Sunday, July 26, 2009

I'm in DC!

We made it to DC today after a 39 mile day. We pulled up to the fence of the White House with lots of hooting and hollering from the Trekkers and onlookers alike. The first thing I thought was, "it's so hot here!". It was a great feeling to finally make it here, but also sad that I will have to leave lots of new friends and this great trip behind. Tomorrow we are going to have a rally at noon and then Kara and I are going to do some quick sight-seeing before we take our flight home. Back to work in 42 hours :(

Saturday, July 25, 2009

One day until DC!

I arrived in Manassas, VA today around 1pm. It was about a 55 mile day, fairly easy now that the mountains are gone but now that we are in the 'burbs of DC the traffic sucks. I got a slow leak in my rear tire about 10 miles from where we are staying. That was frustrating because I had to work so hard to pedal and I could never keep up with the group after having been in the lead all morning. Tomorrow we are headed into DC, we are going to meet a man that works for greener transportation and we are going to ride into DC on a rail trail critical mass style (as a big ole group). They are going to serve us lunch at the Rails to Trails office and then give us a lobbying workshop. The next day we are going to rally on the National Mall before the group goes to lobby for the Climate Bill. I will not be doing this as I have to head back to Michigan and go back to work.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Goshen, Virginia

I'm in a library in Goshen, Virginia. Yesterday (7/21) was a 54 mile day, a bit shorter than anticipated. We stayed at an actual campground, but there were no showers so we used Dr.Bronner's in the creek/river. There were snails everywhere in the water.. when you stepped on them they crunched. Our support vehicle got to camp late so I wore my wet/slightly clean clothes for a long time. That also meant that dinner was late. It was kinda gross chili made with low-sodium V8, so Kara tried to spice it up to make it taste better. That just means that I have spent all day in the bathroom. Today we've come about 31 miles and we still have 42-48 to go. We don't quite know where we are camping tonight so this should be fun. We have done 2 mountain passes today and a couple steep foothills, but the land is getting flatter.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Grrrr Mountains

I'm in Marlington, West Virginia in a library. I have no cell phone service but I am still alive. We're about 22 miles into our trip today, no idea how much further to go. We are staying in a National Forest in Virginia tonight. 7/17-718 were "rest days" in Charleston. We learned about the devastating effects of mountain-top removal, watched Harry Potter 6 and did some laundry in a real washer!!! 7/19 we left Charleston, WV and went 68 miles. The first 30 miles or so were great. The last bit were very mountainous. We were the first group in and had no idea where we were camping. It took about 2 hours to get registered at an RV park and to get settled. They were a bit overwhelmed with 32 cyclists. We had a fun dinner, had a sing-a-long group meeting and swam in the Summerville Lake. The next day (7/20) was not as fun. It rained that night and it was COLD. My knee ached from the day before and the cold didn't help any. We had long slow climbs and about 25 miles in I gave up and rode in the support vehicle. 1 minute later we came across a cyclist in our group that had bent his chain when he tried switching gears up a hill (don't do that!) so he put his bike on our car and rode my bike. We took his bike to a shop in the next town and they fixed it for $27. The only problem was he didn't want his bike back so he kept mine for the next 15 miles. We camped in a national forest outside Rockwood, WV. We had to make sure that all of our food was in the car because we are in bear territory.
Today we went up to almost 4000 ft elevation, it wasn't too bad as we were already part the way up and my knee is feeling better after letting it rest. Coming back down the mountain was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! It was a 9% grade for 5 miles!!!! Time for me to get back on the road, we have at least 35 miles left and another mountain pass to tackle.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Dreams do Come True

I am sitting in the fairgrounds in Lancaster, Ohio. I just completed the 5th day of biking. Since the last post I biked 57.5 miles, 47.5 miles and just finished a 50 miles day. We've been having a lot of fun, one day we waited out a storm at a produce farm. There was a completely blind dog named Tiffany and the owner let us sit down and eat cucumbers that migrant workers had just processed. Two days ago when we were in Richwood, OH we camped at the city park. It was full of goose poop and hard to find a clean spot to pitch a tent. Around 9:30pm a police officer stopped by to check on us. He was really chill, we talked to him for a long time about what we were doing. After awhile I told him about a lifelong dream of mine. I said, "Hey, I've always wanted to be handcuffed and thrown in the back of a cop-car". So that's just what he did.
Yesterday we decided to switch up the biking arrangement. We had been biking as a group all together and meeting the support vehicle halfway to eat lunch. Now we ride in pairs and bring our lunch with us. We left Richwood around 9:30am and got to Darbydale, OH (47.5 mi) around 1pm. We stayed at the Metropark which really you're not supposed too, but we had a special permit. It was kinda stinky, but the rangers let us use a hose for a shower. So now I've had two showers in 6 days and they were both by hose.
Today we left at 8:30am and got to Lancaster, OH (50 mi) at 1:45 pm. It was a little bit fail today - we passed the support vehicle because they took a shopping trip. It ended up okay because we just stopped for lunch and waited for them to catch up. We then took a wrong turn and went about four miles out of the way. There were also a TON of hills that I didn't love, but I made it.
Today is the day that we meet up with the larger group and I'm pretty excited to see how our group dynamics will change. They are riding totally self-supported which means that they won't have a car hauling there stuff. Many of them have been riding for almost a couple months, I bet they have wicked tan lines.

Friday, July 10, 2009

July 10, 2009

So I started the Trek in Stockbridge, MI where we were fed AMAZING food by the community. The town let us stay in their park and kept the bathroom open for us all night. I slept okay, our tent is a small backpacking tent so Kara and I were quite cozy ;) We left around 10:30am and biked through Chelsea and Adrian. The roads were a bit rough and there were some nice hills but it was tolerable. What was intolerable was the last 15 miles of the journey. We were taking a break next to a wheat field when I felt a burning sensation in my inner thigh. I pulled my pants down while everyone laughed but I was stung by something at it was all red. Luckily someone had some itch cream and it wasn't too bad. The bad thing was as soon as I started biking a terrible pain shot through my left knee... and it continued to throb for the next 15 miles. We set up camp just after the Ohio border in a town called Metamora. Again, we had permission to sleep in the park and the facilities were open all night. The tent was really sticky and there was a stupid bird cawing and if I had a gun or arrow I would've shot it down.
The next day we got a better start around 9:30am. The first 10 miles were brutal, the knee was a killer. We stopped at a great park and my knee (and butt!) got a rest. The next 14 miles went much smoother and we stopped for lunch at a quaint little park/ old tyme park. They had a General Store, Mill, and horse and buggy. We stayed there for about an hour. During that time I made the hard decision to ride in the car. I really didn't want to as it was only the second day for me. I rode in the car with Anna, she just had her appendix out so she acts as the navigator. I got to drive the car until she told me the next turn and I would run out and "mark" aka use orange spray paint to mark the turns. I marked 38 miles of road. We got to Findlay, OH where Marci's previous roommates parents offered there house to stay in. The place is AWESOME with a swimming pool and they did our laundry. Also, they are letting us stay in there house tonight!! They let us use their showers but we decided a shower in the yard was much more fun; Marci, Katie, Kara and I used Dr. Bonners and are surprisingly clean right now. Tomorrow we will leave here and go to Richwood, OH.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

It's Here!

Today (07/08/09) is the day I join up with the Trek in Stockbridge, Mi. It sounds like they've had some adventures already and I can't wait to meet everyone!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

What are you taking?

Even though this ride is supported by a SAG car (aka the Honda Element) I can only take the essentials. Many of the blogs I have been reading lately include a list of what the rider is taking with them. I feel like I should do that, too.

The Essentials:
Bike-2009 Specialized Roubaix Comp
Seat bag- Specialized Dirt Bag
Frame bag- Nashbar Frame Pack Bag
Hydration- CamelBak Podium Chill Jacket Bottle 21oz
CamelBak Hydration Pack Classic 70oz
Tent- Sierra Designs Clip-Flashlight 2
Sleeping Bag- Quest Mummy Bag
Sleep Pad- REI Trekker 1.75 Self-Inflating
Compression Sack - Sea to Summit Compression Sack
Towel- MSR Packtowl Original

Pearl Izumi Ultra Sensor Shorts
Pearl Izumi Short Attack Shorts
Under Armour Heat Gear Tights
Pearl Izumi Vagabond Jacket
Nashbar Rain Jacket
Specialized Summer Avilan Jersey
Nike Elite Performance Top
Nike Dri-Fit Pro-Fitted Long Sleeve Top
2 Nike Livestrong Sports Bras
2 pair ExOfficio Give-N-Go Bikini Briefs
Specialized BG Gel Glove

Schwinn Helmet
Performance Vega Multi-Lens Glasses
Nike Livestrong Sports Duffel

Dr. Bonner's Magic Soap
Kiss My Face Everywhere Conditioner
Chamois Butt'r Cream
Hydrocortizone Cream
Bug Spray

Of course I have Clif Bars, Peanut Butter, Craisins, spare tubes, patches, money, ID, credit cards and toilet paper.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

One week until 'Go' time!

In 7 days I will become a part of a group of 9 bicyclists on their way from Michigan to Washington DC. Along the way we will meet up with other Trekkers to form a group of about 50 cyclists on the Trek to Re-Energize America. Follow my route from MI to Columbus, OH and then check out the Northern Route from Columbus to DC!! You can visit the website for more information about the Trek or to check out the blogs of Trekkers who have already been biking for the last month!

People keep asking me, "Why?". There are many reasons why I feel the need to pedal my way to Washington DC. The main reason: I love to bike!! I was a natural from the time my mom took my training wheels off. I really got into biking through Girl Scouts, they had camping trips especially for biking and I went on every one! The most memorable was a trip from Traverse City, MI to Mackinac, MI. It was a "self-supported tour" which just means that anything that we brought had to be packed on the bike in pannier (saddle) bags. Luckily during this trip we will have a support vehicle to carry our belongings!
The second reason that I want to bike to DC is for the awareness issue. I started biking my ~4 mile drive to and from work last April when I decided that I was not going to pay almost $4/gal for gas. The hardest part about biking my drive is not the miles or the hills, it is the people operating 2-tons of steel driving next to me. I've had the pleasure of being called every cuss word, been honked at, been pulled in front of, cut off and run off the road. I want to educate drivers about the law and safe driving practices.
Another reason that I feel the need to go on this trip is for the environmental aspect. I think that cycling is a great green form of transportation, exercise, and recreation!! 40% of all trips by car are made within 2 miles of home; that would be a 10 minute bike ride!! Read more about biking your drive!! I also feel that a group of 50 crazy cyclists will get attention and we can say, "Hey! Climate change is happening but we can do something about it before it's too late; starting with a greener economy in the US!"

I hope, for whatever your reasons, that you will read my blog in support of me biking my big derriere 900 miles to Washington DC!

My new bike- please get me to DC!!!