Day 34: Opelousas to Baton Rouge

Day 34: Opelousas to Baton Rouge

i Nov 24th No Comments by

The Missing day.  Cannot find the journal for this day with my Mom and Dad.  Tough day of bridges, on super busy roads, and with no shoulders.  Very stressful for my Mom.  I rode 10-15′ behind her during these stretches.  I rode in the middle of the lane so that no one could try to sneak by and let her know when big trucks were coming.  We were all very glad to be done!

Day 33: Oberlin to Opelousas

i Nov 23rd No Comments by


  • Rode from Oberlin, LA to Opelousas, LA – 54 miles
  • Climbed a total of 862’
  • Maximum elevation – 78’
  • Total time on the bike – 4 hours and 15 minutes
  • Total time on the road – 6 hours and 0 minutes
  • Average speed 12.7 mph


I know that I was supposed to be bicycling today (and I did), but I also went to my second favorite church service of the year. The preacher was not very good but the music was awesome! We did “Dive” by Steven Curtis Chapman, “Listen” by Michelle Tumes, and “That’s when I Find You” by Sierra. These are some of my favorite Christian artists. We then the continued with “Whip It” by Devo, “Foolin” by Def Leppard, and concluded with that old time favorite hymn “Rock you like a Hurricane” by The Scorpions. It was amazing.

The sanctuary was pretty cool too. It was kind of like a live Nativity scene but much better. The ceiling was painted a light blue with a few clouds scattered here and there. The walls were different shades of tan and brown with a couple some clumps of dark green. And there were real cows, horses, and dogs! The pew that I had was a little uncomfortable, but I got used to it after a while. The most amazing part of the sanctuary thought was the live interaction. It was like one of those 3D movies at Disney. You know the ones where you can smell the bug farting or feel the snot with he sneezes? During the service I could actually smell the fresh farm air and occasionally fell a few drops of rain. The architect and builder must be fantastic!

Like I mentioned above the preacher was not very good. All he really did was sing along with the songs and occasionally mutter some profanity when the life like cars came flying up the center aisle. He was actually the worst preacher I have ever heard, but no one seemed to mind or even pay much attention. (He was a pretty good singer after all.)

I mentioned that this was my second favorite church service of the year. My favorite was back in Michigan in the exact same kind of church. I and skipped my regular church (sorry Jim) and decided to bike to Coopersville and back. Somewhere between Grand Haven and Coopersville I found the service. The preacher was much the same as today. (Maybe a little lighter and seemed to be in better shape.) It was so bright during the service that I had to wear my sunglasses. And when the music was finished they served me a Whopper Junior! How can you beat that?

You cannot!

Day 32: Lake Charles to Oberlin

i Nov 22nd No Comments by


  • Rode from Lake Charles, LA to Oberlin, LA – 43 miles
  • Climbed a total of 351’
  • Maximum elevation – 80’
  • Total time on the bike – 3 hours and 30 minutes
  • Total time on the road – 6 hours and 0 minutes
  • Average speed 12.7 mph


After 10 miles this morning we stopped for coffee at a McDonalds. (We includes my Dad, my Mom and me. We are getting two for one on this trip. My Dad and I are getting 150 miles of our trip across the USA done. My Dad and Mom are getting Louisiana done on their quest to ride 150 miles in all states.) Anyway, when our break was done my Mom needed to make one more pit stop. When asked (by my Dad) why she did not go when we were talking she responded that “I did not want to miss any of the conversation. It is part of the R and R.”

What R and R was she talking about? It could not possibly be the R and R that normal people think of – Rest and Relaxation. When we got up this morning it was 35 degrees. While it was sunny, the wind was already blowing out of the East and expected to gain speed up to 10mph. We had 42 miles to go today on questionable roads with questionable drivers (would they be looking for bicycles?). After about 5 miles more I concluded that the R and R that she was thinking of must be Reckless and Ridiculous.

First the Reckless. Normal people might think of bicycling across Louisiana similar to jumping out of a perfectly good airplane with a parachute. I think they have more trucks here than they do in Texas! Not only that but half of them are “Dulles” (4 tires in back). What is with that? In two days of biking I have not seen one of these trucks pulling anything nor have any of them had anything in the back. What do they use them for? The answer – to bump bicyclers off the road. No, none of us went off the road today and actually the roads were great, but we did not know this when we started.

How about Ridiculous? Have you ever seen the clothes bicyclers wear? If there is a more ridiculous sporting outfit, I have not seen it. We look fine on the bike, but off the bike the shorts are embarrassing to everyone (rider and non-rider). And the shoes! It is like wearing ice skates. Clack, clack, slip, clack, slip, clack. The jerseys are pretty cool and colorful, but the helmets are just not fashionable. They mess up the hair and it is really creepy when a bug flies into one of the “vents” and gets stuck.

After a few more miles, however, I thought of two other words that might fit better than both “Rest and Relaxation” and “Reckless and Ridiculous” – Rejuvenation and Replenishment. While these two words do not apply physically, they do mentally. There is something (for me) about riding for hours at a time that rebuilds what has been broken down and makes deposits that I can use later. Today was no exception. The weather was cool, but I never got cold. The roads were busy, but we never had a close call. My iPod worked great, but I spent more time thinking. I seem to be the most creative on rides like today. Yep, I am sure my Mom was talking about Rejuvenation and Replenishment this morning. Tomorrow I will try to get some more R and R.

Beep Beep

October 2008 Recap

i Oct 31st No Comments by

El Paso, TX seems like a really long time ago. It was in El Paso this past April that I started my commitment to the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Today, with the ride in Austin, I finished this commitment. What a journey! The statistics are all below, but unlike the way I have measured myself in the past, they do not even come close to telling the story. In April biking was a form of exercise. Today it is a mission.

In Austin I was able to be part of “The Ride for the Roses”. It was a group of about 30 people who had raised $30,000 or more. About 2 weeks ago we were asked to submit a picture and a paragraph about why we raised money for the LAF this year. The stories were awesome! I think I was the only one in the book who was not riding for themselves or a loved one who experienced cancer in the last 5 years. I wrote at the end of my paragraph, “I had no idea that there could be so much devastation and suffering outside of a war. I guess that is why they call it the Livestrong Army.”

As part the top fund raisers, I got to do a private ride with Lance Armstrong. (There were 30 of us.) During the Philadelphia event, my Mom commented, “I thought he would be bigger.” It is true, when up on stage or even right next to you, he does not look very big. I will tell you, however, that next to him on a bike he looks HUGE! Not very talkative but Huge. (I asked him, “Don’t you get sick of trying to figure out what to say to people like me?” His answer was, “No.” That was it – just No.) At that point my 30 seconds were up and I went to the back of the pack happy that I did not ruin his comeback by causing a crash. Hahaha

Probably the best part of the weekend (from a LAF standpoint) was the fact that Tony and Michelle Charameda were able to come with Jeri and I. Tony and Michelle started and continue to organize the Ultimate Challenge each February. This is a 24 hour exercise bike ride/relay to raise money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation. It was at this event this past February where my hair brain idea to ride all four Challenges this year got its start. I was cool to see their enthusiasm build over the weekend. (Every time I saw the two of them together it looked like they were scheming about their event this coming February.)

Beep! Beep!

The Road Rider

TOTALS 3,224 203 30 77,225


75 Songs

Between May 1, 2008 and October 31, 2008 I am going to ride in all 4 of the Livestrong Challenges plus two other 100-mile plus rides. My estimate is that during this time I will ride over 3,000 miles, climb over 100,000 feet, and spend over 200 hours on my bike. Due to the fact that I will still have a full time job, I will need to ride to work at least 30 times during this period. Essentially I will be spending almost all my free time on my bicycle.

July 2008 Recap

i Jul 31st No Comments by

“I believe that even when you think you have no more to give, when a friend cries out to you, you will find the strength to help.”

Author Unknown (found at Jimmy Johns)

I gave a speech a couple weeks ago to all the ODL-Zeeland employees. During that speech I talked about the need for everyone to add value. Specifically what I said was, “We all need to add value to survive.” I was talking about the survival of ODL, Zeeland Manufacturing, and each individual job. Toward the end of this presentation I used my bicycling for the Lance Armstrong Foundation as an example.

Being part of the Lance Armstrong Foundation is interesting. I believe in their mission to make the lives of cancer survivors and their families better. I also happen to be a fan of Lance. Being part of the individual events is also cool. It takes over 700 volunteers per event to host one of these bike rides. However, when it is raining, or cold, or 5:30am, or I am climbing a 2 hour mountain the Lance Armstrong Foundation and the 700 volunteers cannot help me. I need a way to make a difference – to add value.

This is where the “Need a Song” campaign got its roots. The idea is to tie a cancer story to a song and play them while riding. I devised the scheme of the attached post card, which tells a little of my story and the requests the name of a cancer survivor/victim, a song that reminds you of them, and a story. With very little work I now have 56 entries. They are AWESOME! I have songs from “Amazing Grace” to “You shook me All Night Long”. I have cards from survivors, family, and friends. We have found a company in Grand Rapids that records the stories right over the beginning of each song so they play as one track. They are very inspiring. (I have attached a sample.)

Getting back to adding value – now when I bike I have all these songs on random play with the rest of my music. When they come on they remind me of the value these survivors/victims had on the people who filled out these cards. Even though most of them do not know it, they are now adding value to my life. (It is like a shot of pure adrenalin each time a story comes on.) And I think about the value I can now add. I cannot do much right now but I can ride my bike and raise a little money.

Beep! Beep!

The Road Rider

If you have time, would you send me a completed card with a story and song? I have 2,000 miles yet to ride this year. (Digital card attached) Thank you!

May 4 127 8.5 1 3,843
May 11 155 9.5 1 4,698
May 18 175 11.0 0 4,012
May 25 105 6.0 0 1,591
Total 562 35.0 2 14,144
June 1 146 9.5 1 3,039
June 8 111 6.5 1 2,111
June 15 130 8.0 1 2,022
June 22 105 7.0 1 2,500
Total 492 31.0 4 9,672
June 29 229 15.5 2 7,930
July 6 71 5.0 1 1,676
July 13 223 14.5 2 7,194
July 20 195 10.5 1 3,975
July 27 111 7.0 3 1,518
Total 829 52.5 9 22,293
Total 1,883 118.5 15 46,109
Livestrong Portland June 29 100 miles Done
Livestrong San Jose July 13 100 miles Done
ODL across Michigan July 26 152 miles Done
Livestrong Philadelphia August 24 100 miles 1
Apple Cider Century September 28 100 miles 37
Livestrong Austin October 26 100 miles 65

Follow This Link to visit my personal web page and help me in my efforts to support Lance Armstrong Foundation.