It doesn’t matter how many miles I ride or how fast I go. Just being out there is exhilarating. I usually ride on my own, solo, for hours on end. So, some of the most common questions I get are; “What goes through your head while you are riding?” “What do you think about?” “Don’t you get bored?”
I really don’t get bored. I’ve even ridden the same 4-mile or 9-mile loops over and over and it doesn’t bore me. I notice small changes happening throughout the day and think about how remarkable it is.
To give you a sense of what goes through my head, I tried to capture some thoughts as I was attempting my latest 24-hour challenge. Here goes…
- Here we go!
- Wow, it’s still pretty dark!
- It’s pretty cold. Glad I wore my long tights.
- I’m kinda liking this tail wind! Oh, wait. I’ll be going into the wind in about 10 minutes. Ugh!
- I love watching the sun rise.
- Why would you be laying on a bike/walking path, in dark clothing, doing yoga?!
- Oh good, the organized century riders are out on the road, not on this bike path!
- Hmm. I’m getting a little hungry.
- Good morning! (Said to another rider.)
- 32 miles. Not too bad.
- There go more riders. Must be the metric century start.
- This is like deja vu!
- This banana tastes really good!
- Nice to see some friends out!
- Hi Kathy.
- Hi Penni.
- Well crud. They are having the family fun ride of 12 miles go right along the bike path with me.
- Should I jump out onto the road for a couple of hours?
- This head wind out of the North is going to wear me down today!
- I think I’ll have a PBJ.
- Ahh! Water. Time for re-fills.
- It’s getting warm. Maybe I’ll dump my jacket after this lap.
- No. You know if you’re thinking of taking your jacket off, go another hour.
- On your left! No, your OTHER left! OMG!
- OK – dumping the jacket.
- Can’t wait for this “organized” ride to be done.
- I think I’ve seen that person before. They must be doing some laps too.
- I shouldn’t be riding by that restaurant all day. It smells really good.
- It’s a beautiful day, except for the wind!
- I hate the wind!
- How should I set up my activity tracker (for work).
- Hey! That’s Aaron Comfort Dog! Hi Aaron!
- At least the wind is calming down.
- On your left!
- People need to pay attention while they are riding!
- I wonder how many bottles of wine that vineyard produces.
- I love the smell of crush!
- Really? That restaurant is smoking meat? Yum!
- 100 miles down. I’ve got to stop stopping and chatting!
- I can do this. My bottom isn’t even sore.
- My quads are a bit tight. I think I’ll stop and stretch after this lap.
- Hi Andie! Thanks for riding with me!
- Wow! I can’t believe she’s doing this, and she’s 7 months pregnant! I don’t think I could have done this.
- I miss Miss A. I hope she’s enjoying Rwanda.
- This pizza tastes really good. Thanks Andie! Better not eat a lot. I’ve got many miles to go.
- Getting Dark!
- Time to put my high vis on.
- Pick up the speed!
- Hey! Yo! (Yelled at truck speeding into my path from across the road)
- It gets chilly when the sun goes down.
- Maybe I need my over gloves again – hands are a little cold.
- Huh! Not a soul out here, but me.
- I kinda like this solitude.
You get the idea. I think about what’s out there visually. I think about what other people are doing and why they are in my way (LOL). I think about things I need to do at work. I think about my family. I think about how I feel in the moment. And, all day long, different songs go through my head. For me, things I see, smell, hear, or think about, trigger songs – mostly oldies (My goodness! When did songs from the 80’s become oldies!) or ones I listen to on K-Love.
With that said, my song of the day:
Hi again – I get to relax in the RV on the way back to California, so I am taking some time to reflect on my month of cycling across our great country. I hope you had fun tagging along and getting a glimpse into what it was like. The following are some retrospective thoughts about the experience.
- Start – Finish: San Francisco, California to Plymouth, Massachusetts
- Days Riding – 32.5 plus prologue
- Rest days – 0
- Miles – 3569
- Most miles in one day – 146.5 (Austin, NV to Ely, NV)
- Feet climbed – 102,450
- Highest point – 8062 feet (Colorado)
- Most feet elevation gained in one day – 8288
- Number of states touched – 16
- CA, NV, UT, WY, CO, NE, IA, IL, IN, MI, OH, PA, NY, MA, CT, RI (ended back in MA)
- Dogs giving chase – 36
- Dog deterrent air horn used – 4x
- Lutheran Church Charities (LCC) Comfort Dogs met – 12
- Aaron (send off from home), Cubby, Moses, Eddie, Joy, Katie, Gracie, Shami (early morning send off in Illinois), Barnabas, Anna, Lydia, Obadiah – And they are all looking out for us on the way home!
- Mechanical Issues – SAG Actual got really good at fixing/maintain things!
- Flat Tires – 5 (I had one the day before the last ride – slow leak found at camp)
- Brake pads replaced – 1 set
- Rearview mirror replaced – 1
- Chain dirt and grime cleaned – daily
- Times caught in rain – 3
- Highest temperature on road – 104.6 degrees (according to Garmin)
- Weight lost – 12 lbs.
- I have a GREAT SAG Team!
- The sweet spot for riding is between 6 and 10 am.
- I don’t like riding in the wind (especially head wind)!
- I don’t like rumble strips!
- I am directionally challenged.
- Biggest Surprise – that I liked Nebraska
- I have the best supportive friends ever!
- Best ride – day 15 – Gothenburg to Grand Island, NE – nice smooth road, flat, slight tail wind, moderate temperature (100 miles in under 6 hours).
- Hardest ride – day 12 – Fort Collins, CO to Sterling, CO (103 miles) – lots of wind!
- Prettiest scenery – California for awe inspiring, dramatic views and New York for absolute, serene beauty.
- Best barns – Iowa
- Friendliest state – Nebraska
- Best RV Park – Streetsboro, OH KOA (and then Dayton Ohio KOA after the ride)
- Best bike path – Des Moines, IA
- Best road – Route 6 in IL from Marseilles to Joliet
- Worst road – Service and frontage road along Union Pacific Railway West Wendover, NV to Salt Lake City, UT
- Coolest experience – riding along prancing Antelope on the way to Laramie, WY
- Dogs love to chase bikes.
- This was a one and done adventure.
- The vastness of this country is incredible.
- Riding across the country 100 miles at a time was easier than I thought and harder than I imagined (hard to explain).
- When I asked for a sign along the way…
- You get to take a new road/go in a new direction only at the top of a hill – never happens at the bottom – you must climb first!
- Descents are the best!!! (This is what it was like coming down from Spooner Pass)
- Scoobert is a dog that is too big for an RV!
- Reconnecting with friends and family is great! Don’t wait to do it.
- Downshift before you stop. No, really. Downshift BEFORE you stop!
- America is not flat (except for parts of Nebraska)
- Even Iowa has hills, lot’s of hills!
- My faith in humanity has been made stronger.
- There are a lot of good people out there!
- Respect the checklist! We learned early on that I needed a checklist to make sure I remembered everything. I forgot things every day! (Things forgotten: tail light, Camelbak, sunglasses, food, sunscreen, helmet, more…)
- Respect the SAG team! They have a different vantage point and are extremely helpful!
- Cycling gets you a great tan. LOL
This is likely my last post for a while. There will be more adventures/goals coming up and I may write about them as well, but I’m pretty sure nothing will be as epic as this one was! Apparently, this is the end of the path for now. 😉
God is good! Ride on!
Yesterday, I forgot to tell you that I got mooned! It was from some guy riding in the back of a pickup. I thought that I got sent back to 1980 for a minute and we were going to have to go streaking or something too! Not that I know what that is! So my song starting out the day was this!
I only had about 35 miles to ride through Pennsylvania before hitting NY, but it was going to be interesting! A big ol’ thunder storm was building and getting closer and closer all morning long. Just as I took my obligatory pics at the welcome sign, I looked across the road and a motorcyclist stopped because he was headed into the storm. Unfortunately, the wind came up and knocked his very heavy bike over. He asked if I could help him lift it up since it was so heavy. It turned out that he was from The Netherlands and is riding across America the other way!
Just as I started out again, the storm found us. Nancy happened to be running along the road and she yelled to me to come back to her house to hold up until the storm passed through. It was starting to thunder pretty good, so I followed her advice. Good humans are everywhere! She had the cutest little house right on the lake! We chatted away and I found out that she is a cyclist too, and she has a good friend with MS! It seems to touch everyone in some way!
The SAG team was monitoring my progress and the storm and caught up with me not too much later.
The storm blew through pretty quickly, and the rest of the day was a beautiful one along Lake Erie.
Other pics of the day:
Song of the day:
We interrupt this blog to bring you this Public SAG Anouncement…
Wow! Tomorrow is the prologue! It all seems surreal now. Then again, maybe it is…
(Click on any photo to enlarge)
Training has been good not only for improving fitness. It has also taught me many things in preparation for my long adventure.
In no particular order…
- Shift to a lower gear BEFORE stopping – especially on an incline (makes starting up again, much easier).
- Turn lights on before heading out.
- Turn lights off once you are home for the day.
- Check your tire psi before every ride.
- Fill your water bottles – and remember to take them with you.
- Keep Spare cash/ATM card in your bag.
- I don’t like being cold!
- Layers are good things!
- My face dries out much quicker/easier at age 54 than it did at age 25. Sunscreen and moisturizers are good things.
- Heat, hills, and headwind are still a B–ch! (Did I say I don’t like being cold? Really?)
- I can change a flat tire.
- Riding 100 miles isn’t so hard.
- Ride your own ride! Always!
- Spinning at a high cadence is a good thing (helps for climbing, moving against the wind, and endurance).
- Sometimes the mapping aps get it wrong!
- Photos do not fully capture what you experience out there.
- Chamois is a good thing.
- If you want to use technology, charge your batteries!
- Brifters – who knew? Didn’t have those when I rode in the ’80’s.
- Use the built in snot rag part of the gloves, not the scratchy mesh! (Unless of course, you have an itch.)
- Close your mouth if you don’t want to eat bugs.
- If I never swallow another bug, it will be too soon!
- Tailwinds are good only if you are NOT returning home on the same route.
- Headwinds are good ONLY if you are returning home on the same route.
- Wear sunscreen even if it’s overcast.
- Cars do not see you – you must keep aware of them.
- Self discipline – get out there and ride – even when it’s cold, even when it’s raining, even when it’s hot, even when it’s windy, but only if it’s fun.
- I can still do this!
God is good! Ride on!
Most of the jerseys and t-shirts I wear are for a reason. There’s either a story behind them, or they just say something to capture the mood. Some are for safety. Some are just comfortable. And some are just fun. Here are a few you’ll probably catch me wearing across America. Continue reading “What’s With the Jerseys and T’s?”