Monday, November 2, 2009

Cyclocross Racing and Halloween and Stuff

So I've been hanging out with my friends Ben and Anuthee here in Boulder. Enjoying Colorado sitting out the snow and waiting for a game at the Pepsi Center.
Went to the Blue Sky Velo Cup and The Boulder Cup for some Pro Cyclocross action.
Ran into Josh Kravetz(Urban Assault Ride) He snapped a pic of me at XILINX Campus and posted it on his blog.
Anuhtee suggested we pick up some Dazed and Infused before the race and I got caught by a photgrapher at the course.
My photos from Blue Sky were rather weak, but I caught some better shots at Boulder Cup. The "Cannondale Armada" swept the podium both days.

Went to a couple of parties in Boulder on Halloween. I took my camera, but didn't take any photos..maybe for the best.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Getting to the Pepsi Center Denver,CO

10/24 Hugo,CO
After drying out at the Chek Inn in Lamar,CO, I headed to Kit Carson. There I stopped at a little place called Shepp's Motel and Restaurant. I chatted with the owner who made a grilled cheese and fries. We talked about life in a small town, the economy, and the next few towns amenities and distance.
Finished up some apple pie à la mode and continued on toward Hugo.
Signs warned of construction near Wild Horse. These things you never quite know what to expect until you get there.
When I got to the construction area, the two lane highway was down to a single lane in which traffic exchanged turns for the next four miles.
As I arrived at the stopping point, a flagger had called ahead for a flatbed to taxi me through the construction site.
I waited through a few cycles of traffic for the truck.
When the truck came around the driver helped me load my bike on to the truck.
If I recall correctly, her name was Deborah.
She asked me what makes someone decide to ride a bicycle across the country. I explained, "Hockey."
She drove me approximately four miles to a safe spot so I could continue riding.

I wasn't far from Hugo at this point.
Got to Hugo and stopped at the Plains Bar. Walked in had a cheese pizza. Some guys from Texas bought me a Guinness. Started watching the Longhorns destroy Mizzou. Shifted to Dr. Pepper and talked to a local trucker and the bartender about weather and Colorado sports and such. The bartender found out for me that it would be okay to camp for the night in the city park across the street.
Hung out to about 11:30, then rolled across the street to pitch my tent.

Had a decent night sleep. Woke up only a couple of times from passing trains.
The next day I woke up to patches of snow and a flock of turkeys.

Down the street, I had some coffee, eggs, and hash at Jean's Family Kitchen. Next door was the only laundromat/motel for miles. My clothes needed a bit of freshening up. The motel attendant opened up the laundry room and sold me some soap. He turned on the heater and I got to watch some NFL football while I was organizing my laundry, lubing my chain, and conditioning my saddle.
Headed off to Limon rather late afternoon. The weather was supposed to get colder, and snow was expected.
10/25 Limon,CO
Got to Limon, stopped in a grocery store to get some supplies. I was relatively dazed and wandering through the aisles. Got some simple food items and then went across the street to the Loaf n'Jug to sit down, eat, and assess my situation.
I noticed a local police officer leaving the convenienc store. I stopped him and asked if there was a local spot I could pitch a tent for the night. He asked when I planned to leave. I said I was passing through. He explained he wouldn't hassle me if I stayed at the city park, but to be gone by 8 AM when there would be a shift change or I would catch some hell. No problem.
Camped by the railroad tracks behind city hall in a charming little park.
10/26 Watkins,CO
Next day, I got up rather quickly. It was pretty cold but no precipitation. Limon is where I could no longer avoid the interstate. I got up on I-70 and felt quite safe. The interstate has no frontage roads, but is a divided highway with large shoulders and rumble strips.
Snow was abundant along the roadside for the next few mile. I could feel the sun warming my back as I headed west. My hands were feeling warmer.
Got to Cedar Point exit and caught my first glimpse of the Rocky Mountain horizon.
I rode on up to a rest area near Deer Trail. I cooked some food there and enjoyed the warmth in the sunlight even though the ground was covered in snow.
I was feeling good and continued on. Within a few miles the snow was pretty much melted away. The day was nice and mileage was coming relatively easy.
I was told Byers was the halfway point between Limon and Denver. I pushed on.
Got to Byers, I knew another rest area was coming up.
At the Bennett rest area I was considering calling it a day. Looked around, seemed like it would be a good place to camp for the night. Researched on my phone to see if it would be legal to camp. It is, of course, illegal to camp at rest areas in Colorado. Arrived in Bennett to see what I could figure out. Some adolescent kids shouted some stupid comments my way. I ignored them and kept rolling.
Watkins was only twelve miles further, but I was losing daylight.
Contemplated camping in a field. I arrived in Watkins and found Lu Lu's.
I saw an interesting looking chap with a beret and plaid jac shirt having a smoke outside. I rolled up to him and asked him if he was from around there and if he knew a place where I could camp for the night. He said no, he was a truck driver, but we should go into the bar and ask the bartender.
Turns out he was of Scottish descent and had done some bicycle touring himself.
The bartender had no helpful info but another truck driver who was drinking with him offered me a spot to sleep in his empty semi trailer parked across the street.
At this point I shift into a bit more relaxed things go when you figure out your evening. I was low on cash as I had some difficulty transferring money to my debit card account. The two guys bought me a couple of rounds and I wolfed down bowls of bar peanuts. Listened to some trucker jokes and politics. Just grinned and listened. When you get outside of the cities, not too many liberals.
Somewhere around then a couple of guys walked in. One of them was a bigger Hispanic guy with a Longhorns cap. The other a smaller guy with longer hair. I asked them if they were from Texas. We struck up a conversation, they offered up there pitcher to share. They were in Colorado working on telecommunication towers and staying at Lu Lu's Inn. Within a few hours, Eddie (Longhorns cap) offered a spare bed in the Motel room he was staying. Another crew member showed up. At some point there were some flaming Dr. Peppers in front of us.
The night continued and eventually headed back to the room, took a much needed shower, and slumbered peacefully.

10/27 Denver City Park, Pepsi Center. Golden to Boulder,CO
Next day I woke up and checked my phone for weather updates. Looked like conditions would be favorable until 6 PM....6 PM!
Got up,packed my bike panniers, and thanked Eddie again for his hospitality.
I rode up the hill on 36(parallel to I-70) just before it dumped me into the interstate. Caught a real nice glimpse of the Rockies. My picture doesn't do it justice.

Pedaled on up just passed the 470 toll road. Exited illegally onto 36/70 continued to Aurora. Found my way to Colfax Ave.
Somewhere near Quebec St. I flatted and sat down on a bus stop bench to replace my tube. I watched across the street as a Denver cop pulled over, ticketed, and had a couple's car towed. Inflated my new tube and headed to Denver city park to cook up some grub for of the rest of the day's ride.

Made up some potatoes,rice, and beans and watched people enjoying a pleasant day in the park. [6 PM]
Battled with overly aggressive squirrels and geese who were highly interested in a handouts for which I had none to offer.

Finished up and headed to the Pepsi Center.
Denver sites were all around. Downtown didn't feel as big and metropolitan as most big cities I've been to. It was quite nice. I knew I was getting close as there Avs flags along the street.

Rode passed Coors Field and got within sight of the Pepsi Center. I took some photographs and digested the moment as others just walked in to the VIP entrance oblivious to the bearded weirdo with the green bike.

A couple of guys were walking by. I stopped them and explained what I was doing. Asked them to take a picture of me. They obliged and compared me to Forrest Gump (a common reference when you'rer bicycle touring). [6PM]

Kept riding west on Colfax by Mile High Stadium to Golden Road. My friend Ben had a friend of his email a good route to Boulder. I never really made an effort to get internet access to get it. [6 P M]

Golden Road takes you from Denver through Golden, CO to Hwy 93 which leads you to Boulder. Not the best route for this late in the afternoon with a storm on the horizon. [6 P M]
Golden road has a bunch of roundabouts as you head through town. At some point Golden turns into a one way street called Ford. The Coors brewery was up my right and Ford becomes really steep at that point. I noticed a female cyclist coming off a parallel paved path and asked her if it led to 93. She explained it would take me through neighborhoods but would get me to 93. She acknowledged it as the better path choice.
The paved path was a lot of climbing, but quite manageable with my lowest gears. At some point a jogger ran by me as if I weren't even moving. [6 P M]
Finally made it to 93. The road to Boulder is a lot of up and down. Lots more climbing and I was starting to lose light. The clouds were sinking into the hills I was climbing and I started to feel a cold sprinkle. I turned on my head and tail light and kept rolling.
Six P M
Six PM was now upon me and in the back of my mind I remembered my phone's forecast. Things were starting to look real shitty and the miles weren't going by very quickly.
I knew Ben wouldn't be home from class until around 6:45 PM.
I started to prepare my mind for epic misery for the next couple of hours.
Just as things started to look as grim as I could imagine a nice local gent pulled over and asked me where I was headed. "Boulder," I said. He then offered me a ride and helped me toss my bike in the back of his Civic. He gave me a ride the next 12 miles into town.
His name was Russell and he is a school teacher working in Boulder. He had an eastern accent and I asked him where he was from. "Rhode Island." We talked about what I was doing. He gave some insight about living in Boulder and the layout of the city. he got me to Ben's house. Ben left some keys and a door opened so I could get in.
Not much afterward Ben showed up and I was settled for the night.
The weather continued to get worse as the rain became snow.
His room mate, Anuthee, strolled in early in the morning from a night of Lucero in Denver. I rolled back over and slept. Warm.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Lamar, Colorado

Sorry for not updating in detail. I'm in a motel drying out from a cold rainy day of riding. For current photos and play-by-play follow me on Facebook.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Tour Begins

September 30

Me and the Ozone Crew rode out to the Cedar Park Arena to watch the Battle of the Stars. The AHL affiliate Texas Stars played the Dallas team. much fun. Agreat send off. The next day I am off to Dallas.

Day One 10/1
I got a late start. I am moving out of my house for the duration of this tour. I am now officially unemployed and homeless. Vytis Vardys (owner of Ozone Bike Dept.) was kind enough to store my belongings in his barn and attic while I am away.
I finally leave late afternoon. This was my error. My plan was to make it to Dallas’ American Airlines Center for the NHL season opener. I would ride two long days and make the game day a short one. Leaving late kinda screwed that up. When I finally left, it was already 4 pm. I wanted to at least make it to Cedar Park and stay with my cousin in Avery Ranch. Fueled up on Mexican food and Dr. Pepper, I was able to make it to Leander.
There was a severe thunderstorm rolling in. When I got to Leander I stopped in a convenience store and sat it out and ate ice cream under the awning. I needed a place to stay for the night. I started rolling around some streets looking for a place to camp where I wouldn’t get in any trouble. When I couldn’t find anything, I decided to roll up the highway a bit. I came up on the Leander Park & Ride Metro Center. I rolled around and found a place to bivouac for the night along the fence line.
The sky was starting to clear and the moon was relatively close to full so I decided to inflate my mattress and sleep under the stars. An hour or so later I felt a few drops of rain and thought pitching my tent was a better option. I slept without my bag and was awaken by trains and cows only a coupla times.

Day Two 10/2
I broke my camp at around 5:30 AM and headed up the road to grab some food at a barbeque and taco joint near Seward Junction. I drank some coffee, ate some breakfast tacos, and watched CNN while waiting for the sun to rise. At sunrise, I was on my way.
I was anxious to get off 183 and on a farm road. I hit 970 and got to one of those wonderful moments for which a cyclist dreams are made. Cows and sheep watching you roll by. I reached Florence and needed to pick up some sunscreen. I parked my bike outside. There was no bike rack, but I don’t think there are any bike thieves in a town of less than a thousand.
Across the street there was a barber shop, Florence Hair Emporium. I went in and asked if I could get a haircut. When the barber asked me how I wanted I wanted my haircut, I tried to describe a mullet. I wound up just getting what he gave me.
I was wearing a hockey t-shirt. He asked if I saw the hockey team in Cedar Park. I told him I watched the Battle of the Stars a couple of days before.
His name was Warren Earp from Iowa. He kinda looked like Lanny McDonald. I told him the Texas Stars were playing in Des Moines the previous year. He came to Texas after being drafted and wound up staying. He told me he didn’t miss the winter. I told him that was where I was headed.
I headed out to Killeen. I stopped at a sandwich shop and sat outside. While looking at my map I fell asleep. Snapped out of my snooze and headed for Belton. Hilly roads were wearing me down. I headed toward Moody. I really wanted to get as far as I could so I could make it to Dallas for the game. In Moody, I could see an empty High School football stadium quietly ready for Friday Night Lights. Pushing to McGregor, I was running out of daylight and my knees were like volcanoes building with pressure.
I saw a police car parked in front of a grocer. I rolled up on the passenger side of the squad car to ask the officer wear I could find a place to stay. It took a minute or two to get her attention. She was staring off into the distance; observing traffic I assume. She recommended a hotel a three blocks away.
My attention span was low at this point. Did she say third street on the left or 3rd St on the left? I rolled onto Third St. and saw her car roll passed the block opposite the highway. I continued on to Highway 10 and decided to pull over and eat. I saw her car yet again. I was embarrassed for not paying close enough attention to her directions.
I asked a young lady at the convenience store attached to the fast food place where I ate for directions. She said it was just passed the dollar store, “You can’t miss it”. I rolled passed the dollar store and saw a Best Western sign with “18 miles ahead” under it. Surely I missed the hotel the officer suggested. I asked another person who gave me directions for which I paid close attention. Sure enough, I missed it.

I checked in, took a shower, reorganized my gear, and caught up with phone calls.
Day Three 10/3

Next morning, I packed up and headed for Crawford. When I arrived in Crawford I was greeted by a large sign with a photo of George W. and Laura Bush and a wagon with W ’04 on the side of it . I pulled into another restaurant/convenient store. The restaurant was called The Coffee Station. Several older folk were chatting about the previous night’s high school football game. I paid my check and looked around the store for some napkins. I saw a young man with a weight lifter t-shirt. He looked strong but small. He didn’t appear to be a having a pleasant morning. Some larger older gentleman came up behind him and gave him a hug. He reminded him of the beating his team took from McGregor the previous night. He then reassured him they would get ‘em next time and patted him on the back.
I rode off to Valley Mills and pulled over to orientate my map. It was approximately 10 am. A gentleman walked up to me wearing jeans and flip flops. He had one of those excessively large fountain drinks, a Manson beard, and dingy trucker hat. He walked straight to me and asked me where I was going. He already looked pretty drunk, so I was cautious with my conversation. He directed me just passed the “Purple pick-up” and then told me I no longer had to take out my map.
I followed the road out of town. A few miles into my pedaling a convoy of antique cars rode passed me. They gave an ah-oo-gah horn greeting and I continued on.
Arrived in Laguna Park/ Lake Whitney, Stopped and picked up some peanuts to mix with my dried cranberries, Sat in front of a convenience store and perused the map. I local young lady walked up to me and started to chat with me about bicycling and routes in the area. She offered me a sandwich at the store next door, but I needed to move on.

II rode on over Whitney Dam towards Hillsboro, There I realized my front tire was very low and consuming a good amount of energy. I turned towards Itasca and pulled over to top off my tire pressure. I felt a few drops of rain trickle down so I put on my rain jacket.. I arrive in Itasca and turned toward the Interstate, Grabbed a burrito right as I passed I35 W, The rain started to come down heavier. As I headed to Maypearl it became clear to me I picked a particularly hilly route, When I got to Maypearl I was wet, my hands were numb, and knees were shot. I grabbed some Mountain Dew and some Motrin and pushed on to Waxahachie.
In Waxahachie I turned north on I35 E and headed into Dallas, I called my friends who were meeting me in Dallas and told them I probably wouldn’t arrive in time for the game, but I would arrive. It continued to rain and I continued to pedal. I got into downtown Dallas and began trying to find the American Airlines Center. Right when I didn’t think I was gonna find it I saw a gentleman and his son wearing Dallas Stars sweaters. I asked them if they were at the game and where the arena was. It was literally around the corner.

My friend Andrew Dugas from Fort Worth and Adrian and Norma from Austin met up with me. We grabbed my bike loaded in his truck and went over to Dr. Bell’s Barbeque Restaurant. I was exhausted. I hung out with (Andrew) Bell, Dugas, Norma, and Adrian and had some hefeweizens. Bell’s kitchen was all shut down, but I had some potato salad and coleslaw,
I went to the bar next door and had a grilled Veggie sandwich and some pints of Guinness.
Dugas drove me to his house in Fort Worth.
Day Four 10/4
Sunday was uneventful. I pretty much rested and ate. I went to a flea market with Dugas. Grabbed an amazing burrito at Fuzzy’s Tacos and washed some clothes at a laundry mat.
Day Five 10/5
I had to take care of some errands. I rode my bike around Fort Worth to Montgomery Plaza to try (unsuccessfully) to get some cards made at Office Depot. I went to Starbucks to try to log on (unsuccessfully). Crossed the street and stole internet from a Marriot Residence Inn. Riding back I managed to get lost in downtown Fort Worth. Apparently there is a difference between 8th Street and 8th Avenue. Eventually I figured it out.
I returned to Dugas’ house, took a bath, and rolled over to Colonel’s Bike Shop by TCU. Met Doug Coyle, the owner, and some other’s at the shop. They were very helpful. I replaced my stem with another Kona stem a few millimeters shorter, grabbed some chain lube, and some spare tubes.
I got back to the house and realized I lost, misplaced, or somehow got separated from a little bag in which I had my passport. I decided to stay an extra day to try and find it.
Monday night I watched the Favre Bowl.
Day Six 10/6
Dugas took me around to retrace the places I went. I couldn’t find the little blue bag. He went off to work. I went online to try and set up a business card for a Lubbock pickup. Fail.
I was hungry so I rolled down to a vegan restaurant on Magnolia called Spiral. I had a seitan barbeque sandwich. It was excellent.
I walked next door to Panther City Cycles and met Jason Magby. We started talking; he offered me a beer from his new keg of Oktoberfest. We sat and chatted about the bike biz. A friend of his stopped by and joined us. We had a few laughs and drank several more beers. I grabbed some Proofide, tire boots, and a reflective vest. He totally helped me out.
My experience in Cow town has been great. Tomorrow, I am off to Mineral Wells.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Panniers Arrived

Loaded up my new panniers. This should be interesting. The bike & panniers without any gear is 45 lbs. This bike is going to be a tank! Low gears are my friend.
I bought a sixxer of Lagunitas and drank it with my friends. This is starting to get real in my head. I am excited, focused, and concerned.
Hockey season looms near. So does winter. This is going to be great.

Sunday, September 13, 2009