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.

Monday, July 13, 2009


Threw out the directions today and took a Rails to Trails bike path for about 60 miles today towards Hermon, MO. Of course the day after I mention my Conti tires are holding up, I get two flats from my front one with a cut sidewall.

I also got stung by two bees. It was very much like the end of My Girl.

Columbia, MO tomorrow.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Moustache ride into St Louis today.

I've lost track of the days already.

Two days ago I saw in the paper that the next day there was a criterium in Champaign, Illinois, the town we were in that day. Me and Jen decided to stay in do it, with Jaquie being our support. It was a lot of fun, Jen got 3rd in her first crit, and I finished pretty mediocre at 10th in about a 20 person field. The average was about 24mph in pouring rain, and I hit 35 at one point and this was not during an attack. Definitely felt the 1000 or so miles I had been doing non stop during this one...

Today we rode from Taylorville, IL to St Louis, MO in a huge, midwestern style thunderstorm. Pouring rain, lightning, and intense winds. It was great. We were in a group of 10 all complaining together, chanting "BLOOD OF CHRIST", and fighting the wind.

I don't really have much else to say, or feel like saying. We're hitting more midwestern locations soon, then the Rockies.

Since I have access to the computer now, I'll at least talk about some of the other people that have given me a lot of support on this ride.

Slate from Rapha helped me out with some clothing for the ride. I can safely say that their bib shorts are the most comfortable thing I've ever put near my ass. They also ended up sponsoring the whole ride with some jackets, which have been great on those cold mornings and the days when its just rained a bit. On days like today howevever, nothing could keep us dry, but we still looked classy as fuck.

Seriously, look at me and Joaquin. How fucking classy do we look? We look like absolute gentlemen.

Serfas helped me out with some glasses, pump items, and some tires (fortunately my Conti tires haven't failed me yet). I've always had a problem with cycling glasses, and these don't make me look like a total asshole and they don't fog up as bad as the other ones I've had. However, I do have a pretty brutal mark between my eyes from wearing them.

Topeak helped me out with a tent, one of the Bikampers or whatever. It's small, easy to set up (if you use your bike with it), and gets the job done. On a cushy tour like this, I wish I had brought a bigger tent.

Hammer Gel and Tofurky helped me keep it real (read: vegan) this trip.

Friday, July 10, 2009


Still never enough time or opportunity to give justice to anything that's happened in the last week or so since I attempted to blog last.

We're currently in Champaign, IL. The last few days we've gone through Ohio, Michigan, and most of Illinois. Chicago was great - the Chicago Diner was unfuckwithable and 42Ride took the 3 top spots in goldsprints.

My right knee had been acting up and causing me to sit in the van for about 4 or 6 days during Ohio and Michigan. New positioning and switching back to my road shoes seemed to have helped, that an a borderline unstraightedge amount of Tylenol. I've had two days straight riding without considerable pain, although I will probably give myself a lot of rest before the next time we climb.

We've been stopping in at sports bars along the way to watch the last hour of the tour. It's been pretty amazing, especially considering this is part of our jobs.

Tomorrow me and Jen are doing the Tour de Champaign, a downtown criterium, then continuing on with an 80ish mile day. We are making our way towards St Louis in the next week or so I guess, i'm not really sure. More than half the time I don't know what day it is, and more than that I don't care. Just as long as I remember when the next Harry Potter movie comes out...

I'll try to do a more appropriate update soon, but i'll leave you with two items of note.

gentleman's goldsprints in Denver. You can't hear our tour manager nervously muttering "ok guys, that's enough" as the layer's go.

riding through a field in Three Rivers, Michigan next to the Travelodge.
That is a Circle A shirt, you should go buy a frame from them.

I am having a great fucking time, but I still miss the ole' PCDC at times.

Saturday, July 4, 2009


You can now follow me on Twitter.

If I don't delete this when I get back, kick me in the teeth.

Friday, July 3, 2009


I never figured I would go this long without having access to a computer. We're in Fremont, Ohio right now, I've ridden 590 miles thus far. I posted links to some other riders' blogs. We just joined up with a film crew who are making a documentary and a book about the ride, that should be interesting.

If you've been looking for me on the WeLikeBike site or the twitter I won't be on there until I'm 25. In short, it's an industry standard to not have anyone under 25 represent alcohol. But subscribe to the twitter, if 100,000 people join they'll give $42k to the Alliance for Biking and Walking.

This whole experience is absolutely ridiculous. A vodka company is paying us, well, to ride our bikes across the country. We're fully supported with two vans and a truck and nice campsites and hotels. It feels like cheating. I feel dirty when I run into other people on tour. Kind of like the punk-guilt you have for coming from a middle class background but still talking up about how little money you don't have (when you actually do). But still - it's been amazing thus far. The riders range from couriers, racers, commuters, and people who are really new to long distance biking. I have so much respect for those whose longest ride before this trip was a 30 mile ride, and who still continue to go all day.

There is so much to say about the last 9 days, I really don't have the time or energy to go into detail. A few snippets however:

-New Jersey is an utter hellhole. Aside from the mediocre guilty pleasures hardcore and pop punk you tossed out in the late 90's, the boss, and Alicia Lahey, I am not a fan. Also, Ohio? No thanks.

-Lancaster County is absolutely gorgeous. I bought root beer from Amish children of the damned and it tasted like real beer.

-We got lost on the day we climbed the Allegheny Mountains and ended up doing a century. Rode past Napier, PA, the Cannondale factory, and over about 4 mountains. This was the day I cracked after the routing being messed up, and almost swore at an old lady. In hindsight, it was my favorite day. As horrible as I am at climbing, it's really fun and the scenery is unfuckwithable.

-Pittsburgh was amazing. Ran into an old roommate, got vegan pizza and wings and a cookie dough milkshake.

- I have basically only listened to Shelter and a Harry Potter audiobook.

-We've been eating ridiculously well - the other vegan on this trip, Jen, makes me feel bad for eating anything processed. I don't think I've ever eaten this well.

Overall, this is still an amazing trip and every thing that goes wrong is nowhere as near as bad as a good day at work. My knee has been bothering me so I took yesterday and today off, but should be back on tomorrow.

Tomorrow we head to Detroit, and from there we go down into the Midwest and back up to Denver. I can't wait for the mountains.

Giving up the ghost leaving Cleveland

The beginning. meeting at the Newark airport.

Jen and I during our century through Amish country

Hitting the first of two 100+ mile days thus far.

Fuck New Jersey.

Welcome to Philly.

Freedom, PA

Jen at the vegan ice cream place in Pittsburgh

We ran into these guys coming into Ohio. They're on a self supported tour raising money for Project Rwanda. Two of them were actually from DC. I felt totally humbled and spoiled being on such a plush tour while these guys were roughing it and not getting paid.

Lake Eerie