113 Miles, 5,859 Feet Of Climb And Grades Of 14, 15 And Even 16%

Leaving Boston

Leaving Worcester

Sorry, The Trees In The Distance Are Too Far To Make Out; There Were Lots Behind Me

Just Because

We Both Had The Clam Chowder , New England Style Of Course

Yes, The Lobster Was Good

Of course the 113 Miles, 5,859 Feet Of Climb And Grades Of 14, 15 And Even 16% would be more impressive if it weren’t spread over 2 days. Which it was. In fact, yesterday, from Boston to Worcester was, only 46.1 miles, which was especially nice. Today’s 66.9 miles from Worcester – pronounced “Wooster” – to Windsor Locks, CN, even with 3,600+ feet of climb, with some as steep as 16% but, thankfully for very short distances, went really well.

Other than sounding like a broken record by saying that the scenery was beautiful both days with lots of lush vegetation and numerous lakes and rivers and good roads with nice weather, I really don’t have much to say. I didn’t meet anyone and there were no noteworthy events (which is probably a good thing).

Aside from fighting through some discomfort between my shoulder blades – something that was troubling at times last year – I felt good, including at the end of both days. In fact, my legs aren’t feeling tired when I am off the bike as they did for the first week plus. All-in-all, things are going great.

Good enough that I finished the day with a 1 ½ pound lobster dinner for only $24.95, together with a Stella. I wouldn’t do that nightly, but it was good. Ale had grilled salmon for about the same price and she enjoyed that as well.

Oh, have I mentioned lately how helpful she is? If not, let me do so now. She is indispensable.

The scenery has reminded me of a major reason I decided to do this year’s ride, aside from helping breast cancer victims and wanting to add a “+” to “Twice Across.” If everything else is equal – i.e., roads, traffic, wind, temperatures and climbing – it is easier for me riding in this environment than it was in much of what I rode through last year and the year before. While some love the desert and the vastness of the open plains, I prefer trees, green and water, at least when it isn’t pouring on me.

Here is hoping that tomorrow’s ride into Millerton, NY goes as well. Yes we have been going through the states lately from 6 days riding in Maine, to New Hampshire, through Massachusetts, into Connecticut and on to New York tomorrow. 670+ miles and counting.

I look forward to your comments. And to your donations. After all, this ride is called LAURA’S Ride Atlantic Coast for a reason.

Until next time,
Rick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Appreciated Rest Day

Janess Beach, The Conclusion Of Laura’s Ride North

Where Last Year’s Ride Ended

A Coastal Community

A Small Town On My Route

A View Of Boston From Cambridge

Quincy Market Indian Food (And A More Appreciated Cold Smoothie)

The State Building

July 9 (Portsmouth to Boston):

Eight straight days of riding tired me out. Apparently more than I knew (see below).

Yesterday’s ride into Boston was set for 72 miles and was relatively flat. The weather was good though a bit warm and humid at the end. The roads in Mass aren’t as good as Maine or New Hampshire but are nothing to complain about.

I took Hwy. 1A south with probably around 12 miles along the coast in NH. The photo of me at the beach commemorates where I dipped my wheels at the end of last year’s ride. No champagne, Sandi, Ale or Bob this time, but the weather was nice so that there were a number of beach goers. And the memories were there.

I didn’t properly charge my Garmin the night before so I didn’t have the info that I usually watch. I also added a few miles because of a mix up with directions but it wasn’t too bad.

What were bad were the voracious flies that left blood spots on me when I had to stop to check directions on my phone. The phone doesn’t work as well in the heat and it was frustrating trying to call up the correct screen while those flies were drawing blood from me. The after effects weren’t too bad but some of the spots still itch today.

Although there wasn’t much climb, and although I wasn’t exactly flying along, I was tired the last 25 to 35 miles or so. The heat and humidity didn’t help but I would guess that the cumulative days had something to do with it.

I would guess that all the of those factors – the approximately 570 total miles, the heat and the humidity – had tired me out more than I knew because while lying in bed after dinner first one leg – from the foot up through my shin – and then the other cramped. It hurt enough that I asked Ale to go out to the truck to get some of my anti-cramp serum. I would like to say it was miraculous but I ended up taking 3 and was still a very unhappy camper for a while. I was finally able to sleep only to have them reappear in the morning though, thankfully, in a much more mild form. They went away and we spent a day of sight seeing, much of it walking, with no reappearance. My fingers are crossed for tomorrow but fortunately the weather will be cooler and the ride is only a bit more than 50 miles.

The last 6 miles of the ride took quite a while because my route led me through the heart of downtown Boston. That was a very different riding experience. A bit scary but interesting. Thankfully the traffic was slow. We ended up in an area called Dorchester which is a 15 minute subway ride from downtown. Our Airbnb stay has been a bit of an experience but since I want to get this posted so I can read a bit before going to bed, that is a story for another time.

We visited downtown and Harvard today and then came back and I did nothing. That was great. Rest was too valuable to do more touristy stuff.

Last night we had Indian food from a booth at Quincy Market and tonight ate at a local Chinese restaurant. The food was edible but not remarkable both places.

By the way, the rest day was good not only to deal with a bit of fatigue but because by the end of yesterday’s ride the seat of my shorts was sticking to me and I am hoping that my Bag Balm is as effective as it has been in the past at healing raw spots. If not, my saddle is going to be VERY uncomfortable tomorrow.

Good night,
Rick

PS: Thank you. I do read and appreciate your posts even if I don’t respond to them individually It is just that posting takes far more time than you would think.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No Excuses

Foot Bridge In Brunswick

Leaving Belfast

Dave, Carl and Matt

Future Destination Restaurant

Conditions were too good for me to have any excuses the last 2 days. No rain. No extreme heat. Abd reduced humidity.

July 7 (Belfast to Brunswick):

But there were 4,685 feet. That isn’t a huge number. But it is quite a bit more than 2,338 feet which is the number of feet that Google Maps had projected. I can say that I felt all of the additional 2,347 feet. However, the good news for me is that they weren’t as bad as they would have been a couple of days ago. Even though some of the grades were 13 and 14% (not sustained, but not infrequently, either).

I guess that has to do with the training that I did for this ride, which is to say pretty much nothing other than our weekly rides and that can hardly include Tuesdays because I wasn’t keeping up on those. I suppose it would have made sense to have done a number of consecutive day rides, but I didn’t. I figured that I could hurt while training or I could hurt here and with my usual procrastination I chose to hurt here. But I hope that things are improving.

What can I say about the ride? The weather was almost perfect, perfection having been missed because the temperature got all the way up to 80 or so after having spent much of the day in the high 60s, which are prefect. The skies were blue. The roads were, as has been true throughout Maine, at least B level and almost always very safe feeling. There are usually wide shoulders and they are usually free of debris. And while the surfaces aren’t glassy, they have been pretty good. If I knew that the rest of the roads were going to be comparable, I would be very pleased. And surprised.

I met Dave, Carl and Matt, cyclists, while I was lying on some grass gazing across the road at a building being constructed somewhere near Wiscasset, Maine. I called to them when they stopped at an intersection not far from where I was to see where they were going so I might tag along for a while. Unfortunately, they were heading back to where I had been. One of them mentioned that the building is going to be a restaurant. I was surprised because we really were out in the boonies but I was told that destination restaurants are popular in Maine. They mentioned one in the area – I should have gotten the name – that is so popular that you have to apply for a reservation a year in advance. Yes, apply. Because then they have a lottery to select those who will actually get in. And because it is a fixed menu, you better hope that you like what they are serving when your turn comes around, if it does.

At lunch I met a lady who had been going to the same restaurant daily for 30+ years. She had watched generations of waitresses go through the restaurant.

As always, I was glad to get to the finish, 74 miles later. But I was actually feeling pretty good.

Norm And Lin

Leaving Brunswick

Entering Portland

From The Bridge Into Portland

More Pretty Maine

In Portland

Carolyn And Bob

Bob And Me

July 8 (Brunswick to Portsmouth, NH):

Another great day. Outstanding weather, meaning moderate temperatures and no rainstorms. Plus the skies were blue, the scenery was beautiful – rivers, a bay and the ocean and always lush vegetation – and the roads remained excellent. I am a life long Californian and I love where I live but I have to say that you cannot beat Maine. At least during the right time of the year. Because, unlike California, the winters can be brutal and the humidity can be oppressive. But for now, Maine has been paradise.

I also have to mention riding into Portland because that was on a paved bike path that skirts the bay and drops you into the heart of town. I rode past a large cruise ship that was docked there and was not surprised that that beautiful port was on the cruise’s itinerary.

I met Norm and Lin at the motel this morning, 2 very avid bicyclists from New Zeland who are traveling self supported. I don’t know their exact route, but it will be well more than 1,000 miles and this is just their current ride. They have done other long distance rides in the USA including Canada to Mexico down the west coast, throughout the state of Oregon and on the east coast. Not to mention a long ride in Europe. At 74, Norm said that the rides have become a little more difficult. BUT he, and Lin, are still doing them. Safe travels Lin and Norm!

My 85 miles today included around 20 on some dirt paths. Although they were packed hard enough that I could do 15 mph even up a slight incline. I definitely prefer paved routes.

One of the paths crossed some paved roads and at one intersection I met Holden and Wilson, brothers who had a free lemonade stand. How could I pass that up, especially since I was assured it was cold? Despite it being free, their sign said that donations were accepted and they clearly appreciated mine.

I spent a while talking to them – they were both very articulate, and polite – and learned that their mother’s cousin had ridden across the US last year. Bob, their dad, showed up and said it had been a central route. When he said that they had enjoyed reading his posts and tracking his progress across the country, I had to give him a Laura’s Ride Atlantic Coast card and asked to include Wilson’s and Holden’s photo in my blog. Hello, to you 2; I know from your dad’s message that you will be following along. I hope you post a comment and say hi.

Riding into Portsmouth was fun because that is where last year’s ride ended. Those were some good memories.

Fitting right into that, the evening ended great because I had dinner with Bob Bernoth and his wife Carolyn. That was special because it was Bob who rode into Portsmouth with me last year to celebrate the end of Laura’s Ride North with us. Thank you Bob and Carolyn for making the drive to meet me for dinner and thank you for your generosity in getting me dinner. I hope to see you again though next time lets make it when you come stay with Sandi and me in California.

Although I definitely got tired today, I felt that I had more power going up hills (3,219 feet). I hope that continues. Me getting stronger, that is, not the climbing though other than tomorrow, that won’t end for a while yet.

Tomorrow is Boston and our first rest day after what will be 8 consecutive days of riding. I am sure my body will appreciate it.

Good night,
Rick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Stultifying Heat To Torrential Rain

Leaving Bangor

Belfast Harbor Restaurant

From Belfast Harbor

The weather reports warned of thunder showers so I took my light rain jacket with me. However, because it wasn’t raining I stuffed it into a jersey pocket.

The temperature was great, high 60’s, though still very humid. The roads also continued to be everything one could hope for. While I have ridden on smoother surfaces, these were fine and almost all had wide, relatively clean shoulders. And, as always on this trip, the scenery was beautiful.

I started off optimistic because yesterday went pretty well and today was only 51 miles. I felt better at the start than I had the past few days and that remained pretty much during the ride.

Maybe 20 miles into the ride it started to rain just enough that I stopped to put on my rain jacket. I was a little reluctant because with the humidity I really didn’t want to add clothes. But it was raining enough that I thought it would help.

Since it wasn’t cold, and because the shoulder was pretty wide, the rain was no big deal. Until it was. The skies pretty much opened up and it was coming down so hard that I stopped to put my phone and Garmin in plastic bags in my jersey pocket because as far as I know, neither is guaranteed as water proof. My phone still communicated with my ear piece – I use it for directions – so that wasn’t a problem but I did miss not having the data visible from the Garmin. I especially like to keep track of my speed, the grade and the distance I have gone. I don’t know how much it mattered, though, because I am not sure I could have read the screen anyway between the water that would have been on the screen, the water that did cover my glasses – yes, window wipers are very useful – and the density of the falling rain. My vision generally was impaired so I made an effort to slow down, especially on the descents, so I wouldn’t hit something I hadn’t seen

After some number of miles – I don’t know how many because the Garmin was in my pocket – I turned into the first small market I had seen for a number of mules. I knew I was wet when I walked in but was surprised when I moved one of my arms and water poured out of my sleeve. So I wouldn’t make too big of a puddle in the store, I stepped outside and loosened the cuff on my other sleeve to let another stream of water out. I had been so wet that I didn’t know how wet I was. When I walked back into the store, I was greeted with, “You should dry off after you take a shower,” to which I responded that I don’t get that wet when I do shower.

I got a soft drink and a slice of pizza since I hadn’t really had breakfast because of the motel we had stayed in. I pulled my credit card out when I saw a sign saying there was a $5 minimum to use a card because I prefer to use my card rather than getting change from using cash. To say the least, I was surprised when the bill was less than $3.00 (and it had been a large pizza slice). I wish the cost of our other meals had surprised me the same way.

After eating and cleaning my glasses – yes, a futile act – I figured I mught as well get started on the last 20 or so miles. While it was still raining, the intensity had diminished significantly and finally got to be light enough that I stopped to remount the Garmin.

Ale caught me about 10 miles from the finish and I took the opportunity to down a half bottle of Pelligrino and exchange the rain jacket for a wind breaker since it had stopped raining. Not that the rain jacket had lived up to its name when it was raining.

The last 10 miles were fun and there were even a few times when I would push part way up an incline, a marked contrast from my typical slow spin in a low gear. I hope I can do more of that as the ride progresses.

So, another day of no cramps and improving legs. And no complaining about the heat.

After Ale and I had dinner at Belfast harbor and were looking across a large river whose name I won’t even attempt that empties into the ocean not far from here, Ale said that she didn’t want to leave this state. Having been on the previous 2 rides, Ale has now seen more of our country’s states than have most Americans and her conclusion is that Maine is her favorite of all. It certainly is beautiful. Because I didn’t yesterday, I will include some photos of Bar Harbor to help substantiate that claim.

So, day 5 is now in the books – 52 miles, 2,450 feet, with 3 more ride days before we get to Boston where we will spend an R&R day. I have to admit that I’m not looking forward to tomorrow’s 77 miles and 2,200 feet. Not a killer, by any means. But I have been a bit wimpy so far. But, as I have said, just keep on pedaling.

I look forward to hearing from some of you. With special thanks to Sandi, Annie, Karen and Sal for your comments.

Rick

Another Bar Harbor Hotel

Bat Harbor

Our Dinner View Outside Of Central Bar Harbor

My Sea Food Platter (I ate The Asparagus Too, Sal)

From Near The Restaurant

Beach Near The Restaurant

The Sun ½, Me 1 ½.

Leaving Inn By The River, Forks, ME

On The Way To Bangor

More Pretty Scenery

Clam Chowder

Mussels

July 4:

Yesterday – I am writing this July 5 – started ominously when one of my calves cramped as I was getting out of bed. Given the cramps I had had the previous 2 days, that wasn’t a good start. That was exacerbated by me generally feeling pretty weak. However, I drew some solace from Ale reminding me that there had been a number of days last year when I had said that I didn’t feel like riding only to have the day turn out ok. So, I could hope.

Actually, once I got on the bike and started pedaling, I felt ok. For a while.

The scenery was pretty – with much of the first part of the ride going along a river – and the road was hospitable. I even ran into stopped “traffic” because the highway went through a small town that was having a 4th of July parade, the highway apparently being the town’s main street. From what I could see, the “parade” had maybe 4 vehicles. None of which even pretended to be a decorated float.

There was a fair amount of climbing. Not exactly scaling a mountain, but definitely more than just rollers. I won’t claim that was easy, but given my recent cramps, I was pleased that I was doing as well as I was. And with no cramps.

However, the heat started getting to me. I stopped when I felt especially baked IF I could find shade and that helped. I again caused some concern when a couple of vehicles that had passed me doubled back to see if I was ok. I’m afraid one woman had been especially alarmed, thinking that I had taken a fall. I assured her I was ok and apologized for her worry.

A number of miles later I again pulled over when the heat AND humidity became overwhelming. It was 95 but the main problem is that it gets to be cumulative. This time, however, I pulled up a dirt driveway far enough to find some shade and a green patch to lie on. Hearing some noise, I managed to open my eyes to see a boy of around 10 or so who had come out of his house. That wasn’t enough to keep my attention so I again tried to nap. However, a couple of minutes later his mother came out with 2 bottles of cold water, saying that I looked pretty beat from the heat. She was right. The bottled water was great and almost as good as the cold water from their hose that I used to drench myself. It was cold because after I asked about using it, the boy walked over to the spout to show me where it was and he turned it on to let it cool off from the near boiling it was from the hose sitting in the sun. That shower was great! Drinking lots is necessary, but if your body temperature gets too high, forget it. And I say that from experience. Unfortunately, I was too out of it to get names or photos of these very helpful folks. I will blame that on the heat.

The shower was good but it lasted only so long. After more climbing in the sun I decided I had had enough after only 45 of my scheduled 89 miles and 1,945 feet and let Ale know I was ready to be a passenger. Although part of me regretted it because my legs were still able to climb and I don’t like giving in, I had promised myself – and Sandi – that I am going to be more sensible this time. The air conditioned truck was great and the wisdom of my decision was reinforced when we walked out of a restaurant after lunch. Walking into the 98 degree heat was totally oppressive and I was thankful I hadn’t continued to ride in it. My brain can’t afford to be cooked any more than it already has been.

I have to mention lunch. I said how hungry I was and ordered a bowl of clam chowder and a plate of mussels. Ale ordered the same, but a cup instead of a bowl. It turns out that her cup was as large as most restaurant’s bowls and my bowl was just plain large. Then the mussels came and I was overwhelmed. I finished the clam chowder – we both agreed it was excellent – but I barely ate half of the mussels and not because they weren’t good. Of course, Ale finished all of hers. (She did get a 2 hour workout in at the hotel’s gym last night and then workedmout again this morning after I left on my ride.)

So, as of yesterday evening, it was me ½ having finished ½ of the ride and the sun ½ for having wiped out the second half.

Leaving Bangor

Outside of Bangor

Shelly and Me

July 5:

The departure from Bangor was different in that it was more urban than the previous couple of days. While we had driven into town through beautiful residential areas, some with estate sized lots and all with lush vegetation, I left through a commercial area. However, even then I felt pretty comfortable on the roads. So far this trip has been great that way.

Today to Bar Harbor, a beautiful Maine coastal town, was only 46 miles and 2,411 feet. Because it was hot – again over 90 – I stopped more than a 45 mile ride would normally warrant but, as they say, discretion is the better part of valor. The end result was that although there were a couple of times I was overheated, the ride was my best yet. No cramps at all and there were stretches that were simply fun. So, today I beat the heat: sun ½, me 1 ½.

The day was enhanced by my stop at 1A Relics, a charming new store in a unique old renovated building in Ellsworth, roughly half way to Bar Harbor. I had gone for 15 or so miles without seeing any place to get something to drink and was getting low on what I was carrying. When I stopped I didn’t initially realize it was an antique store but I went in anyway if only to ask where the next store with beverages was. I was greeted by Shelly Bradsell, a retired nurse who had opened the store only 2 weeks ago. As soon as I asked about the next store, she immediately brought me a couple of bottles of cold water and told me that she wouldn’t accept any money. We spent a while talking and when she realized the purpose of the ride, she wanted to take a selfie of us to post on their website. She introduced me as a 71 yo rider headed for Key West (the Laura’s Ride Atlantic Coast card I gave her mentioned a 71 year old). I disagreed, saying that I am really 55 but with all of the time on the bike I can pass for 71.The young woman she had introduced me to had the good grace to say that in either case I look good. Of course, I would prefer to look good for 55 but I will take what I can get. Thank you for your hospitality, Shelly. And best wishes for your new venture. Also, I hope that Conrad, who she also introduced me to,  comes through with his promised donation.

The temperature should be better tomorrow. But I’m not sure about the projected thunderstorms. So I guess I will get wet. I just hope the roads stay safe. But if they don’t, I will ride in the truck. No heroics for me this time around.

Rick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Days And More Cramps Than In The Previous 2 Years Combined (July 2 & 3)

I didn’t post on the 1st because after my ride I wanted to see how the next day went. Then I didn’t post yesterday because thw wifi was too sketchy. And I will save today’s ride for tomorrow. But here is July 2 and 3:

The views on the ride out of Quebec City were pretty. Much of the route was along Quebec City’s large river – the St. Lawrence – and all of it was green, which is quite a contrast to much of Laura’s Ride 2016 and Laura’s Ride North.

Leaving Quebec City: The River

More Of The River

The ride was also incredibly bike friendly. Miles of good bike paths took me out of the city and across the river and when they ended the roads had wide shoulders that were in good shape. I felt totally safe which was nice.

Well, totally safe as far as vehicles were concerned. The heat was something else. While it got to “only” 95 with humidity, it took quite a toll on me. I say “only” because 2 years ago when it got to 95 we considered it to be cooling off. And even last year there were some 100 degree days. But this time it got to me. I didn’t get sick but it did zap me pretty good. And then with around 30 miles left, I started to cramp. That made riding a challenge, (As if it wasn’t already.)

I stopped frequently because I am determined not to do what I did a couple of years ago when I let my body temperature get too high and kept riding. As Sal would say, that isn’t prudent. However, that can be easier said than done when there is little shade, not to mention no stores, and therefore no air conditioning, available.

Teresa Prentiss

One stop was on a bit of grass under a tree that provided shade. As I was lying there I saw an elderly woman walk onto her front porch at a house across the street. She motioned to me and I tried to communicate that I was fine. She disappeared into her house and then came back out with a bottle of water which her gestures showed was meant for me. Well, I couldn’t very well ignore that so I got up and walked across the street and thanked her as best I could. Our communication was limited because she is one of the numerous people in this part of Canada who only speak French. I sat on a stair on her porch until she went back inside and returned with a chair for me. Despite our language differences I learned that she is Teresa Prentiss, she is 86 – she called my 71 young, showing that everything is relative – she has 4 children, 9 grand children and she was born in Maine to an American father and Canadian mother. I hope I was able to make Teresa know how much I appreciated her kindness.

That wasn’t the last time I found some place along the road to lie down where there was a bit of shade. I did manage to finish the ride – 79 miles and 3,500+ feet of climb which isn’t horrible but was about twice what Google Maps had listed – though it was a good thing that the last bit was downhill and not a climb because my legs would have locked up for sure. As it was, I had to wait about an hour to shower because once in the room everything started to cramp. My legs, my feet and my hands though it was only the leg cramps that really hurt. And “really hurt” doesn’t do it justice.

I was very thankful for both my electric shifting and disc brakes while riding because I was having difficulty with my right hand – cramps – and would have been able to shift cogs, or beake my rear wheel otherwise. (Greg H., if you are still having hand problems as a result of your guillain barre syndrome, I strongly recommend both.)

The room in St. Georges was easily the smallest we have stayed in on any of the rides. There was no way to cram 2 bikes into the room – I did bring a spare – so we had to leave one in the truck.

Today was listed at about 3,500 feet but was actually 4,600. It wasn’t as hot as yesterday – it topped out at 90 and was typically more like 85 – but I think that yesterday was still lingering because I had to fight cramps a number of times. Fortunately I was able to pedal through them but at my last stop beside the road I couldn’t move for a few minutes as both thighs were quivering as they cramped. While I was resting, there were at least 2 vehicles that turned around so they could come by to ask if I was ok. Aside from the cramps, which they couldn’t help, I was ok but I yelled out my thanks for them asking.

Craig Fisher

When I was a few miles from where I thought I should be I stopped to enter the exact address into my phone. In doing so, I cancelled the present directions. The problem was that there was no cellular service which meant that Google Maps wouldn’t connect. Because I was headed downhill I definitely didn’t want to have overshot my destination – I wasn’t in the mood to do any unnecessary climbing. I tried to flag down the few cars that came by to ask for directions but I guess they thought I was going to highjack them with my bike because no one stopped. I ended up walking to a house that was set back from the road – this is definitely a rural area – to ask for directions. Craig Fisher not only gave me directions, he repeatedly asked if I had everything I needed and even offered to drive me to my destination. Thank you again, Craig!

Tonight we are at the Inn by The River in Forks, Maine. Which means that we crossed the border from Canada to the USA. We were even “treated” to a large homemade “Trump – Make America Great Again!” sign at the front of someone’s home on the route here. My thought was yes, let’s make America great again, like it was before the last presidential election. But enough wishful thinking.

Huge 14 oz. Rib Eye

The Inn’s setting is beautiful, marred only by the insects that left numerous lumps on Ale when she tried to go for a walk this evening. We are finally adding a meal photo. Both of us had 14 oz Rib Eye steaks but only Ale finished hers. I was sorry I couldn’t give what was left of mine – at least 1/4 – to Blue. (Here is hoping that Vixen, Sal and Kat’s beloved companion, is doing as well as possible considering that she is also a cancer victim.)

Well, another 83 miles and supposedly 3,500 feet tomorrow. I hope.

Thank you for the comments and messages before I even started,
Rick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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