Sunday, September 26, 2010

Big Dam Bridge 100

Headed down to Little Rock this weekend to ride the Big Dam Bridge 100 ride, and visit family. The ride was really nice as expected. The ride is very well supported, and the route is nice.

Here's my start of the day shot from near the ride start, under the Broadway Street bridge over the Arkansas River. A very pretty sunrise.

The early risers starting to gather about 20-30 minutes before the start.

With only 5 minutes to go before the start, the crowd was getting pretty thick. This was looking forward towards the starting line. There were at least twice this many people lined up behind me. I haven't heard the official count, but they were expecting around 2000 riders.

...and of course we go over the bridge that gives the ride its name. This is supposedly the longest dedicated pedestrian/cycling bridge in the world (and it's pretty high up there as well). For those of you that rode the Across America North ride with me, you'll understand when I say I was a bit nervous riding across this thing. 

....another shot from up on the bridge.

I didn't take a lot of pictures once I got out of town, but thought this old house was kinda picturesque looking. I'm sure the picture would've been a lot prettier if I'd actually stopped to take it.

Garmin Stats

Like I said before the ride was really nice, as was seeing my girls......but the same day loss of one of the nicest, classiest ladies I've ever had the privilege to know, much less be related to, really left the day (and all our lives) a little emptier.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Hogeye Loop from Baum Stadium (41 miles)

Headed down to Fayetteville today to ride with the Ozark Roadies group. I really like the variety of the rides they do around here. Today we met up at Baum Stadium and headed out through Hogeye, around to Strickler, and back in through West Fork. For those of you as unfamiliar with those spots as I am....that's like heading towards Devil's Den Park on the back roads, but then turning towards West Fork instead of heading into the park.
Here's the start of the day shot from Baum Stadium, as we're learning where the turns and re-group points will be.....

Bikes and bikers surround the world famous "Hogeye Mall"......not quite what I expected, it's a run down looking convenience store....

Like the way my bike looks with my nicer wheel set and without that rack on the back, but still haven't been able to give up the big seat bag, camera bag, and my itunes. Did have the bottom bracket replaced the other day, but still getting a clicking sound (now from the other side)'s driving me crazy..... 

looking forward to getting down to Little Rock next week for the Big Dam Bridge ride. Haven't done that one since the 2nd year they had it, but remembered it being a really well organized event.

Thanks for reading, and don't forget....the Tour de Cure is coming up in another 3 or 4 weeks.......

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Dam J.A.M. 2010 - Pryor, OK (102 miles)

It's been a month now since I attempted to ride anything over 50 miles, so I decided to head over to Pryor, OK and try out the Dam J.A.M. ride. It is a very well supported ride. The map said there was over 6000 feet of climb for this ride, but my Garmin only showed 4000+ by the time I finished (it did feel like 6000).

Here's my start of the day shot. I took this as everyone was getting lined up for the start. We started off heading right into the morning sun, but luckily the clouds moved in around the 20-30 mile point. With all the humidity, it sure was nice to at least have an overcast sky for a while.

As the name suggests, we crossed a few dams this morning. This one, the Pensacola Dam, was a mile long.

....and pretty high up if you looked off below the dam....

Here's the rest stop at the top of "Pump Back Hill". Not sure why it's called that, but there are some huge pipes leading from the valley up to the lake, so I'm guessing they might pump water back up into the lake from the stream below (I don't know). The hill is pretty steep and long. I was told that a lot of people wind up walking up it (I didn't have to, but was in my low gear most of the way). Apparently they always set up this rest stop as M*A*S*H because it wipes a lot of people out. Wouldn't have been so bad, but it's at the 80 mile mark, so you've already been through quite a few hills by the time you get here.

.....and the sun had come back out by then as times......

Thanks for reading (if anyone still is), and please, if you haven't done so yet, check out the Tour de Cure link at the right side of this page. It's just over a month away.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day Ride - Bella Vista to SW City

Once you got past the fact the wind was blowing 20+ mph, today was a great day to be out on the bike. The Ozark Roadies and Bella Vista Bike Club joined up for a nice 50 mile ride from Bella Vista to Southwest City. Had a really good group of riders.

Here's a shot of everyone trying to fit in one shady spot while all of us slower riders got caught up to the group.

....and the turn around point / SAG stop....

All the bikes lined up at the park in Gravette.

It was a great day for riding, even with the wind. Looking forward to the Dam J.A.M. ride in Pryor, OK next weekend. Hope the weather is good.

Today's Garmin Stats

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Saturday, Sept 4 (Bentonville square ride)

It's amazing how quickly you can lose a level of fitness that took you 50 days and 3600 miles to attain. I went out today to enjoy the nice weather and hopefully get a nice ride in. I still feel pretty strong on the bike, but my stamina is starting to fade fast. I guess I need to add more running into my workout routine.

I decided to ride into town to join up with the ride from the Bentonville square. Going out county road 40, with those quick rolling hills felt great, but coming back home after 30-40 miles, I actually felt those little rollers in my legs a little bit.

I have been surprised to find out that, yes....the hills around here are just as steep as any we did on the cross country trip (except for maybe that Joe English Hill)....they're just much shorter.

OK, so here's my start of the day shot, from along CR40....

There was a good turnout for the ride.......just don't know where all the slower riders that I usually ride with were today.

Oh well, I did wind up with one person to talk to, so it was still a nice ride. After getting caught at the light in Centerton, we never really saw the other riders after that.
No big deal though, the weather was really too nice to find anything wrong with my day.

....still feels good to be back on the bike again. Hope everyone got to enjoy this weather today. I'm headed out on the big bike the rest of the day.
Thanks for reading.....have a good one.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Back in the Saddle Again....

Well, my bike finally made it back to NW Arkansas the other day. Wasn't thinking about the fact that the last time I rode it, I left it with sand and salt water all over it, so I wound up taking it home for a good cleaning the day I picked it up. Looks a bit different now that I have my good wheel set on and that luggage rack off. Felt like I was stripping it down until I decided to leave the little camera bag on and reinstall my iHome for some riding music. Guess I'll have to keep the "Family Truckster" nickname for it until I can bring myself to leave some of this gear at home. 

So I finally got out for a short ride Saturday with the group at the Bentonville square. Felt good to be riding again. The larger (and faster) part of the group took off for a longer ride while 6 of us headed out to Gravette, where we stopped at a drug store that still has an old lunch / soda counter for a break and a quick snack before heading back to Bentonville.

.....had to take a shot over my shoulder just to show all the ABB riders that yes...every once in a while, I am in front of other riders....that is, as long as they're not in a hurry.

Round trip we got in about 39 miles, but it really felt nice to be back on my bike. Hoping to keep things going as I've signed up for a few rides coming up over the next couple of months. Headed over to Pryor, OK in a couple of weeks for the DAM J.A.M. ride, down to Little Rock for the Big Dam Bridge ride a couple of weeks after that, and then the really important one on Oct 16....the NW Arkansas Tour de Cure.

There's still plenty of time to get your donations in for that last one, if you're planning to and haven't gotten around to it. Just don't wait too long or you might miss it.

Thanks for reading. I plan to keep this blog going, but may possibly change the name of it since the cross country ride is finished.....any suggestions? 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Day 50 - Manchester, NH to The Beach!!!!

Today was the day! It started out just  bit cloudy, but there was nothing that was going to put a damper on the ride today.

With only 50 or so miles to get to the beach, everybody took their time....even those guys whose wives kept telling them "it's not a race. Take your time." Here's a nice bakery about 9 or 10 miles from our staging point. This place was crawling with bikers all morning.

...a little late in the trip for advice we'd been following from day 1.

Some of the crew from the back of the line...Ian  and myself. It was great to have the perspective of someone, not from this country as we rode across the country. He kept many of us in stitches from day to day with his observations. 

The Beach !!!! Wow, this thing is heavy....maybe I need to get a bike like Dan's......probably need to get a new car would be cheaper.

Leo, the King of Flat Tires, with his inner tube crown. Todd and I had the distinction of being the only riders who made the entire trip across without a flat (Thanks Mal and Jeremy for the tip on those inner tubes). In case anyone was wondering about the people dropping out in previous blog entries (Joe and Katie), that was the exclusive "no flat" group they were dropping out of. We couldn't jinx it by mentioning that before the end of the ride.

Good friends to of my roommates, John, me, and Sandy.

Sorry it took so long for me to get this day 50 post up. It's been a whirlwind these last couple of days. I'm planning to keep this blog going through this year's Tour de Cure ride, but might not be posting every single day. I do have a few more pics from the trip I want to add in the coming days, so please check back.

Almost seemed to be of some interest among the riders as to how much weight I lost on the trip. I'm assuming it was either because of how big I was at the start, or the fact that I ate everything between Oregon and New Hampshire, and still kept going back for seconds.
Now that I'm back home, I'm able to use the scale I did for the initial weigh the official number is

18 lbs.

Now the tough part begins.......

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Day 49 - Brattleboro, VT to Manchester, NH (79 very hilly miles)

Wow! Day 49! We're almost there. It was a beautiful start to the day today. Here's my next to the last start of the day picture of my trip.

We had a little bicycle art around the fountain to start the day.

...and we entered our final state.

...puddle art....

One of the few times we've seen a cyclist in the water, that didn't get wet. Here's Derrika.

....and another one bites the dust. Katie dropped out today, so after a little research, it looks like Todd and I are the only remaining members of our group going into day 50. Let's hope we both make it to the beach. More on this tomorrow....

Just gotta love all the cool old buildings in these New England towns....

Well, tomorrow we head for the beach. It seems like we've been riding forever, but at the same time, like we just got started. It'll be curious to see what it feels like to get to the end of our journey. I have a feeling that it might take a few days, or even weeks, just for it to sink in, that we had in one place, 50 people who were all crazy enough to ride our bicycles across the entire country.

Check back'll be time to party.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Day 48 - Latham, NY to Brattleboro, VT (79 miles)

Another later start, so not a lot of color left in the sky, but here's my start of the day shot.

Today we left New York behind and entered Vermont.

Lots of nice ponds and streams along the way. Since we were climbing all day, I figured I'd use one with a big hill in it.

Not sure why, but this barn was built on top of the silos.

There are a lot of these cool old churches in these New England towns.

View from the top of Hogback Mountain. There was a nice overlook and gift shop up here with ice was a must stop place.

Coming in to Brattleboro, there was this cool old covered bridge. It looks like they are restoring it, and adding another bridge right next to it, to take the traffic off.

.....downtown Brattleboro. Seems like a pretty cool town.

Two more riding days left now. Tomorrow is supposed to be another tough climbing day. I hear there might be a little climbing on Monday as well, but it should be a little shorter. I'm sure the adrenaline boost of getting to the beach will help a good bit that day as well.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Day 47 - Little Falls, NY to Latham, NY (74 miles)

Good morning from Little Falls, NY. There wasn't a really good place to shoot the sunrise from without getting wires or polls in the picture, so I used this one from right in front of the hotel for my start of the day picture.

...was in kind of a scenic picture mood today.

Why is it that anytime they mention nice scenery it means there are hills? Here's one of my roommates, John, near the top of the climb out of the valley.

More scenery along the ride...

Looks like we're starting to get into more industrial areas.

Lock # 8 on the Erie Canal. Much bigger than the ones we saw the other day.

Down south you can tell a good diner by the number of pickups parked outside. Along a bike path, when you see a crowd like this, there's either good food or ice cream.

This place actually had both. Made for a great unofficial SAG stop.

With Joe now having to drop out, our group is getting pretty small. Not sure that Katie and I are the last two, but hopefully no one else will have to drop out before the beach. Sorry I can't say what we've accomplished just yet, but I don't want to jinx anything. Check back in Monday evening and maybe we'll know who all actually kept their memberships in our ever shrinking club.

....and one more nice scenic shot from the bike path to close out the day.

Today had to be one of the nicest days we've had out here as far as weather and roads. Nice wide shoulders and decent tail winds. There were a few small climbs to remind us what the next couple of days will be like though. Sounds like we'll have 5 to 6 thousand feet of climb for each of the next couple of days.

Thanks for reading.

Today's Garmin Stats ( Don't know what happened to yesterday's....Garmin malfunction)