Saturday, July 30, 2011

Build day four ...

A great day at the build site for a mother and her two boys. We took out windows and replaced them. We tore up the rotted front porch and steps and replaced them. We replaced the front door. We scraped and painted. When we finished we gave the mother the "Greater Blessings" box so she could make interest free payments that she could afford.

We got back to the school, showered, and had four massage therapists waiting for us with free massages. Then a very nice dinner, relax time, and I will be ready for bed. Funny how sleeping on the floor can be referred to as "bed."

Some of the riders needed to go to a bike store for supplies, etc. Martha has been having a lot of trouble with her bike, beyond fixing well enough for her to be able to ride properly. So Jonas was able to help her buy a new bike, and the bike store folks lowered the price to get within her price range. She's outside making friends with her new bike, and probably trying to come up with a name for it. I don't know what it is about women, but they seem to need to name their bikes.

Good friends coming to go to church with us tomorrow, and to take me to lunch. :-) I have not had a chocolate malt for a couple of days so I am ready for that tomorrow also!


Friday, July 29, 2011

Day 22 riding ...

Bike day 22 for me/10 to go
Lewistown, IL to Bloomington, IL 80 miles
Build days done 3/build days left 4
Temp 85 F; humidity: raining

We woke up for breakfast at 5 AM, and all went well until breakfast was almost over. Then the lightning started, and the rain soon after. Allen was on the weather watch via smartphone, and we decided to wait out the lightning. So instead of leaving at 6, it was closer to 7:30. The lightning had stopped, but the rain continued until we made our first van stop at mile 22. It was not storming, just a nice light rain, but we were all completely wet, and stayed that way until we reached Bloomington. Actually I thought it was a nice ride all day, except for all the road grime we collected because we were always wet, with no place to dry our hands.

I rode well at times today, keeping up with some of the draft lines, but not able to keep up at other times. Stopped to help with two flat tires today, and I always have trouble getting my knees going for the first mile or two after stopping. Once they warm up again, I am good to go at whatever level I am functioning.

We are staying at the Central Catholic High School until Monday morning. Another build day tomorrow, and a day off on Sunday. We only have a few reasonably short riding days coming up, in the 65 mile range. The rest are all mostly in the 80 and 90 range, and we have six riding days in a row starting August 6, one being billed as 99 miles. I'm betting it turns out to be a century ride (100 miles), which is ok because I have not done one yet this year.

We lose three riders and gain two this weekend. Always sad losing, but also exciting meeting new riders and finding out how they ride.


Day 21 riding ...

Bike day 21 for me/11 to go
Quincy, IL to Lewistown, IL 90 miles
Build days done 3/build days left 4
Temp 96 F; humidity ??

Well I guess I lost last night's blog to the Internet "lost and found." Since I don't know how to find it I'll try to do it again.

Thursday: We stopped at a Methodist church camp outside of Lewistown. It was a very nice stop: 6 to a room with our own bed, shower in our room, swimming pool, gym, paddle boat pond, and lots of great food and people to serve it.

Yesterday I felt like Superman riding, today I'm back to mild mannered bike rider. I just could not get my rhythm going, everything seemed to move in slow motion. I was at least 5-7 MPH slower today, and could not keep up with any draft lines.

Since yesterday is already a day old and I can't remember it now, I'll just have to start tomorrow's blog.

Location:Lewistown, IL

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Day 20 riding ...

Bike day 20 for me/12 to go
Moberly, MO, to Quincy, IL 82 miles
Build days done 3/build days left 4
Temp 103 F; humidity ??

This is a very supportive team, always looking out for each other and offering encouragement. Today I had a number of comments on how well I was riding, which of course made me feel good, because today for me, I was smoking it, and feeling good even with the temp and humidity. About .2 miles from our destination I saw a chalk notice on the city street, stopped and found Aaron and Chris in the ice cream store already. The good news is that Chris was not that far into his root beer float, which means that I was not that far behind him. Good stuff, the float and the ride!

The temp cooled a little as we neared the mighty Mississippi. It was fun riding over on the bridge, stopping in the construction lane and just looking at this wonderful body of water flow by. Overall a nice ride today, even with two hills that were short climbs, but had 13% and 11% grades to them. A couple of tough little climbs.

I took my bike to a local bike shop and had them replace my headset that was catching and causing some erratic steering. This might have even contributed to my little ride into the ditch yesterday.

No nap today, but I did sleep well yesterday after napping for the first time.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Day 19 riding ...

Bike day 19 for me/13 to go
Carrollton, MO, to Moberly, MO 62 miles

The temperature has been kinder the last couple of days. I only registered 95 F while riding. However, the humidity has now joined us on our riding adventure. Something else to complain about, but I don't have a humidity reading on my Garmin computer to report on.

I hit a wicked hole on the way out of Carrollton this morning and my water bottle and iPhone went flying. Then I hit another hole and another water bottle went flying. Jonas and Rae were sweeping, and Jonas put me on probation because they were picking up after me. Not sure what the penalty would have been had I lost anything else, but I'm glad I didn't have to find out.

With about 8 miles to go I could not figure out why my rear end (well, my bike's) was acting so funky; I finally figured out I had had my 3rd flat tire of the trip. Alyssa was kind enough to stop and keep me company while I changed it. I found a small piece of glass that I could not even feel on the inside of the tire. Then about a mile farther I somehow managed to lose control of my bike and ended up in the ditch. I asked Alyssa who was following me, but she couldn't tell what happened any more than I could. Maybe just a groove in the concrete? I did keep the tires down, so no harm was done.

Moberly is a very small town, but Chris and Aaron had already found the ice cream place, had their shakes, and were back at the church well before I arrived. Something just not fair about that, but I can't figure out what it is. Maybe just jealously. Probably just jealously. Yeah, I, I'm sure I'm just jealous of their riding ability.

Well I joined the ranks of the wimps this afternoon. I took a nap. Actually fell asleep, and I was not at a ballgame or a movie. I just laid down and napped. I do feel better. But, will I be able to sleep tonight? That is the question.

An 83 mile ride tomorrow, then 89 miles, then 75 miles into Bloomington, IL. I'm riding well, and I am ready!

Food has arrived, and I am really ready!


Monday, July 25, 2011

Day 18 riding ...

Bike day 18 for me/14 to go
Kansas City, MO to Carrollton, MO 73 miles

Two days without riding! Nice!

Not because of MY ability, but because I managed to get off to a good start, Chris did not ride today, and I did not to have mark the route; but I was second into the first van stop, about fourth into the second van stop, and then I was actually leading the bike adventure from about mile 45 to mile 55. Again not because of my ability, but because this time Sarah and Olivia were talking too much to bother passing me. Another way to look at it would be that they let me lead so they could draft. Lazy kids, making an old man do all the work. I think I was still about 5th to the church.

Krystal told me that I was now an official veteran rider because I was doing a good job of finding the good spots to sleep, and letting her and Michael know where the sofas were to sleep on. Didn't have the heart to tell her that Chris was the one to tell me, so I could tell them. I think I have finally mastered the art of staying organized in one duffle bag.

This bike ride is all about the people. In Kansas City Graham took some of us that needed bike work to the bike shop that he uses. It is: Biscari Brothers Bicycles, 291 Highway and Withers Rd, Liberty, MO. Dave Biscari opened his shop for us on very short notice, fixed our bikes, and only charged us for parts. Big thank you to the Biscari Brothers and their three shops in the Kansas City, MO area. We have a wonderful bike mechanic, Jonas, but he is limited in shop equipment that is sometimes needed.

Carrollton is a very neat little town. Another warm greeting at the town square, a proclamation read and given to Allen by the mayor, trolley ride to the showers, and free ice cream after. Then naps for these poor tired kids, and a wonderful meal at the host church. Again, it's about the people.

Church services were terrific. Mike and I were picked up by Wayne and taken to a contemporary service where my new friend and fellow geezer Wendel worships. An extremely warm welcome by the entire congregation, with music you just don't find in a Lutheran church. After worship, Wayne asked if we wanted breakfast, and of course we both said yes, so Wayne treated us to breakfast at Cracker Barrel. Eggs over easy, bacon, pancakes, juice; this breakfast is the only meal I've missed. We have had lots of great breakfast meals, but this is my favorite, and my favorite meal of the day.

Wendel invited us to go fishing with him, and Mike accepted. Mike picked up Megan and Jason and they had a good time catching panfish on Wendell's private lake. Another 13 of us went to the baseball game with tickets provided by various members of the congregation. Not sure what the others did. (For Anne's parents: Anne, being too lazy to keep up, went to the ballgame. And she is one great bike rider. She's a terrific person. Someone has done a great job raising this incredible young lady.)

Location:Carrolton, MO

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Build day three ...

This is build day 2 for me, and build day 3 for the group. We are completely rehabbing a small house for a single mother of 2 who just gained custody of her niece, to make 3 children to care for. We had too many workers today for this size project, but we got a lot done. A group was in the house tearing out some of the floor joists, and replacing or moving others to get them up to 16 inch centers so they would be up to code. We had Leonard Pope of the Kansas City Chiefs (our honorary chairman) and two of his fellow players on the work site making a significant contribution to the efforts today. All three were dirty and sweaty from the hard work they put in. Another example of the fine young people we have in this country. In addition to the work inside, we moved a lot of dirt in the front and back yards to build up next to the house to drain water away from the house rather than into the foundation and crawl space. We also had significant TV and news coverage come to the work site. Celebrity football players sure help in getting the coverage.

In rough estimates I have now ridden about 1,266 miles and I have about 1,164 miles to go. That will give me total mileage for this adventure of 2,430 miles, but 1,200 miles short of the full 3,600 mile trip. Still not too bad for an old guy who doesn't know any better than to hang out with a bunch of young adults. We are also down to only three weeks left until we are in D.C.

There is some talk of cooler weather starting Monday, and I will try hard to not cry if it actually happens.

Tonight we had a very nice dinner, program, and Christian music band. A nice fund raising evening. This Kansas City group is just great.


Friday, July 22, 2011

Day 17 riding ...

Bike day 17 for me/15 to go
Lawrence, KS to Kansas City, MO 60 miles

Megan and I rode sweep today. She is a great person, a very good rider, and I had a nice day riding with her. The two riders that sweep always get to go through the dinner line first each night. Megan agreed with me to call Lisa and Scott up to go through the line first. Somehow they seem to be under the impression that they should let the riders all go first, because they worked the hardest. Megan and I want them to know they are a very integral part of this ride, and just as essential as the riders. Without their support we would simply not be able to ride. We are all a team!

A shorter day today at 60 miles. We stopped at the build site as we rode by, as it was only a short distance from our planned route. The house has a crawl space, and needs the floor and joists replaced. It looks like a messy but essential job that needs finishing. We will only be working in the morning for a half day, and it may be a little crowded with all of us there, which will be good for me with this heavy work and my bothersome shoulder.

With only 60 miles to ride, we did not get off to a dark start, but still left about 6:45 AM. The stop at the work site for photos added time to our ride, and we ended up adding another 45 minutes to our ride. But, we are riding to raise awareness for our mission of "No More Shacks", so the short stop is needed and adds value to our ride. Only problem with that is I registered 115 degrees F on my Garmin. Riding through the city for the last 10 miles or so, up and down hills, and roasting while waiting for a light to change, was a real character builder. It was HOT. The good news is that I did well with the conditions and the ride, and was in no danger of bonking.

A gala bash tonight, but the music was so loud that I had to leave. I made instant friends with a local Fuller associate named Wendel. I heard him say at the build site that he was an old geezer, so I had to take immediate exception. Turns out he is older than I, but I'm still the oldest riding with the team. We had to drive to the bash tonight, and I got a ride with Wendel. He said that he would not be staying long, and if I wanted a ride back, he would be glad to take me. I was ready very quickly, and we left early. I mentioned chocolate malt, and he was ready to stop on the way home. A nice ending to the evening with a nice guy.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Day 16 riding ...

Bike day 16 for me/16 to go
Manhattan, KS to Lawrence, KS 79 miles

Mostly under 104 F, but I did see 105.5 F on my bike today. Another early start today, but we lost about an hour in Topeka waiting for various TV and newspaper coverage to arrive, do interviews, and film us biking off. While waiting, some were involved in a very serious grape seed spitting contest. In a two out of three contest, I think it was Ivan that came away the winner over Jonas.

Tomorrow we head off to Kansas City, MO, for a build day and a day off. I'm looking forward to both. My body could use the down time away from the bike. I will be one of the sweeps tomorrow, since I finally feel strong enough on the bike to be comfortable sweeping. I believe that Graham has a lot planned for us in KC, so that will add to a nice stop.

Seven of us grabbed a quick shower when we arrived today, and walked across the street and had Chinese food for lunch. Of course a couple of them had a quick plate of whatever we had here first. Chinese food was a nice change from our regular diet.

I am feeling a little bummed again that I didn't start with this group in Seattle. I would really like to have done the entire trip. Next year they are planning two separate rides, one on each coast.

Going to Kansas City, Kansas City here we come .......


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Day 15 riding ...

Bike day 15 for me/17 to go
Clay Center, KS to Manhattan, KS 43 miles

We could have had a nice easy day riding, except for the headwinds. I know that hills and headwinds are my friends, and I was talking to the winds all day, but it would have been nice to talk to somebody else, even a stranger. We left later this morning because of the short distance and still beat most of the heat. A nice short day.

A change in the printed schedule in the tool box. Tomorrow we go to Lawrence, KS, not Topeka. So we have an 80 mile day, not a 58 mile day. Then the next day we ride about 60 miles into Kansas City, MO.

A bunch of us went to a bike shop to look, and also get some work done that needed the facilities of a bike shop. Then some went to a mall, and I went with about 7 others to see the new Harry Potter movie. It was fun, but the movie was only moderately good. Maybe it would have been better if I stayed awake for the whole thing, but the group thought it could have been much better also.


Location:7th St,Clay Center,United States

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Day 14 riding ...

Bike day 14 for me/18 to go
Osborne, KS to Clay Center, KS 93 miles

Well, I did not wilt, I rode sensibly, and I finished. I did start out early in a draft line, but realized they were too strong for me, so I dropped out. We rode in the dark for at least an hour or more, which paid off at the end of the ride, when I showed 104F about 12:30. I finished the ride about 1:00 PM. Not sure what the temperature is now and don't want to go out to see. I took advice from Chris and moved through the van stops as fast as I could, not lingering. I think this probably saved me at least another half hour in the sun.

I’ll have to see if Jonas can adjust my shifting again, the gears are jumping around. His core job on this ride is to help fix bikes to keep them going, which keeps riders out of the van. He's very good with the bikes.

The generation gap was apparent again. The other day some of the riders did not know who John Denver was, and today Elvis was singing and at least two did not know who was singing. They did not know the King! Blasphemy!

Michael and Krystal went down yesterday, because Michael pulled a muscle in his leg. He had it looked at in the hospital, but they only have an MRI machine two days a week, so they could not do anything for him. He has been icing, and resting it, and they did not ride today. He will test ride a bike tonight to see if he can ride tomorrow.

the endless road
    alone with God
goes on forever
104 in the shade
    alone with God
thoughts to think
    alone with self
turkey vultures circle
pray for world peace
pray for no more shacks
pray for loved ones
pray for eternal peace
    alone with God
it is enough