Day 17, Moving On… #TransAmRide4TBI 7/25/17

Woke early to try and beat the heat and wind, hoping to get big miles early. Unfortunately wind was up before us, and heat was right on our heels. 

I did take time to call and wish my wonderful wife a happy birthday. She had been very supportive of this ride, but I was really sad I couldn’t be with her to celebrate. Happy birthday Jessica, I love you! 

Normally we cover a lot of miles in the morning, but that wasn’t happening today. However, we did keep steadily rolling. Took a few short breaks and buy mid day we saw positive signs of progress. 

The rest of the afternoon was a slow trudge along. Heat spiked at 110F and the wind was hammering us. We finally struggled into St Francis, where we stopped for a long lunch break in the AC.

After lunch we struggled on through the heat and wind. We weren’t moving fast, but we kept going, taking frequent breaks in the shade. When we got to McDonald we found a nice little park/rest area. There was a water faucet with cold water. We couldn’t resist dousing ourselves several times while resting there. By time we moved on, we were feeling much better. 

A few miles up the road we pulled over for a nature call. When we started riding again, I knew something was wrong. Just before stoppingit felt like trailer was getting heavier. Turns out it wasn’t, I merely had a flat tire. There was a thorn in it that I must have gotten in the park. 

Jr hadn’t heard muy shout and had gone up the road a ways before he realized I wasnt with him. By the time he got back I was already working on the tire. He helped me and a few minutes later had tube patched, tire back on bike, tools put away and ready to roll.

Jr got on his bike, rolled 10 feet, stopped, looked at his front tire, then have me this look of “you’re not going to believe this”. I was immediately “No! Tell me you don’t have a flat too!”, but of course he told me that he did, and he too has a thorn. 

I was already on my bike rolling forward so pulled over in front of him. I checked my tires. Front was good, but back had a thorn, and when I pulled it out, there was an immediate hiss of escaping air. We’d hit the trifecta! Flatted a front, a rear, and a trailer tire. All with thorns from the park we’d thought was so wonderful minutes before. 

It didn’t take us long to get both bikes fixed up and get back on the road. We soon arrived in Atwood. Our first stop was at a beverage store to get some stuff for our camp site. Had a nice chat with the young lady, Laura, working there. We then went to gas station and grabbed some food and snacks. 

We only rode a few more miles out of town before finding a place to camp for the night. Camp was quickly set up. We ate our food, had a few beers, and went to bed. It was so hot, and sky above us clear that we left train flys off for better ventilation. 

I woke up middle of night and got it if my tent to answer nature. When I looked up I saw nothing but clouds and lightning flashing everywhere. I grabbed my rain fly to put on, woke Jr and told him tho did same. As we were finishing I felt first rain drops hit my back. We both dove back into our tents just as the skies opened up, and the down pour began. 

The rain quickly cooled things off, and with its steady noise I quickly drifted off to sleep. 

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Day 18, Roll(er) on… #TransAmRide4TBI 7/26/17

We tried waking up early, but hour time change was too much for us, and we slept a bit later than planned. Were still on the road, a bit before we would have been normally been if we were still in same time zone as yesterday morning. 
Wind, and heat were much better than yesterday, and we started putting miles away at a good rate. The road quickly became rolling hill after another, but since wind and heat weren’t a factor, we had no problems, flying over them. And they kept coming. 

We took a number of short breaks along the way, and stopped for lunch. Other the scenery steadily rolling by the day was rather uneventful. That is until we met Evan and Charlie. 

They were on bikes headed the opposite way on highway 36, and we stopped to chat. They were riding from Maine to Seattle. We exchanged some stories and advice before parting ways.

In Phillipsberg we turned south on 183, and took it into Glade, where we turned east on rt9. This is where the fun ended. We found ourselves in a stiff headwind which we fought for next 3hrs. We went from averaging 17mph, to 10mph. It was brutal, and the rollers kept coming at us.

We finally gave it up and called it a day after 130mi. We a nice little work path that lead between a couple embankments where we thought would be a good place to camp. 

Shortly after we got there and were seeing up camp, a guy on an atv comes riding up the path. He pulls over and asks how we’re doing and if we need anything. Another guy rolls up moments behind him on another atv. The first guy, Tim, owned the land we were on. He was more than happy to let us stay there. Asked a number of times if we needed anything. 

We chatted with him, and his son in law, Dan, for a long time. Great guys and we had a wonderful conversation. They eventually left, but Tim came back a while later with some water for us, and some of his wife’s home made granola. Can’t thank him enough. Such a wonderful person (and the granola was delicious!)

After that we called it a night, and hit the sleeping bags. 

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

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Day 16, Back in the Saddle #TransAmRide4TBI 7/24/17

We loaded our trailers and gear in car on Sunday night. Got up early next morning, grabbed quick breakfast, loaded our bikes on the car rack, and off we went to the parking lot where we’d been picked up from on Saturday. There would be no gaps in our cycle route, it must truly be coast to coast. 

After thanking Dan, we hopped on our bikes and headed east. It took a while to work our way through Denver. We were riding during morning rush hour, so were taking side streets with many stop signs, lights, zigs, and zags. We even stopped to add fuel to our tanks. Eventually though we broke free of the city. 

The miles quickly started slipping away. We were expecting a fairly easy day with gentle descents, and the way we were moving along was pretty much what we expected. Started seeing prairie dogs scurrying away regularly, which we both enjoyed.

By 11:30am w had covered 60 miles and decided to stop for lunch. It would 55 more miles before we reached the next town. There was a really good burger that really hit the spot. 
After lunch the riding got much harder. It started getting really hot (reached high of 108F), picked up a nasty cross wind, and started hitting hill after hill. Our average pace slowed tremendously and we were now grinding out the miles. 

About 10 miles from where we had lunch we saw a guy trudging along the side of the road going opposite direction, and stopped to see if he was ok. He pointed to his car 1/4 mile down the road and said he’d run out of gas. He was a bit crest fallen when we told him next had station was 10 miles away. Jr gave him one of his water bottles, we suggested trying to catch a ride, and wished him well. We then rode to his car to check on his girl friend. We tried emptying gas from our fuel canister for our cook stove (uses unleaded gas) into the gas tank hoping to get her a few miles closer, but unfortunately we didn’t have much left and didn’t even start the car. 

Jr and I started discussing one of us taking gear out of our trailer, and riding back to town for gas for them. While we were discussing logistics she got a call het boyfriend telling her he’d gotten a ride, so we wished her good luck and went on our way. 

We continued to fight the heat, wind, and hills the rest of the day. It took its toll, and drinking hot water from our bottles didn’t help (amazing how you can take a simple thing like cold water for granted until you no longer can have it). We made frequent rest stops in whatever shade we could find. Under one tree we discovered a swarm of Dragon flies. I tried to get some pics, but not sure you can make them out. 

Just before finally reaching next town we saw another guy walking the side if the road, but this one it was obvious was on a journey. So of course we had to stop and chat. 

Ben was walking from San Francisco to Rhode Island. (He’ll be in 36 for several days. Currently in Anton, CO). Great guy and we had a nice chat with him before rolling on. 

Wasn’t long before we reached town (Anton), where we first stopped to refill our stove fuel canister. I saw cold coke as soon as I walked in and grabbed us both a bottle, and then got 39 cents worth of gas. I feel so silly every time we fill it, but we need it to cook. 

Next stop was grocery store for more cold drinks and food. We had a quick bite there before moving on. As we were getting ready to ride off Ben came striding into town. So we had another chat with him, and took group selfie before moving on. 

Next town was 22 miles up the road and it was our goal for the day. But about 8 miles short of it we found dirt road on the left that had a clump of bushes. We were sick of fight the wind (it was slowly getting cooler, and hills had smoothed out since Anton) and decided to make camp there. 

A quick pitching of tents, and making dinner, had us in bed shortly thereafter. 

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Day 15, Recovery Day… Half Marathon #TransAmRide4TBI 7/23/17

Saturday night, after our arrival in Denver, our hostess, Kim, mentioned she was doing a half marathon, the Longmont Trail Half Marathon, the next morning. Without thinking about it I suddenly heard the words “do they have race day registration” come out of my mouth. 

So, on day 15, which was our recovery day, I find myself waking up early, and driving to the race with Kim. There was also a 5k, and 10k option, but nope, I was going to do the half marathon. Over the last 14 days we had ridden 1,526 miles for a total of 108 hours and 50 minutes of riding, and now I was giong to tack on 13.1 miles of running.

 When the race started my legs weren’t quite sure what was going on. They weren’t complaining but this was a strange motion for them, but around two miles in they remembered running and things got easier. Because of the air being thinner than I’m used to my lungs helped keep my pace in check. 

Around 10k mark, I began to feel it a bit. Between the air and the miles I’d ridden, knew it was time to back it down a bit. I ran the last half of the race at a slow comfortable pace. I finished in 2:00:04, 30th over all, and 7th in my age group. 

By the end of the race the entire fan club (Doug and Krystal and their kids, and Dan with his and Kim’s kids) was there to cheer us in to the finish (the kids did the kids race) . Kim finished 2nd in her age group. We hung around at the race for a while, and then it was back to the house. 

The rest of the day was doen’t getting bike and gear ready to set out again, and relaxing, eating, drinking, and enjoying good company. 

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

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Day 14, The Big Summit #TransAmRide4TBI 7/22/17

We got up early again and got on the road quickly. This was going to be a big day. We would be climbing to over 11,000ft. By far our highest summit, and the last mountain we would face in the Rockies. Plus, this would bring us to Denver and a rest day at one of Doug’s of friend’s house. His family would also be meeting us there. 
The early miles were fairly easy. Again we were surrounded by beautiful scenery. It was a chilly morning, but it was a great ride. We stopped for breakfast at the second town we came to. 

After breakfast the trek to our final mountain in the Rockies began. A few miles up the road we were joined by Jr’s friend, Dan, who we would be staying with. He’d got a ride from a friend so that he could accompany us on the day’s ride.

We moved along steadily, drafting off of Dan, when we could. The miles melted away and the climb drew closer. We were slowly gaining altitude as we went, and it wasn’t long before the slope started to pick up. The early miles of the climb weren’t too bad. The slope was fairly gentle to begin. Eventually though it hit some switchbacks and grew much steeper. My spokes again started pinging from the stress, but held solid. 

After a long steep climb the road finally started leveling some and I began to think the climb was about over. But every curve revealed the road continuing to gently rise. It seemed endless, and I covered several more miles steadily getting higher. I’d been climbing solo pretty much the whole way. Jr fell back early, and Dan kept riding ahead so he could get pictures of us as did the climb. I would pass him while he was taking the pics, and after he got pics of Jr, he would ride past me and repeat. Seeing him along the way helped with the mental part of the climb. 

Finally I saw the sign I had been waiting for, the passing lane was ending, which meant I was finally at the top. I pulled over into the park’s parking lot at the summit and waited for Dan and Doug. It wasn’t long before they joined me. We got a few pics and began the descent. 

We flew down the mountain, averaging over 40mph (anything faster and trailers got difficult to control). We coveted about 20 miles fast. By the time we reached the bottom only 35 miles remained on the day.


We grabbed a quick bite to eat, and then began the last stretch of the day. To keep us off dangerous highways we hit some bike paths and a couple sections of dirt road. At one point we ran out of bike path and had to scramble over a steep, narrow dirt path which was unrideable with road bikes. There were also a few short, but steep climbs we had to get over. A couple hours later though we were done. 
We ended the day in a parking lot where Dan’s car was, and Jr’s wife Krystal waited with a van. Everything was loaded up and we drive the rest of the way to Dan’s house. Riding to his house would have taken us will off our route and added quite a few miles. Plan was to take a rest day at his house, and then get dropped back of at the parking lot to resume our ride. This way there would be no gaps in the ride and we’d still ride the entire width of the country. 

The rest if the day was doen’t cleaning gear, and enjoying family and friends. 

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Day 13, The First Big Climb #TransAmRide4TBI 7/21/17

We got up early to get on the road, but not before I discovered another broken spoke. This was getting ridiculous, and I made decision to but a new wheel next bike shop we came to. There were several in Steamboat Springs, about 60mi away, and right along our route. Best thing was we could start riding early and shop would be open when we got there. So off we went. 

It was a nice uneventful ride, with beautiful scenery throughout the morning. We were making good time, taking regular little breaks, and feeling great. The miles just flew by. 

In steamboat we went to several bike shops, which didn’t have a wheel for me, and each referred me to another. Finally, the last referral sent us to Orange Peel. Guys there had several options for me. After making a decision they went to work, and Jr and I went to lunch. By time we were done eating, my bike was ready to go. They have me a great price, better than we had agreed on, and made a couple of adjustments for me. Hooked me up since I was riding for a good cause, and they’re great guys. 

Leaving Steamboat Springs many it was time to go to work. The next 30 miles we would start gaining big elevation. The road stayed a very gradual climb through Winter Park, but shortly thereafter it got nasty. 

The few first few miles were very steep. The spokes on my new wheel were pinging  like crazy, but they were holding. Jr and I dug  deep. I slowly pulled away from him, finding my own rhythm. I made one brief stop for pics, but after that all my focus was on climbing. Without the trailer it would have been challenging, but that extra 50lbs was putting the hurt on. Finally though, around 9400ft, I reached the top and waited a few minutes for Jr.

Shortly after wee started the descent the rain started. We were quickly soaked and cold, but had another 35 miles to go. It was miserable but beautiful at the same time. Going was slow because the road became very slippery. 

We finally reached our goal town. We had decided to get a hotel, but everything was full. So after getting some food from the grocery store we rolled out of town looking for a place to camp. 

Unfortunately the mosquitoes were out in force. I’ve never experienced anything like it. Years ago I spent 10 days in the Amazon Rain forest in Peru, and the mosquitoes there were fierce, but I think these were worse. Every time we stopped we would be covered in them in seconds. It was so bad we couldn’t see. They’d be in our eyes, nose, mouth. It was unbelievable. 

We ended up riding well after dark before finally finding a place. It wasn’t ideal, but we were finally off the road. Tents were quickly set up and we went to sleep just as the rain hit for the third night in a row. 

Around 1am I heard a train approaching and woke up. I noticed my tent was getting brighter and brighter. Sounded and looked like the train was coming right at me. As it roared past the tent shook like it was being hit by a storm. Turns out there were train tracks about 10yds away. Jr had seen them, and we were a safe distance away, but quite a shick for me. Took a while to fall back asleep. 

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

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Day 12, Hello Colorado #TransAmRide4TBI 7/20/17

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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