Day 23: Pine Valley to Ocotillo

Day 23: Pine Valley to Ocotillo

i Oct 27th No Comments by

October 27, 2007

Statistics

  • Rode from Pine Valley, CA to Ocotillo, CA – 45 miles
  • Climbed a total of 2,356′ (total decent almost 6,000’)
  • Maximum elevation – 4,169′
  • Burned a total 2,160 calories
  • Total time on the bike – 3 hours and 17 minutes
  • Total time on the road – 4 hours and 30 minutes
  • Average speed 13.8mph

Commentary
What took two hours in the car took almost 2 years on the bike. (There was a long gap.) No snow this time. In fact the weather was perfect. The smoke was was still blowing toward the ocean (San Diego was burning!), it was a cool 50 degrees, and 0% chance of rain. What was even better was that while there were a few ups there were mostly downs.

I was nervous because I had not trained for this one, but it was pretty easy. With almost 6,000’ of down the biggest concern was not hitting the rumble strip at 40mph. (For those men who have never done this it is pretty hard on the family jewels.) I did have one mechanical problem at the 11mile mark. Half the spokes on my rear wheel choose to loosen up. Dad was up ahead and had his phone off. Called Mom and told her, “When Dad calls tell him not to stop or come back. I may need to use his bike when he is finished with the ride.” (I was not going home empty handed.) With, however, the help of Cross Country Cycle in Holland (cell phones are great) I was able to get the wheel in riding shape.

I called Jeri when we finished and after saying good job and the other appropriate stuff she made one comment that I would like to expand on. She said, “I am glad you and your Dad got that section done, but I would never have done it.” Many of you may also be thinking the same thing. “Jeff and Larry flew out to San Diego (when it was burning) to bike 45 miles? I would never do that.” My comment to all who are think just that is, “Bull Shit!” If you had the chance to play Augusta and had to quit after 17, would you go back to play #18? If you were a football freak who loved the Cowboys, would you fly all the way to Dallas just to watch your favorite players inducted into the hall of fame? If you had a chance to watch the Daytona 500 and then were asked back to drive the car, would you? And Jeri if you had a mint condition 78 Trans Am, and I mean mint, but some bone head had put in a CD player, would you spend twice as much as I did this weekend to but the 8 track back? The answer to all of you is of course you would.

You just think I am crazy because my “of course I would” involved a bicycle and a little suffering. (Time to go plan the next round of suffering. Coming spring of 2008 – El Paso, TX to Del Rio, TX. Watch for Larry to mace those dogs!)

Day 22: Navasota to Huston

i Apr 27th No Comments by

April 27, 2007

Statistics

  • Rode from Navasota, TX to Huston, TX – 78 miles
  • Climbed a total of 1796′
  • Maximum elevation – 400′
  • Burned a total 4,926 calories
  • Total time on the bike – 6 hours and 45 minutes
  • Total time on the road – 9 hours and 45minutes
  • Average speed 11.6mph

Commentary
We made it! No flat tires. No dogs. No injuries. We did take the wrong turn out of Navasota this morning that ended up in an extra 10 miles. It was great.

Did kind of an all-star day on my iPod. Plugged in everything I like and that had meaning for me on this trip. Hit random and listened for 5 hours. I was able to listen to almost everything. Yes even “Up”. (By the way, my sister-in-law prefers to be thought of as “special” not crazy. “Touched” might also work. Hahahaha) And yes, Cole, I did sing “Man I feel like a Woman” while biking into Huston on the interstate.

Yes, we did bike on the interstate. (Guess who’s idea that was? Not mine!) We did fine the first time. We pushed our luck the second. Ended up getting a police escort into the airport. (About 3 miles) Took some cool pictures. (Maybe Jeri will show me how to put them on line.) (Lesson – do not book hotels that are in the airports if you are biking. Not worth the stress of biking on a freeway.)

High for the trip – Completely zoning out on Thursday. Also listening to Dad laugh while reading every night.

Low for the trip – Biking into the park on Wednesday. I was already crabby and the road was steep up and down while curvy. After a mile we turned around and found another rout.

It was a great trip. Glad we had the opportunity to do it. Also glad I have the opportunity to work other adventures like work and family in the coming months. We started talking about next year at dinner last night. We also plotted a way to get that 60 miles in California that we missed last year done this summer. (Just need a distributor to open in Pine Valley. Hahaha)

Totals for the Trip (Not bad for a weeks work)

  • Miles: 525
  • Climbed: 17,956’
  • Calories Burned: 30,764
  • Time on Bike: 39 hours

Day 21: LaGrange to Navasota

i Apr 26th No Comments by

April 26, 2007

Statistics

  • Rode from LaGrange, TX to Navasota, TX – 74 miles
  • Climbed a total of 2,927′
  • Maximum elevation – 510′
  • Burned a total 4,039 calories
  • Total time on the bike – 6 hours and 31 minutes
  • Total time on the road – 8 hours and 30 minutes
  • Average speed 11.2 mph

Commentary
Another great ride, just a little rough on the traffic this morning. (I did use one of Jeri’s hand gestures.) At our first break I said, “If the guy with the storage shed on his truck was laying upside down underneath his truck 1 mile ahead I would stop only to kick dirt in his face.” Thinking about my journal yesterday I changed my comment at our second break. (We had just gone through a really low and narrow one-lane tunnel.) “I would love to see that guy with the shed stuck in that tunnel. This way he would not be hurt, but maybe his life’s savings would be demolished in that tunnel.” Guess it is hard to love everybody.

Did something today that is really weird for me. With the exception of calling Tina to give a suggestion about the Milliken visit Monday, I completely zoned out. I did not think about work, family, what was coming ahead, what I want to be when I grow up, my journal, the road, nothing. I listened to a sermon from Ridge Point, the Wall Street Journal podcast, about 2 hours of 38 Special, DefLeppard, and VanHalen, and two discs of my novel. While I was tired, I was also surprised when we saw a sign that we only had 4 miles to go, and I had accomplished nothing. Feels weird. Cannot remember ever doing this before. Maybe this is what one is supposed to do on vacation. Maybe I will try it again in 5-10 years.

I am not big into fate or luck but I also do not push it. Dad on the other hand always takes the risk. He mentioned two things this afternoon that I was thinking but would not have said. 1) Well, we got closer to Huston than we got to ElPaso. 2) I cannot believe we have not had a flat tire. Any normal person would know enough to maybe think it but never say it. It is like any time someone says in a meeting “this will be a quick one” everyone knows that it would have been but now that someone said it you better settle in. We will stay close tomorrow and I will keep my pump handy. (He has always been a bigger risk taker than me.)

Tomorrow
Bike into Huston. Do not know the exact mileage. Somewhere around 70 miles. It will be cool to be over 500 miles for the trip.

Day 20: Lockhart to LaGrange

i Apr 25th No Comments by

April 25, 2007

Statistics

  • Rode from Lockhart, TX to LaGrange, TX 67 miles
  • Climbed a total of 2,432′
  • Maximum elevation – 625′
  • Burned a total 4,109 calories
  • Total time on the bike – 5 hours and 25 minutes
  • Total time on the road – 7 hours and 0 minutes
  • Average speed 12.3mph

Commentary
Great day today! Sky was clear right from the start. Roads were wet (got 2” of rain while we slept), but not a drop from the sky today. Also wind was at our backs. Although not much, but at least it was not against us. Great day for biking despite the fact that we did not leave our beloved chip and seal.

I have a great wife who has a crazy sister. I write this because this crazy sister just about ruined one of my favorite singers for me. Last week while innocently checking my voice mail I hear one of my favorite songs (“Up” by Shania Twain) being sung by my sister-in-law. I had heard that she and Jeri do this to each other, but in 17 years I have never had proof. Well now I had it. I couple days ago I had to delete this song from my play list because I just about fell off my bike when it came on during a random search.

My youngest son has now just about ruined another song by Shania. A couple weeks ago I was doing a 3-hour session on my bike down in the basement. I occasionally like to sing along – especially when I am really trying stay over 160 beets per minute. Well “I’m Having a Party” came on and I was really moving. (I like to sing the guy parts.) Just after the song finished, Ross came down with the “Chip and Seal” grin on his face and said, “We could hear you singing.” Then he laughed and left. Today while going up a long climb this song came on. While I did not pick up the pace, I did turn up the volume. And yes I did sing to the cows and goats. That is until just about the end when I noticed a farmer looking at me. (Guess I was pretty loud.) I just waved and rode on but knew I would need to eliminate this song from my ride also. (Cole, just so you don’t feel left out I will sing “Man I Feel Like a Woman” tomorrow. This should get some interesting looks in Texas.)

A couple days ago “Let it Go” by the Newsboys came on. The chorus goes,

Will you forgive?
Will you forget?
Will you live what you know?
He left His rights. Will you leave yours?
You won’t understand it. Let it go.

It was too emotional to write about then but I ended today with “You will Never Walk Alone” by Sierra. While I attached the song and the entire Lyrics the chorus is,

You will never walk alone
As long as you have faith
Jesus will be right beside you all the way
And you may feel you’re far from home
But home is where he is
And he’ll be there down every road
You will never walk alone

I have to write that I rode into town with tears streaming down my face. I cannot remember that last time I was that choked up. It is the age-old question of why? Why can’t we just Let It Go? Why do we feel like we are alone? And even tougher for me, why can’t I help the people I come in contact with? I know that I am not ever alone. How can I help others? I have no satisfying answers only two mediocre ones. The first is that today I cried for you. The second is maybe if I stay vigilant enough others will see in me what I hope for them.

Tomorrow

69 miles to Navasota tomorrow. Only two days left. (We are both thinking about safety. Want to do the whole thing this year!) Weather should be good.

Circumstance can break a man or set that same man free.
I have learned that I must be content with what You have planned for me.
All I guess I’m saying is I’m gonna keep on praying that everyone can see.
I’ve got the joy of the Lord rolling over in my soul.
I’ve got the joy of the Lord bringing me peace.
There is no shadow of doubt that His love can’t cast out.
I’ve got the joy of the Lord living in me.

I’ve Got the Joy
Sierra

You will Never Walk Alone
Point of Grace

Along life’s road
There will be sunshine and rain
Roses and thorns, laughter and pain
And ‘cross the miles
You will face mountains so steep
Deserts so long and valleys so deep
Sometimes the journey’s gentle
Sometimes the cold winds blow
But i want you to remember
I want you to know

You will never walk alone
As long as you have faith
Jesus will be right beside you all the way
And you may feel you’re far from home
But home is where he is
And he’ll be there down every road
You will never walk alone

The path will wind
And you will find wonders and fears
Labors of love and a few falling tears
Across the years
There will be some twists and turns
Mistakes to make and lessons to learn
Sometimes the journey’s gentle
Sometimes the cold winds blow
But i want you to remember wherever you may go

Jesus knows your joy, Jesus knows your need
He will go the distance with you faithfully

Day 19: Blanco to Lockhart

i Apr 24th No Comments by

April 19, 2007

Statistics

  • Rode from Blanco, TX to Lockhart, TX – 61 miles
  • Climbed a total of 1,861′
  • Maximum elevation – 1,370′
  • Burned a total 3,685 calories
  • Total time on the bike – 5 hours and 18 minutes
  • Total time on the road – 7 hours and 30 minutes
  • Average speed 11.7 mph

Commentary
No wrong turns today. Weather was wet. We went up some and down some. Last 20 miles were into a 20mph head wind. Pretty routine. So as promised yesterday – Chip and Seal.

I have heard it said that Eskimos have 8 or 10 different words to describe snow. I always thought this was ridiculous, but now have had a change of heart. You see, there are at least this many words to describe pavement. Let me demonstrate.

  1. Fantastic – Brand new black top that has just been painted. It just does not get any better than this.
  2. Good – Black top that is older. Still all in one piece, but showing some ware.
  3. Bad – Black top that is well past its prime. Potholes that have been patched and re-patched.
  4. Shitty – This is where Chip and Seal comes in. For those of you who have never been on a side road in the south, what they do is put down a layer of tar and then a layer of gravel. As cars run over it the gravel gets glued to the black top by the tar. What we end up with is a gravel road that does not move, but has all the bumps. This classification is tough because “Shitty” is really Chip and Seal that has been worn (more tar left than gravel). It is probably a little better than “Bad”, but it is a toss up.
  5. Shittyer – This is Chip and Seal that is one to five years old. The DMV would think that this road is in perfect shape. Wrong! As stated above what they have created is a permanent gravel road.
  6. The Shittyest – Brand-new Chip and Seal. Not only do you get to go down a gravel road but you also get to slip on the tar. When cars go by you get lost in a humongous cloud of dust. (This is really good for the lungs when you are riding at 150 heartbeats per minute.)
  7. Beyond Classification Shitty – (This one was added just today.) This is the black top left after they have scraped up one layer. You get the gravel road effect as well as not always being in control of where your front wheel steers you. (Getting in the wrong groove will send you out in the middle of the road or into the ditch.)
  8. Gravel – There is not a dirtier name to call this kind of surface.

In the last four days we have been teased by Fantastic for no more than 5 miles. For the rest of the time we have pretty much been stuck in the shit. Most of the time it has been shittyer, once in a while shitty, and today we did a couple miles in Beyond Classification Shitty.

So that is Chip and Seal. At that is why I am now a believer that the Eskimos do have 8-10 maybe even 100 words for snow. When all you have to do all day is ride behind a sled (or ride a bicycle) you come up with mental challenges to keep stimulated. The Eskimo names snow. We named pavement.

Tomorrow
69 miles to LaGrange, TX. Only real worry is weather. Rain is fine, but 20mph head winds take their toll. Also severe weather predicted for much of the state.

P.S. Now you also know what I think about for 5-8 hours when not listening to my iPod. If you thought this was interesting, get Jeri to give you her 15-20 different names for drivers that pass bicyclers too close or too fast or honk. You would not believe what combinations she has come up with. (Some even include had jesters.)