Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Monday, June 28: Bend to Chickahominy BLM Campground. 108.8 miles on my odometer. It was a haul, the sun was relentless, but I made it. And I had some cool encounters:

Brothers School
This is the school in Brothers, Oregon. I stopped in Brothers, almost 40 miles from Bend, for lunch at the post office/cafe/gas station/store. I was asking about the school, it looked like a great place to learn. Unfortunately, there are not enough students to open the school. The school hasn't been in use for at least six years, though they still maintain the grounds. About 14 students from the very rural area meet in Brothers and are bussed 50 miles (one way!) to Prineville.

I was riding down the road and saw this red object ahead. I was excited to see another biker. When I caught up, it wasn't a biker after all. It was Ray Brown, a retired teacher from Eugene, who is walking across America to raise awareness of, as his business card says, "American history, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights." I thought I had it tough biking across America; Ray is WALKING! Here's his blog:

I am digging his trailer.

Ray Brown walking across the country

Lastly, it's late in the day and I am physically and mentally exhausted. As I grinding my way down the road I see a truck pulled over with a guy waving at me. He’s offering me water. I was more than happy to stop. Charlie works for the state and is checking fish habitats. He said that there were times when he bike toured that he wished someone would offer him water. I wasn’t in dire need of water, but I wasn’t going to turn away water in the desert either. I like good people.
Free Water

I had one bad incident: somewhere along the way, I lost my travel companion. Baron fell off between Bend and Millican. I can almost pinpoint where I lost him. I stopped for a photo, unstrapped him to get to something in my pannier and didn’t strap him back. Unfortunately, I was 10 beyond and just climbed a pass. Hopefully, Baron is happy wherever he is. This is the last photo I have of him.
Last shot of Baron

Random non-bike thoughts- the theme is things I miss/will miss:

- I miss watching World Cup with friends. Excited about Tour de France.

- I miss summer mornings drinking coffee and reading the paper at Black Bear.

- I will miss the College World Series at Rosenblatt Stadium.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Equipment List

In case you were wondering, here's what I have packed with me:

Surly Long Haul Trucker

Bike Accessories:
Cateye Strada Computer w/ Cadence
Delta Rack
Topeak Compact Handlebar bag
Crank Brothers Candy C Pedals
Soma Fenders
Planet Bike front and rear lights
Ortlieb Backroller rear panniers

Bob Yak w/ Drybag
Bungee Net

Camping Equipment:
REI Quarter Dome T2 Tent -
REI Quarter Dome footprint
Mountain Hardwear Phantom 30 Sleeping Bag
REI Lite Core 1.5 Sleeping Pad
REI Camplite Pillow
Snowpeak Giga Stove
GSI Pinnacle Soloist Cookset
MSR Camp Towel
Petzl Zipka headlamp
Pur Hiker waterfilter
Camelbak MULE
20 feet nylon rope

3 Cycling Shorts
3 Cycling Jerseys
1 Midlayer
1 Rain Jacket (Marmot Aegis)
1 Rain Pant (North Face Hyvent DT)
2 Off Bike shorts
3 Off bike shirts
2 underwear (Ex Officio)
2 pairs socks
1 armwarmers (Pearl Izumi)
1 Diadora X-Trail Mt bike shoes (easier to walk in than road shoes)
Louis Garneau Ozzy bike helmet
Adidas Evil Eye sunglasses
prescription glasses
Teva Sandals
Mountain Hardwear beanie
Sea to Summit Mosquito headnet

Bike Stuff:
2 Cable Locks
1 26" Tube
1 16" Tube (for trailer)
Patch kit
Topeak Pocket Rocket mini pump
Crank Brothers M19 multitool
Gerber Suspension Pliers Multitool
duct tape
electric tape
7 zip ties

Laptop w/ case
Canon Powershot S90
iphone 3G
Kensington back-up battery for iphone
Joby mini tripod

1 Sock Monkey named Baron

These items do not include basic hygiene products and food that I may or may not be carrying. Are there things I could do without? Most definitely. Having the pillow, while not necessary, does help me at night. Blogging would be very difficult without my laptop. Hopefully, some things-- the rain jacket, mosquito net and spare tubes-- only get minimal use. Let's also hope that all this stuff makes it back in one piece.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunday, June 27

Today is a rest day in Bend. I am pretty excited to be in one of my favorite towns. I just think Bend is so cool. I am not excited about the next 4 days through high altitude desert to Boise.

The ride from Pacific City to Salem was nice, especially for a plus eighty mile day. There were some short, kinda steep climbs in the beginning, but it was doable. The toughest part was the trucks on the narrow roads where there was not a shoulder. Ate at the Ram in Salem for a decent steak and good craft brew. The night of sleep I got at the RV Park in Salem was okay, considering that I was 100 feet from I-5. But they did have great showers and facilities and I didn't have to go out of my way.

On Friday, I started the climb into the Cascades. I thought I would make it to Detroit. It was not really a bad ride, just the end when you had to climb to Detroit Dam. Took good rest breaks in Stayton and Mill City. I enjoyed the ride until the end. Detroit is a resort little town that people come to for the lake. The RV park was junk, so I biked another 5 miles to Idanha where there was a nice, friendly park. I got a great campsite on the N. Santiam River (compared to I-5). In all, a 61 mile day.

I got up on Saturday and took my time packing camp. Stopped at the lone diner/store in Idanha where the cook gave me extra food for my climb up to Santiam Pass. The day was trudgery. It was about 40 miles to the pass and most of it uphill. The elevation difference was 3200 feet, total climbing just to Santiam probably close to 5500. I averaged just over 10 MPH going up. My total average at the end of the day (84 miles into Bend) was 13.3. So you can see I took advantage of the descent.

I'm trying to gear myself up for the next few days. There will be few places to hide from the sun, the terrain sure to be rolly tough, and the distances between places really far. Until then, I have one more night in Bend and I'm gonna enjoy it. See you in a few days!

Baron when we stopped for lunch in Mill City.
Baron at Burger restaurant - Mill City, OR

Broken Top and Three Sisters

Me and Baron
Baron and Heang - Idanha

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Great America Bike Ride

So it has begun. I started riding yesterday from Cannon Beach, Oregon and hope to be in NC sometime in August. First day was a nice day, about 4.5 hours on the bike (does not include rest breaks), 61 miles covered to Cape Lookout State Park. They have hiker/biker rates of $5.00 for camping!

Bella and Bob

Here's some highlights of Day 1:

Baron's first photo:
Baron at overlook

Oregon Coast

Michael, who's biking from his home in Victoria, BC to San Diego


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Two Wheels

My assistant coach was telling about her husband and his 5 kayaks. I thought that was crazy. She said, yeah but they all do something different. I understood exactly what she meant. I have three bicycles. But each are totally different from each other.

My oldest bike was purchased in 1997 or 1998 because I became enthralled with mountain biking. I've been wanting to upgrade for years, but my Raleigh M80 has served me well. We took lots of spills together. That bike has been on trails throughout the southest-- from St. Simons, GA to the New River Gorge in West Virginia. The Raleigh also began my friendship with Hampton Hudson, who used to own and run the Bicycle Shop in Hendersonville.
Raleigh M80

In about 2003, I purchased a K2 road bike. I loved biking and there were times that I didn't have time to drive to Dupont or Bent Creek. Road biking is much different from mountain biking. I describe road biking as zen: you find a cadence and spin and it's relaxing. Mountain biking is more of a rush as you wind singletrack and dodge roots and rocks.
K2 Mod 4.0

And this past spring, I purchased my newest bike. It's a Surly Long Haul Trucker made especially for long distance touring. My road bike is light and responsive, it's like driving a Mazda Miata. My touring bike is steady and reliable, more like driving a large sedan. Which would you rather go cross country in? The Miata would be fun, but the sedan has storage, a smoother ride and little accessories that make a long trip more friendly.
Surly Long Haul Trucker

Besides having two wheels, the bikes are built very differently. The Raleigh is aluminum, the K2 is aluminum with carbon forks and rear triangle and the Surly is steel. Look at the wheels, they serve their own purposes. Mountain bike tires- fat tires- are for gripping and traction on rough surfaces. Road tires are skinny, run at high pressures, offer little rolling resistance and are meant for pavement and smooth surfaces. The touring bike has wider tires than the road bike. You want little rolling resistance but you also want tires that can bear the additional weight of panniers and all your gear.

To illustrate more differences, notice the braking on the bikes. The mountain bike uses the V-brakes (below top) for all conditions, the road bike has caliper brakes (below middle) that offer great stopping power and the touring bike has old school cantilever brakes (below bottom) that are simple and offer clearance for fenders.
V brakes
caliper brakes
cantilever brakes

And just as I have to readjust to the feel and handling of each bike each time I ride it, I also have to readjust to shifting gears. They each change gears differently also. The Raleigh uses the "trigger" shifters (below top) that Shimano invented and I like much better than "grip" shifters that some mountain bikes come with. The K2 uses integrated shifters (below middle). Sometimes called "brifters", they combine brakes and shifters into one unit for convenience. You don't have to take your hand of the bars to shift or brake. It's just so easy. The Surly has bar end shifters (below bottom) which are low maintenance and easily repaired on the road.
Trigger shifters
Integrated Lever
Bar end shifter

So, if I were not on a budget, this my next bike:
It's a Moots Cinco mountain bike. Full suspension, disc brakes and made of titanium. She's a beauty. It only retails for about $3,500.


I hate stereotypes. You know, those generalizations we make about certain groups based on bias, misinformation or just pure ignorance. Things like jocks are stupid, Asians are good at math (man, I blew that one), and all politicians are crooked (okay, there might be a lot of truth there).

Despite my hatred of stereoptyping, I am going to point out a few things that I have noticed while I've been on my bike. I know it is not fair to everyone who falls into these categories, but I cannot help but to generalize:

First, when I am riding, obnoxiousness has a direct correlation with the size and sound of your vehicle. The bigger and louder, the more likely you are going to try to pass close, yell obscenities or rediculousness (like "Go Lance") or just be plain rude. I've never encountered a bad experience with a Prius, Accord or Focus. It's always a loud and/or large truck. I am convinced the men who drive these trucks are very small, if you know what I mean. Why else would they hang these from the back?

Second, based on my observations on a bike, anyone who drinks Coors Light, Natural Light or anything that has "Bud" anywhere in the name will end up depositing said can or bottle along the roadway sometime. Rarely have a seen a "premium" beer can on the side of the road on one of my rides, much less a microbrew. I think I saw a Heineken once, but I hate Heineken. My guess is that the beer cans came from the large and loud trucks described above.

There it is. I'm a biased jerk. I apologize in advance if when I see your truck I tense up in fear of your 3 ton vehicle and duck my head to miss the can that you're gonna throw at me.