Gearing Up

I’ll be hitting the road again next week over Thanksgiving.  The plan is 311 miles in three days.

I’ll be leaving Albuquerque sometime Thanksgiving morning, and riding east.  The intent is Plainview, Texas by Saturday night.

Watch this space!

Westport, WA to Lehi, UT COMPLETE

On the bicycle route there are 1,024 miles between Westport, WA and Lehi, UT.  On May 27, 2017 I started riding in Westport.  The injury on May 31 put a 6 week hiatus on cycling while my knee recovered, so we regrouped and decided to do the route in snippets instead of one long “thread”.  On Saturdays since I was cleared to ride I did the miles between Nampa, ID and Lehi, UT.  Then last Saturday (Sept. 2) got the miles done between Vale, OR and Nampa, leaving 329 miles, all in Oregon, to complete by today.

There were days this week that felt frustratingly long and slow, and days that I thought, man, I could ride all day today – though I’m glad I stopped when I did.

Today’s highlight was how it ended.  I’d only been on the bike about 3.5 hours and the only significant climb of the day was almost done.  I knew I was close, because the GPS said I had two miles left.  As I crested the hill and Randy was at the top, he stopped me and asked which shot I’d like him to get – (will upload probably sometime tomorrow) and we agreed to which one we thought would be the best one, he got the drone into place, and I headed toward the downhill as my music changed songs. Now, don’t judge me for my music selection on this playlist.  Almost any song with a good beat or inspiring message can make my list.

Whitney Houston’s One Moment in Time from the 1988 Olympics started.  (official video here) Whitney Houston – One Moment in Time  And yes, I was flying down that hill.  (the video may or may not bear that out, but suffice it to say I was.) Two miles of downhill goes pretty quick on a bike, and it’s kind of a long song, so it was just finishing up as I hit the bottom and slowed down.  It’s been hitting me all day that I’ve done something pretty incredible – mom said it best, though – it’s a little surreal.  So here are the statistics and charts:

1,024 miles

Approximately 90 hours on the bike

Approximately 29,314 feet of climbing

Approximately 24,774 feet of downhill (the fun part… lol)

26.9% of 3,800 miles total complete

41% of the total climbing

Now I’m going to rest for a few weeks and do some more miles after some planning and some more training.

Thanks for all your encouragement and love from across the miles!  I couldn’t do it without you.  🙂

 

Burns, Oregon

Burns is a lovely small town.  We had a great lunch on Wednesday at the, “Ye Olde Castle Family Dining” restaurant and antique emporium while we waited for our “Small House” to be ready to check in.  If you’ve just been on a bike for almost 6.5 hours, I highly recommend the Custom Burger with onion rings.  If you haven’t, then split it with someone you love.  Or maybe two someones you love.  It was massive.  We liked it so much we went there for lunch Thursday, too!  (although I had the Surf Burger on Thursday so I could have room for pie)

Our server, Debbie, was there both days.  She was great.  On our way out on Thursday I was telling Debbie about the ride, and she said I should tell the story to Rosie, the owner.  What a great lady this is!  If you ever get into Burns, you must stop here for breakfast or lunch.  Here’s the fun part – when I was telling Rosie about the ride, Debbie opened up a back room where they must have banquets or company parties for the locals or something, because it isn’t open generally.  Hanging high on the walls are close to 20 antique bicycles.  I am not ashamed to admit I was geeking out like crazy in this room.  (pix to be added below, as soon as I can get them actually uploaded – internet is a little bit sketchy out here)

But the ride was even better than the meals, and that is saying something, because I loved the meals.  We woke up at 2:15 Thursday morning and had an hour drive to get back to Hampton Station, so we got ready and headed west.  I was on the bike by 4:00.  Randy follows pretty closely at that time of day, partly to keep me being able to see, and partly to keep people able to see me.  So that was almost three hours – yes, my husband is a saint.

The AirBnb is 68 miles from Hampton Station, so when I was deciding where to stop, just chose to ride “home”.  The first 20 miles was pretty quick, and it was evident that Thursday was going to be a much different ride than the previous two days.  It was still dark and I was almost 30% finished.  By 7:20 I was halfway through and charging ahead.  The climbs were easier. I had much more energy and didn’t need as much distraction.  At 43.56 miles in, I hit a series of climbs that, when driving them on Wednesday, I fully believed I would have to walk at least one of them.  They were brutally steep, and I was starting to get tired.  Randy had just headed back “home”, after filling both my water bottles.  He texted (no cell signal, but texts make it through – weird) to let me know that a string of several unusual and similar cars were headed my way. I was about halfway up the first (and most brutal) climb, and I saw the first – a convertible; I think it must have been a Fiat or some similar foreign car and was definitely was not built in the past 50 years – come flying over the top of that hill, followed by several more.  I would guess 15 of them, though not all were convertibles.  Each one beeped their horns and waved, and for a moment I thought I’d gone back in time.  I hadn’t made it to the top of the hill before they were past me, but they were a pleasant distraction, and their beeping horns felt like encouragement as I conquered the beast.  I didn’t end up needing to walk up a single climb in the past three days’ ride and that is new for me.  I’m getting stronger.

Would have been finished by 10:30 AM, but the stoplight in Burns was red when I got to it, so it was 10:31.  68 miles in 5:43 of riding.  Two days left in Oregon – 49 miles tomorrow, and then 57 Saturday.  On Saturday I will have completed all the miles in three states – Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.  1024 miles all told on the route.

Coincidentally, as of today I have 26.9% of this leg left.  On Saturday I will have 26.9% of the total ride complete.

 

Hampton Station, Oregon

If you’re not from Central Oregon and you know where Hampton Station is, I think you probably have too much time on your hands.  Or a photographic memory.  Or… I don’t know.  It is an old cafe, that to almost all visible indications, has not been open in somewhere between 20 & 30 years.  The only reason we know it’s been open is because a hand-painted sign out front says, “Home of the Eclipse Burger”.  That appears to be the newest thing for nearly 100 miles.

The ride from Moss Solar Farm (south of Prineville) to Hampton Station was only about 45 miles.  It was rolling hills all the way – never enough of a fall to make the climb effortless, and never enough flat at the top to make it possible to completely catch my breath before the downhill.  The sun was incredible, though.  It would peek out from behind the hill I was climbing and be the most incredible red – think Tattooine Sun in Star Wars – and the greatest part is that it stays pretty cool out.  We left Prineville at roughly 4:45 AM, and I didn’t get finished with 45 miles until almost 11:30.  It’s only just starting to get warm at almost noon with the minimal cloud cover and the smoke, but that’s a long time to be on a bicycle.  My feet were okay, with the Aleve and a new technique where I focus my “push” on my big toes while I climb instead of how the clips normally have my feet angled toward the center of my foot.  For whatever reason that takes off just enough pressure to make climbing bearable when they start swelling.

It’s going well and we’re learning a lot about what works – and what doesn’t.  The body is holding up, and I’m more than halfway done with this “leg”.  Since there is quite literally nothing out here, (including cell service) we are driving an hour to Burns, where we will stay two nights in a lovely AirBnb, and where tomorrow’s ride finishes.

 

Central Oregon

So… I really think Oregon is a lovely place.  It’s terrible that there are so many fires in the area, because it’s really unpleasant for necessary things like breathing.  I’m doing well because we’ve adapted the schedule in order to make sure I can get in the miles before it gets too hot and subsequently more difficult to breathe.  Tuesday got me from Madras, a small town, to about 10 miles past Prineville – a “city” about half again as large as Madras, with a population about half again as large.  Prineville has a Facebook Data Center just outside of it and one of the meanest climbs I’ve been able to actually ride up since I started.  We had reserved a hotel room in Prineville, and the dear gentleman let us check in two hours early – which was desperately needed.  After my nap I walked over to the bike shop that was 3 doors down and asked what to do about my feet, which are swelling something terrible.  The toe box is actually wide enough, but the skin on my toes gets so tight that they feel like they are on fire.  The sweet lady told me there are numerous people in the Trans-Am race (for which they are a support store) who end up dropping out of the race because their feet swell so badly that they can’t keep their shoes on.  That was not fun news, but I went to the drug store and asked if there was something besides ibuprofen I could take.  Turns out Aleve is also an anti-inflammatory and doesn’t put as much stress on the stomach, so between that and the glucosamine/chondroitin/turmeric supplement I have been taking, I should be able to complete the ride.

Will have to upload maps and stuff when I get home to Utah – the computer isn’t cooperating with saving them at the moment.  🙂

The Smoky Mountains of Oregon?

20170904_183508There are some serious fires in Oregon right now.  It has made the air quite heavy and hot.  Got started early this morning – just before 5AM on the edge of Mount Hood.  Couldn’t find the tape in my bag for the knee, so just got started.  (it was in a different bag – narf.)

Some of the most incredible downhill stretches coming off the side of Mount Hood – I kept thinking I was about to crash I got so fast.  (highest speed 41.7 mph according to my app) In the dark that is very disconcerting.  A rabbit darting out in front of me or even a slight bump in the road could be disastrous – and cause some serious road rash.  Randy is a pretty great support car, keeping pace with me and making sure I’m as safe as I can be out there.  He gives me more light and helps with the feeling that I’m not going to get mowed by a car that doesn’t expect there to be a cyclist on the side of the road at 5:30 AM. He also is responsible for all the drone work and great photos/video of the ride, as well as keeping me motivated – and reminds me that it’s not a race.  The end of today was a four mile climb – only about 1/4 of a mile that I had to walk, because there were cinders on the shoulder that made the tires unstable within about 4 inches of the line.  It’s not safe to ride on them, but it’s way not safe to ride into the road where I was, either.

Big hugs from Madras, Oregon, where the sun (and moon) are a crazy red-orange.

 

All of the miles

So there are 11 states I’ll be riding through on this journey of a lifetime: Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.

As of today I have ridden all of the miles in two of them. (Washington and Idaho)

If all goes as planned, Oregon will be complete by the end of the week.

Yesterday was my fastest 50 miles in many years at 3 hours 45 minutes. It was a good downhill for the first 25 miles, and I was feeling good. Then as I was getting to Malta, Idaho a large dog chased me for about a mile, barking within inches of my heels, and I had to push myself harder than usual to keep from being bitten. By the time he gave up I had expended so much energy it was tough to complete the remaining 18 or so miles, but I did, of course.

Today’s was 68 miles. Mom came with us to see what this thing was all about and there was a HUGE fringe benefit thay let Randy have some time on the road with me. She did a fantastic job, too. (Just like Chuck did last week!)

Anyway, Randy was a trooper. He got 35 miles rocked out, and hasn’t been on a bike in almost a year. It was awesome having him along – literally for the ride. That said, he’s hurting this evening. He may have overdone it a little. I’m more exhausted than hurting.

Rest day tomorrow (and travel to Mount Hood). Happy riding, everyone, and have a LOVELY Labor Day.

Mountain Home to Nampa (almost)

Well, this past Saturday was pretty surreal.  Riding through downtown Mountain Home and then on to the back roads to Simco Road and the Boise Stage Stop took several hours, of course (totalling 76 miles), but the wild thing was coming back.

I’ve been on I-84 hundreds of times.  It takes 5 hours to get from my mom’s house in Boise to my house in Lehi.  Right around Glenn’s Ferry it struck me – this has changed how I see the world.  I’ve ridden almost every mile (save 55, to be done this coming Friday morning) between my mother’s home and mine.  I’ve seen live rattlesnakes and the burned-up corpses of cattle that were caught in a wildfire. I’ve been more afraid of people than I can imagine, and felt more love and admiration than I could comprehend. Riding through sunrises and sunsets, on busy roads and in some places I’d swear I was the only human around for 100 miles or more.

And this one thing I know about this experience: at not quite 17% in, I am not nearly who I will be when I finish.  I think about the Dr. Suess book, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go”, and I think that yes, I will go many places in the next 20 months.  The things I will see, the people I will meet, the thousands of miles that will be completed – 83% of them are still ahead of me, and I am grateful for so many things.

Specifically on this ride, I had the help of my dear Father in Law, Chuck Peterson.  Randy had signed up for a 5k run last year, and Chuck volunteered to be my support driver.  He was so patient and always encouraging.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I am also grateful for cell phones. Yeah, I know – cheesy. But seriously, I would be lost (literally and figuratively) without the GPS and nearly constant contact with whoever is driving around following me.

I’m grateful for my friends – whether you’re here voluntarily or because we were born into the same family, you are my friends, and I am grateful for your cheers and love. I am in awe of you, and you often keep me going.  (Stephanie and Tom, thanks for breakfast and the super cute bicycle dress!)

Of course Randy gets a huge thank you – he’s there every pedal stroke of the way (all but my four fastest ships, of course). Even when he can’t be there, he texts to make sure I’m doing well and cheers me on from afar.  He’s the stability to the whole ride and forces me to actually make a plan that we can stick to.  Even when I want to just fly by the seat of my pants.

Most of all I’m grateful tonight for the freedom my parents gave me to become… well, me.  I’m sure it was not easy raising a daughter who wanted to do everything herself and had so many crazy schemes. I sometimes think I “should” be more conforming; more “normal”; more… well, boring, as I see it. But while they would have loved to see me become someone a little more conventional, I’m guessing, they let me become someone who can dream as big as my imagination can take me. I’m not doing something that will change the world. But it is changing my world.  I believe I’m changing it for the better.

Love to all!  Happy riding!  Day Nine

 

561 miles down, 3,239 to go…

Well, according to the map and my GPS, I have completed more than 561 miles.  That’s not quite 15%.

This weekend I’ll do another 70 and then Labor Day week will get another 393 done over the 7 days (Friday to Saturday). At that point I will be 27% done.

 

And yes, I had to put that in a chart in Excel to get a good visual of what that meant.

Graph - 8.24

August 19, 2017 Wendell, Idaho to almost Mountain Home

Day Eight Part OneDay Eight Part Two

Well the morning was BEAUTIFUL. (See video taken near Bliss, Idaho, 2 hours after I started.)

Hammett hill, however, was still 25 miles ahead of me, and it’s a 6% grade for a full mile. I’d killed several hills leading up to it, and was feeling good, but about 1/4 mile into the climb my legs were on fire and I was a little nervous about not being able to get unclipped and crashing again, so I got unclipped and started walking. Kept thinking I was almost to the top only to discover there was more hill. This is on the Oregon Trail Road. It crosses the Oregon Trail several times, and the damage to the earth after more than 150 years is still evident. But I have a healthy respect for those pioneers, who braved the wild WITHOUT bicycles and paved roads and Mapquest and the support vehicle bringing them ice water, protein bars and encouragement. It is during the hardest parts that I recognize that there is NO WAY I’m doing this crazy thing without my intense support group.

So for that support, I thank each of you. I thank Randy all the time, of course. He’s in the trenches with me. But also those following my progress. I think of you on these long rides. Your comments and encouragement are helping me along.

 

For those following the maps, there are two – Friday night I “made up” the 16 miles left out the previous week.  🙂