong left handed. Rachel and I go up 6 to 3 and had 7 shots to win it…none of them dropped and noah and simon beat us on a backdoor play where I tripped and fell on my ass and simon makes a gimme layup basket but only after he missed the 1st attempt.