Day 12, Hello Colorado #TransAmRide4TBI 

Woke up as usual, made breakfast and hit the road. I had problems right from the start. My cleats got clogged with dirt and I couldn’t clip in. Paused a couple minutes at side of road before we even started riding to clean them out. Finally got on the bike and two miles later I had a flat. This is also when I noticed the third broken spoke. Fortunately we’d already decided to stop in the next town, Vernal UT, to repair my other two. We were starting a bit late on the days ride because of it (Altitude Cycle didn’t open until 10am). This also gave us a chance to restock on supplies at the store before setting out again. 

At the bike shop, Brennan, took good care of me and had the wheel fixed quickly. This was our 4th bike shop in three days, but the quickest we were in and out of one.  (Thanks Brennan!)

We made good time the rest of the day. Our last stop in Utah was at last rest area. Talked to a few people there and a very nice lady gave me a cash donation for the cause.  

After finally reaching Colorado we stopped at a diner in Dinosaur. Met several nice people there for a car rally race. One of them has been around auto racing for a while and knows about #TBIs. Good guy. Also met family from my home state off Indiana and we’ll be riding past their house during that portion of the ride. 

After lunch we hadn’t gone to far before Jr, pulled over with a flat tire on his trailer. Of course the spare tube we had brought was bad and wouldn’t hold air. Ended up patching the original and getting back on the road again. 

The rest of the day was a series of climbs as we slowly gained altitude. Just before reaching Maybell, a van with river tour guides in it stopped and have us a beer. Great ladies. 

We rode a few more miles past Maybell before calling it a day, and setting up camp for the night. 

#TransAmRide4TBI 3600mi for #TraumaticBrainInjury #TBI please help them and make a donation

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Day 11, Tour de Spoke continues #TransAmRide4TBI 

We woke up, and started packing up our gear. while were doing this our wonderful hostess woke up, made us a bunch of eggs, and potatoes, espresso, had fruit and yogurt out… it was quite the feast. 
I thought had everything ready to go before we ate, but as usual, it still took me while to get ready. Finally we said good bye to Eileen and Gio, and headed out on the road. 

About 3 miles later, PING! I broke another spoke. We were riding in flat road and I was barely putting pressure on pedals but it went anyway and both of us heard it. 

I pulled over, removed it, and we were underway again. It was a beautiful morning and we were enjoying the ride. By the 22 mile mark we knew we’d summit a mountain at over 9000ft, but the road was only rising a little bit at a time. 

Around 12 mile mark we started a slow steady climb up. We were only climbing for a couple miles when a car pulled over in front of us, and a familiar looking guy got out. It was Gio with my wallet which I’d left behind. Thank you! (Ps, missing socks located) 

We continued on and a few miles later the grade of the climb got much steeper. Jr couldn’t stay with me, so I climbed slowly away from him. This was proving to be toughest climb yet, but my legs and lungs were up for the challenge. I paced myself to keep from pushing into the red zone. I’d never climbed this high and didn’t want to get too far into oxygen debt and get into trouble. I was able to manage a strong steady pace all the way. 

I think we climbed for over an hour, but eventually I reached the summit. It was a tough climb, especially pulling 50lbs trailer behind me, but I felt surprisingly good. I pulled over at the top and waited for Jr.

Once he successfully summited as well, we relaxed a bit, took in some calories, and water, and enjoyed the view. We had climbed to 9485ft, and felt we deIserved a moment to enjoy. 

Before long though it was time to get on our bikes again. This time we were going down! Much easier. And easier to enjoy the scenery. I quickly noticed snow just a bit higher than we’d climbed. 

We were descending very fast when Jr suddenly braked very quickly. I didn’t know why, but grabbed my brakes hard and came to a stop. There before us was a flock of sheep that had wandered into the road. We’d seen signs last several days for open range (free range they wander large fenced in areas, own range there are no fences) areas, but this was our first encounter with the animals taking full advantage of their freedom. 

Moments later we were descending again and loving the view. We were quickly down into the valley and almost raced past a little restaurant. Looked like a house except for little flags that said “Burgers” and “Pizza”. After that big climb, burgers sounded really good (and they were). Found out later that we chose the right place. There were couple other restaurants just up the road in town (Hanna, UT), but everything they serve was frozen/ deep fried. We got a great fresh burger and fries. 


After lunch we continued on. Most of the rest of the days was gentle descent, and short, gentle rises. We were making great time, and enjoying ourselves. 

Eventually we reached rt 40 and that changed. Traffic was heavy, winds were whipping, and going got tough. Plus we found ourselves racing toward a thunder storm which was cutting across in front of us. As we closed in on the storm we decided to pull over, and take a break while giving storm a chance to move past. 

Rest of the day was a fight against the wind, fortunate we weren’t going much further. Just after riding through Roosevelt, where we had couple nice chats with people at the gas station, we pulled of road for a short break. There was a nice little memorial there that we decided to get a couple pics of. 

While we were there, a woman pulled up in her car, got out, and came over to talk to us. She was a local reporter, and saw us ride by, and came to see if she could interview us. It was for a local paper published weekly on Tuesdays (will try to share when it comes out).

After that we rode on a short ways before stopping to camp. Winds were still very strong from the storm and putting up tents was tough. Jr got his up, turned his back, and wind pulled it up from the stakes, and off it went like a nylon tumble weed. I saw it start to go and immediately jumped up and raced in pursuit. Fortunately there was a ditch nearby that it went into or I might not have caught it. 

Jr then proceeded to set up cook stove and heat water for our dinners. While he was doing that I tried to replace my broken spoke. In the process I found a second one (I would find a third the next morning). I only had one replacement spoke for that side, but couldn’t get it for either broken one without removing my cassette, which I didn’t have the tool for, so I gave up on it.

We got dinner heated up just before storm hit again. Everything was quickly secured, and we were forced to eat in our tents, where we would remain the rest of the night. I spent a couple hours watching and listening to the storm while trying to catch up on my blog. 

#TransAmRide4TBI 3600mi for #TraumaticBrainInjury #TBI please help them and make a donation 


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Day 10, Rolling On #TransAmRide4TBI 

We didn’t get very early of a start because we needed to go to bike shop before we left and it didn’t open until 9. So we had plenty of time to wake up and get a good breakfast. Bike shop wad along our route, but 25 miles from hotel. 
We left a bit before 8 and made god timbre getting there. Along the way I spotted something I thought I might never see, despite this being my second trip to the area, the Great Salt Lake. It was still in the distance but I got a good look at it. 

When we got to The Bike Shoppe, in Ogden, UT, I decided to have them dio some work on my bike too. The two spokes I tightened twice day before were loose again, and my shifting was a bit off.
They quickly took care of my bike, but we had to wait a while because they had to go get a part for Jr’s wheel. We were there about 2 hours, but they got us take care of as quickly as possible. 

We changed our route to accommodate for the lost time, which meant riding a couple more sections of I84. Wasn’t preferred route, but kept us from falling further behind schedule. Turned out to be quite pretty. 

We made pretty good time the whole day. Met some great guys at lunch, one of whom had a son that did similar ride. 

There was lots of beautiful scenery, and our climbs were mostly gradual, so it didn’t take much out of us. W rested frequently, and kept fueling our tanks (something we been neglecting). Our goal was to make Francis, UT, stock up on water, and then find first place we could to camp. 

Few miles before we got to Francis a woman on side of road yells something to us but we went by too fast to hear it. Shortly thereafter she pulls up next to me in her car and tells me she used to do bike tours and offered us a place to stay. So we pulled over to discuss. 

Turns out she lived in Francis, which was perfect, and we accepted her offer. We got directions and rode the rest of the way to her house.

Eileen was very generous, and kind and we had great time that evening. We were instantly greeted by her dogs who made us feel very welcome. We had a long chat with her father, 88yo, (and his sweet dog) who shared his life story, and what a life it was. Meet her wonderful husband, Gio, and her cousin (?) Judy. We had a great evening with them, and were well fed, and cared for. Truly wonderful people. 

#TransAmRide4TBI 3600mi for #TraumaticBrainInjury #TBI 

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Day 9, Back into full gear #TransAmRide4TBI 

We got up early, so we could beat the heat. Scenery was so beautiful though that we did take time while eating breakfast and drinking our coffee to enjoy it. Then it was a quick pack and back on the road. 
We quickly put some good miles behind us. Our legs felt great, weather was perfect and we were enjoying life and riding. The easy day had done the trick, we felt great. It wasn’t long before Idaho was behind us and we were entering Utah.

During short rest stop on side of road sheriff pulled up to check on us. Very friendly. Made sure we had enough water, knew where we were going, and them went on his way. 

We stopped briefly mid morning for a short break. Jr had thought he heard a noise from his rear wheel so we checked it out. Sure enough there was a bit of a rub in the hub it wasn’t bad, but dunce there was bike shop near our end point for the day Jr called them and arranged to come in the next morning. The wheel was still very rideable, and wasn’t slowing him so we continued on.

A bit later I noticed something a bit off with my new rear wheel, and so we pulled over again. A couple of spokes were loose, but with that wheel it wasn’t a big deal. It wasn’t wobbling at all. I tightened them and we were off again. 

About midway through the day we had to get on I84 again for a while. There was a cafe there so we stopped for lunch before getting on it. 

After lunch iron was straight to the freeway. The wind had picked up and we had a ferocious head, and it was getting really hot again (around 110F). The wind just battered the heck out of us. After about 10 miles (1/2 the distance we had to go on it) we pulled of at an exit to take a break. We went under the overpass to rest in the shade. 

While we were resting an of duty officer stopped to check on us. He used to do bike tours himself, and helped out at Some local ones. He wanted to make sure we were ok, had enough water, etc. He knew how hard riding out there was and wanted to make sure we were ok. Chatted with him for a while. Great guy. 

We eventually got on the highway again. Wind continued to pummel us the rest of the way. It was almost torture (true torture was riding my wheel at end of day 7).

We eventually got off the freeway, but things didn’t improve. It was a hot, fierce head wind all the way to Brigham City, UT, where we were staying that night. 

Not long after we got off I84 we decided to stop for a break next time we found shade. It was a while, but we eventually saw some buildings in the distance that we thought would work. Turned out we were wrong. They were inside secure fencing. As we rode around facility we started to notice some very odd things about it and realized it had to be government/military. Turned out we were pretty much right. 

It was still a bit of a haul to our hotel, but we fought on through wind best we could. Just outside off town we saw a gas station and the words ice and cold. That was magic to us and we quickly pulled over. I don’t drink soft drinks, but that huge cup of coke hit the spot. 

While we were there a couple guys came in and stopped to ask about our ride. One was former military and totally understands about effects of #TBIs. Great guys and we had nice chat with them.

We finally ride the last miles into town, where we used some of Jr’s points and checked into a hotel. It was a hard day, but physically we still felt good and strong. 

#TransAmRide4TBI 3600mi for #TraumaticBrainInjury #TBI please remember to check out Brain Injury Association of New York State’s website and make a donation to the cause:

 All money goes to them. I’m self funding this ride

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Day 8, Recovery Day #TransAmRide4TBI 

We decided to sleep in, and a shorter day were deserved after the day 7 ride we had. Plus we weren’t expecting our wheels back until around 10:30. We had earned some rest. 
To our surprise our wheels were already at hotel when we woke (thanks Bob, you are the best!). We still took our time eating and getting ready though. We were mentally and physically tired and in no hurry. 

We did eventually get on the road though and just easily spun away the miles. We rode across same canyon as night before, but further east. It was just as beautiful, and this time I had my camera and got a couple of pics. 

The day was pretty uneventful, but the scenery made up for it. Our legs and mind were enjoying the relaxed pace with a shorter goal on the day. 

Around lunch time we stopped in a small town. We decided to just cook up some noodles and relax a bit. There wasn’t much there, but we found a nice little spot in front a church with some shade. Didn’t take long to break out cook gear and start water heating. 

Before we had the water to a boil one of the members of the church, who lived next to it, walked by us and asked us if we needed water or anything. She helped Jr fill out water bottles, and offered to let us use bathroom. She even gave us a bag of fresh snap peas from her garden (they were delishious! We ate half there and other half as soon as we finished riding for the day. What a great, thanks Drew!).

After lunch, we cleaned up, packed up, and got back on the road. We had a vague goal of 60-70 miles, and were in no hurry. 
The rest of the afternoon the miles rolled by effortlessly. It was exactly what we needed. We eventually reached Albion, ID. Where we took a short rest break. 

After about 30min we went to local gas station, bought some beer and munchies and left town to find a place to camp. We weren’t finding anything we liked, but finally after 67mi of riding, we did find the spot….

#TransAmRide4TBI 3600mi for #TraumaticBrainInjury #TBI 

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Day 7, breakdown… #TransAmRide4TBI 

We woke early again, trying to repeat yesterdays plans. Unfortunately the bugs woke up before us the they were swarming bad. Jr quickly packed and abandoned camp. So quick he evidently left the tie downs for his solar panel behind. 
Took me a bit longer, but I finally got out of there. Found Jr waiting for me well down the road. He kept stopping, then bugs would find him again, he’d move, they’d find him…

Our first goal was to restock on water because we were almost out. We stopped in Bruneau, ID to restock and got breakfast. Spent longer than we meant to, but met a wonderful local lady, Bonnie, who was 91yrs young. Had a great chat with her, and she gave us a copy of a book she wrote about her life and the area. We had a great time. 

By time we got on road again though it was starting to get warm. Miles started sliding by quickly, when,  PING, tink, tink,tink, tink… I quickly pulled over to find I had broken a rear spoke. Wheel was rubbing badly against the frame, and I couldn’t ride the bike. 

Jr quickly got on Google maps looking for a bike shop, while I tried to get bike rideable (fortunately I had brought spoke wrench for my wheels which require a special one). Jr found a bike shop 17mi opposite direction we were going, located in small town, which would have added 35mi onto our trip and cost us a lot of time. It was also a small shop in a small town and unlikely to have parts or new wheel. Other option was 80mi in town which was our intended destination anyway.

I got wheel straightened enough that it didn’t rub on the frame anymore, but had to open up rear brakes quite a bit. This meant rear brakes were almost useless. I tried riding it and it did ok. By this time Jr had contacted Cycle Therapy in Twin Falls, ID (our goal town), and they were going to help us out. I decided to cross my fingers that the wheel would hold and go the 80mi.

We got going again, and it felt like I was riding a bucking bronco. Back wheel was wobbling, and no longer round, more egg shaped. Wasn’t comfortable, but we were moving. 

Unfortunately we weren’t on road long when started suffering GI issues and had to keep stopping. Then the nausea set in. Made for slow going and temperatures kept rising, making things worse. 

Finally we called a halt in Hammet, ID. We took long break at gas station, drinking cold beverages while I waited for the meds I bought to kick in. I started to feel a bit better and we went for lunch before starting again. Just before hitting road again I stopped in hardware store to get some oil for cleats. I’d been having trouble with them for couple days. Ladies there hooked me, and we we’re back on the road. 

Bike was still wobbly, but I was feeling better. We elected to get on I84 (legal in ID) the rest of the way. It would save us 15 miles. It was hot, and noisy, but we were going to get there quicker. 

About 10mi down the road Jr suddenly disappears from my mirror. I look back and he is just coasting along looking down at his bike. I stop and wait and when he rolls up he tells me his rear hub broke. His pedals are just spinning and nothing is grabbing. 

Fortunately we are by an exit and he pushes his bike off the highway. We find a tree nearby and stop in the shade.  after We stopped I put down kick stand Jr had made for my trailer and it broke. My bike and trailer fall over. I get it righted and we take off his rear wheel but can’t figure out a solution, so he gets back on phone to bike shop, AAA, and few others trying to ride, help, etc. I keep looking at wheel searching for solution, but it looks like our day is done and we’ll have a missing gap in our TransAm ride.

I finally notice part of the hub is loose and realize it probably isn’t broken just needs tightened. I do my best, but without correct tool, I give up. Jr gave up on phone and sat down to look at wheel. He realizes I’m right, and tried smacking hub into place. While thing shifted and he was able to tighten up enough for it to work again.

(Several people stop, offer us water, help, tools, etc while are there. Unfortunately nor could transport us, bikes, and trailers to our destination or had bike tools)

Elated he called bikes shop, tells them, says were in the way again, but now have 2 wheels for them. We won’t make it before they close but mechanic gives him his number and days he’ll meet us at hotel when we get in. 

We hop back on highway and start moving along again. By this time it is scorching hot and we are just crawling along. We aren’t much further down the road when bike starts feeling worse and I start hearing the wheel rubbing. We pull off at a rest stop to see if I can do anything to improve it. 

I quickly realize rub is coming from opposite side of wheel and find that I broke another spoke. That is it I think, we’re really done this time. My wheel doesn’t have many spokes to begin with, so two gone, I doubt I can make it rideable. Jr again gets on the phone while I try what I can.

Numerous people stop to ask us about our  ride, offer water, and one wonderful woman even gave us some apples and nectarines (absolutely delicious and much needed).

I finally get wheel to stop rubbing on frame, but had to remove brake pads to do it. Now I was definitely down to front brakes only, and that is not good. But we were out of options, so it was back to the highway. Now I was riding a steroid ridden bull and he was angry. 

We didn’t quite get back to highway, stopped on the on ramp, when Jr came up with great idea of putting as much of the stuff from my trailer as possible in his. This would lighten load on my rear wheel.

As we start to do this, Barry, a guy we’d meet at the rest stop, and his wife pull over in front of us. He gets out and offers to take our trailers to our hotel.  He can’t fit is and bikes as well, but this would give us better chance of making it. 

We decided to keep Jr’s to car all of our tools, water, and everything we might still need, but I gratefully sent mine with him. I was slightly more optimistic that the wheel would hold. We still had 40mi to go. 

Back on the highway again it was still hot and we were emotionally and mentally beaten down. It was all we could do to just keep turning the pedals, but we kept moving. 

About 10 more miles down the road we had a flat tire to deal with…

This one wasn’t ours though. We came across a car of the side of the highway with a woman and her son standing there. Despite the day we were having we couldn’t just pass them by, especially after so many people had helped us already. 

So we pulled over, and asked if they needed help. They had a flat tire so I grabbed the jack, Jr the lug wrench, and we went to work. It was our quickest and easiest repair on the day. After making sure she knew about safe speed with the spare and getting changed immediately we were all underway again. 

Jr and were still just spinning out miles the best we could. We finally got off highway a couple of exits before Twin Falls. Back roads at this point would get us there just as fast but without the noise and traffic. We were just moving on autopilot by this point. 

A few miles later Jr ran over some dried branches in the road because it was just to much bother to go around them, and I got showered with their debris. He didn’t mean for that to happen, but it was my final breaking point. I was done. I kept spinning pedals but could put no effort into it, and our already slow pace, got even slower. 

Just before reaching the hotel we crossed a beautiful gorge. Despite the day we were having, we had to stop and get pics. There was even a group of people about to jump off the bridge with parachutes into the gorge. We thought of staying to watch, but the motel was within sight, we were exhausted, starving, and had to get bikes fixed, so we left before they jumped. 

When went to check in my trailer was there. We had forgotten to give Barry Jr’s name, and when they didn’t have a reservation in my name, he booked us a room with his credit card. We were able to make sure room was cancelled and he didn’t get charged. Barry went above and beyond on that one, and I know I will never be able to fully thank him, and will be eternally grateful. What a wonderful person! He really saved us. 

Bob and Mike from Cycle Therapy were there shortly after we got there. Bike shop had long been closed, but they showed up with several wheel options for me. Bob took both our wheels with him, put my cassette on new wheel, rebuilt Jr’s hub (had to custom machine new part), and had them back to hotel by breakfast the next morning. Again, service above and beyond, we’ll always remember him. 

We stayed at the Hampton Inn, and the young lady on duty (LeR…? Sorry did exhausted by then I’m struggling in the name) was very friendly and helpful, and really went an extra step in helping us get settled in after such a tough day. 

The day was finally over, but as hard as it was, it is nothing compared to what people with #TraumaticBrainInjury often face. Things we take for granted they can struggle for years to try and relearn, sometimes never being able to. Things like speaking, basic personal care, and walking. Things they remember being able to do, and simply aren’t able. There can even be changes in personality, struggles with memory concentration, and focus. Hearing and sight issues. They may lose ability to filter their thoughts and words, often losing friends and relatives as a result. Some have help, but many suffer alone, often disbelieved by others that anything is wrong. Our day was bad, but we knew things we could better, they don’t, and know the next day will be just as tough. So please help them:

#TransAmRide4TBI 3600mi for #TraumaticBrainInjury #TBI 

(I didn’t take many pics on day. Hope to have some of Jr’s to post soon. Sorry) 

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Day 6, steadily moving along… #TransAmRide4TBI 

Day 6 we woke up early, and got our best so far. Goal was to get out early and get majority of our miles in before it got hot, and then we could take our time and easily spin through the final miles. It would also be the day we left Oregon behind us. 
Early miles were nice and cool. There was a little climbing, but nothing bad.  passed through a few small towns, which were getting more frequent. It favorite was probably Adrian, which had an incredibly beautiful city hall. 

Wasn’t long before we found the snake river winding its way along beside our path. With the river nearby, and all the green crops, temperatures stayed chiller than they had been. Saw some clever irrigation techniques in the area. Made for a real nice morning. 

Before long we saw a sign that gave a big lift, Idaho was welcoming us! One state officially behind us (Oregon did have a sign saying good bye too). Mentally and emotionally we were riding much lighter.

We did eventually work our way back into the arid, hot, desert. But our plan worked and the bulk of our miles were behind us. We just easily spun along, resting frequently, in whatever shade we could find. Wasnt always easy to find shade, but we weren’t picky. 

Finally we reached Grand View, where we loaded up on water (and beer) a final time for the day. Campsite was just 7 miles away, but had no water (drinking). It was at the base of a hydroelectric dam. Nice little park. It had been a good day, but were glad to be done. 

Spent the evening making dinner, drinking beer, and talking with our neighbor, Bob. Good guy, resource officer at a school, and summer bicycle cop. He was there for fishing tournament. All in all, a good day. 

#TransAmRide4TBI 3600mi for #TraumaticBrainInjury #TBI

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