Thursday, May 31, 2007

Land of OZ

That's right Dorothy we are in Kansas. Liberal Kansas to be exact. It was a short 40 mile ride in from Guymon Oklahoma this morning. We all slept in and went for a late breakfast. Jumped on your bikes for a short 2 hour ride into Liberal. The wind was with us so we just whistled in.

Liberal is the home of the Oz museum. So we went over to Oz and visited with Dorthy. The museum for the town is incorporated into the Oz museum. Then after the museum you get to go on the Oz tour. This young woman comes out dressed as Dorothy in the blue gingham dress with braids and ruby slippers. She takes you though a house which is done up as in the movie and then into the Oz museum. It is this large building that as you walk though it you see the scenes from the movie. I think that the word Cheesy pretty much sums it up. However the group of us had just a hoot sitting on the Land of OZ swings and poising in the Munchkins cut out posters.

Later Jim's brother-in-law Bob and Jean drove from Garden City and took us on a city tour, and then we went out for supper. It was great. We had a ton of laughs and a really good meal. The city is just 2 miles inside Kansas and is a town of about 20,000 people. We drove past the air museum unfortunately it was closed. They have a collection of about 100 aircraft. The main employer in the town is the big meat packing plant where they slaughter about 5000 cattle a day.

Right now we are under a tornado watch which is the lowest level of alert. However I must say that the sky is really black and there is some really big lightning strikes and rolling thunder out there.

Today's picture is of Jim and I with Dorothy. I don't think that needs any explanation. The second picture is on this old building across the street from the museum. I liked the idea that Toto eats Purina.

Tomorrow we ride 83 miles into Dodge City. The wild west, where you can see Boot Hill, OK corral. Our hotel is on Wyatt Earp Blvd. (I kid you not) Sounds like a total blast.

Thanks for visiting my blog and thanks for all the great comments and kind words.


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Strange Days

Strange Days indeed, is how the song goes and that was the day. Although the day was only 74.2 miles the 15-20 mph head wind made it brutally hard. So when I realized that the top speed was going to be about 12 mph and the saddle time was going to be 6 hr (actual time 5:54 Now I know that there are people at home who "cannot condone doing double spin class" This was the equivalent of 8 spin classes.) I resolved to just make it a fun day. And I might add that this realization took maybe 5 minutes out from the hotel. So while everyone was grumbling about what a tough day they had, I had fun. So what did I do?

First up was the little Hula cheering party that Tracy our tour leader had organized. She had the truck and one of the vans pulled off the road and everyone was wearing plastic Hula lays and doing a hula dance. As I rode up I reached back and got my water pistol out, and hosed them down. The hula turned to screams as the stream of water hit the hula dancers. I laughed to my self for miles.

Next up was a series of other riders that also got the water pistol treatment as I passed them.

After the rest stop at the thirty mile mark the road was rough and the wind was really in your face. By time I got to the 40 mile mark I still had 10 miles to get to the next stop where two veteran Crossroaders from Oklahoma (Don and Helen) were hosting a special stop, but I was feeling just bushed. However there was a beautiful field of alfalfa be side the road so I parked my bike and lay down in the alfalfa and watched the clouds drift by (I might have closed my eyes). It was great the sun was warm and the smell of the alfalfa was wonderful. I don't think I have just laid in a field to watch the clouds drift by since I was a kid.

The special stop was right at the Oklahoma state line in a little park. I sat and filled my face with the home made brownies, which were fabulous. Unfortunately I realized after about the 10th one I had eaten most of the brownies and I still had 20 miles to go, so I had to leave while there were still 4 left.

At the 60 mile mark was a little town where the University of the Oklahoma Panhandle is located. As I wheeled though town I spotted a little store so I when in and got some sort of pepperoni and cheese pizza dough thing and a giant carbonated Clamato juice drink. Outside was a patio swing so I sat and watched the traffic. The sun was nice and warm and everything was right with the world. Martin and Beth rolled in and joined me. Martin regaled us with canoeing stories with his sons. Great stories!

As I rolled into the hotel I could see Zack and Margaret sitting on a curb, so I ducked into the parking lot next door and as I came by used the water pistol on them. Zack jumped up and grabbed the hose that they had been using to wash the truck with and got me as I swooped back for a second pass.

After a quick shower I joined our special hosts (Don and Helen) on the patio for beer and treats. Wow!

However not everyone had a great day. Frank had to have an emergency root canal done. Ouch!! Richard and Dave collided and Dave took a very nasty fall. He is going to have some very nasty scars. About half or more of the riders got into the sag wagon at some point. The rest of the group just got into some sort of pace line and ground it out.

Today's Picture. In my blog I have been mistakenly calling this part of the country a wasteland. As I rode past this sign I realized my error and am therefore displaying this picture to clarify it for once and all. It should be noted that as we rode north the first signs of civilization started to appear on the horizon. Soon there lots of wellheads, single well batteries and pump jacks.

While I know that you want to know about the water pistols you are going to have to tone in tomorrow. So thanks for visiting my blog and thanks for your comments.

Down the road.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007


And I mean MOOO. That's right we are in Dalhart Texas. Home of the worlds largest feed lots. We rode pass the feed lots coming in to town. It would take ten minutes to pass a feed lot going 18 mph. The cattle were as far as you could see (which was a really long way as it is pretty flat around here). You couldn't even pick out that they were cattle. Naturally there was a huge brown pile in the middle with bulldozers moving the cow stuff on it. The flies and bugs would stick to your clothing as you rode along the road. Of course it was pushing 90 F so the aroma was totally over powering. In fact the whole town (7300 pop.) has that distinctive odour. Oddly enough we were served chicken for supper.

Today's ride was just shy of the century mark at 98 miles. I was going to ride up the road an extra mile to make the century but it was hot and I was tired, even though the road was very good and the wind was with us most of the day, so when the hotel came up I just pulled in. The average speed over the 98 miles was 18.7 mph and it took 5:17 to travel the distance. Most of the country was wide open with very little between the odd tree. Although the words waste land comes to mind I have been corrected on that point. It is NOT a wasteland. I am sure that it would be a nice place to grow up. Although living here would be an oxymoron. Things that I saw along the road included several birds (dead), two coyotes (dead), a large snake (dead), turtles (dead), and a prong horn (alive).

The lovely hotel we are staying (recently remodelled) has certainly seen better days. The ceiling has one coat of plaster and the dry wall spray on texture is was not knocked down. I had been thinking how great it was going to be to soak my bones in the pool but it is temporarily closed for repairs (at least the so the aging sign on the door proclaims). However the best part is that it is right next to the train yard.

The picture of the day is of Antonio. As I was riding in to Logan NM, I spotted this fellow walking along the highway. I knew that there had to be a story here and I wanted to know what it was. Antonio is walking from San Diego to Washing ton DC. He is 50 years old and last year his wife died of cervical cancer. So he is talking a message to the President. "Wake up America" He left his money and credit cards at home in Los Angles and is living off the good grace of the people that he meets. (I gave him $5.00 It was worth it) He is dressed the way he is to use comedy to get the message out there. The old tuxedo, gold rim Elvis sun glasses and the Bobbie ploice man hat are perfect. We should be spending money on medical research rather than on weapons of war. Every day he is hassled by the FBI and Homeland Security, plus the local county Sheriffs. He has been locked up several times. Todate he has collected 1100 business cards of people who have supported him. What a great character.

As a follow up to yesterday's story that Margaret spray painted "Bush Sucks" on the road, she has positively denied doing it. RIGHT!

Thanks for visiting my blog and thanks for all the great comments.

As it is already 7:50 Pm I am signing off and going to hit the hay.


Monday, May 28, 2007

Supplement Post:

I had to share a couple of extra photos with you as they are just too good to pass up.

They are

Tom who pulled me in:

The back of my jersey for people who think that I don't sweat much:

The hill were I was sure I would beat Murray's record but only made 37.7 mph because it was too bumpyand not quite steep enough:

The sign that I was so glad to see:

Passed The 1000 Mile Mark!

What a day! Wowie - Zowie! This morning as we sped out of Las Vegas on the way to Tucumcari NM (yes that is the real name. You know that I would never make some thing like that up) we passed the 1000 mile mark of this adventure. Today was and adventure in itself! The route was 111 miles of rolling hills. The weather started out in the low 50's and would up in the low 90's, which was just a little more than this Canadian can take for riding better than a century in.

At the first stop I picked up Tom E who rode with me the whole day. Having him with me was a God send. Together we just smoked the route. There were lots of places where we were over 30 mph and between the second and third rest stops probably averaged 25 mph. We hit a high of 37.8 mph on this one big down hill. However all good things come to an end as I bonked at about the 95 mile mark and Tom pulled me in. Thank you Tom. Never the less we finished the ride in 6:42 with an average speed of 16.6 mph. And even though we didn't get a top ten we did get a 13 and 14 place finish out of it.

Although the ride was through total waste land there were lots of interesting sights. Some creative person choose the middle of the high desert to make a political statement by spray painting on the road "BUSH SUCKS" Tom and I laughed and joked about that for miles. We later learned (well heard though the grape vine)that Margaret had done it. Now Margaret is this very quiet soft spoke Crossroads staff person. At first we were loath to believe that about Margaret, but it is always the quiet ones that do stuff like that.

I guess that the the other thing we saw was lots of colourful locals (I didn't say red necks). At the one rest stop which was close to this reservoir, there was a fellow selling fishing gear out of the back of his 70's suburban. This grizzled old fellow had a huge assortment of beat up old rods and reels. Naturally I had to talk to him where he got his inventory, but he wasn't sure what inventory was. At any rate he got is stock from garage sales, estate sales, want ads and of course some of it he had just found. When I asked what kind of fish they caught in the lake the answer was "Why every sort you can name!' Not to pass an opportunity for sport I asked about sharks and he replied "Absolutely why just last year they pull a 22 lb walleye out that had six lures stuck in it."

Today's picture is just out of Las Vegas. I guess that it needs no explanation. 1000 miles in 15 riding days. Totally amazing for an old fat guy!

Once again thank you for visiting my Blog and thanks for all the great comments. Really I am not just saying that!

See you down the road a bit.


Sunday, May 27, 2007

Nothin Happen in Las Vegas!

Obviously they aren't talking about Las Vegas New Mexico when they say what happens in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas. I don't think any thing has happened here in thirty years. Downtown looks pretty much as it did in 1940. Maybe I should have said 70 years. Las Vegas was an important point on the Santa Fe trail in the 1890's and a lot of the downtown buildings were built in that era. However after the great depression the importance of agriculture declined and then after interstate highway pushed past Las Vegas, it's importance and growth stopped.

Today's 75 mile ride from Santa Fe definitely had the most hill climbs in it, and was arguably the most difficult. In addition to all the roller coasters we reached the highest point on the entire journey. At Glorieta pass summit we reached 7570 feet. The battle of Glorieta Pass spelled the end of Confederate hopes for victory in the west (I read it on a historical marker - I am not that smart). However it was a beautiful ride and one that I really enjoyed. There was only 5 miles on the interstate. The rest of the ride was on the frontage road which parallels the interstate, but the grades are much steeper. We had the road almost totally to ourselves. While it is probable an exaggeration I don't think 20 cars passed me all day, and for a fact I know that only 1 semi passed me. What a difference from riding the interstate and where the semi's were passing less than 18" from you. The scenic hills are breath taking beautiful and really fun to ride. Fly down about a half mile then grind up about .75 miles. Late in the afternoon it was dodge the thunder storms and in fact I was caught about in the hail for about 0.5miles. However I flew into a truck stop and had a Subway for lunch. There were some bikers in Subway that were riding from LA to Chicago. We teased each other about trading rides. It was fun. After the rest stop I was really flying and in fact rode down one group of the hammer heads. They were about 15 minutes ahead of me and within 25 miles I had caught up. I don't think they were too pleased. I made the remark that I was surprised to have caught up and the reply was "SO ARE WE" Came in 8th today. It's NOT A RACE!

Today's picture is of the ruins of the Spanish mission Church that was built in 1717 by the missionaries (if you click on the picture you can see it full size, but you knew that). It is part of the Pecos national monument. I stopped and spent about 30 minutes going though the monument, however you could spend hours walking the trails and reading the signs. It is built on a hill and is a really beautiful place.

OK I have to go the Coca-Cola 600 has started and Denny Hamlin is in 5th place.

Thanks for visiting my blog and thanks for all the great comments.


Saturday, May 26, 2007

A Day Off:

Well sort of. When you are use to getting up early it is hard to sleep in. I knew that I would be awake early so I had my running gear laid out and so when I was awake at 6:00 I put on the running clothes and slipped out for a little early morning 10 k run. It was clear and crisp. There are a lot of ex-runners here but it would appear that I am the only practicing runner. One of the cyclist, Harry from Boston has run 20 Boston Marathons, but he no longer runs. Apparently if you live in Boston you don't have to qualify. At any rate it was good to just get out and stretch out the legs for an hour.

Last night we went out for supper to La Fonda which is this very upscale hotel on the Plaza in old town Santa Fe. It was built in 1539 and was the first Spanish out post in New Mexico. I was an very neat place. I had no idea that there were Spanish traders this far north this early. It was built 100 years before the first settlers arrived a Plymouth Rock. Obviously my history is a little sketchy. Boris who was one of the cyclists was wrapping up two weeks and was flying out. Boris had been cycling with the little group that I have been hanging with. He has just retired from the stock broker game at 59 and is out looking for adventures.

Tomorrow we are off to Las Vegas, New Mexico. It looks like a 75 mile day with 25 miles of climbing right at the end. With the hot weather and afternoon thunder showers I think that I am going to try for an early arrival.

This week wraps up 898 miles of the 3815, so we're not quite 25% of the way there, even though we are on day 14 of the 50. Looks like there are some long days ahead.

As promised you can see this weeks pictures on:

They are in an album shown as Week Two Flagstaff to Santa Fe. Today's picture is was taken on the Turquoise trail. I was this false flat where it looked totally level and I had been just huffing and puffing on and caught up to this other rider who was taking a break and he said have a look back no wonder it is so hard.

Thanks for dropping by may blog and thanks for all the comments. Something about the comments that was brought to my attention the other day was once you click the comments button you can type your message into the box on the right. Then click the radio button that says anonymous. That way you don't have to register with Google. I don't think they are in cahoots with spammers but who knows.

Thanks and we'll catch up with you at the next SAG stop.


Friday, May 25, 2007

The Turquoise Trail:

The road between Albuquerque and Santa Fe is called the turquoise trail because it was along this route that the Spanish and the Indians mined turquoise. A little know and totally useless fact however there are now hundreds of turquoise shops, galleries and outlets along the road. All of them proclaiming that their wares are made by local artisans. Right!

This morning we set off into a 20-30 mph head wind (naturally it was uphill as well). The best that you could do was about 8 mph. With 70 miles to go it was looking like a long day. The route out of town took us up though this canyon that was very pretty. The well heeled have built these really nice places in the canyon which have great views of the valley below. However after about 20 miles we were out of the canyon and things picked up a bit. I stopped at a store and bought a 24oz energy drink. Did it ever work I felt totally charged and just flew down to the rest stop where I was about 20 minutes behind the leaders. By the 46 mile mark, I was 8 minutes behind the leaders. However it was 11:30 and this historic tavern was just opening for lunch so I went in and had a lunch of Buffalo chili. It was great. After lunch I hooked up with Tom who is this young fellow who is a real power house and he just tore up the last few hills doing 17-18 on the steepest grade. It was great having him to draft. Once we got up the last few flats I was fresh and blew past him. (Thanks for the tip Ann). On this one down hill we hit 47.7 mph.

Tomorrow is a rest day so I think I will get up and go for a run as I haven't done any running for a week and am feeling like I want to stretch out the knots. I also have a bunch of home/office work to do as well as the ubiquitous laundry. I am really looking forward to not riding. Maybe take the bus somewhere.

Today's picture is of a cloud coming over the top of one of the mountains on the way out of Albuquerque. I forgot to mention that we were dodging thunder showers all day, but I never got rained on.

Thanks for visiting my blog and for all the really nice comments.


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Welcome to Budville:

Well actually we are in Albuquerque but I couldn't think of any thing catchy to do with Albuquerque, although they do have the Atomic museum here, which is where all the stuff from the White Sands test site is. They even have nuclear weapons that you can see. Also wasn't it Bugs Bunny you took a wrong turn at Albuquerque. Just kidding it is a very nice place.

The 81 miles from Grants to Albuquerque was a very pleasant ride except for 5 miles along the interstate which were absolutely terrifying. There was construction and they had the road blocked down to one lane in either direction, except the lane was way over on the shoulder of the road. So semi trucks were passing you with in about 18" . Jim was right behind me and we just pedalled as hard as we could. The very edge of the road where we were was broken and rough, which made it doubly treacherous. At one point you had to go over this bridge over some railroad tracks and there was piles of debris up against the rail and you had to go into the traffic lane. All the cyclists agreed that was the most terrifying cycling experience they had ever had. A number of the cyclists got off there bikes and waited for the support to ferry them past the construction.

The majority of the ride was along the old route 66 which is now just a secondary road used by locals to access their homes. At one point there was this really vicious looking mogul dog which chased all the cyclists. Jerry who is 80 years old hit the dog and was knocked down. He has a really nasty looking gash on one arm and some road rash on one knee. The majority of the road was good and I made good time despite light head winds.

Twenty miles out was the last rest stop and from there was a 5 mile long hill climb. Although it is no more than 3% it was getting hot which made it a tough climb. Once you get to the top though you are at the top of what is known as "9 mile hill". It is a absolutely perfectly straight road with great shoulders into town. The view is stunning. I was sure that Murray's record was going down, but no such luck, I didn't make it the best I could do was 43 mph.

Today's picture is of a closed up gas station at a little town out on Route 66. I guess the name says it all.

Thanks for visiting my blog and thanks for the great comments. I really enjoy reading what you have to say. If you haven't figured it out just press the word comments and leave a message.

See you down the road.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Continental Divide:

Well that it! It is all down hill from here. This morning we crossed the Continental divide at 7275 ft.

This morning was raining ,cold and windy. Just perfect! With only 67 miles of 20 mph head wind it was going to be a long day. However it was good to not be facing 115 f degree weather. So wearing our rain gear we set off. At about the 7 mile mark the rain turned really nasty so just as we turned into a gas station for shelter Jim got a flat. Changed the flat and the rain let up. We ground down the road at about 11-12 mph so it took us just over 2.5 hours to get up to the Continental Divide. We rode a little further down and I got my second flat. The tube blew out so fast I nearly lost control of my bike. So wind and rain not with standing we made it into Grant NM.

This area of New Mexico is mostly Navajo Indian lands. So there isn't too much to see. Couple that with a ride down the freeway and there just isn't too much to see or tell. I could say a bunch more but then I would probably wind up slagging it and that wouldn't be fair.

Last night we went to the Olympic Gardens, specializing in Greek, Chinese and American cuisine, for supper. The service was worse than terrible. I had ordered a burger it took over an hour to arrive. So next time you are in Gallup New Mexico you might do well to give this place a pass.

On the weird stuff o meter Frank who is one of the riders was playing it save and got off his bike to walk it across a cattle guard and slipped and fell though the grate and twisted his knee. He had to ride the last 20 miles with one leg and he rode in the van today. I really feel sorry for him. I feel sorry for me he was great to ride behind! (OK that was kind of selfish)

The motel tonight has this giant open lobby/atrium which has nothing in it. It is kind of weird. So Gil, who is this really funny guy who got nick named the ghost because of his outfit for the desert which was this all white cycle outfit, brought out this Frisbee so Gil and I started tossing the Frisbee around the lobby before supper. I thought for sure one of the rule types would come over and lay some enforcement on us but no one said any thing and before we knew it we had a dozen people joining in. It was great I'll bet it has been ten years since I tossed the Frisbee.

Today's picture is of this old wagon that is at the divide. I know it isn't impressive but it is just a point.

Thanks for visiting my blog and thanks for your comments I love knowing what you really think (man is this guy nuts! or what?)


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Flying Surly:

It was a wonderful day for flying. Bright blue sky, perfect cycling temperatures of around 65f this morning and low 70's this afternoon. We pulled out of Holbrook AZ this morning and cruised the 89 miles down to Gallup NM at an average speed of 20.7 mph. making the ride in 4:17 ride time. Yes the "Surly Long Haul Trucker" had wings today. Cruising down the interstate was easy and there were lots of times where I would look down and note that I was going over 30 mph. In fairness I guess that I should give the wind some credit as we did have a decent tail wind most of the day.

About 25 minutes into the ride we are out on the I-40 and I got hit in the head with a rock from a semi. I didn't even see it coming. It was probably pretty small as it went though one of the vents in my helmet and hit me in the forehead. It hurt like heck and broke the skin but it didn't bleed much. The spot is a little tender but I'll survive.

At about the 60 mile mark Frank had stopped to fix a flat. So Jim and I stopped to give support. While we watched Jim is looking down at his tire and noticed that there was a little wire sticking out so he got his tweezers out and grabbed the little wire and pulled it out. It was at least .75 long and had worked its way through his tire but had not punctured the tube. It was probably only a mater of a mile or two and Jim would have been fixing a flat. I was lucky today with no flats but I know there were quite a few.

Today's picture is of a school bus which has been stuck up on this butte. I think that it is some sort of novelty which is suppose to draw people off the interstate to see this and go to the tourist trap below. Along this stretch of highway there is a lot of nothing. In fact there is miles of it (good thing they were going by fast).

Thanks for visiting my blog and thank you for all your great comments.


Monday, May 21, 2007

Gravity And Tail Winds:

Wow! The effects of gravity and tailwinds have these magical effects on cyclists. We blew out of Flagstaff with a 15-20 mph tail wind this morning at 7:00, and ran into some route snafu due to construction which changed the turn off to get on the freeway. Before we knew it we were 3 miles pass the correct turn off so we had 3 miles to fight the wind but were soon back on track and headed towards Holbrook. The 6 mile miscue turned the 94 mile day into a century. What a century it was. We lost 2000 feet of elevation and with the wind most of the time we were sailing along at 20-30 mph. I completed the century in 5:18 ride time and at an average speed of 18.8 mph. Beyond a doubt my fastest century and most likely a record never to be beaten.

Before we knew it we were in historic Winslow Az. standing on the corner. It was great. There were about 8 to 10 of us laughing and taking pictures. Being only 11:30 and with less than 35 miles to go we were looking to have a good meal. I ran into the corner market and asked where was the best place was to get a good home cooked meal was and the clerk said the Falcon Inn about 10 blocks east. I ran out and yelled "We're going to the Falcon Inn. It's the best place in town" This fellow getting out of a suv looks at me and says I own the Falcon Inn. He had a smile that couldn't be beat. We had a wonderful meal. I had a green chili omelet that was absolutely fabulous. While the decor wasn't great the food was absolutely great. At any rate get my second coat of sun screen on and get my bike unlocked to find that I have a flat tire. My first flat. There were two tiny metal needles which had given me a puncture.

This trip down route 66 is really interesting there are lots of really interesting old historic places that are still around such as the Jack Rabbit Trading Post , the Tepee on the top of the rock at Geronimo, and the Wigwam Motel in Holbrock. However the number of other places that have fallen by the way side such as the Two Arrows just west of Flagstaff and all of the other nameless other places that you can see where the architecture is pure 1950's .

One of our cyclists, Boris was a a class mate of George Bush. But at any rate Boris and I are have breakfast together this morning and are talking about what is the next adventure, when this other cyclist says you should take the Orient Express ride which goes from Paris France to Istanbul Turkey. So I look it up on the Internet. Boy does it ever look like a great trip. Boris says he is in. Great the next trip!

I have been very diligent in applying the SPF 60 sun screen and it sure has worked I haven't been sun burn. However I definitely have a cyclists tan. Above the bike shorts, Jersey sleeves, and my hands are still Canadian white.
Today's picture is riding on the Jack Rabbit at the Jack Rabbit Trading Post. OK it is kind of corny but hey it isn't going to be around very long. You have to do it. This stuff is disappearing fast.
Tomorrow is into New Mexico. A 85 mile ride with yet another great weather forecast.
Thanks for visiting my blog and thanks for all the great comments!
See you down the road.


Sunday, May 20, 2007

A Day Off In Flagstaff:

Boy is it ever nice to have a day off! Everyone is just beat and in need of some rest. During the last week we rode 491 miles and did 23,000 ft of vertical. So last night we went out to celebrate and have few beers. It was really good fun we hit a Chinese buffet for supper and then walked down town. We had a couple of pints in several of the downtown pubs. The downtown was just hopping as it was grad night and there were parties going on everywhere. By time we were ready to come home we were a long way from the hotel but Boris had a GPS and steered us on home though every back alley in Flagstaff. Of course being athletes we would never even think of taking a cab when we could walk.
This morning I was up at 6:00 Am and went for a run. It was nice and cool which was a real blessing after all the heat of the last week. It was a nice easy pace and covered 10 kms in 1:02:28. It felt great to just stretch out the legs and breeze along. I had tried to find someone to run with but none were interested, so I put the i-pod on and ran with the Ramones. Joey isn't dead he has just gone home!.
Jim and I put our laundry in the hotel washing machine and he sat and watched it and I came back to the room and caught up on some of my home work. I have been remiss and have not gotten some of my office chores cleaned up for the week. About 3 hours of that and I realized why they call it work.
At any rate laundry is DONE, office work DONE, blog updated DONE, packed for tomorrow DONE!
Today's picture is of a statue of wild peckories and it is really from Sedona but hey I needed a good picture and I haven't taken any yet to day.
And as promised here is a link to my picture for the week :
Thanks again for visiting my blog. And the the great comments.
PS. Bob - No I didn't bring the Brooks saddle. I might be tough but not stupid!

A Fun Day :

Saturday from Cottonwood to Flagstaff could not be classified as anything but fun. It was only 46 miles and 7300 feet of elevation. There was two climbs one long out of Cottonwood to Sedona but only about 3 of it was steep, and then the climb out of Oak canyon to the top of the mesa just before Flagstaff. The climb out of the canyon was 3.2 miles of really steep switch backs up this near vertical rock wall. I think someone said that it was 1000 feet. As I rode up to the base of the rock wall I stopped looked up and wondered how I was ever going to make that. Was it going to 4 or 5 stops? So I downed a gel and a couple of gulps of water and set off in my lowest gear. After the first switch back it was going OK so I just kept on going. Second OK Third I am puffing hard. As I came around the fifth there was a sign that said look out 1 mile, I was only 2/3 of the way. At about the sixth switch back one of the tour staff was standing out on the outlook yelling at me. No stopping now. So I made it up in one go!

Earlier in the day we had stopped for an early lunch in Sedona at the Pink Jeep Plaza to have coffee and a biscotti and enjoy to view across the valley. The rocks are really something else. From the tops of the rocks to the bottom of the valley has to be 1500 feet. The amount of material which has been eroded is unbelievable. Sedona is a really cute little town. We had visited about 3 years ago and the amount of new development is astonishing. I guess that this whole area has under gone phenomenal change. Cottonwood has exploded with new development. Flagstaff is bustling. I really wonder where this housing market bust is. I am looking at the prices and have real sticker shock.
Most of the day I kind of laid back and rode with some different people than I normally ride with. There are something like 42 riders of which 34 are going all the way across the country and I would like to get to know them. There are some real characters. One of the characters is the British fellow. He is now in the restaurant business in Portugal. In played in in a band in the early 60's in Manchester by the name of the "Aliens" and although they didn't quite make the big time were the warm up act for Herman's Hermits and Crosby Stills & Nash. In fact Crosby's girl friend dumped Crosby to go out with him. But then he dumped her. Another of the character is Boris a retired options trader. He is so funny he always has a quick quip and he looks like a real prankster.
So not withstanding all my goofing off I made it in 20th or right in the middle of the pack. Looks like a good place to be. "It is not a race!"
My butt has settled down nicely after I adjusted the seat. The concern-o-meter was just about pegged on how my butt was going to make it for an additional 43 days. Overall I think that I am getting my leggs under me and I feel stronger each day. The lack of seat time in training set me off to a slow start. However the other training that I did is starting to pay off. So a big thank you to all of the people who helped me get through that.
Today's picture is of this really neat little shed which was beside the road on the way into Flagstaff. I figured that if you really wanted to see pictures of Sedona you could look them up on Google.
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Rest day in Flagstaff tomorrow.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Every Biker's Favorite Sign:

Today was a relatively short ride at only 44 miles. It had only two parts the first part was the 24.6 mile grind from Prescott at 5100 ft to the summit at Mingus Summit at 7100 ft. and the second part was the 20 mile roller coaster ride into Cottonwood. In fairness the second part really had two parts after the summit there is a 12 mile roller coast ride in the historic mining town of Jerome and then a further 8 miles into Cottonwood.

The town of Jerome was founded in 1883 on Cleopatra hill after the discover of a huge copper silver ore deposit on the hill side. The huge deposit through its mining operations produced 2 1/2 billion pounds of copper, 50 million ounces of silver and 1 million pounds of gold. The 88 miles of tunnels are still under the town with some reaching almost one mile down. After the mine closed in 1953 the town population dropped to 50 but since that time it has become a Mecca for artists, and tourists. most of the buildings are 100+ years old and it is fun to walk up the almost vertical streets and walk though the galleries and have ice cream on one of the many balconies that over look the valley. Actually we had pie and ice cream in the English Kitchen which was established in 1895 by Charley Hong. It being the first Chinese restaurant and opium den in Jerome.

After pie more down hill into Cottonwood, another really fun roller coast.

I adjusted my seat last night by moving it forward less than 0.25 inches and tilting it down in front by maybe 2 degrees. What a difference! My butt feels about a million times better.

About half way up the big hill there was a place to get cold water. So I stopped to fill my water bottles. It is absolutely amazing how much you sweat. So it is close to 90 F and I am hot and sweaty and I gulped down a 24 oz. bottle of ice cold water. Then felt terrible for the next 30 minutes. By time you get in the black bike shorts are caked with salt and your arms feel like you have rolled in sand.

Tomorrow is a short mileage day at 46 miles though Sedona, to Flagstaff. And then our first DAY OFF! Yahoo.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Up hill into a thunder storm:

Up early at Wickenburg and prepared for a ride almost straight north into the hills on our way to Prescott. Wickenburg is interesting kind of a place. It is kind of a historic town with a lot of older buildings in the down town. The restaurant we ate in was supposed to be over 100 years old. I thought that it was quite an interesting building but I heard a lot of jokes and comments about the flowered wall paper. From Wickenburg it was 25 miles straight up hill to the first sag stop. I was getting a little bit worried as by the time I got to the top it was 86 F. I guess that is still 20 degrees cooler than the desert, but still too hot for my taste. From there to the next stop at a little store at mile 43 was these false flats. False flats look like flat terrain but are really up hill climbs. Very deceptive and as you ride along you are working harder and harder trying to maintain a cadence but you can't. Once we got to the little store there was a number of large climbs of 2-3 miles each with a little dip in between. The final summit at 6100 ft was just 3 miles out of town which is at 5300 ft. This made the last 3 miles a great ride. Just as I reached the summit the the rain started to come down. It was great splashing down the hill though the puddles. I hit 42.1 mph (66.9 kms). I was going to try and take out Murray's record of 88 kms but the road was just a bit too windy and I caught up to this truck with a horse trailer. I was being cautious as the road was wet. The rain cooled things down and it was in the low 70's. So finished the 60 mile day with 7300 feet of elevation gain over the day feeling really good about it all. I was a little worried as yesterday I had heat exhaustion.

The people from Florida all had trouble and had to sag.
My room mate Jim was in third today beating the Jim's dispite the fact that they fix the ride rules so that they get to finish first. The rule makers were humbled to day finishing a distant 10, 11,and 12th. I think that everyone was glad to see that. I was in the middle of the pact some where. I stopped to take a bunch of pictures which slows you down. Besides not everyday is race day (or at least Colleen has been telling me that). Personally I believe that race day is the day you bring your best stuff, and you should bring your best every day. Sorry it is my blog and I get to say what I want.
The scenery was absolutely beautiful as we came though the last 18 miles. The desert land scape gave way to tall pine forest and with the storm clouds building over the hills it was beautiful.
There was one exciting moment today as I was coming down this one little decent at about 25 mph and lost concentration for about a second and as I came around the corner went a little bit wide into the lose gravel where the bike got a little squirrelly. The outside pedal just grazed the metal grade rail. Fortunately I pulled it back on to the pavement and got the bike under control. It was probably 300+ feet to the bottom of the valley. It would have been a really rough ride down that hill. Note to self: NO more day dreaming when going down hill.

Today's picture is of these two rocks on the first climb which have been painted to look like a frog. Very creative.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

What a tough day!

Today was from Blythe Ca to Wickenburg AZ. It was 104 F with a 10-15 mph head wind. the first 20 miles were basically up hill from one desert plateau to the next desert plateau. As you climbed from one plateau the vegetation changed from very sparse scrub brush to thicker scrub brush with Saguaro Cati's. As we climbed out of the valley we left the I-10 and turned NE on the Route 60. After a few miles we came to Quartzite which in the summer has a population of a few hundred and in the winter close to a million as all the snow birds arrive in the RV's. Right now all that is left are the burned out and empty campsites, and the old broken down RV's that have been abandon. My impression -- What a desolate hole! It sure doesn't make you want to run out and buy an RV so that you can camp in the desert or one of the other hundred campgrounds along the way.

By around 10:30 I am out at the 67 mile mark of the 115 miles to cover. However I am starting to feel a bit nauseous. So I am thinking about Dr Norris's lecture from a couple of weeks back and am thinking that this is the first sign of heat exhaustion. So I pulled into the rest stop and thought I would get into the van and ride down to the next rest stop which is at the 87 mile mark. Sit in a nice air conditioned van for half and hour and then with only 28 miles to go most of which was down hill shouldn't be bad. To make a long story short we get to the next rest stop and find out that 3 miles further up the road the highway dept. has just laid down 15 miles of fresh tar that can't be ridden though. So the tour operator decides to ferry people across the tar. Those of us who had taken a ride were unloaded and the other riders who were piled up at the rest stop were loaded. In one of the ferry trips a seat cover from a recumbent was lost and the vans were pressed into looking for the seat cover, because the bike was un-rideable without it. There we sat for 3.5 hr in the 104 F. By time I got in to the hotel it was 6:15. On the road for 11.25 hr, and I only completed 67 miles of the 115. Totally exhauted what a day. Be thankful for the Calgary weather! Didn't wash my clothes out just fell into the shower. The best thing that happened today was as I am showering Jim, my room mate ran out and got some beer. Just as I am stepping out of the shower there is a tap on the door and a giant cold can of Fosters is handed in. It was great!

Never the less I think that getting off the bike at the first sign of heat exhaustion was the smart thing to do. better to take it easy and be ready for tomorrow, than have to sit in the van all day.

Today's picture is of the first Saguaro Catus. I was going to show some of the burned out deserted campgrounds which far better represent this part of the country. But the Saguaro is much better. I didn't want to leave you with a bad impression.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Across the desert on a horse with No Name:

Well it sounds good but he really does have a name it's "Old Spoke". But he can't stand up because he is two tired. Old Spoke did pretty good today in getting me across the desert today. It was 102 F in one of the rest stops, were it was cooler. I don't want to know what the temperature was out on the Interstate. It was a long hot 100.5 miles today, and tomorrow is 115 miles. I am not looking forward to them. The only thing is that it is suppose to be a little cooler at a high of 96 F. The tour organizer has been pushing people to get in and out of the rest stops as fast as possible. And not to stop for food just life on the gels and Power Bars. I think I am going to stop for a good meal tomorrow. The 30-45 minutes getting a good meal isn't going to change the final temperature. It's not like you can finish by 10:00 Am or something and avoid the heat.
I am total amazed at how much rubber there is on the interstate. The highway and the ditches are just loaded with chunks of rubber. Plus every 4-5 miles there is a huge place where has been some sort of fire. My guess that some truck had a tire fire in one of the trailer. The number of trucks on the interstate #10 is truly unbelievable. At times there would be 5 or more pass in a big train. (I was going to say 10-15, but Jim says only 5). What ever the number I have never seen so many trucks.
I suppose that there is some beauty in the desert. The hills are these big bare rock piles that are quite jagged and surround the plains. However when it is 102F and you are dodging tire debris it is just a little hard to see. I think that the talk of desert beauty is a little over romanticized. Today's picture is of one of those miles.
Jim had a second blow out this morning. He had pumped his tires and had walked away from his bike to return the pump when it let go. I scared half the people who were getting ready to go.
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Monday, May 14, 2007


If you spell it out a loud real fast it sort of sounds like you are claiming to be the winner of a game involving a card which has numbers on it which someone has been calling out. It is usually associated with seniors. OK it was a bad joke but it was the best that I could do on a moments notice.

Today we road from Riverside to Indio. There were two climbs, one about 5 miles and the other about 7 miles. The total mileage for the day was 84.7 but we over shot the hotel by 2 miles and had to circle back to bring the day to 88.7. After that it was down hill into Palm Springs. On the way into Palm Springs there are all these wind miles. They are really cool to see. They almost give you vertigo as you watch them spin. What a great ride that was. It was about 12 miles down hill with a tail wind. We just sailed along at 25+ mph. Into Palm Springs where we stop ed for an iced Cappuccino (which didn't sit too well in my belly later on). After we left Palm Springs Jim had a blow out which was unbelievable. There was this huge bang which sounded like a shotgun and then the tube which had blown blow the tire right off the rim. The tube was split 6" . So we all stopped and let some air out of our tires. The thinking was that the heat had over pressured his tire. I had just seen a sign that said that it was 101F, and we were out on the black asphalt, which had to be hotter than 101F. We were feeling relaxed as we had only another 15 miles to go and were in good time. However as soon as we got out of town and back on the highway we were hit in the face with a vicious head wind. The next 15 miles were agony. By then the Iced Cappuccino isn't feeling so good. Never the less we did mange to get in pretty early Jim signed in 5th and I signed in 6th.

Tomorrow is the desert and 100.5 miles. We had the riot act read about how we are to treat the desert, and how we are to ride on the interstate. It sounds tough!

The three Jims from last years ride have proven to be a real bunch of pain in the asses. Tracy the tour operator has accorded them some sort of special status as guardians of the bike pumps and sign out sheet. So naturally they walk around all pumped up with their own authority. Heil Hitler!

Looks like I screwed up and left my mouse behind in the hotel last night. Crap!!! I will have to try and find a cheapo wireless mouse somewhere. Using the touch pad really sucks. No picture today sorry.

Hope to hear from you soon!


Sunday, May 13, 2007

Boston Bound:

I think that it was Willie Nelson who was on the road again, but we got on the road this morning. We had an early breakfast of just about everything that you can think of that could possibly be considered breakfast food before the ride to the beach. And what a ride it was! Tracy who is the tour organizer (more on her later) had everyone wear the Crossroads jerseys and ride in pairs behind the escort vehicle down to the beach, for the ceremonial wheel dip in the ocean and the group photo on the pier. What a sight! At first it was kind of corny but it was fun and once you got into the spirit of things it was great. At the pier we picked up your bike on your shoulder climbed down the steps and packed your bike down the beach (about 200 yards) down to the water where you dipped your whell in the water, then back up to the pier. There was quite a contingent of well wishers out and a couple of pass riders who live in the area who showed up and rode with the group for a while.

The route was mostly though residential neighborhoods and was mostly flat although there were a couple of good climbs. The total mileage for the day was 77.9 miles with a total elevation of 2100 feet. Jim and I fell in with a group of 7 other riders so we had quite a good pace line. In the group was this big tall fellow who rode hard and it was really tough to keep up, then about 4 miles from the hotel he had a flat and dropped out of the group. The group speed was a little faster than I would have liked but, never the less I was glad to be in the group. By the time we got to the motel our group was down to 5. I know it isn't a race, but you know the story "Everyday is race day", I was 6th in today. So not a bad showing.

The weather was warm and got warmer as the day progressed. By time we got in (1:30) it was downright hot. Or at least hot by Calgary standards. The weather though the desert is suppose have a high of close to 100 so the next few days are going to be tough ones.

Getting out and on your bike to cross the country is really going to be a great adventure . I know that there are quite a few of you who like to push the envelope (without naming names, but you know who you are). So drop me a line and tell me what kinds of details you want to hear. I give you the total unvarnished truth about it.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

A Ride Along The Beach

What a beautiful day! Up really early for a good run up and down the hills. We are staying in El Segundio which is right along the Pacific, but there are a bunch of really steep hills that form an escarpment along the coast. So they looked like a great challenge for a runner. I was thinking of our group this morning as I huffed and puffed up and down the hills. It was perfect running weather just a little cool and overcast.

My good friend Ken who lives in LA came out to have breakfast with me. Off to IHOP where we filled up on pancakes, eggs and bacon. It was great seeing him. Even though we haven't actually seen each other in ten years it was just like yesterday. The same laughing teasing and commentary on the way the country should be run if they would just put us in charge. That's right put the engineers in charge. Forget having the politicians run things. They put engineers in charge of industry and it works great.

After breakfast Jim and I went for a little bike ride down to the beach. The sun had burned off the early morning haze and it was warm and sunny. We cruised along the beach at El Segundio down to Manhattan pier. It is really neat as there is a concrete bike path that is right on the beach, so it is almost as if you are riding the beach. There were thousands of people out cruising the beach on every kind of bike imaginable. Down at the Manhattan pier there was the American National Bikini Beach Volleyball Championships on so we watched that for quite a while.

The ride group was having the orientation meeting at 2:00 Pm so we hit that for introductions and a briefing on all the do's and don'ts of the tour. There are 34 riders going all the way across from LA to Boston. I am the only Canadian, there is 1 Brit. 2 Guatemalans, and 1 from Germany but he is really an American. There are 4 Jim's, and some fellows that I can hang out with Harry, Larry, and Jerry.

Tomorrow we are off to Manhattan Pier for the official wheel dip in the Pacific coast before we make for Boston.

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Friday, May 11, 2007

Arrive In Los Angeles

Slept in this morning as we weren't going for a bike ride and I was being lazy and wasn't going for a run. In the truck about 10:00 am and off to LA. The drive through the desert was interesting. In Nevada there are several places where out in the middle of the desert they have built these huge casino complexes. Some of them have big roller coasters built into the casino complex, others are associated with factory outlet malls. I can sort of understand the malls, if you win you can go shopping, or if you have any money left the malls make sure they clean you out. The roller coasters on the other hand I don't get the connection with a casino. If you lose at the casino you go on the roller coaster so that you can feel really sick about the whole affair? Once you cross the line in to California the land scape changes from the high desert into the big box outlet stores of Petland, Toys R Us, Wal Mart etc, etc. The urban sprawl of Los Angeles is continuous from Barstow in. There is a big fire on Catalina island and the smoke has filled the entire valley. As soon as we crossed the pass coming in on interstate 15 the you could see the layers of smoke. We were listening on Jim's satellite radio and Arnold Schwarzenegger had flown out to see the fire. He promised he would be back.

After we checked in at the hotel we walked our bikes over to the check in and got the manditory saftey flags on the bikes. They look pretty corny. Maybe it well fall off in a few days. Jim and I meet a few of the other cyclist and they seem like a pretty good group.

Then Jim and his wife and I went down to Venice beach and walked down the beach and sat on this patio had an excellent supper and watched the sun set into the Pacific. After the sun went down the wind was freezing cold and the temperture in the truck said it was only 58F.

What a great day!

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Viva! Las Vegas

I know that what happens in Vegas stays in Las Vegas, but I thought that I would break that rule, and pass on what is happening. It's not really a rule anyway it's more of just a general guide line. The weather has been a total scorcher here with temperatures approaching 100F. Actually I see that the temperature is currently reading 100F. So we have been up early and getting some rides in. Yesterday we rode out to Red Rock and back it was a great ride. It was just a little over the top being my first ride of the year. There was 20 mile of a relatively gradual up hill to the Red Rock outlook but at a brisk pace. Then it was 30 miles of pace line drills at 35-50 mph. They all know each other and do this route every week so they thought it was easy. Today's ride was 35 miles of hills. However it was done at a much more modest pace and was all in town. My butt isn't sore and looks like all the spin classes, weight lifting and running is going to pay off as I am feeling a bunch better about things than the last few days before I left. And why shouldn't I. I now have TWO rides under my belt before setting off across America.

Here is a picture of Jim and I at the Red Rock Outlook.

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Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The Adventure Begins:
The Chinese proverb goes something like “every great journey begins with the first step”. This was probably true in the Ming Dynasty, but today I think that the proverb needs to be re-written to read “ Every great journey begins at the airport.” So here I am in the Calgary airport on having cleared customs and security in record time. Of course there was a mercifully short lineup at check in where I was charged for my bike but golf clubs fly free even though my bike weighs half of a set of clubs, bag and folding cart and of course the case, and almost no one at US Customs. The bike box was of course subjected to additional security inspection. They just had to see what a bike looks like when it is all apart. Flew though security and now I have a couple of hours to kill, and a good thing I have a couple of hours to kill as the only open food kiosk is Harvey’s, where the line up is at least an hour. Everyone who has flown out of Calgary on an international flight is aware of how terrible the service and food is at this particular Harvey’s. The smell of the rancid deep fryer fat permeates the whole wing of the airport.

OK Enough of that disgusting topic. Time to say something up beat. Unfortunately I cannot think of anything that is particularly uplifting, I am just to wired up about the whole affair.

Jim just completed the Tour Du Fire bike ride, which is 125 miles (200 Kms) and 9500 ft of elevation gain, last week when only 40 out of 360 starters finished. Tomorrow Jim is taking me on a 50 mile ride with his bike club. So after I get into Las Vegas at 9:30 pm, then out to Jim’s place, I will slap my bike together. Great! I guess we are going to find out how well prepared I am real fast.

More Later


Friday, May 4, 2007

Getting Close

Here we are the last weekend before I leave for the big ride. I am getting really excited about the prospect of this great adventure, however I am also feeling really nervous that I am poorly prepared. Our tour group has a forum where various topics are discussed concerning the trip. Naturally one of the topics is how many extra tubes you are taking with you. I had thought that three would be ample, some people are taking twenty tubes and half a dozen tires. Other people are taking things like shower caps to use under your helmet as a rain hat. Maybe I will liberate one from one of the hotels if it looks like rain. Rather than planning for rain I am going to plan for sun and take the sun tan lotion.

The plan for the weekend is to pull my gear together and get it in to my bags. Maybe I'll take the bike apart and put in in my box. I think that if I do a trial pack any shortages will be apparent. Besides I have a couple of days in Las Vegas to make sure that I have everything. I don't know why I am worried this is America there is a shopping mall every five miles. Have credit card will travel!

Sorry no great picture today. However stay tuned there will be a link to lots of great pictures.