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.