Sunday, September 13, 2009

keep on keep on

Tour is over, racing season has resumed.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

the end

The second to last day we rode we were accidentally sent up a closed road, which actually turned out to be the wrong way. It was barely rideable and I was expecting to see someone on a downhill bike and full armor to haul ass down the road as we were climbing it.

After about 3800 miles, a broken helmet, a destroyed iPhone and iPod, run over glasses, 4 tires, countless tubes, 3 moldy water bottles, one SRAM Rival rear shifter, a ripped jersey, two broken headphones, and other small disasters we finished our ride in Los Angeles and the end of one of the most amazing experiences I've ever had in my life. I can't even complete how I feel, it's a bit of a relapse of post-college anxiety, intense separation anxiety from my 20 fellow riders (well, most of them), and the intense feeling that I didn't even do this ride this summer - like it was a dream.

Caroline (Carl), Joe, Kyla, and I drove most of the route we biked down on our way up north, using US-1/Pacific Coast Highway and none of us could imagine us, no more than a week ago, actually biking that same road. It was a great way to remember one of the best routes of the trip. The PCH was rolling cliffs, fast descents, gorgeous blue water, wild life including elephant seals and zebras (I shit you not), a tailwind, and actually frigid weather for the first time of the trip.

Crystal posted a status saying "I woke up today without a job, without a home, and no cue sheet to give me turn by turn directions" - with the exception of the home part, its about the same. I've got no direction / cue sheet to tell me what to do, and as of yesterday, I have no job (DC folks, know anyone hiring?). Fortunately I've got money in the bank and need the time to train for cross and study for my LSATs.

Joe, Carl (Caroline), Bryan, Matt (from the Southern route), and Bayla (from the Southern route) are continuing on, riding down south. It's quite inspirational, and I gave sincere thought to joining them. How much could I sell my road bike for and buy a touring bike? Could I get someone to take my room? Could my mom track me down and drag me back to a job with insurance (hi mom!)? Although Danny did say "You have a cyclocross season coming up". I may fly down and join them in the winter though. I also tossed around the idea of leading an Adventure Cycling tour next summer (or any other tour for money) and a more real desire to go to frame building school in Colorado in January. I have no real desire to settle down yet because when I do settle that's it - for 4 or 5 years at least, right?

I'll post again with more pictures and videos and stuff. Endless summer continues, I'll be back in DC on the 8th.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


I can't believe I finally made it to California. I remember the first few days being completely overwhelmed at how many weeks we had to do this, and now it feels like its snowballing to the end.

To be quite honest, the downhill came after Denver, after that it was merely getting to LA, but it's been such an amazing ride. After Reno we convinced our new friend Joe, who owns The Hub Coffee shop in Reno (go there, it's amazing), to lead us towards Tahoe. En route, two cyclists (Reeve and his daughter), turn around to talk to us. Turns out they were from South Tahoe, and after Bryan just says "Barbecue?", he says "sure!" and away we go. We have such an amazing ride, including a brutal hill climb / race, a dip in Lake Tahoe, a stop at another former pro mountain bikers' bike shop near Tahoe, and the most amazing scenery. As we made it to California, rolling about 10 deep, I'll admit I had this huge shit eating grin on my face. It wasn't getting to LA, San Fran that was the big hit - it was California, our last state. I was beyond stoked.

We made it through Sacramento and then to Vallejo, where me, Bryan, and Jon take the ferry that night to San Francisco, which was pretty amazing. So much vegan food, everywhere. The rest of California has been a blur of the most amazing scenery I've ever seen in my life. We rode along the coast seeing the bluest sea from the cliffs, seals, and zebras! No, seriously. Yesterday I rode by myself for most of the day, including going through Big Sur, and I was listening to "Come on Die Young" by Mogwai, and I popped out of the woods and the ocean and it was one of the most beautiful moments of the trip.

Bryan, Jon, and I

We get to LA in 3 days, and every extra mile that we weren't suppose to have I've been making sure to enjoy the hell out of them. Before today's 60 mile ride, I had done four consecutive centuries and have had no problem with them. Sure, i'd love a break, but I would also love to go back out there again. Endless summer 2k9.

in front of the "Full House" house

corn maze

go vegan or go fuck yourself, still.

Georgie, Jen, and I



Tuesday, August 11, 2009

the loneliest highway

Salt Flats aka how my bike will eventually die. Don't tell Cannondale.

Tomorrow we make it to California, our last state. We've got about 10 days left, and it all ending kind of fast. I still don't really know how to describe the last few days, but i'll try.

We hauled across Nevada as fast as we could - a few 90 to 100 mile days in 90 degree heat. I originally thought Nevada would be completely flat desert, but quite the contrary, it was summit after summit. We took it completely on one highway called "The Loneliest Highway" and it lived up to its name - there was nothing there at all. As gorgeous as it was, it was also equally as boring. There were some great rides, but more or less they all blend together.

We ran into Bike and Build in Ely, Nevada. Again, we felt like the spoiled brats of bike touring, getting paid and not doing much work for charity, but they were cool about it and fun to ride with. I even thought about doing it the following year.

The top of Geiger, one of the hardest climbs of the route.

Two days ago I made a pretty insane rookie mistake and crossed Steve's wheel as we were going about 24 miles an hour and ate complete shit. Apparently it looked pretty brutal, but fortunately I wasn't hurt too badly: some road rash, bruised ass, and mostly a bruised ego. I cracked my helmet, broke my ipod, and broke my iPhone. I took the rest of that day in the van, more so pissed that I made such an amateur mistake, and attempted to take the day after off. I woke up from a nap in the van, realized that this was stupid, and got dressed and back on the bike right before a 2000 ft climb and then one of the most amazing descents we've had on this trip. Should Not Ride, Will Ride.

We doubled up one day and had a day off in Reno, our only day off this trip. Out of all the problems with this trip, the lack of days off was the biggest. Our event tonight would've had zero people without us being in town talking to bike kids and couriers to get them to come. Plus, Reno is pretty awesome. I dipped into my newfound gambling problem (is it a problem? so far i'm up $7), ate a lot of great vegan food, went swimming in a river, did a giant skyswing (a few hundred feet in the air, and then a free fall), and hung out with the raddest kids in town. The vegan straightedge is strong with this town.

Don't want this trip to end, but all of us are currently scheming to try to emulate this situation for next year. West coast? Mexico? Chicago to Maine through Canada?

water is colllld

salt flats, boneville speedway!


jen almost killed us.

but we're cool


nevada is endless summits, just barely high enough to be considered a climb.

Monday, August 3, 2009

t minus 18

No time or energy to write a lot, but i'll try to sum up the last few days.

I spent my birthday in Salt Lake City with amazing kids, especially Kelly and her rad son Django and also Matt. It was full of vegan food (healthy and not), watching people LARP, ghost hunting turned into running from cops, looking at crazy religious statues (Jesus in SPACE!), having breakfast at 4pm, and of course, the serious as hell straightedge.

I got dropped off about 15 miles outside of SLC on the 1st and rode a common route for most roadies around there called Emigration Canal. It was great to be in that environment and the ride was gorgeous. I got to sleep in (past 8am for the first time in over a month!), and more importantly about 2 days off the bike.

Today we only had 45 (read: 55) miles so we took it super slow and by the time some people had made it to the hotel, we hadn't even left town. We stopped at this huge Krishna temple halfway there and had such a delicious meal and were able to feed and hang out with the animals on the land. Videos and pictures to come. The rest of the way I listened only to Shelter and 108.

I'm excited to get home eventually and sleep in my bed and have some stability, but I'm starting to get super bummed about the trip ending. When I had about 6 hours to myself the other day I actually had withdraws from all my other riders.

Greg was nice enough to register me for some of the first CX races of the year...about 10 days after I get home. I realized I won't be trying to do intervals or any high intensity training, maybe a few days of it after the ride in SF and some running before I get home, but those first few weekends of racing are going to be rough. But that's fine, I want to peak near the end and at the time of nationals anyways.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

32? 36?

We're in Vernal, Utah right now. I'm amazed at how such a religiously conservative state fully embraces dinosaurs, at least on this side of the state. If I could only find the religious "museum" that talks about how the earth is 6,000 years old etc etc. Well, I could spend hours in there.

Monday was our first day in the Rockies, about 80 miles with 7,000 feet of climbing. By far it had been the best day I've ever had on a bicycle, let alone the best day of this trip. I can't describe in words how amazing it was. Climbing for about an hour and a half, completely ignoring the lactic acid building up in the legs because you're too amazed at how huge everything is around you. Hitting 51mph on a descent, screaming the lyrics to "Straightedge" as you descend from an 11,000 ft pass. It was great. We then stayed in the most amazing hostel and me and Jen made pesto. From waking up to sleep, it was a flawless day.

The next day we decided to avoid Rabbit Ears pass, which was described to us as a "death trap" and took a 20+ mile detour through Gore Pass, at around 9,000+ ft. There was no traffic, but tons and tons of cattle free roaming in the road. It was amazing, but also kind of terrifying, as the cows would mean mug you as you passed and they'd all run away, but you were never sure if they'd charge you. At the end of the day, including me and Jon's failed attempt to get to the Hot Springs before they closed, I had clocked 134 miles for the day....through the Rockies.

The next morning instead of going to the Moots factory we went to breakfast and went to the workshop of Kent Eriksen, the founder of Moots, to look at how titanium bikes I'll never be able to afford are built. From then we booked it to Maybell, a town of about 12 people. Today was our last day in Colorado, and the first day in the desertish landscape. It all honestly kind of looks like the landscape from the first Zelda game.

I turn 25 on Sunday, and I'm trying to get to Salt Lake City to at least have vegan cake for my birthday.

Monday, July 20, 2009


Still have no idea what day we're on - I know its monday, because a million places were closed yesterday. Today we went about 90 miles from Omaha, NE to Steward, NE, the first 40 miles or so were in the rain and at about 20mph. Missouri was great, but full of rolling hills that just would not quit. Nebraska is one of the most beautiful places, with the exception of all the Monsanto fields I see, and is starting to flatten out. Unfortunately, we've been getting hit with headwinds quite a bit.

We just found out that we've got about four 90-110 mile days coming up in the next 5 or so days. My total mileage for the trip is around 1600, and that is with taking about 6 days in the van.

It's still a blast - the best job i'll ever have. I've been getting into the whole taking forever thing and going into towns. Yesterday we went to Omaha and hit up this awesome place called McFosters which had pretty killer vegan hollandaise. Today me and Alex went into Lincoln to go to Maggie's, a vegetarian wrap place, and then we ventured over to the best bike shop I've been in since the last time I was at Back Alley Bikes in Chapel Hill. The shop was called Monkey Wrench Cycles and the guys there were super nice and I'll see Nate in December at CX Nats in Bend, Oregon.

My knee is still acting up, not as consistent but now it's much sharper pain, not in the muscle above the knee cap, but right ON the knee cap. It happens - but I'll take two days off before we cross the Rockies. I think our first day after Denver we do 90 miles with 7,000 feet of climbing, which includes a pass over the Continental Divide. Of course, 90 miles on the cue sheet really means about 20 miles more than that. The next day we cross the Continental Divide about 3 more times.

My bike is taking a beating, thank god for lifetime warranties on frames. My shifter exploded in Missouri, my cassette is loose but working, and now my fork is making a terrifying noise. Seriously, I thought it was going to shatter on me. Light, sure, but next time I'll take steel. Next time I should have more than 3 weeks notice though.

Tomorrow we're off to god knows where. I'm trying to convince some of the guys to get up at 4 so we can get a good chunk of the 110 miles done before we stop to watch the Alps stage of the Tour along the way.

in the back of the truck going to the new campsite.

Root beer and Subway.

Champaign, IL - most of our 7 person paceline the entire way there.

this guy was totally bumming us out. At the art museums in Kansas City.

most of these pictures were taken by Mikey.