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)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Day -1 -- June 19th -- Bike Assembly and Astoria

I thought I would sleep in and catch up on some the hours I have missed, but my body (and mind) did not cooperate.  I was up and out by 7:30 for breakfast.  Met up with some of the great staff from America by Bicycle that will be helping us cross the country.  Mike Munk is our tour leader and a veteran of over 35 cross country rides.  He was a big help to me last Fall when I was making final decisions on my trip.  I look forward to learning from him and pushing myself to new limits.  I quickly befriend another key member of our SAG team, Jeff Lazer.  Jeff has already provided me great insight and support for the upcoming trip.  He helped lighten my duffel bag load by telling me to stow my bike supplies and nutrition with him on the my own special spot in the mechanical truck. I will still be able to get to it at the start/end of each day.  I mistakenly thought that Debbie Tarvin was Jeff's wife ... nope, just another dedicated member of our team.  Pictures of the crew are coming ... iPhone has no flash!  The new 4G will, but I don't get that until I return home.  I will have to break out the Cannon for those indoor shots.

I spent the morning rearranging and repacking my bags for optimum handling and more importantly ease of finding things.  I need to stay within a 50 pound limit on the bags (35 and 15) and that includes the laptop.  With the box in the mechanic truck, I should be ok.  I am shipping the bike case back to Maryland since Karen will be picking me up at the finish line in New Hampshire ... that seems so far away!

After breakfast, I headed downtown with Katie to see the sites and pick up a few last needed items including some CO2 to pump my tires (they don't let you take it on the plane) and postcard stamps.  I was also on the hunt for some recovery/protein powder/mix.  I had lots at home all skillfully put in Ziploc bags ... only problem, I looked like a drug mule.  The TSA hot line said it was best to keep it home and get some more out west.  There is a GNC across the river that I should be able to locate some at on Sunday.  The downtown area of Astoria is nice and it has a great shoreline walk/path that also has a working town trolley.  We found a neat old restored theater from the 20's as well.

Stopped at Bikes and Beyond in town for the CO2.  Katie picked up some rain booties to combat the Oregon rains.  Nice size store. The afternoon included a quick registration and reassembly of my bike.  Everything went back together easily.  Jim Benson (our mechanic) has a full shop on wheels and seems to know his stuff.  That is always a concern of mine.  We also have Mike Munk's expert wrench skills, so I am in good hands.

I must have packed and repacked my bags three times before dinner to make sure I could easily find things and meet the weight limits.  Looks like I will be in good shape.  Katie and I had hoped to meet up with Helen Steussy and her daughter Alex for dinner, but they were out with some new found relatives (bikers too!).  We headed downtown via the river trail to the Wet Dog Cafe.  Great view, atmosphere, and entertainment. Local catch salmon was very good. The ABB crew was there ... snapped a picture with the iPhone, but with no flash, it is pretty dark.  I will surely have more chances to get photos of them.

Tomorrow we dip our wheels and have orientation.  I will have my first roommate in 25 years (besides my lovely wife).  Excited ... Nervous ... Ready.