Allen's Adventure

Bicycling cross country for the Lance Armstrong Foundation

Day by Day Blog

 

10/13/2012

Next week is the culmination and celebration marking the end of my 2012 LiveStrong cycling adventure.  On Sunday October 21st I will be joining thousands of other cyclists as we ride through the roads south of Austin, Texas and declare our commitment to fight cancer.  Join me in the fight and  Wear Yellow!

Allen's Adventure ends with a dip into the water...

I can’t tell you how much I have looked forward to this, the finale of the journey.  These last few days it has been so hard to get out of bed and onto the bike.  This morning we drove from the hotel to the Sherwood Forest Plantation near Charles City, VA.  Please note that Charles City is not a city at all, but an intersection with a gas station and Haupt’s Country Store, which has been doing business for over 100 years from the same location.  I started the ride in the driveway to the plantation where I had left off yesterday.  It was great to ride on flat roads with only minimal climbs.  For the first hour or so it was averaging 17 miles per hour.  It was hot and humid but I drank a lot of water and did my best to ignore the temperatures.

After the first hour I crossed the Chickahominy River on a new bridge with a walking and biking path which made the crossing extremely safe.  At the crest of the bridge I stopped to take some pictures and I noticed this ruby slipper on the westbound land of the bridge.  Looks like the storms I have been dealing with over the past few days began in Kansas, and Dorothy lost this slipper here, on her way to OZ.

Dorothy?

Dorothy?

After the Chickahominy Bridge the route changed to the Capital Trail bike path which runs parallel to highway 5.  This path is paved and well maintained and a good way to keep cyclists safe from the narrow shoulder on highway 5.  The Capital Trail includes the longest wooden bike path bridge I have ever seen it was over a quarter mile long and it was in perfect condition with no deteriorated boards.  I passed a few local cyclists who were enjoying the trail this morning.

At the end of the Capital Trail the route changed over the Colonial Parkway which runs from Jamestown to Williamsburg and ending in Yorktown.  I only had 23 miles left to go.  The Colonial Parkway is a 3 lane road with no lane dividing stripes. But the middle lane is for passing.  It was built in the 1930s to resemble the country lanes of Colonial Virginia.  It provides a spectacular countryside covered in evergreen, oak, and magnolia trees devoid of commercialization.   The road surface is good but it is rough due to the large stones embedded in the concrete that make for a very rough bicycle ride.  Not exactly cobble stones, but they were plenty rough.  I stopped and let air out of my tires to smooth out my ride.

When I neared Jamestown I came upon a lady with long grey hair who was having trouble with her bicycle.  I stopped and help her realign her rear wheel so the brake would stop dragging.  After I helped her I continued down the road and came upon her daughter and 2 granddaughters.  They had all been riding together when mom had stopped to work on her bike in the heat and sun.  Her daughter was upset that mom would not join them in the shade.  The mother-daughter conversation was getting a little testy, so I decided to move on down the road and take the next left toward Williamsburg.

I passed a few more riders before I came upon a young rider, riding alone with a fully loaded bike heading west.  His name was Pat.  He was suffering badly in the heat.  I stopped to talk with him and offered him some water.  He had started westbound out of Yorktown earlier that morning and he had already run out of water and was suffering badly on the very small hills that occur on these roads.  He told me that he had started on the same cross country trip last year but had been hit by a car on the very first day.  This reminded me how dangerous this endeavor can be and how lucky I was to have gotten this far safely.  There is nowhere to get water on the next 13 miles of the Colonial Parkway so I suggested that Pat drop back to Williamsburg and refill his water bottles.  Thinking back on my first days on the road and how I had overestimated my abilities and underestimated the challenge in front of me I was able to understand Pat’s predicament.  Hopefully he will be able to find the help and balance that I found on the road and continue his journey in safety.

The Parkway runs through a tunnel under Williamsburg that is not safe for cyclists, and the TransAm map reroutes riders through historic Williamsburg.  Somehow I made a wrong turn and got off course north of Williamsburg.  I rode for several misdirected miles hoping to find the Parkway again.  I finally turned around when I arrived at the security entrance to Camp Peary.  No bikers allowed in there!  Finally I regained my bearings and got back on the Parkway for the last 13 miles to Yorktown.  As I rode those last miles I was truly looking forward to the end of the ride.  My body was tired from riding in the heat day after day.  I got excited when I saw the long highway 17 bridge and the large navy ship at dock.

There was water everywhere, so I knew the end was near.  When I saw the sign for the Yorktown Victory Monument I knew I was home free.  I stopped there and talked to a tourist who asked about my trip.  From the monument I rode down the hill to the beach where Cheri took my picture.  The sunbathers there must have thought it odd that I was walking on the beach and into the water with my bicycle, but I didn’t care.  I had made it!

Cheri and I briefly drove around the Jamestown waterfront before heading to our hotel in Williamsburg.  I cleaned up and we had an early dinner at Uno’s Pizza.  I fell asleep at 8:30 and slept for 12 hours.  I could finally relax and not worry about planning and scheduling for tomorrow.

The final day: 45.1 miles @ 14.9 mph – 20,673 heartbeats at an average of 114 bpm – only 758 feet of climbing and 794 feet of descending  (I actually went downhill 36 feet more than I went uphill!)

Revelations:

No flat tires for the entire trip.  No mechanical issues other than 2 wear items: Chain and Cleats.  No injuries, No sunburn issues.  I think I have invented a new format for cross country cycling called “Johnson County Touring,” where one cycles hotel to hotel, eating at restaurants and having the benefit of a support team down the road to help out when needed – no camping allowed!

This journey was harder than I ever imagined.  I will be setting new goals and challenges for myself in the future but I am in no hurry to try anything like this again anytime soon.  It is hard to believe that it is over, and it will take me a while to fully digest the spiritual effects of this journey, but they are significant.  I have a greater understanding of my own limits and abilities as well as my own determination.  I am humbled by the efforts and quests of others I have met on this trip.  I will never forget the rural poverty I have seen and folks that I have met on the road and will look for ways to help in the future.

7/4/2012

Quick update today we did the 4th of July thing by touring historic Williamsburg and Yorktown.  We learned a lot about how our country got started. – I know i owe you all a detailed update of the last day of my cycling  adventure, but I am still celebrating a bit!  We just had a great dinner at a great restaurant, Sal’s in Williamsburg.  I have become a bit of a spaghetti snob over the past few weeks and Sal’s is ranks as one of the 2 best spaghetti and meatballs dinners that i have had on this trip.  (The other highly ranked restaurant in Radford, VA was also named Sal’s!)  Sasha our waitress tonight was great and a pleasure to talk with.  She moved here from Russia.  I told her about my adventure and how hungry i was for a spaghetti meal.  The chicken rice soup was fabulous, the spaghetti and meatballs was perfect and Cheri’s veal marsala was great.   Our cannoli desert disappeared before our very eyes.  We had a great dinner.  Huge thanks to Victor and Sasha!

7/3/2012

Yorktown, VA.  YEAH I MADE IT!  Updates to follow as soon as i am done celebrating and relaxing

Allen's Adventure ends with a dip into the water...

Allen’s Adventure ends with a dip into the water…

The cockpit... map and bike computer

The cockpit… map and bike computer

Where is my bike??

I was only 5 minutes late and the clipper ship left without me !

I was only 5 minutes late and the clipper ship left without me !

We are at our hotel in Williamsburg.  We will enjoy the celebration of the 4th of July here and fly home this weekend.

You know what really amazes me?  It is the Olympic women gymnists – they do the impossible.  Amazing.

7/2/2012

Yesterday, in order to get to a hotel that had electricity, we had to drive to Ashland, so i skipped a few miles of the route.  Cheri and i stayed in Ashland at a hotel near the TransAm route near.  This was not the nicest place we have stayed on this trip but at least the AC worked.  Today i rode 59 miles @ 16.3mph.  It was a much more rider friendly route than Saturday but it was hot!  My computer showed road temps started at 76 and rose to 106, while the newscast reported 100 degrees ambient temps.  There were only 860 feet of climbing today with a maximum incline of 12%.  Clearly i felt much better today after a day of rest, but i could also tell that my legs are going to require several days of rest to be ‘back to normal’ after this journey is over.  I saved a turtle today.  He was hiding in his shell in the middle of the road, and i thought he deserved another chance, so i put him in the grass along the road and told him to stay off the road!  Today’s course passed many civil war battle grounds and ended at the Sherwood Forest Plantation of president James Tyler.  After the ride we drove 25 miles to the closest Comfort Suites Hotel in Colonial Heights, VA.(I am racking up a huge pile of Choice Rewards Points!)   This is a great hotel with very friendly folks working here and it is a busy little town.

I ate a Quizno’s tuna sandwich for lunch and minestrone soup and spaghetti at Olive Garden for dinner.  We had another fantastic dining experience and lots of fun chatting with Kellie, our waitress.  Members of  Kellie’s family have survived cancer and she is now sporting a yellow LiveStrong wristband. (I still have a few more wristbands left to had out before i head for home.)  We also met Chris, the manager who was very interested in my adventure.  Tomorrow we will drive back to the Plantation and i will ride the last 40+ miles to Yorktown.  Let me tell you that I am ready for some time off the bike…

The Tour de France started Saturday.  Needless to say, with the power outages, updates have been few and far between.  But i am catching up with the action now and glad to see that Fabian Cancellara is in the Yellow Jersey.  This is the first time in many years that i have missed the opening day prologue.

 6/30/2012

We have survived the horrible storms that hit Virginia but not without some ‘inconveniences’ and changes to the plan.  For 2 nights in a row, we were in hotels with no power, no air and non-opening windows.  many restaurants were also out of power.  So we didn’t get much rest or food..  I felt sorry for the riders who were camping through this horrible heat and pounding rain and winds.

Climbing out of Vesuvius, VA  –  This was tough.  I felt pretty good on the slopes up to Vesuvius but those were the minor climbs on the left side of the profile.  Then after the mini-town of Vesuvius i started the big climb – 1500 feet in less than 4 miles.  It took me nearly an hour to complete this section.  Brutal.  I rode every inch of the climb but i admit that i stopped several times in feeble attempts to regain my composure.  Maybe with fresh legs and plenty of rest i could do better but not on this day.  I rode 25.1 miles at an average speed of 10.3 mph.  And that included a stretch on the Blue Ridge Pkwy after getting to the top of this beast.  2620 feet of climbing on the day, max include 21%.  It was hot and sultry and i was sweating like crazy from the start.  I told Pete that i was stopping at noon no matter where i was, as the heat was atrocious.  So I stopped at noon, dead tired.  According to my cycle-computer i burned 30% more calories per mile today than any other day on the trip.  It was that hard.  The roads were also covered with fallen trees and branches that i had to avoid as i rode.  The crews had been working hard getting the big limbs off the road but the pavement was an obstacle course.

Profile 6-30

Profile 6-30

 

 

 

Funny story: Peter had set up his video camera at the top of the Vesuvius climb planning to tape me when i crested the hill and onto the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Well, just as i crested the hill, a truck pulled up and parked right in between the camera and me, so there is no video.  (Not that i was terribly photogenic at that point in time!)   In addition to that black truck, i noted about 4 other cars parked at the top of the climb.  Are they here for me i wondered?  Nope, they were all parking there because it is the only place that their cell phones can get reception.  No cheering or cow bells, i was SO disappointed. 😉

We stayed in Trouteville on Friday night and the storms rolled in and lightening hit the transformer and we lost power.  But a few blocks away they had power.  It was very spotty we discovered.  It was also very uncomfortable and sticky without air or fans that night.

Saturday afternoon, Cheri joined me in Charlottesville and where i had a  reservation in the Comfort Suites there.  Guess what, no power, and guess what, all the other local hotels with power were booked up as folks tried to get some relief from the heat: 100+.  Another hot and sticky night.  Peter headed home, but unfortunately, his neighborhood is powerless as well!  He and Harlene are ruffing it in the hot and dark house.  Thanks goodness they have a good supply of flashlights. A bright spot in Charlottesville was the Tip Top Restaurant.  We had fabulous food there and a great waitress named Rose.  She was so friendly and personable, that she made us forget that we were heading back to a dark and sticky hotel room.    Cheri and I couldn’t leave Charlottesville without seeing Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello.  What a great facility and tour.Monticello

7/1/2012

Quick update.  I have survived the heat and storms but have had  no power at the motels the last 2 nights.  Today we visited Monticello and took Cheri  for a drive on Blue Ridge Parkway.  Tonight i am in a motel in Ashland, VA.  It has electricity but the AC is just barely working.  (You can tell i would not be into camping out in 100 degree weather…or even 90 degree weather for that matter.) Tomorrow i start riding here and Ashland and head toward Charles City.  Then on Tuesday i will ride to Yorktown and then rest up and vacation for a few days.  I am crashing early tongiht and will add more blog updates in the next day or so.

6/29/2012

Christiansburg, KY to Troutville, KY

Allen going cross country

Allen going cross country

I felt much better today.  I got an early start because the temperature was forecast to be in the upper 90s today, and the forecast was right on.  My legs were pretty good all day. The route was a mixture of ups and downs through some of the most beautiful countryside to be found in America.  On today’s travels I saw large horse farms and beautiful homes, quite a contrast from the poverty and boarded up homes that I saw in Kentucky and western Virginia.  Check out the new pictures on the Pictures tab.

Overall today was pretty uneventful, I just kept focused on reaching Troutville before it got too hot.  54 miles at 15.1 mph 24,671 heat beats at an average of 114 bpm.  1676 calories burned.  2247 feet of climbing with a maximum incline of 14%.  None of the climbs today were huge. It was just a day of constant climbs and descents and calm winds.  It was 82 degrees at the start of the ride and 97 degrees when I finished.  Once again I crossed the Appalachian  hiking trail near Troutville.

VIDEO of Mtn View :  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxlpHhMyonI&feature=youtu.be

VIDEO OF THE BLACK BEAR @ 3:26 look close! : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nqi1izv24Nk&feature=youtu.be

 

I got close up to a deer on the road and saw a coyote but they scooted off the road before I got too close.  There were a couple of buzzards waiting for me too, but I shooed them away.  I saw 3 bikers today.  One was heading west fully loaded for camping.  He looked weary and he had a long way to go.  Later I saw 2 local riders who appeared to be out training on the country roads.

I had to replace the cleats that attach my shoes to my pedals.  Yesterday they had been a bit stubborn when I tried to click in and I assumed they were just dirty.  This morning, quite by accident, I happened to look at one of the cleats and was shocked to see that it was severely worn and rock damaged.  Thankfully I had planned ahead and brought a spare pair in my tool box.  I doubt that I could have made it one more day without at least one of these cleats failing totally. That would have been a disaster for me had it happened on the road.

Yesterday Pat told us of a cross country rider she had met who was traveling from Yorktown to Seattle.  He had only been on the road about 10 days and he was already beginning to be disillusioned.  He was only riding 25-30 miles a day and he had had to jettison some of his belongings because he had over packed.  Adjusting to riding cross country is not easy, even when, like me, you do it the “Johnson County” way by staying in hotels and eating at restaurants. These stalwart adventurers who carry and camp along the way must be fearless and extremely strong willed to get up each day and continue their journey.  This stuff is not easy either physically or mentally, but I think I am finally getting the hang of it, at a pace my body can handle.

We went to a  antique store, Kelly’s Real Deals, here in Troutville and had a great time talking to the owner with the owner.  He had a “Buggati” car for sale (which was more VW bug than Bugatti.)  Pete bought some old pictures from Kelly and they haggled the price just like on Pawn Stars.  I should have video taped the whole negotiation.  I almost bought a black and white picture, circa 1920, of a topless lady in a frame from Woltz Photography in Des Moines, Iowa where I lived for a few years.  In fact my high school graduation pictures were produced by Woltz.  Not sure why I remember that but I am sure Cheri would have seen the humor had I bought it.

Tomorrow’s ride should be short but challenging as I will cross the Blue Ridge Parkway at an altitude of 3500 feet above sea level.  The climb from Vesuvius looks challenging but the descent on the downhill side looks like it will be fun.  I will be sure to bring newspaper to keep me from freezing on the downhill.  You can get a view of the mountain range by going to the Where’s Allen tab, clicking on the SPOT map and going to the Satellite view.

Tomorrow will be hot again, and the next day and the next… just like in KC.

6/28/2012

Wytheville, Ky to Christiansburg, KY

FACTOID: Reto Schoch recently won a cross country race called RAMM – from San Diego to Annapolis – He covered 2994 miles in 8 days 6 hrs 29 min.  (Including his sleeping time off the bike!) So what’s taking me so dang long?

Today was supposed to be an easy day.  Supposed to be…  It was a short day, but it was not easy because I didn’t have good legs today and there was 2000 feet of climbing in just 35 miles.  You do the math.  As my body tries to adjust to the daily work out and extreme temperatures it is difficult to know how to balance my daily efforts, rest and food intake. Some days are better than others and some things work better than others.  I didn’t have a restful night because of some noisy kids upstairs and an alarm clock that went off at 5am.   I just felt crappy all day.  On the road we ran into Pat again and she said she was having a bad day too.  Maybe it was just the heat or something in the air.  Maybe it was because I had steak last night instead of spaghetti.  I will not make that mistake again tonight as Ashley at the front desk has already lined me up for dinner at Sal’s Italian restaurant here in Christiansburg. I gave Ashley a LiveStrong wristband for her help….but really we have given away a lot of yellow wristbands on this trip as we talk to people we meet about about cancer and survivorship.

Pat and Allen

Pat and Allen

Today’s route wound up being shorter then expected because I rode hotel to hotel instead of town center to town center, and I was fine with finishing up early.   36 miles, 14.2 mph 17,777 heart beats at an average of 118 bpm 2106 feet of climbing with a maximum incline of 14%.  And it was hot today.  In the 90s.  So finishing early was a necessity.

Not much to talk about on today’s ride except for when i came upon a 2 car accident that had occurred shortly before I arrived at the scene.  The emergency teams were preparing the injured for transport and the 2 cars were pretty severely damaged.  I hope no one was seriously injured.

The last few days have brought us into a scenic part of the Appalachians with beautiful blue vistas of the mountains popping up as I ride the back roads.

Mountains

Mountains

Scenic View

I have had some interesting conversations with folks who say they are inspired by what I am doing.  “You should set your goals higher,” I tell them.   I never thought of myself as a person who inspires others, rather I am constantly inspired by others.  To me this journey just something that I am doing to help spread the LiveStrong message of survivorship.  This journey is not easy but it is something I can do.  I am inspired by people who do things that seem impossible to me, like running a marathon or competing in an Ironman or like Pat who is riding cross country at the age of 70. The point is that we are all awed and inspired by others who can do things that are beyond our grasp or things that seem beyond our grasp.  Each of have a responsibility to do whatever we can to help and inspire others whenever we can, whether that means walking around the block or running a 5k or just being there when someone needs us.  We should all live our lives doing what we can to help others and thereby inspiring them to do the same.  Here are some of the books that inspire me and hopefully will continue to shape me throughout my life.  I hope you will find some of them interesting.

It’s Not About the Bike, by Lance Armstrong

Riding with the Blue Moth, by Bill Hancock

UltraMarathon Man, by Dean Karnazes

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, by Robert M. Pirsig

The Way of the Peaceful Warrior, by Dan Millman

The Celestine Prophecy, by James Redfield

P.S.  Dinner at Sal’s was great tonight.  The spaghetti and meatballs was the best I have ever had.  The home made Italian Wedding soup was delightful.  Our waitress, Brandi, was great.  Her brother Scottie Weiss is a pro bicycle racer and a national champion who I have read about.  My niece Heidi had attended Ratford college here years ago, and probably ate at Sal’s a time or two.

6/27/2012

Meadowview, KY to Rural Retreat, KY

Check out this article about Allen’s Adventure at Sporting KC: www.sportingkc.com/blog

What a difference a day makes.  Yesterday I was worried about today’s ride.  I was sore and tired last night and not looking forward to the big climb near Damascus that stood in my way.  But I woke up feeling pretty good.

It must have been the beer I had with dinner that made me feel so good today.  In my opinion, beer is a great recovery drink, with lots of carbs and lots of fluids.  Last night we went to Milano’s Italian restaurant near the hotel and I ordered a beer with my spaghetti and meatballs.  The cute waitress was gracious as she explained that they don’t serve alcoholic beverages at the restaurant but that I could bring my own bottle.  She suggested I run over to the BP station and buy some beer and bring it back, which is just what I did and I came back with a quart of Fat Tire.  Fat Tire was the only non-Budweiser beer in the store.  This brings me to one of my gripes and observations of this trip, poor beer selection in Kentucky and Virginia.  Budweiser see seems to have taken over this whole area.  Restaurants and stores all have very limited selections and what they have is all made by Bud!  Not what a beer connoisseur like me is looking for.

The weather was actually chilly, in the 50s, early this morning and I waited till 9:00am, when it was in the 60s to get started.  It was a great day for riding and the temp never rose above 85 degrees today.  Today I rode 20 miles further than yesterday and climbed nearly the same number of vertical feet, and I feel great today!   58 miles at 14.3 mph and I enjoyed every mile.  Even though I climbed 3210 feet today the climbing was fun.  Hard but fun.  The maximum incline was only 14% today.  28,783 heart beats today at 119 bpm.

Profile – 27

I also found that caffeine is a wonderful drug.  I’ve been drinking free hotel coffee since I started this trip (without much effect) but today Peter went to Starbucks and brought me back a cappuccino, and I started the ride feeling great.  My legs felt fantastic. The big climb near Damascus climbed upward nearly 2000 feet, but the inclines were not leg-wrenching.  The road was enclosed with trees and shade and it was a beautiful climb.  The road crossed the Appalachian Trail and is accesses the Virginia Creeper Trail which is a famous hiking and biking trail in this area.  I think I could be very happy living in the Damascus area, it’s really neat.  And oh my, the downhill.  It was a pleasure descending the east side of the mountain.  The roads were in better shape than yesterday’s descents and they went on for mile after mile.  I was grinning ear to ear the whole way with a newspaper stuck into my jersey for warmth.

The main traffic on the Damascus climb was from the local bike shops that rent bikes to tourists and haul them up the mountain by the vanload and let them ride down the trail.  I must have been passed by 25 or more van loads of tourists each pulling a trailer loaded with mountain bikes heading for the Virginia Creeper Trail, but only a few of us riding up the mountain.

Early in today’s ride I missed a turn and wound up off course.  No big deal, I found an alternate route that got me back on track at Damascus.  Later in the ride, near Sugar Grove I was zooming along crouched in my aerobars at over 30mh and I ‘thought’ I missed a turn onto SR695, so I stopped and rode back up the road only to find out that I had not missed the turn, but it was ½ mile further down the road..  I had a nice chat with a fellow in an orange Ford pickup truck when I asked him for directions.

Today I met Mary Jane, Jane and Pat who Peter had met yesterday.  Pat left Oregon on April 1st and  is doing this ride to celebrate her 70th birthday and to “Help to Feed Those in Need” in the Seattle area.  Pat invited me to the big celebration party she is planning in Yorktown on July 7th.  Visit Pat’s website at www.emeraldcityligthsbikeride.org.

Allen and Pat

Allen and Pat

Emerald City Lights

Peter saw a black bear today!  Pretty exciting.  He was driving near Troutdale when he saw it in the road.  The bear ran off the road and up the hill but Pete did manage to get a quick picture of him on the video camera.  I didn’t see it, I guess the bear smelled me coming and ran off!   I guess I’ll never find out if I can outrun a bear like I have been able to outrun the dogs that have chased me during this journey.

After the ride today I drank my Recoverite drink and headed to the motel where I immediately jumped into another ice bath to help my legs recover.  Although they felt great today, I want to take very good care of my legs.  A massage would be nice but instead I will be doing my daily yoga stretches after dinner

Tonight we had a great dinner at the Log House 1776 Restaurant that was recommended by Melisa at the hotel desk. This was by far the best meal of the entire trip.  The core of the restaurant building is an old log cabin that dates back to the 1770s, with additional rooms and shops that have been added on over the years.  We sat in a small room that sits 6 but the whole restaurant can hold up to 200 diners, in various rooms and booths.  The food was great.  I started with Log House Vegetable Soup (and a Yuengling beer from America’s oldest Brewery).  The soup was the best I have ever had.  I could have made a meal of soup alone.  As I waited for my ribeye steak I asked about the Confederate Beef Soup that was listed as a main course.  I asked if there was any way I could get a taste of it and was at first told that each bowl was made to order and they did not have any prepared.  Then about 10 minutes later the waitress returned with a small cup of the soup for me.  She said she had ‘persuaded’ the chef to make a sample for me.  It was wonderful.  I actually regretted not ordering it as a main course. The soup is made with “steak cubes combined with carrots and tart apples in a rich stock and crowned with fluffy herbed potatoes. In the day, it was reportedly made for General Lee and his troops.  Our steak, Pasta Bella, stuffed yellow crookneck squash, fancy fried grits and the pecan custard pie were all fabulous.  If you are ever near Wytheville be sure to stop at the Log House 1776 Restaurant.

Log House Restaurant

Log House Restaurant

Outside the lounge at the Log House

Tomorrow I ride from Wytheville to Christiansburg about 50 miles of what appear to be the rolling hills that precede the Blue Ridge Parkway.  An easy day?  Tune in tomorrow to find out…

6/26/2012

Breaks KY to Rosedale KY

VIDEO: On your left

Didn’t I say that today was going to be an easier day?  HAH, wrong again Allen!   I apologize if I sound like a whiner complaining about the hills again but today was surprisingly difficult.  Yesterday I felt great after a long day in the saddle, but today I am pooped.  I only rode 40 miles today but climbed 3287 feet, nearly as much as I climbed in 60 miles yesterday.  Tomorrow looks to be another day with over 3000 feet of climbing too, as the biggest single climb of the ride so far stands in my way tomorrow as I climb past Konnarock.  I napped today and hope to sleep well tonight.

40 miles – 12.4 mph – 1571 calories burned – 22,026 heartbeats – 118 avg bpm – 3287 ft climbing – 17% maximum incline

profile - 26

profile – 26

It was actually quite cool this morning at 57 degrees and after weeks of complaining about the heat I actually had to put on my arm warmers today, and I kept them on most of the day. Today’s ride started peacefully enough at Breaks State Park, but the uphill climbs started after just 2 miles, before my legs had even warmed up. My legs warmed up in a hurry after that.  There were 2 medium climbs early in the ride but they were steep enough climbs that the road wound back and forth across the mountains creating switchbacks like we see in Europe.  The descents were great fun as I carved the turns pretending that I was a pro racing in the Alps. But I was just pretending, trust me, I know when to back off.  The dangerous thing about descending at 40 mph on these roads is the shaded areas where you may not see rocks, leaves or holes in the road until it is too late, so I had to be vigilant and careful.

The big climb of the day came between Council and Rosedale.  It didn’t look too bad on the map but in person, at the bottom, looking up the curving road, I felt pretty insignificant.  This road wound its way up and up and never gave me a clue of when the climbing would end.  This was a steep climb with no respite.  Even the last switchback at the top was steep. But I made it and enjoyed flying down the other side.

The Tour de France starts this weekend, and as I rode I tried to relate what I am doing to what a tour rider does.  Not much of a comparison really but there are some similarities.  We both wake up each day and know that we have to get back on our bikes and ride.  We both focus on riding when on the bike, and eating and resting when off the bike.  Our lives revolve around our bikes and our food and our water all day long.  Our minds may wander and passing towns and scenery may catch our eye, but we have to keep focused on getting to a spot on the map at the end of day.  One thing I have learned on this journey is that I am not, and never will be a Tour de France rider.  I am working hard just to complete each day, speed is no longer important to me.  Each day is a victory.

Today I got a chance to try a Tour de France trick with a newspaper.  When we climb, even on cooler days, we sweat profusely, and when we get over the climb and start downhill we go down real fast and get a wind chill effect that makes a scantily clad rider really cold.  A trick that the Tour de France riders have been using for decades is to stuff a sheet of newspaper under their jersey at the top of the hill to help keep them warm on the descent.  The newspaper serves as a windbreak on your chest and keeps you from getting numbingly cold.  Today was the first time I have ever had an opportunity to try this trick and found that it works great.  I even kept the paper in place for a while after the descent without discomfort.  Those old Tour riders from the 30s and 40s knew what they were doing!

During today’s ride I saw several riders and locals.  Halfway up one of the climbs a young local warned me to watch out for nails in the road.  He said one of his ‘buddies’ had thrown a box of nails in the road because he was mad about something.  “He’s not your buddy any more is he?” I asked him.  But I made it through the nails fine and another day passed with no flats or mechanical issues.

I saw 4 guys heading west, fully loaded with camping gear and riding to San Francisco.  I had just descended a long downhill section and I did not envy them the climb that they were facing today in the next few miles.  Peter met 2 women riders who were also riding east, Mary Jane and Jane.  They came from New Mexico and Wichita.  They also had a friend driving a support vehicle for them.  Maybe our riding will overlap again in the coming days.

Lastly I met a Jerry Matney and his pet, Murph E.Dog.  When I first saw Jerry he was pushing his bike uphill as he came out of an area of road construction.  He had spent the last mile or so working through the construction and traffic congestion just west of Rosedale.  Jerry’s bike was fully loaded and he pulled a trailer which had been made into a bed for Murph E.Dog.  I stopped and gave Jerry some water and we chatted for a few minutes until the traffic cleared.  Jerry was going through a spiritual awakening in his life, he sold everything he owned and took off on this cross country ride with his bike, his dog and the few things he needed to survive on the road.  Check him out at www.jerrymatney.blogspot.com.

Jerry and Murph E.Dog

Jerry and Murph E.Dog

Jerry and Murph E.Dog

Murph E.Dog

Peter met some folks in Haysi, Verna Van Dyke and Jane Moore, who run Mtn Art Works and he had a great time chatting with them and looking around the store.

Verna and Jane

Verna and Jane

The Crooked Road

Tomorrow I will be taking on the big mountain between Konnarock and Troutdale that crests out near 4000 feet.  I know that will be a long tough climb but I am glad to see that, at least on the map, that the following day looks a little easier.

6/25/2012

Hindman, KY to Elkhorn City, KY

It was a tough day for sure: 60 miles and over 3596 feet of climbing today.  Unbelievable poverty and abandoned homes and businesses bordered by new and well kept homes.  Here is what the guidebook, Cycling the TransAm, says about today’s ride  “Today’s ride goes through the heart of Appalachia coal country.  You’ll be traveling on two-lane roads and on four­-lane road with a wide shoulder.  It’s a long, tough day, perhaps the hardest of the trip with minimal accommodations.”  That is all true. And I am kind of tired tonight so this will be a short update.  I hope the guidebook is right and that today WAS the hardest day of the ride!

61 miles – 13.7 mph – 2312 calories burned – 32,010 heartbeats, 120 avg bpm – 3596 ft climbing – 21% max incline

Profile -25

Profile -25

Getting ready to start in Hindman Ky

Temperatures were cooler today which helped with the challenging climbs.  It warmed up to the high 80s by the end of the day – it was the best weather I’ve seen so far.  The day started with a 45 minute drive from the hotel in Prestonburg to my starting point in Hindman.  The first 30 miles went pretty smoothly and I was averaging over 16mph but my speed dropped rapidly when I hit the steep climbs that were up to 21% in steepness.  I went very slowly up these tough climbs and even zigzagged across the road to make the climb a little easier.  The down hills were amazing.  I went descended fast but not dangerously so through the switchback descents.  But several times I had to clamp down on really hard on the brakes to safely carve through the turns.  There were also some dogs that tried to chase me, but they were all on downhill stretches so I had no trouble outrunning them.  I didn’t have time to talk to many folks today, but I did chat with a family that was on the porch of their trailer and we talked about what I was doing and why.  They warned me that the mountain kept going up and getting steeper from their house to the top. They said they have seen a lot of riders on their road but had never talked to one before.

Rider Ahead

Rider Ahead

Rider Ahead

A minor climb

Tonight we are staying at the Comfort Inn in Grundy, VA,, a few miles off the TransAm route.   I am building a good cache of award points for Choice Hotels that I will be cashing in soon.  Tomorrow the weather will be even better than today and I will be taking an shorter day tomorrow to prepare for the big climbs which come on Wednesday.  I have mapped out my route over the next few days and mountains with plans to meet Cheri in Charlottesville on Saturday.

My recovery has been much better lately as I am really focusing on my diet.  As you know I am drinking a lot of water and monitoring my steady intake of calories on the bike.  I thoroughly enjoy a peach each day about half way through the ride.  Immediately after the ride I drink a recovery drink called Recoverite.  This drink is formulated to quickly replenish glycogen and protein and is loaded with enzymes to start the healing process.  I then find the closest Subway restaurant and order a 6 inch tuna sandwich and ice tea.  Then for dinner I order salad and spaghetti with meatballs whenever I can, but not all these towns have Italian restaurants.  An I have found that those towns that do, may not have good spaghetti. (Tonight’s spaghetti at Ballacino’s Restaurant was great.) Before bed I mix a protein shake and drink that to help accelerate my muscle recovery overnight.  I also take a lot of dietary supplements and electrolytes throughout the day, but as you can tell from my average speed, these supplements are not necessarily enhancing my performance.  They just keep me balanced and healthy.  One trick I tried tonight was to soak my legs in a tub filled with cold water and ice cubes.  Runners often do this after a race to help their muscles recover more quickly.  Once I got over the shock of the ice cold water on my legs and butt, it did seem to help my legs feel better.  I plan to repeat this again each day over the next few days to see how it works.

Tomorrow’s weather looks good but after that each day is forecast to get hotter and hotter, up to 100 on Saturday.  Dang the luck.

Come back tomorrow for more exciting tales from the road…

6/24/2012

Rest day today  but my biological clock didn’t let me sleep too late.  Checked out the Prestonberg area a bit before i cleaned and serviced my bike in the hotel parking lot.  I replaced the chain today as preventitive maintenance.  This is a nice hotel and a quiet little town, but there were 2 policemen checking on something here at the hotel today.  We never did find out the details, but they didn’t seem too concerned about Pete and me.  Tomorrow we have to drive a bit to get back on the bike route at Hindman, and i will try to reach the town of Elk Horn City on the Virginia border.  I am sure i will be seeing more hills tomorrow..

6/23/2012

First there is a mountain then there is no mountain then there is no mountain then there is.

I woke up tired today and got a late start and although it got hot in the afternoon, the morning temps weren’t too bad.  Just outside Berea was the first climb of the day called “Big Hill”. With a name like that I should have known I was in for something special.  It rose 2.2 miles to the top with an 8% average incline and sections up to 15%.  I went slow and really enjoyed the challenge.  After all it is not the summit that matters but only the next pedal stroke.  2600 feet of climbing today, lots of pedal strokes and the real Appalachian Mtns are yet to come.

585 miles total since the start of Al’s Adventure. Today: 47 miles @ 14mph.  23,182 heartbeats averaging 115 bpm.  2651 feet of climbing. With up to 17% inclines.  .  There were many hills today and other than Big Hill, no real mountains.  They come next week.

Check out this VIDEO of me riding today: Allen to Booneville KY

Because I am traveling hotel to hotel, some of the logistics of this journey get a little complex.  We had trouble finding an available hotel after Saturday’s ride and wound up driving 40 miles to stay in Prestonsburg.  Those folks who are camping along the way have more options, but they pay a heavy price of hauling all their gear and having to sleep in a tent every night.  I really look forward to my shower and clean bed.

During this trip I have seen two communities that had been recently hit by tornadoes:  Harrisburg, Illinois and Salyersville, Kentucky.  Salyersville had a lot of damage with buildings destroyed and whole stands of trees laid over.  There was a lot of reconstruction underway in Salyersville.  The folks in these communities have suffered greatly and working to recover.

Today we met Keith Bingham, a retired high school principle who was mowing his lawn.  He has watched and helped many cross country cyclists as they have passed his house over the years.  Keith had first hand information about the rider from the UK who had died on the route a few weeks ago because it happened just down the road from Keith’s house.  The story of this cyclist has been passed by word of mouth all along the TransAm route.  Keith also told us about the time he helped a rider whose loaded down bike had become unridable when his pannier pack got tangled into his rear wheel.  It was a freezing drizzly day and the poor guy was frozen as he tried to push his bike up the steep climb toward Keith’s house.  Keith invited him into his house and the rider took a long hot shower before Keith drove the bike and rider to the bike shop in Berea for repairs.  Keith also told us about the vacant stone store on the corner at SR1071.  Built in the 40s it has changed hands many times and Keith now owns it and is thinking of reopening the store.  It would be a perfect place for cyclists to stop, stock up and talk about the ride.  Thanks Keith, for all the help you have given cyclists through the years and have a great retirement.

Peter met Kenny Davidson and Dale Smith at Kenny’s Farm Store and near the town of Vincent, Peter met a family who had stopped at the roadside store.  Mom, Starla, was taking the kids (Aaliyah, Amilia and, Mckeman) to swim.  Pete gave the whole family LiveStrong wristbands and they were all wearing them when I arrived.  Starla said she had seen bicyclers along these roads for years but had never had the chance to talk to us.  We changed all that today!  Once again it was refreshing to talk to the folks who live along the bike route.

Keith Bingham and Al

Keith Bingham and Al

Stone Store

Starla, Aaliyah, Amilia, Mikeman

The day wore on and the temperatures rose.  I noticed that when I was lucky enough to ride in the shade or ride through cool front I felt refreshed and could ride quite well.  But when I was in the direct sun and heat for an extending time, I started to wear down.  Heat bad, shade good.

Rider Ahead

Rider Ahead

This trip has been a learning experience as each day I try to do a better job of eating healthy, both on and off the bike. I make sure I eat some carbohydrates (like a blueberry muffin or two) each morning and then start eating energy bars once I am on the bike.  I also mix up a 24 ounce bottle of energy drink called Sustained Energy each day which allows me to drink about 400 healthy calories throughout the day.  I have also developed a craving for peaches and have been carrying one with me on my bike each day to enjoy when I need a tasty snack. As I have written earlier, I am drinking huge quantities of water and have been able to avoid cramping and overheating by doing so.  I also take electrolyte tablets called Endurolytes which help to keep my body in balance as I sweat heavily throughout the hot days.

Rider Ahead

Rider Ahead

Today, Sunday, I am taking a rest day in Prestonsburg.  The temperatures will be in the mid-90s today but cooling down for a few days after that, and I decided to avoid today’s heat and let my body recover a little bit.  Overall I am feeling quite well, my legs are definitely getting stronger, and even though I eat constantly when I am off the bike, I can tell I am losing weight.

Halfway through the ride I can start to look back and reflect on what I have learned so far.  I now know that I overdid during the first 2 days largely due to heat.  I had not eaten or drunk properly those first days, probably due to the excitement, and those days of rest in Springfield were a god send.  For several days that first week i was taking Advil very regularly, and between John and I, we are lucky we didn’t run out!  But over the past week i have been feeling good and sleeping good, without relying on pain killers. Since those early, difficult days I have been able to monitor myself and meter my efforts more intelligently and I base the daily distance on how I feel and not just based on a spot on a map.   As psychiatrist and cyclist Dr Schaap shared when we met him on the road a few days back, the true challenge of this trip is in our heads, not in our legs.  We riders need to clear our heads and focus on each day and complete each pedal stroke.

This morning I spent some time planning the next 2 weeks of the ride as I will cross Virginia and head for  Yorktown.  The hotels don’t always line up with the route, but I think I have put together a plan that I can live with and hopefully will be able to take a few days of relaxing vacation with Cheri when she joins me next week.  In the meantime I have two big climbing days coming up, first near Damascus, Virginia and then later near Vesuvius, Virginia, where the route crosses the Blue Ridge Parkway. After that monster climb it should be mostly downhill and clear sailing to the Atlantic.

First there is a mountain then there is no mountain then there is no mountain then there is.

profile 6-23
First there is a mountain…

 6/22/2012

Harrodsburg to Berea, Kentucky today.  And the hills are back.  2618 feet of climbing today – maximum incline 17% and a lot of climbs in excess of 12%.  Up and down all day long.  52 miles at 14 mph.  26327 heart beats while riding and an average HR of 114bpm.  1713 calories burned during the ride.

The temperature today was around 90 and the humidity was sky high from the start.  Yesterday the humidity was so high that I found it hard to take a deep breath but today was not quite so bad  Today’s route had lots of twists and turns but I only went off course once.  I missed a turn due to some road construction and heavy traffic near Bryantsville.  I met two ladies posting yard sale signs for their church and they helped me get back on course.  There were lots of challenging hills today, but also some long and curvy down hills that were refreshing.  I got chased by an angry dog today but he didn’t catch me,

There were a couple other westbound cross-country cyclists on the course today:

Dr Geerhard Schaap, a 69 year old psychiatrist from Netherlands.  He is riding to Oregon and his wife is driving support for him.  He is an interesting guy and we talked for a while.  He was wearing a Ride for the Roses jersey and he explained that he had been the president of this European version of the LiveStrong Challenge in 2007.  We compared equipment and he was really interested in my aero bars and my luggage carrier.  He commented that we Americans are always technically innovative.  Check him out at www.sheep70transam.com

Dr. Geerhard Schaap

Dr. Geerhard Schaap

Father and son, Eric and Will Scarborough from Golden, Colorado are also riding to Oregon.  They are fully self-contained and camping along the way.  We talked about Golden, Lookout Mtn and Mt Evans and the Big Wheel bicycle museum in Golden whose proprietor rode his antique big wheel bike from coast to coast a few years back.  We also talked about the trip and what each of us will face in the coming days and weeks.  Tomorrow I get introduced to the Appalachian Mountains which will be my nemesis for the next few days.  Eric and Will have to face the steep Ozarks in Missouri, but they are considering heading off route and riding the KATY trail instead.  That will certainly be a safer and more rider friendly route for them.

Eric and Will (and me)

Eric and Will (and me)

I missed saying goodbye to Noretta at the Country Hearth Inn this morning as I wanted to thank her for all her help.  I enjoyed listening to her Kentucky accent when we checked in.  I hope Peter said goodbye for both of us when he checked out.

Peter stopped at the Blue Moon Café in Harrodburg this morning to get some coffee.  He met a couple of ladies there who were convening the monthly meeting of the “Ladies of the Order of the Eastern Star of Kentucky”.  Peter had a hard time getting away as Betty, Simonetta and Martha wanted him to join up and move to Kentucky.

Ladies of the Order of the Eastern Star

Ladies of the Order of the Eastern Star

 

 

Ladies of the Order of the Eastern Star

Ladies of the Order of the Eastern Star

 

  • I still love my bicycle seat. Fizik Alinate Carbon
  • Fizik Aliante

    Fizik Aliante

  • I also really like my Dual Vision sunglasses which have a bifocal lens built into them to allow me to read my maps while riding without having to stop and pull out my reading glasses every time I turn around.
  • My Vredestein Fortezza Tricomp tires have performed very well.  No flats to date. (Knock on wood.)
  • Kudos the Brigitte and Dave at Wyondotte Family Chiropractic.  Thanks to your healing hands my back has been perfect all trip long.  You guys are the best!

Near the town of Burgin we saw this clever piece of industrial artwork.  Chain link tires are guaranteed to never ever go flat!

Bike Art

Bike Art

Today’s climbing profile… ugh! (Click image to enlarge and see the full profile)

profile 6-22

profile 6-22

6/21/2012

I am pretty tired today even thought i only rode 46miles @ 14.3 mph from Bardstown to Harrodsburg.  The hills were back.  2287 feet of climbing with a maximum inclination of 17%. Not as tough as the Ozarks but more than enough to keep me honest.   My average heart rate was 115 with a total of 22405 heartbeats.  My legs are tired tonight after turning the pedals 15210 times today.  It was hot today, started out at 77 degrees but quickly rose to a high of 93.  The actual on the road temperature is higher due to the reflected heat from the tarmac and my computer recorded a high road temperature of 105.  These next few days in mid-Kentucky will most likely stay in the 45-50 mile daily range because of the way the towns and the hotels are laid out.  I will pretty much be riding from hotel to hotel and trying to get all my miles done in the morning before it gets too hot.   For the next few days they are forecasting highs between 88 and 94.

The roads near Bardstown this morning were very busy with traffic but the drivers were all very polite.  I talked to a jogger as we waited at a stop light, and we both agreed to be careful of the narrow shoulders and the ‘rush hour’ traffic.  The Kentucky maps are a bit more complex than earlier maps, with more twists, turns and route changes.  I have taught myself to stop at intersections and read the map carefully to be sure i am making the correct turn.   At one point on today’s ride the forest enclosed the road and the temperature dropped about 10 degrees, there were no cars and I felt i had gone back in time.  I stopped an listened to the forest noises for a while, it was quite mystic.  Later I stopped at the Lincoln Homestead where Abe’s grandparents had lived and where Abe had played as a boy.  Very neat historical site, in spite of the golf course next to it, which brought me back to the 21st century.  I didn’t see any other riders on the road today.  I only talked to one other person on today’s ride, when i asked a lady a street name at an unmarked intersection, and she sent me down the right path.  As usual i went through gobs of water and energy drink today, and was very glad to get off the bike at Harrodsburg.  It was already hot and I was ready to cool off.

Homestead

Homestead

The Kentucky Woods

Profile 6-21 - the hills are back ..

Chasing my shadow

After the ride we visited the local historical site called Fort Harrod.  It is a replica of the original fort and they were preparing for this weekend’s reenactment of ‘The Raid on Fort Harrod’, but we won’t be sticking around for that.  We talked to several of the actors and the Myrgle, a tour guide at the museum.

Allen and an indian

Allen and the indian

Fort Harrod

Fort Harrod guide

Myrgle,  Museum Guide

All the people here in Harrodsburg are extremely friendly and we met several of them today.  We found a great little hotel called Country Hearth and the cute gal at the front desk was extremely helpful.  At her recommendation, we had a great dinner at the Cloud Country Kitchen resturant.   I am drinkin my protein and heading for the bed now and will update you again tomorrow..

6/20/2012

Today was a social day.  Right at the start in Sonora, KY we met Henk and Maria who are riding to Washington state.  They are from Netherlands and are camping as they go.  They have been planning this trip for 6 years and they will be on the road through September.   They were very friendly as we exchaned stories of the road.  http://henk_marja.reislogger.nl/

Henk & Maria

Henk & Maria

After chatting for 1/2 hour or so, I finally got moving.  It was warm, but humidity was not bad, and the rolling hills were a great relief after some of the steep climbs of past days.  I made good time today.  47 miles to Maker’s Mark Distillery at 15.7 mph.  1400 calories burned, 20439 heart beats while riding, average HR of 114 bpm, 1463 feet of climbing and maximum incline was ‘only’ 13%.

My body seems to slowly be adjusting to these demands i am putting on it.  My legs felt better today and my heartrate is amazingly low (for me anyway).  I really enjoyed the riding today.  Mild wind, mild rolling hills and the quality of the rode surface in Kentucky is great.  Missouri and Kansas roads are in disrepair when compared to Kentucky roads.

Later in the ride i met some teenagers who were crossing the US with their parents.  I talked to the kids and i was so impressed with their friendly manners and maturity.  They too are heading to Washington State.  I talked to the dad who had just retired from the Navy and  found that they were moving to Washington!  He had ridden the TransAm previously, about 10 years ago, with his wife driving in support.  These folks are amazing.  Check out their story at www.facebook.com/christacrossamerica2012.

Mom & Dad & Kid

The kids 1

The kids 2

The destination at the end of my ride was Maker’s Mark Distillery in Loretto, KY.  What a great way to end the ride.  I had just enough time to change out of my sweaty bike outfit and join the tour.  They even gave me a medal to wear because i am a Maker’s Mark Ambassador (or maybe because they just thought i was special ;-).  We had a fun and educational tour with a great guide.  I learned a lot about what makes bourbon, bourbon.  They taught us how to taste bourbon… Let me know if you want the details.  The tasting session at the end of the tour was very enlightening as they taught us the differences between Makers 160 proof ‘White’, then their smooth and normal Maker’s bourbon, then an over-aged Maker’s bourbon, and finally their new Maker’s 46.  Let me tell you that I have never had an after ride drink recovery like this before!  We had lunch at the Drawbridge Cafe on the Maker’s campus.

Where's Allen?

Where’s Allen?

Recovery Drinks

 

During the ride to day we passed Abe Lincoln’s birthplace and other historical Lincoln memorial sites. Tonight we are staying in Bardstown.  Seems that Stephen Foster lived here and there is a big museum in his honor, and a great little buffet restaurant where we ate dinner bears his name.  Tomorrow I will leave Bardstown on SR62 and plan to ride to Harrodsburg or Bryantsville.  After that i have about 4-5 more days in Kentucky before i cross into Virginia.

On the Pictures webpage I have added a lot of pictures as well as some graphical representations of some of the hill climbing days in Missouri.  Those days i complained about and the days i am warning all the westbound riders about.  Here is an example from last Thursday as i rode from Currant River to Graniteville.

Profile Mo 6-14

Profile Mo 6-14

6/19/2012

Today was a good day.  Rode from Utica, KY to Falls in Rough, KY, 50 miles @ 14.6 mph – 1814 calories   2520  ft of climbing, max incline 15% –  24910  heart beats while riding.

I got off to an early start today at 7:00.  Although the temps were tolerable in the morning, the humidity was already at 90%…so I was sweating tons right from the start.  There was a lot of climbing today but most of the hills were not too bad.  Yesterday’s rest day helped a lot, but my daily ‘Adventure’ rides are very different from my training rides in Kansas City.  Back in KC I would always ride hard and fast, but now I am riding sensibly and keeping something in reserve.

My new daily plans are to start off early to avoid the heat and to stop riding around noon before it gets too hot. I should be able to do about 50 miles a day this way without exhausting myself.  When I dismount each day, we will find a motel somewhere close to the route and then restart on the route near the hotel the next morning.  As you can tell, I am no longer concerned with pedaling each and every mile of my adventure!  A purist I am not. Rather, we are going to have some enjoyable off the bike time and stay healthy too!

Today I had one altercation with a yappy dog that chased me for a while and then a bee hit my lip while I was traveling about 20 mph.  He was more surprised than I was, because he forgot to sting me.  My lip puffed up briefly but no harm done…except to the bee.

The Kentucky scenery is beautiful.  One change I have noted while riding state to state is the kind of ‘road kill’ I see along the road.  In Missouri it was armadillos, in Illinois it was birds and squirrels and in Kentucky it is snakes.  Interesting!

Yesterday I actually washed and serviced my Serotta bicycle for the first time since leaving KC.  The TREK store folks did a great job of tuning it up for me, it has been perfect.  As I ride I am discovering some neat things about my bike and equipment:

  • I love my seat.
    • A carbon railed Fizik Aliante.  It is super comfortable and I have had no discomfort at all. It has fantastic
  • My Headsweat
    • This light cap and sweatband has kept the sweat out of my eyes the whole ride.  And the sunburn off the top of my head too!  A great purchase
  • My 32-11 cassette
    • This wide gear set gives me all the gears I need whether zipping along the flats at 18 mph or crawling up the hills at 6 mph.   That 32 tooth cog has allowed me to keep spinning and moving forward no matter how steep the climb.
  • My shoes – Specialized Carbon Pro shoes
    • These are fabulous.  No discomfort at all.  Comfortable day in and day out.  I live in these shows.  Virtually every TransAm rider I have met on the ride is wearing Specialized shoes.  (Watch out Sidi!)
  • Castelli Gloves
    • These are a new design, but very comfortable and well cushioned, no discomfort at all.
  • My Bike – Serotta Couer d’Acier
    • This bike was custom built to fit my body perfectly, and it has not disappointed.  A fabulous piece of engineering.

 

Today’s ride went through several very small ‘towns’ that you would never notice from a car: Utica, Whitesville, Reynolds Station, Fordsville and finishing a little past the Falls of Rough dam.  I didn’t get to meet any folks during the ride today but Pete met Dough Mattingly at the Crossroads Automotive shop at the intersection of SR110 and SR79.  Doug runs auto shop, gas station, country store, deli and bait store – and if you are hunting he will check your take for the day.

Doug from Crossroads Automotive

Doug from Crossroads Automotive

As I approached Falls of Rough I noticed this bit of bicycle art and I just had to stop and photograph it for you.

bikers beware near Falls of Rough, KY

bikers beware near Falls of Rough, KY

Tonight we are staying in Elizabethtown, KY.  Tomorrow I will rejoin the route near Sonora.  But tomorrow will be a special day.  We just discovered that the TransAm route passes near a town called Loretto, where they brew and bottle Maker’s Mark Bourbon.  And, since I just happen to be a Maker’s Mark Ambassador, we decided to stop by and check out how the keg with my name on it is coming.  (I signed up as an ambassador 7 years ago or so, to get some free glasses and merchandise, and they placed my name on a keg back then, and it has been mellowing all these years.  This is the year it will be bottled and I will get to buy a couple of bottles of MY bourbon! What a great marketing program!)

6/18/2012

Today we had a very good rest day.  It was hot and windy and hilly and would have been a challenging day.  Instead we slept late, had a Big Breakfast at McDonald’s, signed up for the special awards program with Comfort Inns which will pay me back $50 for each 2 nights i stay at a Choice Hotel…. We will be staying at Choice Hotels whenever possible from here on out!  We stopped at Cave In Rock, a small town on the Ohio River where there is an old cave that was once the home to river pirates and criminals and killers of all kinds.  We checked out the cave, and found it to be pretty cool.  We had lunch at Rose’s Country Kitchen and had a splendid time chatting with Sandy and Judi who had both grown up in Cave In Rock and they filled us in on the history and changes the town has gone through.  Cave In Rock also was the site of a free ferry across the Ohio River.  The ferry pilot was very skilled as he maneuvered and parked the ferry smoothly and swiftly.  As we departed the ferry we saw a group of about 15 cyclists getting ready to cross the river as they head west on an adventure of their own.

Cave In Rock - Sisters

Cave In Rock – Sisters

Tonight we ate at Olive Garden in Owensboro, KY.  Spaghetti 2 nights in a row will hopefully help be build up my energy levels for tomorrow.  Peter had Seafood Bordetta which was great and we highly recommend it.  Dennis our waiter was very helpful and told us the ingredients for the Bordetta so Pete can try to copy it at home.  We continued to spread the word about the LiveStrong Foundation and distributed LiveStrong braclets and Al’s Adventure ‘business cards’ today as always. Dennis, Sandy, Judi and a young girl at Rose’s Kitchen are now sporting their bracelets and hopefully visiting this website tonight.

Cave In Rock

Cave In RockGoreville Art

Plans for tomorrow are to start early, for a change, and head toward Madrid, KY and finish early in the day before the heat and humidity take over.

6/17/2012

Today was a good day.  From Carbondale to Eddyville, IL, 49 miles @ 14.5 mph – 1631 calories   2263 ft of climbing, max incline 15% –  16529 heart beats while riding.

We were off schedule and I got a late start this morning.  Pete’s cell phone went off at 5am from a bogus number and someone who seemed to be asking for me, until he said, “sorry”, and hung up.  We fell back to sleep and didn’t wake up again till 7.  Then we ate and repacked all our stuff as we transferred to Pete’s car because John was heading to Springfield today.  Anyway I finally got on the road about 9:00.

The temps were cooler than recent days and the road was still wet from the overnight rain.  Riding on new roads with maps can be an interesting experience if you miss a turn like I did today.  But it all worked out and I snuck into Goresville the back way without having to double back.  There was some climbing today but not extreme.  Lucky for me because my legs have not felt strong on hills the last 2 days.  We old guys just don’t recover as quickly as we used to.

Pete’s first day driving solo support went well with no problems even when we could not connect by phone.  I think John had gone over the challenges of driving support with Pete last night so he didn’t have to learn the hard way 😉

When we checked into the Comfort Inn here in Harrisburg, IL, we learned that our friends, the riders from Burlington, had passed through here a couple of days ago.  The receptionist was surprised that we knew all about them and we gave her our website address so she could check up on us day by day.  We also gave her a LiveStrong wristband as we have been doing with the folks we meet along the way.

I have decided to take a rest day tomorrow.  I think I am beginning to understand why many of the cross country bikers schedule these rest days as part of their travel plans.  Our legs are not used to riding these distances and hills day after day and at my age, I need more than just one night’s sleep to fully recover.  I hope that a rest day may return some snap into my legs, and make the next series of hill climbs a bit more fun.

I am realizing a couple of things.  1) These cross country cycling trips are harder than I ever expected, nothing like riding around home.  2) I was in good shape but not in as good of shape as I thought . 3) 70 miles a day was an over-reaching goal.   4) The self-contained riders who haul there camping gear with them, and sleep in tents each night are unbelievably strong and determined.  I am humbled by them, each and every one.

Huge thanks to John for all your help over the past weeks and here’s hoping for a quick recovery from your infection.  Huge thanks to Jo too, for letting John and I remember just how good of friends we have been through the years and how much we still remember from our first road trip 40+ years ago. We had some great laughs this time around, but we didn’t get too goofy nor did we get in trouble with the locals along the way.

6/16/2012

Once again, today was not the easy day I had hoped for.  It was hot and humid from the very start. And hills, the first 10 miles of today’s ride reminded me of the Ride to Weston, which is one of the more challenging rides around KC. In 30 miles I climbed over 1100 feet with climbs of 17% incline!  Because of the heat, I cut it short today.  I stopped near Murphysboro, where a detour was about to add more miles and hills to my day in the saddle.  John noticed that I was suffering from the heat and he ‘suggested’ that we put the bike in the truck instead of taking on the next set of hills.  I agreed and  feel the better for it.  Those 30 miles were tough and there was a strong side/headwind just to make it interesting.

Last night John and Pete visited the Popeye Museum in Chester, IL while I slept.  Turns out that the creator of Popeye lived in Chester and he used locals there as the characters he put into the comic strip.  Bluto, Olive Oyl, Sweet  Pea, they were all local here in Chester.

This morning we met a cyclist in the parking lot of the Best Western, he was just getting some local miles in while he visited for a family reunion.  He was finishing his ride as I was starting mine, and he was already commenting on the heat.

Tomorrow John heads back to Springfield for his doctor’s appointment on Monday morning.  His finger is looking, better every day, hope the doctor gives him a clean bill of health.  We are repacking and getting ready to move all my stuff to Pete’s car, hope it all fits.

Vipool, the GM of the Carbondale Comfort Inn has been great to us.  He helped us set up our room with the extra roll-around bed and even let us use the computer behind the counter to print out our map and directions for tomorrow.  We saw his family and his 16 month old daughter as they stopped by to say hello.  I showed Vipool our website and gave him some LiveStrong arm bands to share.  Thanks so much for your graciousness today, Vipool.

The weather forecast for tomorrow is for more heat.  Oh well… it is what it is.  Tomorrow’s ride starts from Carbondale, IL and heads east.  As is becoming the norm, I will be riding as far as I feel comfortable with and then we will enjoy the folks and stores in the communities along the way.  As I said yesterday, this adventure has taken a life of its own and we are all having a great time.  Riding everyday has been challenging and rewarding but my time with John and Pete has made this trip exceptional.  I can’t imagine doing it any other way.

See you all tomorrow….

Waterstop...with Peter

Waterstop…with Peter

Hot day in Illinois

Hot day in Illinois

6/15/2012

Today was not the easy day I had hoped for.  It was hot, in the 90s and more climbing than I had envisioned. (2441 feet of climbing). The Ozarks were very resistant to giving up its hills and climbs to the Mississippi plains.  It was only in the last 10 miles or so when the route leveled out as we neared the river. My legs were heavy from the start and I soft pedaled many of the hills.  But overall I felt ok.  I took one wrong turn today, which cost me an additional 6 miles by the time I looped back to the true route.  I think I am finally getting smarter about drinking and controlling my efforts in the heat of the day,…and resting frequently.  Every day is a learning experience, as I learn how to manage my efforts.  Today I rode right up to the Mississippi, but did not ride across it because the bridge was narrow and very dangerous with trucks and cars driving way to fast.  Instead I hopped in John’s truck and we drove across to our hotel, Reid’s Best Western.

I met a lot of folks on the road today.

At the start I met Cheri from Springfield, who was walking her dogs in the hotel parking lot.  She was curious about my ride and she was in town to interview for a new job caring for Alzheimer patients, a challenging vocation.  Later I met some riders from London.  They were riding TransAm and camping along the way.  They told me a story that reminds us how dangerous this journey can be. Two of his group are no longer riding.  One crashed and broke his collarbone and the other had a stroke and died on the road.  It was a sad story and it gave me pause.  Later we met a farmer near Ozuma when we parked in his driveway for a rest.  He told us about his family farm, 600 acres below us and how he raises grass fed cattle with his son.  A few miles down the road we met a couple from Burlington, VT who had quit their jobs in a gourmet bakery and are heading cross country.  We gave them some ice water for which they were very very grateful.

I was tempted to make an offer for this old truck:

For Sale

For Sale

Tonight we are in Chester, IL.  We had a smorgasbord fish dinner at Reid’s Harvest House restaurant.  Quite good.  Our hotel is great too, Beth fixed us up with a suite because my brother Pete has joined us and we needed a room that sleeps three.  Beth was very gracious and helpful.   I will be hopping into the whirlpool shortly to bubble some energy back into my legs.

Flashback, yesterday I had a minor altercation with 3 dogs, they barked and chased me but meant no harm, and more importantly, did no harm.

That’s about it for now.  Tomorrow I head out across Illinois where they are reported to have rolling hills, but NO MOUNTAINS…YEAH!.

Today’s numbers 53 miles @ 14.3 mph – 1954 calories burned – 26499 heart beats – Max HR 143 – Avg HR 121 – 2441 feet of climbing.  Max incline 17%

6/14/2012

Remember when I said that yesterday was great?  Well today was just a dang hard day in the saddle.   I started off at Current River and immediately started climbing out of the river basin.  The first 2 miles were horrendous.  My legs were not warmed up and the climbing started right away.  Not so much at first, just a 5-6% incline.  Then the pitches kicked in and the climb stair-stepped up and up.  First 8% then 12% then 17% then 20% inclines!  Up and up and up!  I was dying and thanking the lord for my low gear ratios.  All in all today I climbed over 3200 feet, and my average speed showed the affects of the terrain.  I definitely did not attack the hills today… instead I soft-pedaled knowing that this was the worst day of the Missouri route and that I had to keep going. My left hamstring was a little gamey so I went easy on that leg and drank more water than ever to prevent cramping.

I was pretty wasted toward the end of the ride, which kept climbing but at much lower gradients, thank goodness.  After a young lady kindly gave me some fresh, cold water, I stopped at the gas station in Graniteville and called John to pick me up.  I was cooked.  We drove to Farmington and checked into the Tradition Inn.  I have a whole new realization of just how hard this ‘Adventure’ really is, and I have no delusions about the best way for me to complete it.  Each day I will ride as far as I am able and then we will find the closest hotel.  If that means that we will drive some miles of the route, so be it.  The adventure is taking on a life of its own and we are all good with that.

Today on the ride I met Don, a retired Missourian who lives near Centerville.  I estimate that Don was in his 70s.  Don was on a training ride preparing him for an upcoming KATY Trail.  We chatted for some time and it was clear that Don is a cycling enthusiast, he had great equipment and he knew a lot about the technical side of cycling.  Good luck on the KATY Trail Don!

Here is an interesting sign that I saw on today’s ride:

Bucksnort Liquor

Bucksnort Liquor

While waiting at the Graniteville gas station a young fellow rode up on a very custom ‘Sting Ray’ bicycle.  I thought his bike was cool.  We talked for a few minutes before he headed for home.  I didn’t catch his name but he asked me one question about my bike, “Is it easy to ride?”  To which I answered, “Yeah, most of the time,  but not right now”, as i was happy to be off of that bike seat for a while 😉

Sting Ray

Sting Ray

John spent his day meeting and talking to folks in Eminence and some other towns along the way.  He took some pictures which I will start adding to a new webpage dedicated to pictures.

The Tradition Inn is a nice and affordable hotel that just happens to have a restaurant called Spokes…as in bicycle spokes.  I ate lunch, snacks and dinner there today and I am feeling very full at the moment.  And maybe had one too many beers too…but hey I need to carbo load don’t i? Tomorrow should be an easier day for me.  (Of course I have thought that before..)  The topography as I approach the Mississippi is much flatter than the past few days, and because of hotel availability issues, I may have to stop near Chester, IL for the night and then sprint across Illinois on Saturday.  My brother Peter is joining us tomorrow in Chester so it will be good to have some extra hours to catch up and plan.

Today’s numbers 53 miles @ 13.1 mph –  1983 calories burned – 28207 heart beats – Max HR 143 – Avg HR 116 – 3205 feet of climbing.  Max incline 20%

6/13/2012

Today was a very good day.  55 miles of fairly intense climbing from Houston MO to Current River (just past Eminence, MO)-  average speed 14.5 mph.  3800 feet of climbing.  Maximum  incline 22%!   Let me tell you that riding in this part of Missouri takes, patience, determination and lots of gears.  I spent a lot of my time today in my granny gears, and I was dang glad I had them!  Tomorrow will be more of the same.

This morning my legs were a little heavy at the start and I dealt with a mild headwind throughout the day.  But the temperatures were mild for a change.  I can honestly tell you that I while planning this trip I over estimated my daily miles across Missouri significantly.  70 and 80 miles a day would be just too much for this old man.  But 50 to 60 feels right and I am looking forward to tomorrow.

Today on the road I saw a lot of abandoned storefronts like the ‘Chit and Chat Grocery’.  These buildings are long abandoned and in hind sight I wish I had stopped to take pictures of each and every one.  True Americana…

I did stop to talk to some folks riding east to west on the TransAm route.  They are from Netherlands.  They too have a website at lena-fieht-de-transam-2012-blogspot.com.  They told me about the translate button which will translate their blog into English..good to know.

John and I continue to be amazed at the friendly and helpful service we get everywhere we go.  Mercy –  St John’s Hospital in Springfield was fantastic in every way (except that they are not a Cerner client – doh!) The staff was exceptional.  We changed the bandages on John’s hand today and found that it is healing well.  Tonight we stumbled into a local treasure, an upstairs restaurant called the Ozark Orchard.  They had really great food with warm and fresh homemade bread.  John had a double cheeseburger and I had a steak.  Wanda was our waitress and her perfume smelled so good we just had to ask what it was.  She told us that it was actually a body wash called Japanese Blossom.  Now we know…The other waitress, Amanda, had long straight hair down to her knees!  That’s got to be a lot of work taking care of all that hair.  The Orchard even served fried alligator.  “Gator is Back” the sign on the wall said.  We passed on this delicacy even though Wanda told us that the texture was like a cross between catfish and chicken while it had a special taste all its own.  Check this restaurant out if you are ever in the area!  We also learned all sorts of family history from John Stewart, the Scotsman who owns the Riverside Motel where we are staying tonight.  We also a great time visiting several local crafts shops that line the river front.

Back to today’s ride: The roads and scenery were fabulous.  Physically I felt fine all day.  The uphills turned to downhills and then to uphills again….all day long.  My speed dropped to 5 mph on some climbs but I flew back down the hills at speeds up to 42 mph!   I enjoyed myself today so much more than those first 2 days into the heat and headwind.  This is the kind of day I imagined when I started planning this adventure.  I hope there will be many more days like this to come – but maybe with a little less climbing.

Numbers 55 miles @ 14.5 mph  –  2200 calories burned – 28663 heart beats – Max HR 148 Avg HR 124 – In the last 13 miles alone there were 1347 vertical feet of climbing – Those were challenging miles!
6/12/2012.3

Just got back from a great dinner at Longhorn Steak House.  Amanda our waitress was great and she was already wearing her LiveStrong bracelet when we met her.  She wished us well and fed us well too!  Earlier this afternoon we went for a drive on hiway 38 to check out the route for tomorrow.  I am planning to jumpstart the ride tomorrow by driving ahead on the route and restarting my ride around Houston, Mo and hope for good weather.  John’s had is fixed and he on the mend!

6/12/2012.2

Just did my power yoga and core work outs.  Heading to the pharmacy for John’s meds.  Tomorrow we will drive down the route a ways to get somewhat back on track.  Maybe someday I will come back to cycle these beautiful roads near Springfield, but not this week 😉

6/12 /2012

John’s Surgery was successful this morning.  They removed the abscess from his knuckle and put him on antibiotics and pain killers.  John can’t drive for 24 hours so we will be hanging in Springfield for another night.  We may scout out some of tomorrow’s route later today but all in all we will be taking it easy and we will re-plan our remaining days in Missouri because we need to meet up with my brother in western Kentucky at the end of the week.   We’ll be back on the GPS map tomorrow and hopefully back on track by the end of the week, even if i have to skip a few miles across Missouri.  Adventures come in all shapes and sizes, and this is an adventure to be sure…

6/11/2012.2

As i said earlier, the best laid plans always need a plan B.  Today cycling for me was rained and lighteninged out.  Early this morning I watched the south wind and clear skies disappear as the skies turned black and a northerly wind blew down on us… and it rained… and rained.  So we decided to just explore the back roads along  highway CC and 38.  We had a great time.  We met Louie whose great grandfather was named Mawhee and he was an American Indian who survived the Trail of Tears where so many Indians died as the US government moved them from their homes.   We had a great chat with Louie.  Louie shared his political views on the tailgate of his 49 Chevy pickup.

Louie

Louie

Louie says he sees bikers all the time passing his house because it is right on the TranAmerica bike route.  He said they are all welcome to enjoy the shade in his yard and help themselves to his water.  Louie represents Americana at its best!  He was a hoot.

We drove to Marshfield and had a great lunch at Frida’s Cafe, which is a family run cafe with great food and super friendly staff.  I highly recommend that if you  ever find yourself in Marshfield that you avoid the McDonalds and Subway and head to Frida’s instead.  While eating lunch i noticed that John’s finger, which he injured a week or so ago, was looking bad.  It was infected.  So we decided to take advantage of the rainy day and drove to the closest ER which was in Springfield.  They triaged John through Urgent Care and sent him immediately to Dr Wyrfch, an orthopedic hand specialist.  He quickly determined that the knuckle of John’s index finger of his left had was badly infected and had to be cleaned and drained.   So, we have surgery scheduled for tomorrow at 6:30am.  We’ll play it by ear from there.  We’ll see how John feels after the surgery and then decide our plans for the rest of the week.  I told John not to worry about my adventure…people, friends and fingers are much more important.  I hope that there has not been any permanent damage to his finger.  Please keep John in your prayers.  Tonight we had a spagetti dinner at Zios, it was very good.  We had a great waiter named Blake.  We had a fun time telling him about Extra Virgin Olive Oil (he now knows what makes it better then Virgin or other Olive Oils…do you?)  We found that he is a runner who was very interested in my adventure.  His goal is to run a Ironman someday.  I gave him a card with my website on it and suggested he read UltraMarathon Man” by Dean Karnazes… and i think he will read that inspiring book because he wrote it down.rainy day in Bolivar

Someone emailed me today that “Chuck Norris would have made the rain move out of his way and kept riding,” but clearly, I am not Chuck Norris 😉  I am having a great time, and a great adventure whether on the bike or off.  John and I are remembering our last road trip together in a school bus back in 1971, and we are having a hoot trying to remember the details, some of which we may have exaggerated over the years!  Not sure what tomorrow will bring  but John’s health is number one and everything else will fall into place after that.  Tune back in tomorrow…6/11/2012.1

UPDATE:  Weather is not clearing.  Lightening too. We have decided to have a different kind of adventure today.   Instead of biking we are driving to Marshfield where we will spend the night and stop at some towns a long the way…afterall part of Al’s Adventure is to visit the backroads of America, close up and personal.  So, let’s do it!  The forecast for tomorrow looks better and i should be back on the bike and back on track tomorrow.

6/11/2012

We are hold up in the hotel in Bolivar this morning.  Big rain & wind.  We went for a walk this morning and saw the wind was still out of the south, then we looked to the north and saw a huge black wall of clouds heading our way.  “I think i will wait a little bit before i leave this morning” i told John.  As we walked back to the hotel the clouds were upon us and torrential rains began to fall.  Good think i didnt start out early this morning because i would have been clobbered by this storm.  In just a few minutes the wind totally reversed direction and became violent out of the north.   We are waiting to see what happens.  If it clears soon, i will ride, if not we will  drive around and do some exploring.  Looking for cooler temps and more favorable winds..

Saturday picture:

the start of  an adventure

the start of an adventure

6/10/2012

What a challenging day.  I sure could have used my ‘escorts’ today.  Yesterday they took care of me in the headwinds like i was the ‘protected rider’ of the team and it helped more than i can say.  Today turned out to be a tougher day than yesterday.  I was planning on riding 55 miles to Bolivar.  But I decided to skip the first 5 miles because of 2 bridges with narrow shoulders that cross Truman Lake…John drove me out across the bridges then he went  back and ate and showered at the hotel.  Temperature was quite warm this morning but what really caught my attention was the wind.  I was riding directly into a 20+ mph wind the whole day.

I chuckled when i saw a “Share the Road” sign with a picture of a bicycle on it and then 1/2 mile later saw a “Share the Road” with a picture of an Amish wagon on it.  This is such a neat part of Missouri!  The people are so friendly and helpful. I also noted several armadillo’s that had not made it safely across the road.  I felt pretty good at the start of the day but as the temperature increased I slowed down.  Wind and heat – yuck!  I drank LOTS of water today and didn’t cramp but my stomach was still a little off.  I stopped along the way to rest and cool down several times and once, i was lying on the edge of the pavement and some local folks stopped to see if i was ok – I think they were surprised when i sat up and started chatting with them.  Anyway, at 35 miles i called John.  “I need some ice water! Now!”  He was there in 5 minutes and I decided that enough was enough and i hoped into the truck.  No reason to go past my limit today.  There are many days and many miles to go.  2 days with headwinds and heat are enough.  Tomorrow i start heading east (hopefully the wind will stay out of the south), temps tomorrow are forecasting a high of 84.  That will be a great relief.

I have read about others who have ridden cross country and how they have to ride into shape and figure out their nutrition and hydration.  I am seeing what that means. I thought i was in good shape, but these first 2 days have been a challenge..

I am trying to follow my yoga instructor’s (Lindsay’s) advice..and listen to my body.  Drinking my protein drink to help me recover and heading for bed.

numbers from today…  1553 calories burned, 21235 heat beats, avg HR 121, 34 miles, 2:55 hrs, 11.7 mph, 666 feet of climbing.   I am ready for an easier day tomorrow!

Looks like the GPS transmitter wasn’t working so well today.  I will keep a better eye on it in the future.

Had a great pizza dinner at Breadeaux Pizza, with a great waitress who was running the whole place by herself last night.  Thanks for the great dinner and friendly service.  Both John and I enjoyed our stay in Bolivar, stopping at several stores including the pawn shop.

6/9/2012

And so it begins.  At 8am my driveway was filled with friends and family this morning.  Cycling friends, Cerner friends, my kids, their husbands and grandbaby Kaya.

We started out right on time and headed south into a stiff headwind.  It was great having my friends riding with me to help ease the effort heading into the wind.  I am truly blessed to have friends who care enough to help me on this first day of my adventure.   We saw this ominous historic marker sign heading south on Metcalf.

Trail of Death

Trail of Death

At Louisberg (26 miles) most of my riding companions turned off and enjoyed a fast tailwind return to my house.  Dave and Jeff Koehler and Mike Miller continued to ride with me.  Dave and Jeff accompanied us and arranged to be picked up at Harrisonville (48 miles) and Mike and i continued south….bucking the wind and heat the whole way.  Huge thanks to Dave and Jeff for helping us reach Harrisonville safely.  As the day wore on the heat and wind increased.  Mike was riding well, but i was starting to fade.  John Cebuhar kept checking on us and bringing us cold water and Mike’s wife, Pam, was taking pictures and seeing if we were ok.  Finally at about 74 miles we stopped and I said, that’s enough for today.  And Pam gave us a ride to the hotel skipping the last 10 miles of the windy ride.  I was experiencing some heat related issues. Cramping and upset stomach.  Not wanting to over do, i decided that getting off the bike was the right thing to do in order to make sure i was ready to ride tomorrow.  Trying to exhibit a littke common sense?  Tomorrow i plan to start earlier in the morning and with on 60 miles to ride to Bolivar tomorrow it should be a better day.

Feeling much better this evening after eating and drinking.  Here are some interesting numbers from today…  4398 calories burned, 37590 heat beats, avg HR 126, 74 miles, 5:58 hrs, 15 mph, 1729 feet of climbing.  Gallons of sweat, lots of water, energy drink and supplements….!

THANKS TO ALL MY FRIENDS FOR THE WONDERFUL SEND OFF!

TRAINING AND PREPARATION

6/8/2012

Today was “Wear Yellow Day” at Cerner.  Both the Classic and CoPathPlus teams did it up right!

Wear Yellow Day KC

Wear Yellow Day at Cerner – KC

Wear Yellow Day at Cerner

6/7/2012

A good night at the airport.  Warm and windy but i felt pretty good.  I am not worried about logging a lot of miles at this late date, just want to make sure i have some snap in the legs.  I road about 21 miles today at 18.3 mph…and didn’t really push myself to do it.  I felt good all night.  The bike feels good and i think i have the aero bars dialed in.  Tomorrow John Cebuhar arrives.  He will be my support team for the first week.  Tomorrow night i will just finish packing and rest.

6/5/2012

Laps at the downtown airport.  Windy and warm.  Steady pace – not too hard.  No reason to ride hard now… Just keep the legs turning circles and the blood flowing.  The fun will be starting soon…

6/4/2012

Important preparation tonight.  I visited Dave and Brigitte at Wyandotte Family Chiropractic Center for my pre-ride adjustment.  I left feeling great and empowered and ready to ride!  Then stopped at TREK and Target to get some last minute items.  Tic toc tic toc…. Also talked to the folks at LiveSTRONG Sporting Park today.  They are going to put my story up on their website to help spread the word about what I am doing and why.   Pretty cool!

6/3/2012

Worked a little late tonight.  Didn’t go to yoga because Lindsay was not teaching tonight.  So I went shopping for an array of miscellaneous stuff that we need for the ride.

6/2/2012

Much better today.  Windy but not too hot.  Blue skies.  I felt good today.  I rode 70 solo miles at over 16 mph even with my trunk loaded with extra pounds of stuff!  And i felt good at the end.  I could have done 100 miles (i think).  Today with the extra weight in the trunk i noticed how it affects the bikes handling.  Center of gravity is way off – gotta be careful.  Also installed the aero bars today.  They really helped riding into the wind.  Today was a great training ride to build on for big ride that starts next week.

5/30/12

No training tonight, helped manage the KC Corp Challenge team  as they finished their heats tonight.   Tomorrow i meet with a contractor at home, but hopefully will get some riding in later in the evening.  A few days of recovery at this point is nothing to be concerned about.  I am trying to round up a few more folks to ride with me on day one of the Adventure..

5/29/12

Some anti training tonight as i competed in the KC Corporate Challenge ‘race’  – 3 miles as fast as i can go on a hot and windy night.  i averaged about 20mph and felt pretty good considering my heat issues a few days ago

5/28 /12

When will these TV weathermen ever get the wind forecast right?  This morning they said 10mph winds – Let me assure you that 20+ would be more accurate.  Another hot day and i am still not 100% today but Cheri says i am looking better.  I rode an easy 20 miles today… well not really easy with that wind, but so it goes!  I am glad this dehydration event took place now, so i can recover before the ride and pay better attention to hydration during ‘the ride.’

5/27/12

I took today off.  I felt like crap.  Yesterday the heat really got to me and i was dealing  with some sunstroke.  I lost over 7lbs while riding.  That is way too much.  Today i laid low, watched 3 car races, drank tons of water and lemonade and chicken soup.

5/26/12

A tough day in the saddle today.  67 miles but the temperature was in the 90s and i really suffered during the last 15 miles.  Reminder to self:  drink more water and start rides earlier in the morning to avoid the mid-afternoon heat.  Today was my first  day to ride with my ‘trunk’ on my bike.  It adds close to 10lbs to my bike,  but it will be a life saver!  It seems like I have had a few warnings during my training rides like when i broke my front wheel a few weeks ago (warning = Pay attention to where you are going!) and the heat today (warning = Drink more water, avoid the heat, take rest stops along the way!) — I will heed these warnings and enjoy a safe and healthy cross country ride.

5/24/12

Several things going on this week at home and at work have limited my training rides.  KC Corporate Challenge Time Trial is next week, so i had to log a few miles on my TT bike to adjusted to it.  I rode about 22 miles at the airport and felt pretty good.  Made several adjustments to the seat and handle bars to help dial in my position.  This time trial stuff is exactly the opposite of my cross country trip and i am not too excited about riding as hard as i can for 6-7 minutes…. when i am trying to focus on long slow days in the saddle.

5/20/12

Squeezed in an easy 22 mile recovery ride today.

5/19/12

I burned 7000 calories and rode 194 total miles for this week!  I went out today for endurance, looking to do 80-90 miles, solo.  But weather was a factor today.  The wind was vicious, making it hard to ride a straight line going east or west, making it fun to ride north, but making it near impossible to ride in a southerly direction.  It was not a fun day but i stuck with it.  2 laps of my 32 mile Heritage Park to Hillsdale Lake route and then a short loop to Antioch added up to 73.1 miles @ 15mph.  Not bad considering the weather conditions.  Gives me confidence that i will be up for this kind of daily distance a couple weeks from now.

The challenge with a bike tour like Allen’s Adventure is to find a pace/speed that i can ride all day and still have the strength and energy to get up and do it again the next day.  My unpublished goal is to average 15 mph for the entire trip.  And i think if i can manage 15 mph on a day like today, i should be fine riding in more decent weather conditions…

5/17/12

Downtown Airport again tonight.  Yes, it was windy again!  Steady pace allowed me to complete 21.7 miles at 17.9mph.

5/16/12

Downtown Airport after work.  Windy as usual 21.7 miles 17.8 mph.  It is a good sign that  i am able to go harder during these shorter workouts.

5/15/12

Hill repeats at 95th street again.  Completed 14 repeats tonight 24.4 miles in all…not going very fast but building endurance (i hope).

5/14/12

Ran late at work and missed yoga tonight.. So i did the next best thing, Cycl-Core workouts on the mat.  Great work out to build back and core strength and flexibility.  I should have been doing these workouts for the past 2 months, but somehow lost track of them as i was trying to get in more riding time…  Checked out my flat tire situation and found a leak caused by a spoke due to worn rim tape.  Replaced the rim tape and patched the tire and will try it again tomorrow with my new mini bike pump.  I really suspected I would find a sliver of glass in the tire, but found nothing, and the leak in the inner tube was on the rim side of the tube.  Time will tell. Tomorrow i will be heading to the airport.

5/13/12

52 miles south of Olathe near Hillsdale Lake.  Felt good, feel like i am building strength and confidence.  Rode the 1st hour at 18mph but then flatted and found out my tire pump is worn out and couldn’t pump the tires to full pressure.  So I rode the remaining 34 miles on a low rear tire felt pretty good all day even on some long and steep hills.  The hill workouts are starting to make a difference.   Definitely felt like i could have ridden a lot farther today.  Average speed is improving.  Glad i was able to push myself.  That is a good sign.

5/12/12

32 miles south of Olathe near Hillsdale Lake.  Planned to go further but the weather changed and i ran into a severe headwind for the last 10 miles.  Then came the rain.  I just made it back to the car in time to avoid a drenching.  Felt pretty good today.

5/10/12

21 miles at Downtown Airport.  SPINNING only.  Avg RPM over 90 rpm.  We have to train our nervous system as well as our muscles, so the legs will trigger the muscles in the proper sequence.  Spinning helps do this.

5/9/12

29miles @ 18 mph at the Downtown Airport.  A great place to ride after work with limited traffic.  Nothing fancy here, just rode steady into the wind and out of the wind.  Felt good.  If the weather holds I will be back tomorrow to do intervals.

5/8/12

Hill repeats on 95th street.  These are long challenging hills about 1/2 mile long.  I did 10 repeats.  Good workout.  Not climbing fast, but I am remembering how to climb… there will be many hills to climb in Missouri and Kentucky and Virginia.. I think Illinois will be pretty flat…(I hope 😉

5/7/12

Back to yoga class, my daughter Lindsay is the instructor.  I love these classes and sorry I’ve missed the past few weeks.  Felt better after class than I have for several weeks.  There is something healing and relaxing about yoga no matter how hard the work out.  If you ‘ tried yoga you don’t know what you are missing nor how difficult it can be!

5/6/12
It rained today big time with thunder and funnel cloud sightings, so no riding for me today. I should have done some mat/core work but instead I would up working on my bicycles. I talked to my friend Jay Lushen who is hoping to join me on the first 2 days of my ride. It will be great to have him with me! I am also inviting all my cycling friends to join me on the first day and ride with me for as many or as few miles as they can. Should be fun..

5/5/12
5 weeks to go.  I have been training since November with some unavoidable gaps.  Riding 2-3 nights a week and trying to build mileage on the weekends, but last weekend was a bust so I decided to go for 65 miles today to build my base miles.  My longest ride far this year was 55 miles, need more! It was hot (90) and windy (15-20) today so it was not an easy day but I felt ok, till the last 10 miles when the heat finally wore me down.  4:20 – 15.1 mph – a good day to build on.  I need to get some big miles in over the next few weeks… tic toc tic toc.

122 Thoughts on “Day by Day Blog

  1. George Gy. on April 30, 2012 at 9:05 am said:

    Good luck mau freimd! I’ll be there for you! :)

  2. Steve H. on May 14, 2012 at 4:03 pm said:

    Nice job. Keep it up!

  3. Joe Pundzak on May 30, 2012 at 10:09 pm said:

    Allen, I’ve always admired your determination and spirit. This is an awesome challenge, both physically and spiritually, but I know you can do it once you’ve set your mind to it. You make us proud to call you friend.

    Joe & Linda

  4. Lindsay on June 9, 2012 at 9:00 pm said:

    Dad,
    Great first day! Way to listen to your body…said your yoga teacher. :) Love you! Stay safe on your travels tomorrow!

  5. Tony Flieg on June 9, 2012 at 9:27 pm said:

    Glad to see that you had an escort for the first 25 miles. I know that today was hot and sunny but it should have been a great first day. Sue and I were thinking about you today and hoped that you had an awesome day on your adventure cross country. We’ll continue to follow your journey to Yorktown.

  6. pete barth on June 9, 2012 at 9:29 pm said:

    Sorry I couldn’t join the peloton today but glad I was able to find you and wish you bon voyage. Have fun!

  7. Cindy on June 9, 2012 at 9:57 pm said:

    Off to a good start! Keep listening to your body and it will give all that you need.

  8. Steve H. on June 9, 2012 at 10:27 pm said:

    Nice job today. I was glad to be part of the send-off. Mike G. and I made it back to your house around 11:45, for a total of 52 miles. You’re right, that tailwind was nice! We averaged just under 20 for the 26 miles back. I was ready to be done at that point and was feeling for you guys as it got hotter and knew you were fighting the wind. Glad to hear you’re feeling better. I’ll be watching the “Spot.”

  9. Kumar A on June 10, 2012 at 9:04 am said:

    Way to go Allen!!!. All the very best and stay safe.

  10. looking forward to today’s update…. get off a little late? or did you forget to turn spot on? stay well… stay strong….

  11. wow brother…. way to use your head and not try to fool Mother Nature…. keep them electolites in balance… may good weather and tail wind be with you tomorrow….

  12. A special shout out to my support team who joined me Saturday for the beginning of my Adventure! THANKS TO YOU ALL!

  13. lindsay on June 10, 2012 at 10:10 pm said:

    Way to go dad!! First two days down. Wicked temps and you made it. Looking forward to the update tomorrow.

  14. BrewCrew on June 11, 2012 at 9:18 am said:

    Tip to deal with heat? Ride in the morning, siesta in the afternoon, ride in the evening? This might mess up your hotel schedule, but don’t turn into a statistic. Coming back to work is mandatory.

  15. Karen on June 11, 2012 at 11:53 am said:

    hope the weather clears for you – my daughters have been following your progress too

  16. Nancy on June 11, 2012 at 1:12 pm said:

    Pa is just ahead. I didn’t know you were from Pa . Me too. I rode from Buckner to Lexington Mo once. That about did me in. Keep it up and drink water.

  17. another wise decision,,, there’s always tomorrow and there is no race…. keep the faith

  18. Sorry to hear about John…. just where did he put that finger anyway??? I’m bringing my first aid kit for sure..
    Let’s hope the dr does it right and he’ll be ready o relive that road trip again.,,, or perhaps retell this adventure and how he injured his finger saving you from falling off the cliff…. grin… well, be safe… stay well, live strong..

  19. Steve H. on June 12, 2012 at 12:47 pm said:

    Be sure to check out Bass Pro Shop there in Springfield since you have some extra time!

  20. Carlos on June 12, 2012 at 1:15 pm said:

    Allen,
    I am sending some good weaher your way.

  21. BrewCrew on June 12, 2012 at 2:27 pm said:

    Allen; power yoga? Isn’t power yoga an oxymoron? Is power yoga like Power Tai Chi, Power Nap, pretty ugly, jumbo shrimp, crash landing or Microsoft Works? Come-on, power yoga really?! Just come out and say YOGA. :) One more thing – and don’t anyone take this the wrong way, but I’d bet John’s infection clears right up just as soon as you get out of Missouri. (I’m just sayin’) :op
    I crack me up.

  22. Mark G. on June 12, 2012 at 6:03 pm said:

    Allen, I see you are making progress. Keep it up!

  23. Anthony on June 13, 2012 at 1:47 pm said:

    Looks like just outside Alley State Park. Keep on truckin!

  24. Lindsay on June 13, 2012 at 9:35 pm said:

    Dad had a good day today. 55 miles in the mountains. Lots of climbing, but a good day. Bad internet connection will delay his update until tomorrow.

  25. Keith Wuttke on June 14, 2012 at 5:40 am said:

    Give my best to John- sorry ‘nout the finger- Keep the faith Bro- you’ll make it.

  26. BrewCrew on June 14, 2012 at 1:41 pm said:

    Allen, check the email. We sent you some pictures. Stay hydrated.

  27. Keith Wuttke on June 14, 2012 at 7:48 pm said:

    Looks like you’re about to the border of Mo. Way to go – Keep the faith Bro!!!!

  28. William Wuttke on June 14, 2012 at 7:57 pm said:

    Keep it up Uncle Allen!! I feel kind of pathetic, considering I don’t know how to ride a bike, and you’re biking that far!! Keep it up; we’re all rooting for you!!

  29. Cheri on June 15, 2012 at 5:27 pm said:

    Glad when you call that you sound so “up beat” after your rides especially the last few days. You know I can tell in your voice if there is a problem. Hard to fool someone who knows you so well. Love you and good luck tomorrow.

  30. Lindsay on June 15, 2012 at 10:01 pm said:

    Dad, so proud of you! 1 week down…3 to go!

  31. Jay Luschen on June 16, 2012 at 12:54 pm said:

    Looks Like thing are moving along, not as planned, but how often does that happen. Plan B comes in handy, maybe plan B should be plan A. Did that make sense?
    Glad every one is doing well, keep on riden.

    Wish I was ridding with you,

    Jay Luschen

  32. Charlotte Weber on June 16, 2012 at 8:05 pm said:

    Im keeping Cheri company. She just picked an awful movie I saved you from that! Have a great time. Stay strong.

  33. Hey Mark Brewer… I just thought i would tell you that southeast Missouri is full of ‘Brewers’, lots of them. Brewer Ice Company, Brewer Real Estate, Brewer gas and cafe, Brewer Running for office…the Brewcrew is everywhere. Just Sayin..

  34. Keith Wuttke on June 16, 2012 at 9:48 pm said:

    Remember one thing Al- If it was easy – everyone would do it! I am very proud of you Brother and wish I had the wherewithall to join you. Keep the faith Bro! and BE CAREFUL- Bad deal about those Riders you met- and all of thier misfortune.

  35. Kumar A on June 17, 2012 at 12:21 pm said:

    Looks like you are having fun minus the heat, humidity, and other unfortunate challenges. Great going Allen. Keep those updates coming…

  36. Lindsay on June 17, 2012 at 7:23 pm said:

    Happy Father’s Day Dad! Glad you spent it doing something you love!

  37. Steve H. on June 17, 2012 at 11:18 pm said:

    Probably a good call on the rest day. Scarf down that protein and get healed up so you can enjoy the rest of your trip!

  38. BrewCrew on June 18, 2012 at 8:48 am said:

    Happy post father’s day Allen. Thanks for the tip on the “extended family”. It sort of reminds me of Blazzing Saddles and all the Johnsons. I’m glad to see that you finally crossed over to Illinois. Here’s something to ponder, even God rested on the Seventh day… Carbo load, get some electrolytes and plenty of water.

  39. Julie R on June 18, 2012 at 1:58 pm said:

    Looks like you are making great progress Allen! Keep it up…you will be there in no time!

    Thanks for doing this, it is a cool experience for all of us! :)

  40. MikeG on June 19, 2012 at 10:40 am said:

    Allen,
    Way to go, good to see the tracker is working once again. I image that you had a tough couple of days getting through southern Missouri with the hilsl, but good training to prepare you for the hill to be faced later. Be careful and don’t over do it in the heat. Look forward to more updates.

  41. Stephany on June 19, 2012 at 1:18 pm said:

    You are getting there. It is very neat to watch you on your adventure! We are thinking of you!

  42. Tina A. on June 19, 2012 at 2:21 pm said:

    Allen hang in there! It was fun reading through your blog. You’re doing great. I still can’t believe you’re doing this ride. :)

  43. BrewCrew on June 19, 2012 at 2:42 pm said:

    Wow. You didn’t stay long in Illinois. As a wolverine, I can’t really blame you. So, as you travel through Kentucky, can you look to see if they really have basketball hoops outside of all the double wides? Wait, what am I thinking, Kentucky recruits all of their basketball talent from out of state. Have fun in the Kentucky hills. Keep pedalling.

  44. Keith Wuttke on June 19, 2012 at 8:24 pm said:

    Good blogs Al- I knew you’d be smart about this trip- and do what you can do! Glad you’re enjoying the ride-
    Love ya Bro!

  45. Lindsay on June 19, 2012 at 9:11 pm said:

    Dad – Matt laughed at the coincidence of you peddling by the Maker’s Mark barrel on the year it will be ready to pour. 😉

    Sounds like you are enjoying your trip a bit more each day. What a self-learning experience!

  46. Jim Grimm on June 19, 2012 at 11:09 pm said:

    Allen,
    Enjoy following your trek every day, Be careful.
    Jim

  47. Carrie on June 20, 2012 at 10:01 am said:

    I have been keeping up on your blogs and it looks like you are really enjoying your time off! So happy for you! Keep up the great work! Take Care!

  48. Lori Cross on June 20, 2012 at 12:24 pm said:

    Allen – I love seeing your photos and reading your blog updates. I am happy for you! Keep on pedaling!

    Lori

  49. MikeG on June 20, 2012 at 1:38 pm said:

    Allen,
    Good to hear that your equipment is holding up perfectly and no comfort issues. This is a true testament that it is worth the extra cost for quality and comfort. Enjoying the updates and the GPS tracking. That bourbon will come in handy to help unwind and relax.

    Good Luck, your doing great.

  50. Charlie on June 20, 2012 at 2:05 pm said:

    It’s all about seat comfort and avoiding stings! Enjoying the updates.

    Keep it up! Charlie

  51. Laura on June 20, 2012 at 7:16 pm said:

    Hi Dad!! Miss you! Glad you are having a good time and meeting so many people! Can’t wait till you get home!! We miss you so much!

  52. Keith Wuttke on June 20, 2012 at 10:22 pm said:

    Hope you had a sip for me! You’ll have to teach me how to taste next time we’re together. I like Makers Mark better than the bourbon you get now– Going to see Stevie Vai in September- With a friend of mine that was in Music School with him (Berkley School of Music)

  53. Anthony on June 21, 2012 at 6:40 am said:

    Wondering if you will be getting some of this rain that passed through last night. They are saying mid-upper 90’s this coming Saturday here in KC. Stay cool, stay dry and take care!

    • 40% chance of rain tonight. but then back up to the mid 90s for a few days. They are calling for some days in the 80s next week but of course i will be down the road a piece by then, and it will probably be hot wherever i am. It is just turning out that way. 😉

  54. Jim Miksch on June 21, 2012 at 4:23 pm said:

    Al,

    Sounds like you having a great time. Wish I was there. Look forward to heraing about the Appalachians.

    Jim

  55. Keith Wuttke on June 21, 2012 at 9:06 pm said:

    Al- I talked to Mom for a while tonight and she sounded okay- still sounds weak- but seemed to enjoy the talk- I’m gonna try to get the kids there this weekend- if she’s up to it.
    Take care- and keep hydrated.

  56. Tony Sargent on June 22, 2012 at 3:35 pm said:

    Allen –

    Good stuff! I envy your “opportunity” and the time on the road – what a cool thing you’re doing!

    Tony

  57. Denise Little on June 22, 2012 at 4:07 pm said:

    I have really enjoyed reading your blogs…sounds like you are having some great adventures on the road. Hope to hear the expanded versions of some of them when you’re back in the office. Here’s wishing you good weather and more wonderful experiences along your journey.

  58. BrewCrew on June 22, 2012 at 4:25 pm said:

    Allen; in your travels, I’m wondering if you have had to endure any road construction sites? Hopefully you didn’t have to dodge too many orange barrels. You know what road crews use at the North Pole, right? Snow Cones. (I crack me up). Stay hydrated.

    • First time with barrels and cones was today. And no shoulder to ride on with traffic whizzing by. No wonder i missed my turn off and went an extra 5 miles … Allen does not like orange barrels..

  59. Laurel on June 22, 2012 at 5:29 pm said:

    Hi Allen,

    Way cool – the Maker’s Mark Ambassador story and that you got to go there and see and learn. Love watching you on the tracker and been reading the blog regularly. Keep us posted – Sounds like you are meeting lots of interesting folks and it certainly is an adventure. Kind of jealous. The CoPath group in Boston – watercooler topic on a regular basis – hey did you see and read about Allen lately….

  60. Lindsay on June 22, 2012 at 7:47 pm said:

    Miss you Dad! Glad you are meeting so many new and interesting people. I am sure it makes the trip more entertaining. Love you, see you in a few weeks!
    Linds

  61. Mike and Pam Miller on June 23, 2012 at 8:56 am said:

    Al, thank you for your daily updates. We have been following you every day. What interesting people and sites you have had the opportunity to experience. Thanks for the great pictures. Hang in there and when you hit those hills remember the great Armstrong cause and the passion and desire you had as you prepared for this memorable trip. We pray for your safety and health.

  62. Allen on June 23, 2012 at 7:20 pm said:

    Thanks for your prayers and thoughts Pam and Mike. I cannot tell you how much i appreciated your help and companionship on that first day of riding. (Seems so long ago now!) And thanks for the pictures and support!

  63. Lindsay on June 23, 2012 at 7:36 pm said:

    Hang in there Dad. Sounds like the toughest part of the ride is ahead with the mountains. You are almost done! :) And you will have all kinds of stories to tell us all when you come home.

  64. Harlene on June 23, 2012 at 8:25 pm said:

    Rest those legs for the next challenging climbs…what an awesome experience! It is fun keeping up day to day…the short video today was cool! You both stay safe…

  65. Suyani on June 23, 2012 at 11:29 pm said:

    Hi Allen. I enjoyed reading your blog. What an awesome way to spend your sabbatical! Will you be heading west to So. Cal next time? Btw, I didn’t know you’re a Grandpa! Congratulations!! I love your granddaughter’s name- Kaya means “rich” in Indonesian.

    Stay safe and stay healthy!!!

  66. Rich Dalton on June 24, 2012 at 2:55 pm said:

    Interesting to see the evolution of your posts and state of mind. Now, your beginning to channel Donovan?! Careful when you get to Yorkstown that you don’t begin singing “Way down below the ocean…”. Stick to “I love my shirt…” ( you do seem to be appreciating your gear). Look forward to beauty and challenges, I’ll look forward to stories.

  67. Anthony on June 25, 2012 at 8:09 am said:

    Hi Allen,
    Hope this post finds you dong well.I would be curious (and maybeI have missed this), about how much liquid do you go through in a day that you ride, ie, water, gatorade, etc. Anyway, hot here in KC and wishing you contnued success on your journey. Take care!

    • i haven’t kept a real close tally but at least 24 ounces/hr. Today that comes to about 120 ounces plus 24 of the energy drink/mix. And all that fluid does seem to be keeping the cramps away.

  68. Karen on June 25, 2012 at 9:35 am said:

    awesome stories – enjoying reading them – what an amazing experience!!! hang in there over those mountains and enjoy the scenery!

  69. Aaron on June 25, 2012 at 10:23 am said:

    What great stories and pictures, Allen. Your riding inspires me. My Dad and I have been following closely – I know he wishes he could be out there riding with you. Virginia is going to be beautiful – onward & upward!

  70. Keith on June 25, 2012 at 12:20 pm said:

    Allen,
    I enjoyed talking with you and sharing stories. I enjoy reading your blogs and seeing the pictures.
    Keith

  71. Barry on June 26, 2012 at 8:41 am said:

    Allen:

    Your pace is impressive.
    Looks like you are entering the route of the Tour DuPont;
    reminding me of our trip together during the 1992 tour.
    Have fun on Skyline Drive .

    Barry

  72. BrewCrew on June 26, 2012 at 11:24 am said:

    Wuttke; we’re going to have a food day here on the 3rd in your honor. Well, that and July 4th is the next day… However, some team members around work are cajolling for donations. Being a results oriented team, I hope you’ll understand that I’m saving my donation for when you dip that front tire into the Atlantic. Stay hydrated. -brew

  73. Dave DiPasquale on June 26, 2012 at 9:17 pm said:

    I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your blogs each day and also seeing your progress on the map. I know how I felt when I did that ride to Cape Cod with full gear on my bike. Your trip keeps reminding me of my trip back in 1974. At least I was 23 at the time, but it was still tough for me then. So you are quite the trooper doing what you do at your age. You are doing great!

  74. Karen on June 27, 2012 at 9:33 am said:

    welcome to the east coast! glad you’re getting close to the other side of the mountains – stay safe!

  75. lindsay on June 27, 2012 at 1:36 pm said:

    Miss you dad!

  76. Well, son – I finally feel better as you near the finish line. I hope today wasn’t as bad as you anticipated.
    I am very proud of your accomplishment. Cheri is looking forward to seeing you on Saturday. Thank Peter for all his help and company. Love, Mom

  77. Almost over, Allen! Very proud of you.Thanks to Peter for his help Love, Mom

  78. Keith Wuttke on June 28, 2012 at 7:35 am said:

    Way to go Al- You’re very close to your goal! When are you doing the wesrtern half of the US? Take care bro and continued safe and interesting travels!

  79. Steve H. on June 28, 2012 at 7:50 am said:

    Man, some of those pics and elevation charts look pretty crazy! Glad you are having some good weather days. Supposed to be 105 here in KC today. I hope you can outrun the heat wave! Looks like an awesome trip!

  80. Fred T on June 28, 2012 at 11:10 am said:

    Allen, You need to be asking for some ‘shine is this part of the country. May not be helpful the next day though.

  81. BrewCrew on June 28, 2012 at 5:09 pm said:

    Allen, what Fred T said. Get yourself a good pasta dinner then kick back and have a snort or two of granny Clampet’s rheumatiz medicine. “It’s god fer whatever ails ya” That should help with the sleeping and you just might wake up refreshed and invigorated. Nice pics today, btw. -brew

  82. Harlene on June 28, 2012 at 8:37 pm said:

    So close to your goal….just AWESOME! And the pics are great…what a wonderful adventure.

  83. Harlene on June 28, 2012 at 8:38 pm said:

    BTW, at least the beer isn’t Natty Boh (National Bohemenian for the non-Baltimoreans)

  84. Cheri on June 29, 2012 at 7:53 am said:

    Hope you are more in the zone today….so close to your goal, proud of you and love you! Can’t wait to share the rest of the trip with you.

  85. Gina harlow on June 29, 2012 at 4:07 pm said:

    Wow, Allen. You are kicking butt!!!! Thank you so much for sharing this adventure with all of us. I’m truly humbled by your passion and perseverance to share the message of this importance cause. Believe it when people tell you, you are an inspiration. It’s been nice to spend a few minutes of the day living vicariously through you and reading about all the interesting folks you, your buddy and brother have met along the way as well as hearing about and seeing the sites. Very cool! You’ve given me yet another place to add to my list of “places to eat”…I went through a phase of watching too many episodes of Diners, Drive-In, and Dives and Man Vs. Food on the Food Network. 😉 I hope the heat keeps its distance and those climbs come to feel like ant hills. Oh, it’s also been fun to learn about those Tour De France riders and their tricks to stay warm. Yet, another helpful use of a newspaper. 😉 Keep on taking care of yourself, have fun, and Godspeed to you! Oh, I almost forgot to ask…you bringing back any of your bourbon? Just an idea, but I’m thinking team outting, hot dogs, your bourbon??? ha! Had to ask. See you soon!

    • Thanks Gina… I am glad you are enjoying my blog. I hope everyone on the 4th floor is getting a chance to read it too. Believe it or not, my bourbon is not quite ready yet, and i will have to come back after October to get the 2 bottles i reserved. I knew that might be the case because Makers Mark does not bottle their bourbon by date, but only by taste, so the time in the barrel can vary due to heat and weather conditions during the maturation process. Of course when i come back next time Cheri will be with me and i will be driving and staying in a B & B. And, darn the luck, i will have to tour the distillary while i am there to make sure i didnt miss anything the first time.

  86. lindsay on June 29, 2012 at 11:07 pm said:

    Just a week to go. The Tour starts tomorrow! Matt is counting the hours. You have your own tour to complete! Loving reading your blog each night. Be safe and enjoy the ride!

  87. Dave DiPasquale on June 30, 2012 at 4:47 pm said:

    Al: You are near Charlottesville. Just South of there is Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s home. If you have time take a look. Also just down the hill from Monticello is Miche Tavern which has out of this world fried chicken, black eyed peas and all the fixins. The Tavern was there when Thomas Jefferson lived there and they still use the recipies from that time period.

  88. Roger Belanger on June 30, 2012 at 5:08 pm said:

    Al
    Kathy’s daughter Kristi got married in Waynesboro 3 years ago. Beautiful area.

    Roger

  89. Keith Wuttke on June 30, 2012 at 8:11 pm said:

    Wow almost done- How will you top this? Way to go!

  90. Keith Wuttke on July 2, 2012 at 5:42 am said:

    Congrats Bro! You’re there- say Hi to Cheri! Very glad to see your post as we were worried with all the storms. Thanks for posting the updates- very interesting- Now off to work!

  91. Allen dear, thank you so much for letting us know you are alright. We were worried with all the storms in that area. Glad you’re almost there!! Congratulations! Love to you and Cheri. Mom

  92. BrewCrew on July 2, 2012 at 2:56 pm said:

    Allen, sooo close… don’t forget to take that picture of the front tire dipping into the Ocean / Cheasapeake Bay! The blog has been great. Frankly, I think I would be too tired to blog so, while many are admiring your perseverance on your ride, I’m admirining that you are taking pictures, posting pictures and keeping up the blog after the days ride. Keep hydrated. Don’t run over any downed power lines. Remember, the ride is optional, coming back to work is mandatory! – brew

  93. Keith Wuttke on July 2, 2012 at 9:02 pm said:

    Well Done Brother! Nancy,the kids and I are all very proud of you!

  94. Lindsay on July 2, 2012 at 10:57 pm said:

    miss you dad! Enjoy your last day and then enjoy some rest! :)

  95. Nicole Schile on July 3, 2012 at 7:33 am said:

    Awesome job, loved reading your updates! It makes me hope someday I can do a trek on my bike. Enjoy your last day!

  96. DR Woody on July 3, 2012 at 8:19 am said:

    Great work.. in honor of all your hardwork.. I just put you over your $2000 goal…..by the time you see this is will be but needed rest time… See you when you get back… enjoy your time off.. and R&R after all the hard work…

  97. Gina harlow on July 3, 2012 at 2:00 pm said:

    CONGRATULATIONS, ALLEN!!! WE KNEW YOU COULD DO IT!!!! =) Happy 4th to you and Cheri! We’ll see you soon!

  98. Stephany on July 3, 2012 at 2:01 pm said:

    You made it! Congrats… so very proud of you. get some rest and I will see you when you get back.

  99. Steve H. on July 3, 2012 at 3:12 pm said:

    Nice job! That’s got to be a pretty good feeling. I hope you got that bike washed off pretty quickly. Salt water + sand + steel = different color bike :).

  100. BrewCrew on July 3, 2012 at 3:23 pm said:

    COW BELLS all around. Whup-Whup and atta-boy. I made good on my commitment to your results! DRWoody may have put you over 2K, but I helped out your climb to 2.5K… Rest up and enjoy the 4th! Udaman Wuttke. Congratulations.

  101. Keith Wuttke on July 3, 2012 at 7:28 pm said:

    Way ta go Bro- JOB WELL DONE! Wish i was there to celebrate with ya!

  102. Congratulations Brother… we knew you’d make it, and we are so happy that we were able to be part of this great adventure! Rest up, we’ll see ya when you arrive…

  103. Thanks Keith. A little bit of wine or beer is all it takes for me to celebrate these days 😉 And spaghetti too! Talk to you soon..

  104. Keith Wuttke on July 4, 2012 at 8:00 pm said:

    Hope to see you soon Brother! You have no IDEA how PROUD of you I am! I’ve had our whole church congregation praying for you! (I’m trying to get you a donation too!)
    Take care – Safe Journey home! Say Hi To Cheri! (and the girls when ya get home- and Aaron and Matt too! and don’t forget Kaya) LIVE STRONG!

  105. James Gonzales on August 20, 2012 at 8:15 am said:

    Allen, here is the information per our conversation on bike restoration.

    David M. Rainey 800-846-4602 ext. 105
    Groody Brothers Bicycle Restoration
    http://www.GroodyBros.com

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