Friday, August 28, 2009

Well that was a time.

So, I made it to the Pacific. I very obviously didn't blog very much (read: at all) just because there was too much to experience. I should've just put a link up to Theo's blog.

But I plan on sharing some of the adventures as I can from my journal. But right now, I need to sleep. However, I did just find this on the Bike & Build page. It's from P2SF (Providence to San Francisco route), and I think this excerpt probably explains more articulately than my mathematical mind could what it felt like when I finally saw that ocean:

"We are a horde of funny-looking outsiders. We wear helmets and shoes that click. We own little more than stinky spandex. Along abrupt lines, as abrupt as the line between land and sea, our arms and legs change from a dark tan to a creamy pale In life we are generally affluent and well cared for, and yet here we suffer from countless cuts, bruises, saddle sores, broken bones, funguses, viruses, and staph infections. We are weird, we are ugly, by common standards. We are mangy dogs, and we are mangy dogs by choice. And yet, as we enter the beach, generally a place for physical beauty, for showing off one’s manicured, polished, perfected body, our abnormalities do not cross our minds. We merely see the big, blue, glimmering ocean before us. Suddenly our bodies change. They are not the scarlet letters of shame, they are our tickets in, they are the proof that we have earned this. Like no other beach we have ever seen before, this one is truly ours. Everything but us and the water ceases to exist and we cannot help but smile and feel that all is good and beautiful, ourselves included...

"Don’t tell me that I’m crazy. Don’t tell me that I can’t live on leftover pasta salad and Clif bars. Don’t tell me that I can’t jump off a cliff. Don’t tell me I can’t ride in granny gear for ten miles. Don’t tell me I won’t be able to stand riding on saddle sores everyday. Don’t tell me I won’t be able to finish installing these joists before the day is done. Don’t tell me I can’t ride east to west because of the headwinds. Don’t tell me I can’t raise four thousand dollars. Don’t tell me I can’t bike four thousand miles. Don’t tell me that I can’t."

Alright. Bedtime.

Monday, June 22, 2009

New London, NH

Well, first blog post from the road.

We left Portsmouth yesterday morning. I'm now a little over a 100 miles away in New London, NH. Yesterday we rode out to the ocean for the wheel-dipping ceremony, except I missed the turn to the coastal spot we had picked out and rode for another few miles. So, there were actually two wheel-dipping ceremonies. One, and then another when everyone realized a handful of people were missing. I actually was able to get to the coast and see the group, but I couldn't get to where they were. Eventually, I saw them all mounting their bikes to head out again and was immediately sad. That's when people realized a few of us were missing. I think we can blame Nate for the count-off not working. Apparently, he gets a kick out of yelling other people's numbers when they're not there...

But it rained a lot yesterday, and I was kind of covered in road grime at the end of all 70 miles. Our hosts at Wesley Methodist Church were really great in Concord and fed us lots of pasta.

And today to New London managed to involve a fair amount of climbing. According to Ashley's altimeter, we managed 1,550 gain in elevation. Nothing to yell about, but not too shabby. And New London is really pretty. There's this ice cream shop, Arctic Cream, I plan on checking tomorrow or later tonight and then on Wednesday, we have a build day in Lebanon. It'll be nice to give the legs a rest.

But dinner's here in a bit. I'll try scarfing down a few thousand calories. That's the new thing. I eat a lot, and I eat all the time. But I'll try updating in a few days whenever I get another chance to use a computer.

P.S. Oh, and here's a nice story the local paper back home did on me.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

And rain.

I was hoping to get a good ride in the rain done before the trip began, but since I'm shipping my bike tomorrow, I didn't think I'd get one in.


It poured, and it thundered. Apparently, my family was worried about me when they saw the bike gone this morning. Sorry...

Conclusion: I wish I knew where my rain cap was. It would've been nice to have had more than my sunglasses to keep the rain out of my eyes. Also, no matter how waterproof your raincoat is, if you're riding a bicycle in the pouring rain, expect to get soaked. What you're aiming for with the raincoat is that it will not be rain-drenched when the rain stops, and you won't break into a bout pneumonia from the cold you might endure if it was as soaked as everything else you're wearing.

Also, it was sweet.

One week-ish.

Wow. My sleep schedule is completely messed up after a succession of early wake ups to do bike rides and late nights doing physics work and even trying to find a place to live next year.

What a day too. This morning (or yesterday morning, pending how you look at it), I got up at 5, had a breakfast of eggs and toast and ventured out on a really long bike ride. 70 miles. At least it was long for me since collegiate races never go beyond 45 miles in length, there's not much reason to do any base training above 60 miles, which I don't think I even did that during racing season a few months ago (shout out to the Grinnell College Mating Slugs!). I've also just noticed that my training and wearing of different jerseys has left me with two distinct sets of tanlines on my arms. Sweet.

Then, it was off to try to do some fundraising. I set up several coffee cans (Thanks Raceway Lube Inc., Nema's Classic Hair Styles, Boatwright Pharmacy, Medicap Pharmacy Millington, and BancorpSouth Bank) and talked to a number of people. Hopefully things will go well.

Now, I'm going to take a short nap, wake up for a recovery ride, and then go pick up a bicycle box from the LBS (local bike shop) and pack my bike away. Wow. Really, I'm almost there.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Rain coats and TV

About Donations:
If you're planning on donating and want to write a check instead of donating online through the Bike and Build website, you need to send it to me because there's no one in the office to tabulate checks for people right now. So, I'll have to give it to the right people when I go to New Hampshire to start the trip. Just email me at if you prefer to do the check method.

I finally got my raincoat that I ordered a few weeks ago for the rainy days on the bike. Of course, I had to test it out immediately. So, I zipped it on and hopped in the shower. Conclusions: Completely waterproof. Water just beads right up on the surface. I think it's supposed to rain today/tomorrow too. So, I think I'll test it out in real conditions here shortly. Now, if I could only find my rain cap...

And Justin Hanson of WMC-TV just left my parent's place for a story about me and Bike and Build that should be going out tomorrow. So, if you're coming here from a link on the WMC-TV page, hi there!

Now, back to finishing up that physics work, and perhaps a bike ride?

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Horses and Dogs.

Sitting here drinking coffee out of my Grinnell College coffee mug (thank you, Dorothy) and making myself do physics work, which I've been managing to put off for a while now. Apparently, coffee is the only thing that can manage to get me working.

But I'm naturally procrastinating now. The training is going well. I had to take my Giant into the shop because the front derailleur cable snapped during a ride last week. So, I've been riding my 15 year-old faithful, all steel, Trek with Shimano RSX components that don't work half the time with 36/46 up front and 24-12 in the back. It doesn't like to absorb much shock and isn't the stiffest of bottom brackets in the world, but it's getting the job done. I figure when I hop back on the Giant I'll be stronger for having endured these rides on it. However, at the moment I just kind of ache thinking about each bump I hit while riding that bike and how much it starts to take a toll on you.

But alas, I've hit 60+ mile rides on it with some sheer will and am now riding rather comfortably, quick 40+ mile rides. My method of long-ish ride followed by short recovery rides is going pretty well, and the body's getting pretty used to sitting on the saddle for a few hours at a time.

Fund raising is picking up. I'm hopeful I'll meet my goal.

As for today's ride in particular and the title of this post, I am going to say I was chased by at least 10 dogs today. This is a fact that I'm not actually proud of. As a dog-lover, I normally try to talk to the dog to calm them down and give up the chase, and if the dog's not running full-speed at me, that usually works quite well. But geez. Every dog was coming at me with full heart today. I mean, it gave me some good sprint work that my legs are actually feeling right now, but man. It really worries me because I'm just waiting for the time that a car hits one of these dogs. I promise I had one chase me for a mile. After I thought I'd lost him, a woman actually drove up beside me to ask if I had a Lab with a red collar chasing me. When I said yes, she said he was still on my tail. So, I sped off again and fortunately didn't see him again. If you're reading this and have a dog, please train him/her to stay in the yard, or I beg you chain him/her up or fence the pet in. I hate doing that to dogs, but when it's between that and possibly having your dog killed by a car because he/she can't help chasing things in the road it can't catch, I would take the chain.

As for the horses part, I came across a horse farm today and had horses ride along side me for a few hundred yards. It was pretty epic and kind of felt like the scene from Cool As Ice, featuring Vanilla Ice of course, but I was riding a bicycle and not a motorcycle. I also didn't do a miraculous jump over the fence without the help of a ramp because that would've been stupid...just like the movie.

Now, as for that physics work, I guess I'll get on that...

P.S. Did you see the Giro d'Italia?!?! Epic duel between Di Luca and Menchov. And Menchov crashing with 1k to go in today's time trial? Man. That was a good race. And Armstrong finished 12th overall. And after seeing the way he was handling the mountains this third week, I'm really excited to see what he's going to look like in July. I didn't think the Contador/Armstrong thing would be a problem in the the Tour because honestly, I thought Lance was just going to take it easy and not really get any results this year, but after just missing the Giro top ten after a collarbone break, I think he's showing that he's still got some of that spark in him. So, I'm going to go ahead and jump on the bandwagon and say, I'm looking for a #8 in July. Really, this guy was my hero as a teenager. When I started cycling after high school, I would wake up every morning to watch his '05 Tour run, and after feeling properly motivated, went and drilled my bike ride as hard as I could thinking that some day I would race a Tour. Then, I started racing and found out that was an absurd thing for me to think...

But alas. I like bikes.

Friday, May 22, 2009

And back home.

Just got back home from college a few days ago with my degree in physics. I'll be starting at UW-Madison come fall in their Department of Astronomy. Pretty excited about that, but I've got this whole bike trip thing to take care of first.

I went riding yesterday. I'm trying to wake up early and do my rides because it just gets so hot in the south. But my bike was having mechanical issues, so I spent some 2 hours fixing that. Determined to do a ride, I did 25 miles, and then when I circled back home to reload water bottles and head out for the second half, the heat, humidity, pollen, and so much more were just too much for me. I was sneezing and taking jerseys off. That decided it, and I instead went grocery shopping with my mom. To all you folks braving the Southern US route, you are far better than me.

My sweat equity is going down on June 7th. Little late into the game, but it's getting done. Also working on my fundraising. The end of the year put me behind on that too. Did you know how stressful it is graduating and making sure your life is in order for the next 5-6 years? Well, it is!

Anyways, I'm going to grab some breakfast and get to work. Take care.