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.