Quebec City, The Start

             

 

I arrived here on Thursday and spent the night at a motel near the airport. Although I had a middle seat from SFO to Montréal, the flight was ok. The jet was very new, the seats were comfortable – remember, I am not as tall as many of you – and there was a pretty good movie selection. However, I don’t know how large people manage -and we have seen quite a few – because there was absolutely no extra space in the bathroom even for me.

I took Uber from the motel I had booked on line to the house we are staying in through Airbnb. And after Alejandra’s arrival Friday evening, we have used Google maps to find our way around. In fact, that is how Ale found her way from Orinda to here. Tell me technology isn’t useful.

I spent my first evening on a walk and ran into some live music at a local mall. They wewr really pretty good with their cover songs, from Roy Orbison (in French), to Johnny Cash to the Beetles (both in English).

Old Town Quebec City has a very European flavor to it with the old buildings and the prevalence of French, both in the spoken language and on all of the signs. I should say the flavor of an European tourist town because Old Town is devoted pretty exclusively to tourists. It is still interesting, however, because of the architecture and French culture.

Yesterday we watched a very accomplished street performer from Mexico who performed a number of very athletic acrobatic acts on a very large, heavy “hula hoop” and a wobbly 15 foot pole. What an amazing body; picture Hans’ no fat with even more muscle. He was a performer, too, with quite a sense of humor, some of which was directed at our anti-Mexican immigration policy, as contrasted with Canada’s, including the large wall he would build between Mexico and Trump with the money he earns from performing. He was much more skilled on the pole than were the girls at the strip club we visited last night. No wonder it has been 15 years since I had been to one; it was really pretty boring and a bit sad.

Dinner was a hamburger for Ale ($18), snails (no, they didn’t call them escargot$11) and an onion soup with cheese (not listed as French onion, but that is what it would have been at home; $10).

We hadn’t realized that this weekend celebrates Canada Day, commonly referred to as the country’s birthday but more accurately the anniversary of the formal joining of the 3 separate colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. We are returned to Old Town later this afternoon to view some of the festivities but were too late. We did enjoy an outdoor street side meal although the service was nonexistant I can’t recall having previously intentionally not left a tip but the decision was cemented for me when we couldn’t find the waiter to pay the bill after having told him that we wanted the check. While leaving I saw him in a side room folding napkins having apparently forgotten about us.

Tomorrow starts the ride with 73miles, depending on the exact location of the motel finds for us in St. George’s, Canada. I hope I enjoy getting back on the bike. Actually, I am looking forward to it.

More after I have actually ridden some,
Rick

Getting Ready

Loaded Up!

Twice Across (planning on adding the “+”)

I have been asked what I did to train for this ride. Well, I did what I did last year. And the year before. Which is essentially that I didn’t do anything different than I normally do as far as riding is concerned. That is, I typically ride 3 times a week with a group of riders from the Lamorinda area. Our Tuesday and Thursday rides are 25 to 30 miles, with an occasional 40 miler thrown into the mix, and our Saturday rides are usually 40 to 60 miles. Those aren’t as long as what I will be doing on Laura’s Ride Atlantic Coast but they are usually at a much faster clip so slowing down lets me add quite a few miles. Plus, while riding alone I will stop when I start feeling tired since I figure I have enough miles in my future that there is no reason to push too hard. It is not a race. I’m not masochistic enough for that.

Some of our more interesting rides – usually on Saturday – have included our “2 bridges loop” which takes us over the Benicia and Carquinez bridges for about 50 miles with some great views of the Bay or Canal. We also did our 7th Annual Sacramento Ride from Lafayette to Old Town Sacramento for lunch with a ride home on the train. I have included a couple of photos from that ride, including one on the ferry near Rio Vista which was closed down for about an hour. That meant that this year we had lunch in Rio Vista instead of in Old Town. The restaurant we visited had an embarrassing collection of animal trophies, from a huge elephant to bears, elk, a moose and much smaller animals. There are some of us wo would much prefer that hunters would be content shooting their prey with cameras rather than rifles.

Greg’s Garage pre-Sacramento Ride

Rio Vista Ferry

Toast In Sacramento

In addition to riding, this year my preparation has included weekly sessions with my chiropractor over the past 4 months or so. They started because I couldn’t lie on either side for more than a minute or so, or drive for more than about an hour, without causing pain to go down my leg. While that seems to have improved considerably, now I am hobbling around because of discomfort in my right hip and down my right leg. However, according to my x-rays, the arthritis in that hip is fairly minor so I was prescribed an MRI to see if the cause could be determined. I guess that is still up in the air. The good news, though, is that the discomfort hasn’t been much of an issue while I am actually riding. I’m hoping it stays that way. No one said that getting older is easy.

My preparations also included quite a bit of packing. I know that Dave B. just rode to Los Angeles with nothing more than a small back pack could hold but I will admit to pretty much filling up my Suburban, which has a roof top carrier. I have attached a photo of Day 1 of Dave’s ride; I joined him on that first leg from Moraga to Half Moon Bay. I also have attached a copy of my packing list for anyone who might be interested. Also included is a photo of our cat, Bear, lying on some of my cycling clothes while I was getting ready. He is so dark that you have to look closely to see him against my black shorts. Although he looks nothing like a bear now – more like a sleek panther – when I named him as a kitten he was rolly poly and very much resembled a little black bear.

Dave’s Day 1 (to Los Angeles)

Last Friday about 30 friends and family gathered for dinner at our home to offer their good luck wishes for the ride. A number of them also used the occasion to donate to the Lazarex Cancer Foundation to help breast cancer victims. THANK YOU to all! And Kent, a long time neighbor, said that he would add a “+” to the “Twice Across America” logo on my bike’s top tube when I have completed this ride.

Ale left for Quebec City on Sunday with the truck, my 2 bikes and everything I have packed for the ride. I will fly to meet her this coming Thursday. We will spend a couple of days visiting Quebec City – primarily the Old Town – before I start riding on July 2.

‘Til later,
Rick

 

 

 

With Sandi

Farewell Dinner

My Collection

Thank you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://goo.gl/maps/ymDYMeZta6z

Twice Across + : Add Border to Border to Coast to Coast

I was just reminded that after last year’s ride I insisted that I wouldn’t do it again. Not wanting to totally destroy my credibility, I insisted that I am not doing it again. The last 2 years I rode across the country, from coast to coast. I have now seen more of the central part of our country from the seat of a bike than I want to.

I am not doing that again. No, I am not riding coast to coast. This time I am riding from border to border. Well, sort of. To add a few miles, I am starting in Quebec City, Canada, which is roughly 275 miles north of our border. And I am ending in Key West, Florida, which is pretty much on our southern border because I can’t go any farther south without drowning. Hence, after this trip I will be able to claim, “Twice Across +,” this ride being the plus.

Greg C, one of our riding buddies when he isn’t holed up in Texas, just asked me why I am doing this third ride. The first, from Santa Monica to St. Augustine, was because riding across the country had been a long held dream. The second, Astoria to Portsmouth, was because I started feeling that I had taken the easy route the first time by avoiding the mountains of the Northern Route. (The fact that the Southern Route was sweltering didn’t ease my sense of guilt.) This time I am looking forward to seeing the scenery and small towns of our East Coast, while hoping that foul weather, bad roads, heat and humidity don’t make me regret my decision. There is also an element of wanting to show myself that age hasn’t yet made this impossible joined with the satisfaction of knowing that through your support this ride will help raise money that will help at least a few victims of breast cancer.

Being an avid Warriors fan for the last 5+ years I have read numerous articles about how this year’s championship season was the most difficult because the team had to deal with issues of fatigue, complacency and a “been there, done that” attitude. While I don’t equate my rides to championships – I am not racing, or even competing, and many people ride across the country – the parallel has nonetheless occurred to me. Having already ridden across the country, there won’t be the same excitement when finishing the ride as there was when Nick and I dipped our wheels into the Atlantic Ocean. And my regular visits to a physical therapist over the past few months, not to mention today’s MRI, suggests that my body has experienced a bit of fatigue from the past 2 summers. And having proven to myself that I could ride across the country, this time I won’t take the chances that I did the first time when I insisted on riding through temperatures that were far too hot to be safe. However, I trust that the goal of being able to change the “Twice Across” that is now on my bike to “Twice Across +” will be sufficient motivation to keep me pedaling.

 

I am set to fly to Quebec City on June 28 and expect to start the actual ride on July 2 after Alejandra and I have had a chance to enjoy some of that beautiful city. And yes, I did say Alejandra. Because she will be joining me for the THIRD TIME. Thank you, Ale.

And thank you to all of you who support this ride, both through your donations to help breast cancer victims and through following my posts and occasionally commenting on them or on the ride. All of that is definitely appreciated.

Rick

https://goo.gl/maps/ymDYMeZta6z

MY MOST IMPRESSIVE ACCOMPLISHMENT (and, alas, it was due more to luck than to skill, conditioning, perseverance or even stubbornness)

The Pacific Ocean; June 26:

The Atlantic Ocean; August 16:

The Champagne:

Sponsors’ Appreciation; the accomplishment is revealed (Lafayette, CA):

Five days before the end of the ride I had told Ale that if the ride continued as it had I would have accomplished something that few if any others have ever done. It was something that neither Nick nor I did last year when riding from Santa Monica to St. Augustine and it is something that I doubt even much more accomplished riders than I have done.

Ale asked me at the end of the ride what it was I had done but I wanted to wait to share it when I got back home. Although she managed to figure it out, she kept my secret.

Those of you who attended our post ride supporters’ appreciation gathering at Mangia’s in Lafayette already know what the accomplishment is.

No, it is not that I have now ridden across the country 2 times (“Twice Across America”) because there are any number of people who have done that, and more. In fact, I met one of them, Dave Haase of Attitude Sports in Fond du Lac, WI – see my August 3 posting – who has ridden across the country some 6 times with Race Across America with any number of high finishes, including a 2nd in 2016. Nor is it my age because I know that older people than I have ridden across our country including, I am sure, self supported. But I would be surprised if many, if any, of them did what I did on this ride.

So, what did I do? I wish I could say that my most noteworthy accomplishment was due to my endurance, perseverance or skill. But no, instead it was due to luck and a fortuitous choice I made before the ride started. I rode a road bike with “race” tires – 25 mm rather than the wider tires most would tour on – from the coast of Oregon to the coast of New Hampshire, including on highways, back country roads, gravel roads, dirt roads, over broken pavement and occasionally glass AND I NEVER GOT EVEN ONE FLAT TIRE! No, not one. What a contrast that is from last year when there were days when both Nick and I had multiple flats.

I don’t consider myself to be superstitious, but when people started asking me how many flats I had – no doubt remembering all that we suffered last year – I didn’t want to say anything for fear of “jinxing” my incredibly lucky streak. Then as I got close to the end I was hoping that I could go the entire ride without a flat not just to avoid the inconvenience of having to replace the tube on the road, but so I could bag the unique distinction of making the whole trip without a flat.

I have been asked how I did it and my typical answer has been, simply, “luck.” To be fair, though, I think that the pre-ride decision to use Continental Grand Prix 4000 S II tires also played a part because they were great. However, after getting home and going on a few rides, my explanation NOW is that I didn’t get any flats on Laura’s Ride North because I wasn’t riding with Nick. How did I reach that conclusion? Because after having a few more rides with others without a flat, my very first ride with Nick after I got home resulted in a flat tire. And I got it before we had gone 20 of our 80 mile ride. If that, when combined with all of the flats we got during Laura’s Ride 2016, isn’t irrefutable proof, I don’t know what could be. (Please, don’t be a spoil sport and point out that correlation does not establish causation.)

Speaking of rides since I have gotten home. I have been pleasantly surprised that my riding after Laura’s Ride North has been significantly different than it was after Laura’s Ride 2016. Last year I felt depleted when I got back and that feeling lasted to some extent through the start of this year’s ride (which no doubt accounted for much of the apprehension I felt before starting this ride). In contrast, this year I have felt stronger than when I started the ride. I still lag behind the group on some climbs but I manage to keep up more often and feel considerably better than I did last year. I think that the main reason is that last year I suffered from heat exhaustion from riding in so much higher temperatures than I encountered this year and that it took me literally months to finally fully recover. Plus, of course, I would like to think that this year’s ride helped build some endurance and strength even though I still resisted pushing too hard because I was always conscious of the miles I yet had to ride. Maybe, though, I’m just getting younger. (Sandi would scoff at that given all of the aches and pains I have had recently.)

Flashes of numerous places I saw this past summer go through my mind. Without going into boring details, I will say that it was an adventure I am glad to have experienced. And images of small towns and coast lines on the East Coast also flash through my mind. But that is for another time.

Best,
Rick

 

 

 

The Day After

Yep, that’s our SAG being worked on, taking up some of our tourist time in Portsmouth. The belt tensioner is being replaced to eliminate a loud whine that replaced the one I had fixed before we left home. On the other hand, the Suburban is 20 years old, even if it only has 90,000 miles (“only” given its age).

Needing truck repairs while on the road is a bit of deja vu given that last year the air conditioner and brakes both needed repairing even though both had been worked on within the past year. See a pattern here?

There are of course many differences between Laura’s Ride 2016 and Laura’s Ride North. This ride was longer and had more climbing but despite a few 100 degree days, much better weather. Although I got tired and hot, this time I never got cooked or sick from the heat. Also, I never needed the rain gear I brought because the only real rain we had was at night despite
a number of day time thunderstorm warnings. Nor did I use my warm jacket, long tights or full fingered gloves. In fact, I only used a windbreaker and arm warmers 3 or 4 times. In contrast, I wore arm sun screen sleeves almost daily.

The daily miles were generally longer this year and the rest days were less frequent. I think that both of those factors led to a bit more fatigue, at least mentally. However, I didn’t get lost this year as we did last year. A major reason was that I used an ear piece this time so that I could more easily follow directions. I am sure things would have gone much more smoothly last year if I had had one then too. I also always carried at least 1 external battery for my iPhone and usually another for my Garmin (I like to see how far I have ridden to know how far is left, I like to know my speed and the grade and I find it useful to have access to the time and temperature. Keeping track of how much I have climbed is also useful when I have an idea as to what the day’s total is supposed to be).

Another very significant difference is that this year I rode by myself whereas last year I rode with Nick who of course was my connection to Laura. That made for a number of differences. Although I always met Ale at some point during my daily rides this year for valued ice, nourishment and company, I spent the vast majority of my time on the road by myself. This year I rode with someone else only 3 times: with 2 riders for a couple of miles in Portland, OR, with 1 rider for maybe a mile entering Utica and then of course for 30 miles with Bob when finishing the ride. That meant there was no drafting as Nick and I did at times last year, there was no conversation while riding or during breaks and there was no one to debate directions with, though the ear piece made that much less of an issue anyway. It also meant no arguments with a roommate this year. However, I want to be clear: Nick and I always resolved things and the ride we began as basically acquaintances we finished as friends.

Because of all that alone time, what I think while about riding was a question. Kristina, my daughter, responded by sending me a lengthy list of suggestions, from trying to remember my 5 earliest memories to coming up with your most identifying experiences. While she had many thought provoking ideas, my problem was that I could seldom focus on any one thing for that long because my mind would go to focusing on the road for debris, bumps or cracks that I needed to avoid, to watching cars if there was any traffic around to calculating the number of miles to go to get under 50, under 40, into the 20’s and finally the home stretch of less than 20. When I wasn’t doing that I was often monitoring various body parts to determine how I was doing. Usually that meant my hands, shoulders or, as you have read a number of times if you have been following my blogs, between my shoulder blades.

One result was that I was frequently amazed by how resilient our bodies are. There were a number of times when I would feel a pang in one of my knees and think, “Oh no, I don’t want a knee problem.” But invariably I would change my position or pedaling stroke a bit and the slight pain would go away and I would be fine. (I wish that the upper back issue had been as easily cured but that wasn’t debilitating as a knee injury would have been.) I have also thought that it is pretty amazing that a body can tolerate so many thousands of pedal strokes and that tired legs can recover day after day after day. I was, however, very thankful for a couple of artificial helpers, chamois cream and, when I nonetheless chafed, the Bag Balm that Sandi sent with me. I will say that that stuff is virtually miraculous because there were times when my skin was raw and on the verge of blistering that I used the Bag Balm at the end of a ride with repeated applications before going to bed and by morning I was ready to go again.

A real bonus of this year’s ride was that I got to know Alejandra better and to appreciate even more all of the help she provides. Simply stated, the ride would have been impossible without her. There is no way I would do it self supported as do some of the riders I met along the way. I don’t want to carry the weight, I don’t want to rise the type of bike that requires and I definitely would not sleep on the ground after a day of riding.

The the photos include the one I am in with Glenn, Jack and Phil that I referenced last time but couldn’t get down loaded together with some that Sandi and Ale took in Portsmouth. The meals include breakfasts of what my family calls eggs in a frame and an egg and salmon concoction Ale got whose name I don’t remember. Dinner included a cheese plate, beet salad and haddock tacos, all of which were good.

We are now visiting New York on our way home. Home will be good although we will first spend a day or two in DC.

Rick

 

 

The Last Ride Day

August 16, 2017, Wednesday. Manchester to Portsmouth. Although I usually feel fine once I get on the bike, I admit that most mornings have started with a certain degree of reluctance, if not, “Oh no, I have to do this again.” Yesterday, the 16th, was different. While I had had a difficult time sleeping the night before because of various thoughts I was having about the ride and about getting home, I was looking forward to the ride.

For one, I was looking forward to meeting Bob Bernoth who was going to join me for the last part of the ride. (Thank you to Jeff, the owner of Gus’s Bicycles for posting on his shop’s Facebook page which resulted in Bob contacting me.) I also liked the thought that the ride was only going to be around 50 miles, which is considerably shorter than most of the rides I have done over the last couple of months. And of course I was looking forward to the fact that I would be finishing the riding portion of this long journey.

Bob lives in Chester, which is between Manchester and Portsmouth so I met him at his house. The ride there was only 20 miles, but given the route I took – which varied some from what Bob recommended – I rode on 1 1/2 miles of dirt road. The ride also included 2 or 3 10% grades and 1 that reached 12%. Since I knew I wasn’t riding the next day, they were actually kind of fun, especially when they leveled out to 6% or so and that felt relatively easy.

As has been the case for the last few days, the scenery was beautiful. Lots of trees, hills and picturesque homes.

I met Bob at 10:07 and over the course of the day realized how fortunate I was that he was who volunteered to lead me to Portsmouth. The route he chose was great. None of the traffic that had been stressing me lately, good surfaces, pretty scenery, quaint towns and generally good riding. I commented that while we have climbs at home, we have to seek them out whereas here you can’t avoid them. It showed in the way he left me behind when going up some of those climbs.

We had arranged to meet Ale and Sandi at Rye Beach but I texted her to change it to Pearce Boat Launch, which I later learned wasn’t a good decision because it isn’t on the Atlantic. I was told that by Geoff at Gus’s Bicycles when we stopped there so I could visit the shop I had been in contact with. While there, Sandi texted me that they were at the Worcester boat launch. I told that to Bob and Geoff, pronouncing it “Worcester” and they both looked puzzled and said they had never heard of it. Finally, Geoff looked at the text and said, “Oh, you mean ‘Wooster’.” Although it IS spelled “Worcester,” in New England it is pronounced “Wooster.” After we got that straightened out, we decided that Rye Beach was the right choice if I wanted to dip in the Atlantic, so that is what I texted Sandi. Sandi never figured out why her text said Worcester Boat Launch when she meant Pearce Boat Launch. It was a regular comedy of errors but it all worked out.

One photo is of Geoff and Judy of Gus’s. Bob is in the pictures at the beach.

After the tire dipping, we sat on some rocks at the beach and enjoyed the champagne and lobster rolls that Sandi and Ale brought us. VeryNew England and very good!

We then loaded the bikes up and drove to downtown Portsmouth where at Bob’s suggestion we went to Brewer’s Bottle Cellar. Given the beer drinker that I have become, even I ordered one. (Sandi was our designated driver.) When the waitress brought us our drinks, she told us that they were the compliments of the man at the end of the bar. I of course went over to talk to him – Phil – and learned that the drinks were because he admired the cause and the accomplishment. I enjoyed meeting him and his 2 friends, who were equally effusive in their comments. It won’t come as a shock that I left them with a Laura’s Ride North card and I hope to hear from them. Thank you, Phil, it is people like you who help make this ride gratifying. I am in the photo with Glenn, Jack and Phil, in that order.

When I sat down, I talked to the 2 men to my right and learned that one is visiting from Sacramento and that the 2 of them are doing some bike riding in the area. Andy, the one from California and in the photo with the green shirt said that he is a 2 time survivor of cancer and enthusiastically asked for a card. I hope to hear from him. The other mentioned how he felt good when he rides 12 miles and that he was impressed by 80 miles a day.

Then Frank walked up and handed me $20 as a donation Frank also rides, including in a local MS RIDE THANK YOU, Frank. As I told him, it is for a good cause and it helps make all of this worthwhile for me.

When I returned to my seat, Sandi told me that Bob had also made a contribution. And that was in addition to the time he had also contributed. As I said earlier, I am thankful that it is Bob who joined me, and not just because of the route he chose. He is generous and was fun to spend the day with. We all enjoyed him. Thank you, Bob!

We ended the day by eating more mussels after having had some with the afternoon beer. When I get home I have to replace the muscles I have lost from not visiting the gym. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun.)

This post is long enough that I will save some of my thoughts for another time.

If you were waiting to see if I would actually make it before donating, now is the time!

Rick

PS I tried to post a video here but couldn’t. Go to #laurasridenorth

At Last!

oo

One day to go. Then ride. Then once again dipping my Bike’s tires into the Atlantic Ocean, this time just south of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. (Similarly to Astoria, Portsmouth isn’t on the ocean itself so we rode to Rye Beach, which is adjacent to Portsmouth but actually on the Atlantic Ocean to complete this journey.) Then enjoying the champagne that Sandi thoughtfully brought.

For a number of reasons, today was a great day. But it is now 11:10 p.m. and I’m beat so I will leave the details of today, including names and photos of some good people we met, for tomorrow’s post. In the meantime I just wanted to let you know that we have successfully completed this ride

Until tomorrow,

Rick

Growing Paranoia?

Except for the sprinters and those looking to win a stage, the last day of the Tour de France is basically ceremonial. So long as he doesn’t crash, the winner has already been determined. Although I didn’t race, and I certainly haven’t won anything, tomorrow seems basically “ceremonial,” or maybe more accurately, it feels like a mere formality. Unless I crash, I know that I have, or soon will, accomplish what I set out to do. That the last day is less than 50 miles, which will be by far the shortest ride of this trip, that someone is going to ride in with me over the last 1/2 of the way from Manchester to Portsmouth, and that it is the final day all contribute to the feeling that it is merely a formality and not the usual struggle. And having Sandi join us this evening also contributes.

Yes, I am going to tide to a local bicyclist’s home in Chester and ride with him to a beach in Portsmouth for the tire dipping in the Atlantic “ceremony.” I appreciate Bob’s company.

I will do some reflecting on the trip in later posts but want to say a bit about today’s ride.

August 15, Tuesday, Brattleboro to Manchester. Today we entered the 10th and final state of this journey, New Hampshire. And that doesn’t include Ontario, Canada.

The last riding day in Vermont was short, less than 3 miles. But a stretch of Vermont highway set the tone of the day for me. There was nothing remarkable about it, I have probably ridden on hundreds of miles of similar roads. But for some reason, having cars and trucks roar by me without so much as a rumble strip to separate us started getting to me. I’m not sure why this happened because I haven’ suffered any close calls. Unless, of course, you consider having a big big rig go by within 3 or 4 feet to be a close call. If you do, then I have had at least 100 of those. It was as though the cumulative effect caught up with me.

Thankfully that stretch ended within a couple of miles when I turned off on some back roads. But there were times later when I was riding on a narrow shoulder with more traffic than I liked when the thought of catching a ride with Ale was very tempting. However, the idea of catching a ride so near the finish was so distasteful that I just kept going. Though the thought that it would be pretty dumb to get hit because I was too stubborn to get a ride crossed through my mind more than once.

Although Google has generally been great, it’s penchant for dirt roads was a bit of a pain today. The first time it had me turn off of one of those stretches that was bothering me today onto a dirt road. I usually ignore those directions lately but I figured that it would be worth it to get away from the traffic. The problem was that the dirt road dead ended after about a half mile. So I got to backtrack in difficult terrain – the sand was just wet and deep enough to be a challenge for me – and get back on the road I had been anxious to leave.

The second stretch of dirt trail came at the end of a road that had started out just fine. I have included a picture of a stretch of that trail (the 3rd from the last) but you will see the trail only if you look very closely. I was there and sometimes I could barely see it. And when I could I was dodging protruding roots or thick gravel or sand. That lasted for 1 1/2 miles.

I will say that in talking to Bob, the cyclist I will be riding with, I mentioned one of the roads I had been on and he said he had never seen a bicycle there. And for a busy road, that was one I felt the most comfortable on. So maybe I’m not just paranoid.

Except for being routed in circles in a shopping center’s parking lot, the rest of the ride was good. Some good surfaces, country roads with little traffic and the hills were fun. A total of 82 miles and about 4,100 feet of climbing.

The scenery was again beautiful, lush green and some lakes and rivers.

More sushi tonight. I again loved it.

Now there is just tomorrow. Since Bob knows the back roads, that element should be an improvement.

Rick

 

 

 

 

 

THANK YOU!

 

First, let me say HOORAY and THANK YOU! The donation total had a nice increase yesterday and I greatly appreciate that. Of course, the total wouldn’t be what it is but for all of the prior donations as well. Thank you to all of you who have contributed! I hope that there are others who are waiting until the end of the ride to help push the contribution total even higher. Remember, ultimately that is what this is all about.

August 14, Monday, Latham to Brattleboro, VT. Today’s ride started with Ale dropping me of where I ended yesterday which was on a busy 4 lane city street with no shoulder. Actually, I had her take me 2 blocks farther because I saw the start of a bike lane. Great idea except that for some reason the lane lasted less than a mile and then disappeared without the emergence of a shoulder. So I again just staked out the middle of the right lane and hoped that I didn’t annoy anyone. But that was better than tiding to the right of the lane because then cars would share the lane with me by driving far too close. Fortunately, in less than 2 miles a decent shoulder appeared and that problem was solved.

I had been somewhat apprehensive about today’s ride because it was to include 5,050′ of climbing which was the most I had done since Wyoming.

After I got out of the city – Latham is a suburb of Albany – I got on some pretty country roads and the riding was good. I did a lot of shifting because these pretty roads went up and down, though none were more than11% and they were more likely to top out at 7% or so. The climbing, slowed me more than the descents increased my speed so I was making slower than usual progress.

I had climbed a bit less than 2,000′ before I reached Vermont. I had 2 primary thoughts. The 1st was that I had finished 40% of the expected climb and felt good (except for that recurring pain between my shoulder blades). The second was that I had heard how brutal the Vermont hills can be and I wondered how much more difficult they would be than the New York hills I had just climbed.

Although there were a couple of lengthy climbs, they never reached the 12% I had expected. The only real problem I had on the ride was that a large stretch scared me some. There is a definite sense of vulnerability when you are on a 2 lane road with significant traffic, including big rigs because that route was the primary east/west corridor in that part of the state, and no reliable shoulder. The shoulders weren’t reliable because they frequently became unrideable because of debris or cracks and they often disappeared altogether. That is worse than no shoulder because the car and truck drivers see a shoulder and figure that is where the bike should be. The problem if you ride on the good shoulder is that when it turns bad or disappears you have to move to the left, which is where a car is likely to be. I found that riding to be stressful and the thought of having Alecometo get me occupied to me more than once, especially after I had finished the bulk of the climbing so I knew that I wouldn’t be missing that. However, the thought of not finishing the ride overcame my better sense so I kept on riding. I am writing this, so the cars obviously managed to miss me.

So I did finish the ride. Although I wasn’t happy with the riding conditions, I will say that what we have seen of Vermont is beautiful. We rode through Burlington which was a very attractive small town. Lush vegetation and some pretty buildings. Brattleboro also has a small town charm and sits next to a large river, the Connecticut River. The restaurant we had dinner at tonight faces the river, has an attractive converted warehouse look and had good food and lots of local micro brewed beers.

I was going to reflect on some of the differences between this year’s ride and last year’s but I need to get to sleep. Sandi is flying into Manchester tomorrow and I want to finish in time to greet her at the airport.

I will mention that tonight I told Ale that if the last 2 days go as the rest of the ride has that I will have accomplished something that I doubt anyone thought I could do. In fact, I would be surprised if many, of any age, have done it. But I told her I wouldn’t tell her what I was talking about until the end of the ride. She immediately made a calendar entry to remind her to ask me what I am talking about.

See you again soon,
Rick