My ride is over, but the memories will last forever.

A life long dream fulfilled ... a great cause ... new friends ... amazing support

Thanks to everyone who helped make a difference!

I have maxed out the picture space on this blog. To see my postings for Day 42 (August 1st) onward click the link below:

GOTO Mark's Trek - NEW Daily BLOG (August 1st Onward)

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Day 10 -- June 30th -- Boise, ID to Mountain Home, ID

Miles Ridden: 52.9
Avg Speed: 17.3 mph
Avg Heart Rate: 117 bpm
Climbing: 1,381 ft
Calories Burned: 1,954

Short ... Interstate ... Tailwind ... Knee Improving ... Fast ...
A cyclist longs for days like today, especially those nursing a sore knee.  After a fun and needed rest day yesterday ... oh wait, a photo from lunch that did not make yesterday's blog:

Decadent Desserts At The Ram (Mark, Mark, Jeff, and Katie)
After the rest day, my right knee was still sore.  I wrapped it in an ace bandage and Helen provided me a pain patch.  Maybe it was that combination, or maybe it was positive thinking, or maybe it was the awesome tail wind we had , or maybe it was the short (53 miles) and mostly flat route... or maybe it was all of these.  The result was a great day for all  including some blazing fast speeds and finishing times. 
With the shorter day, we slept in and did not have breakfast until 7:00 and headed out around 8:15.  The first 7 miles was on the Boise Greenway path.  A little bumpy, but scenic.  Almost all of the ABB riders came together at the end of the path.  We had are first (and only major) climb after that.  Nice views of Boise.  I tested my knee and stood throughout the climb.  A good sign and minimal discomfort.
Boise Greenway Path

Goodbye Boise ...
I waved goodbye to the Thoroughbreds and dialed in a comfortable, but quick pace.  I reached Beth from Colorado and we settled in to a nice rhythm together.  As we entered the interstate for a 12 mile stint, the wind was graciously at our backs.  Beth and I cruised ... we were pushing 25-30 mph with what seemed like minimal effort.  On top of that the highway was pretty clean of debris.  A few other riders (including my roommate Dave) got flats, but significantly less than the typical interstate day.  By the 25 mile mark and only SAG stop, we had caught almost all of the fastest riders.

From the SAG stop, we left the highway for some classic back roads.  Virtually no traffic in either direction.  Kay and Jay joined us for a blazingly fast run into Mountain Home, Idaho.  Not a lot to look at and somehow we missed the little guy on the fence of one of the ranches.  Sandy caught it and sent along a great picture. Our pace was consistently above 20 mph.  Even with the slow 7 miles on the bike path, we clocked in at just over 3 hours of riding time (17.3 mph).

Following the Interstate ... Seemed We Were Going Almost As Fast

You Could See Forever

Did I Say Flat ...

Great Views of the Idaho Peaks
Sandy Always Finds The Best Stuff ...
As we made the turn toward the town, I yelled to my group to stop for one of those great signs from the road ... the picture speaks for itself.  Beth and Kay were happy to oblige and might have been the inspiration for the sign?

"Live Rude Girls"

My Riding Partners ...
  With an 11:30 arrival there was plenty of time to shower and garb some lunch.  Dave and I hit the Subway and then sat in on our tour guide, Mike Munk's, flat tire clinic.  A great refresher for me and I picked up a pointer or two.  I must find the Speed Lever ... REI has it.  Maybe I'll get it shipped. After the clinic, I spent some time with Michael Louis.  Michael and his son Matt are riding a tandem for Huntington's Disease in honor of Michael's dad.  Michael is a Physical Therapist and is also extremely skilled in Myofascial Release.  He worked on my knee to help realign it and then spent time aligning my pelvis (it was way out of whack).  Michael also showed me a series of exercises I can do ti help strengthen my knee and help minimize the discomfort.  We spent over an hour together ... Thanks Michael!  

Michael Was a Big Help Today ...
Dinner was at AJ's across the street.  Good salad and a hearty helping of pasta.  A much longer day await tomorrow as we ride 97 miles to Twins Fall, Idaho.  Temperatures could be a factor ... let's hope my knee is not.
Good night moon ... good night knee helpers (Helen and Michael) ... good night blazing speeds ... good night tail winds (please come out to play again tomorrow ... good night Baltimore's Best (my girls had ribs there tonight ... see you soon) ...good night Mike (positive thoughts).

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Day 9 -- June 29th -- Rest Day in Boise, ID

No alarm clock ... no loading the luggage ... no lycra ... rest ... relaxation ... healing

After eight (well nine counting wheel dipping) consecutive days of riding and almost 650 miles, we took our first rest day in the Idaho state capital of Boise.  The city is home to 200,000+ people and is much more metropolitan than I expected.  It is very clean and most of the downtown area is extremely new.  We stayed right in the heart of downtown and near the Boise State campus.  Visiting the famous blue turf stadium was a must.

Boise State Campus

Serenity Spa

Home of the BSU Broncos - Smurf Turf

After a leisurely breakfast, Mark and I grabbed a cab and headed to the Serenity Spa for massages.  It was a great way to relax and work out some sore spots.  My knee is still bugging me and will likely require me to dial it down a little the next few days.  I did ice it several times and sat in the whirlpool as well.  Lunched at the Ram Restaurant with Mark, Jeff, and Katie.  We kind of over did it with the desserts including a mile high ice cream pie, key lime cheesecake, and cobbler ala mode ... hey, I have burned over 32,000 calories so far.

Me and Sandy Catching Up On The Blogs

Boise Capital with Mountains in Background

Clean and Metropolitan City
I headed to the stadium and did a little walking around the city before returning to the hotel for laundry and some knee therapy.  The gang plus Sandy and Leo went in search of dinner and ended up at the Ale House.  Fish and Chips followed by some jellybeans from the local store ... no DQ to be found. Just finished packing back up for another day on the road ... should be a little cooler and the wind looks to be in our favor.  The day is pretty short (only 52 miles) and mostly flat.  A good day to take it easy and try to rest my knee.  That is so hard for me, but I don't want to push myself too hard and really do some damage.  So ... it may take me an extra 30 minutes ... big whoop.

Gerard's Kind Of Place

Gail and Carl Say Goodbye

Good night moon ... good night Boise ... good night Broncos (BSU nickname) ... good night rest ... good night clean clothes ... good night bum knee ... good night and goodbye Gail and Carl

Monday, June 28, 2010

Day 8 -- June 28th -- Ontario, OR to Boise, ID

Miles Ridden: 64.6
Avg Speed: 14.9 mph
Avg Heart Rate: 118 bpm
Climbing: 1,460 ft
Calories Burned: 2,676

Our first state line ... knee continues to ache ... hot and flat ... bison ... outdoor cafe ... rest day tomorrow

Less than a mile after starting out, we crossed our first state line into Idaho.  Seven days and almost 600 miles in one state.  Oregon was a great way to start our ride.  Ups and downs, lush forests, dry desserts, amazing snow capped peaks, great people, fast rides.  The weather forecast called for highs above 90, but it did not seem as hot as we completed our first 60+ miles in Idaho.  The terrain was relative flat with only a sprinkling of rolling hills.  My knee was happy for that, but still caused me a fair amount of discomfort throughout the day.  I even used my indoor one-legged drills a few times to lighted the constant turning.  Our cue sheet had us watching for each turn.  It was good thing the ABB crew positioned themselves at a few of the key spots, or we might have gone off course.

Not As Hilly As It Looks

Way to go Idaho ...

The Gang Minus One (Dave Must Have Snapped the Picture)
We passed small farms and ranches with fields of crops, cattle, and even a few bison.  I rode with the Thoroughbreds for the first twenty miles or and then dropped off a bit to rest my knee.  We reconnected at a small store and rode together to the first SAG.  In addition to lots of water and some Gatorade, I have used Monster Energy drinks to help boost my energy levels.  I have also been adding potassium and salt supplements to maintain my electrolytes and make sure the heat does not steal all the salt from my body.  The temperatures continued to climb, but my vest actually cools me down, so I kept it on.  Not much scenery in contrast to our earlier days.  Quieter back roads reminded me of Lancaster, PA (minus the Amish and covered bridges).

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling ...

Country Roads ... Ranches ... Quiet
Onions?  Carrots?

Lots of Cattle and Then I Saw These Guys

Cyclist Can't Follow Instructions Unless It Is On The Cue Sheet

Monster Break ...
After the SAG I continued to ride with the gang for awhile, but again dropped back to a less intense pace.  No worries ... the solitude is fun for a while and gives me the chance to connect with other members of our group who I do not ride much with.  I rode with Kay again.  She is the CIO of JB Hunt Trucking in Arkansas.  22 years with one company ... that is a long time in our industry.  Thanks to Toronto Mark's small bladder :-), I was able to reconnect, but swung off the back again ... do we see a pattern here? After another sling shot back to them (they were picture taking this time) .. I pushed on ahead assuming they would grab me soon enough.  My knee was feeling a little better and I pushed on through the rural fields until I hooked up with Bob from Virginia.  We rode together until the gang and several others joined together for a nice pace line into the outskirts of Boise.  We stopped in Hyde Park for a nice lunch at an outdoor Mexican cafe.  Fish tacos and an ice cold beer (shhh ... don't tell my tour leader, Mike Munk) really hit the spot.  Another two short miles into downtown and past the capital and we arrived at out hotel for not one night, but TWO!

Teresa and Kay Take A Break

Typical View Today

Some Nice Spreads and Homes As We Got Closer To Boise

Hyde Park Outdoor Cafes

Fish Tacos and Fat Tire Beer ... Ahhh 

Jeff Raises A Glass To Our The Completion Of Our First Leg

Idaho State Capital
After 8 long days and 650 miles, we take our first rest day tomorrow.  My body needs it big time and I hope to rest and nurture my knee a little.  Some ice and a massage should help, I hope!  After check-in I crashed for a sweet two hour nap.  We had a nice catered BBQ for dinner with all the fix ins.  I headed to the movies with Mark, Jeff, Joe, Sandy, and Leo.  We saw Knight and Day with Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz.  Reasonable and mindless fun.  I will need to load the pictures in the morning and then post.  I am looking forward to a quiet day tomorrow and nice dinner.  Laundry day ... massage day ... rest day.

Good night moon ... good night 8 days in a row ... good night knee ... good night GU ... good night Thoroughbreds ... good night Idaho ... Hello Rest!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Day 7 -- June 27th -- Baker City, OR to Ontario, OR

Miles Ridden: 83.2
Avg Speed: 17.3 mph
Avg Heart Rate: 118 bpm
Climbing: 1,680 ft
Calories Burned: 3,073

A "recovery" ride ... no climbing ... interstate fun ... more sling shots ... and one dumb move

After looking at today's cue sheet and elevation map at dinner last night, I said "There is a god!"  That reference came after two long and tough days in the Oregon mountains.  Today we actually descended most of the way from Baker City through the Burnt River Canyon and along the Snake River to Ontario.  I mentioned Lewis & Clark's route in an earlier posting ... we are also following a good portion of the Oregon Trail.  Views of the big mountains are behind us for now, but the scenery is still interesting to look at ... canyons, rivers, trains, small cattle ranches, and treeless hills.

It's All Down Hill From Baker City

A Typical 6:30 AM Load

A Long Train ... Now That's A Paceline

Great Views of the Old West
It was a little cool at the start, so I headed out with my leg and arm warmers as well as a vest.  By mid ride I would shed them all as the thermometer pushed to around 90 degrees.  ABB takes good care of us and has plenty of sunscreen at each SAG and also set a few extra water stops to make sure we stayed hydrated.  My speeds were high and my heart rate was low ... that is what I call a great recovery (taking it easy after more strenuous days) ride.  While I spent most of the day riding with the "Gang of 5" aka "The Thoroughbreds", the downward slope gave me a chance to ride and chat with some of the other riders as well.  Beth from Boulder has a great sense of humour and always has a big smile on her face.  She rode the full C&O Canal and the Great Allegheny Passage from Pittsburgh to Washington DC with her son last year ... a great bonding experience.  Not sure how she has a 32 year old son!  We also got a glimpse of Ann from Toronto.  She is the "Speedy Gonzales" of our group for sure.

That's Me on the Left ... Still in My Warmers

Beth and Her Independent Fabrication

A big "highlight" (not sure that is the right word) of the day was three stints on the shoulder of I-84.  We spent a lot of time just along side of it on Old Route 30, but had to make our way onto the interstate a few times.  I seldom get (or want) to do this.  Semis passing you at 60+ mph, rumble strips, construction, and steel belted tire debris are a few of the reasons.  Several folks joined forces for the first leg prior to our SAG stop.  Not too bad, although I did make sure to check and clean my tires when we stopped (something that would be repeated several times today).  I used my tweezers to extract a small piece of wire from a truck tire from my rear tire .. it would certainly have caused a flat had I not found it when I dis.  The first rest stop includes some great treats from 2008 rider Jeane from Boise.  Great fresh strawberries.  Toronto Mark did not sample them as his innards were hurting ... a few Tums from my rolling CVS kit seemed to fix him up.  My bag might add a few pounds to my load, but has become the source of comfort and support to me and several of my fellow riders.

Rest Stop 1 Along I-84

Jeane and Joe

Tums ... Bring it On
After a couple more highway excursions and a few cattle guards we finally left Old Route 30 and began following the Snake River.  Nice views and a great smooth road led us to the second SAG stop along the water.  It was great to see and chat with more riders.  Sandy from Colorado snapped a great shot of me and John from Cleveland and I snagged Katie immersing herself in water.  It really started to heat up as we made the last 25 mile push for Ontario.  My knee was still bugging me and I slipped back and forth (link a sling shot or elastic band) from my speedy group.  With about 10 miles to go we picked up a few other riders and had a nice pace line formed to help buffer the wind.  After a few pulls and a sling shot or two, I headed to the rear of the group.  It was then that Big Dave put the hammer down!  I could not keep up the 23 mph pace any longer and fell off the back to finish the day at my own pace.

No Cows on This Highway

Snake River ... Smooth Sailing

Rest Stop 2 ... Great Spot

Heading Along the Snake River

Photo Crasher ...

Keep Cool Katie (with Alison and and Our Mechanic Jim)

Joe and Dave at SAG 2

After checking in the "box" (luggage truck) had not arrived, so Dave and I headed to our room to unwind.  I had purchased a light weight pair of water shoes for just such situations (avoids the dreaded duck walk with my cleats) ... but, this morning I packed them in my luggage to make make room for my arm & leg warmers.  Well ... some folks headed to DQ and I had already taken of my shoes ... and dumb ass me did not think to throw my cycling shoes back on and went out barefoot.  That would be OK if I was at the beach or walking on nice green grass, but I was heading across the parking lot.  Ouch ... hot ... stupid.  Even though it was maybe 100 yards or so, that was enough to burn my feet and give me a pretty good size blister on my left foot.  Luckily, John and Teresa offered me a pair of socks for the return trip.  So ... I am now sporting two bad knees and a blistered foot ... no pain no gain?  My CVS kit is getting a good work out.

Waiting (Watching) on a Train? (Dave and Me)

Tomorrow we enter Idaho and head to Boise.  A shorter (61 miles) and flat day.  On Tuesday we have our first rest day.  Toronto Mark and I are looking to get massages and several others are planning on finding a good steak dinner.  The easier day and rest day should give my body a chance to recover.

Goodnight  moon (actually the sun is still out in the Mountain Time zone) ... goodnight interstate ... goodnight heat (96 degrees forecast for tomorrow) ... goodnight bengay ... goodnight Neosporin ... goodnight Ryan (be safe in Iraq)

I am an Hour Closer to Home ...