Sunday, June 29, 2008

Divine Water


Divine Water
Originally uploaded by Dan Carmody
From a couple of days ago:

It was another hot and windy day through Oklahoma. Most B&B riders
have agreed that these flats are tougher than the mountains. Mountains
have downhills; wind has... more wind.

Today we paused for a water break a little over 3/4 of the way through
the ride. As we all sat in the dry and dusty shade we had found, a
pick-up pulls up with an amazing revelation. About a mile down the
road there was an oasis (an oasis? In the middle of Oklahoma? What did
that mean?) He lead us down to it, going slowly enough for us to draft
him.

The water was cold and refreshing. A life-saving miracle (maybe a
little dramatic, but you get the idea).

Friday, June 27, 2008

Kansas!


Kansas!
Originally uploaded by Dan Carmody

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Bike Cleaning


Bike Cleaning
Originally uploaded by Dan Carmody

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Good Deeds and Life Goals

I've been a little too brain dead to post anything the last couple of
days. We had our first century on Friday, followed up by a 90-miler on
Saturday.

Today's ride was memorable for two reasons. The first is that we rode
through a sudden rainstorm for a couple of miles, and after we passed
through it the skies opened up. Clear sky ahead and thunderstorms
behind. It was beautiful.

The second memorable thing about today was that I saved a kitten from
a tree. We were riding along one of the state roads in Arkansas, and
we saw a cat crossing the street. As we approached it ran off, and as
we passed we heard a mewing from the road side. We pulled over, and
Claire and I went to investigate. In one of the trees there was a
rustling; up above a kitten had climbed and wasn't come down. After
much effort (and an initial vain attempt to climb the tree) I was able
to coax the kitten down. I carried it to other side of the road (where
its mother was) and then we took off again.

Life goal number 56: rescue kitten from a tree. Status: completed.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Joco Java - Clarksville, AK

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Where is THE little rock?

We're in Little Rock, Arkansas now, and in two days we will be completing our first century (100+ mile ride).

It would be a lie to say that not much has happened since my last post, but instead of trying to cover it all, I'll give what I remember in brief snippets. I'll first put forward a little disclaimer that I'm not really sure when much of this happened. Time has no meaning this days.

-The mayor of Pulaski, TN threw us a barbecue at his house. He did a cannonball into his pool to splash people relaxing beside it.

-We did a ride out of Sewanee, TN with members of the cycling team there.

-The Mississippi River is very large.

-I am developing a love/hate relationship with my CamelBak. On the one hand, it's huge (bigger than anyone else's) and becomes uncomfortable on long days. On the other hand, it holds my water and food, and keeps me from dying. I guess there's kind of a trade off.

-We have lunch at 9:30am. First lunch. Second lunch is often around 12 or 1. Ice cream is whenever we want.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Adamsville, TN - 93 miles

It's not always easy to update this blog along the road, and not just
because of the lack of Internet access in many of our overnight spots.
As you might be able to imagine successive long mileage days tend to
where you out, and all you really feel like doing is sleeping.

The last couple of days have been pretty eventful, though, so they're
worth taking the time to tell y'all about them.

Two nights ago we were in Sewanee, being entertained by the Monteagle
Assembly, a sort of family Christian summer camp/retreat. Amazing
folks, and I was able to sit on on their 'twilight prayer' service.
The pastor talked about vocations, and, directing his talk towards us
riders, told us to find what "makes our heart sing".

The next night we were in Pulaski, where we were fortunate enough to
be invited to a barbecue at the mayor's house. Bike and Build has
plenty of ups and downs. Sometimes we sleep on the floor in an un-
airconditioned armory; sometimes we get the hook-up.

Today was one of the downs. Today was a 90 mile day, so we had two
lunches, today's first one was at about 9:30am, 35miles into the ride.
Shortly after that, I was descending a hill and drifted off the road
onto the grassy shoulder. I maintained my line for about a second
before losing control and flipping over. I picked myself up, a little
banged up, a couple of scrapes, bit not too much worse than that. My
bike was also a little banged up - the front wheel was bent pretty
badly out of shape. A couple of the other riders tried to true
(straighten) it, but w/I luck. I was able to switch out wheels with
the bike of the leader who was driving the van, so I was able to
finish the rest of the ride. It was a rough 60 miles.

On days like today, you fellow riders become more important than ever.
When the sun is beating down, when you ache all over, when the miles
feel like they're dragging and you know that you still have 50 left,
the person on the bike next to you is a godsend: to sing, to talk to,
to break the headwind and pull you for hours. And when the day is
over, a root beer float and a neck massage go a long way (thanks
Michelle!)

My wheel is fubar; I might need a new one. Hopefully I can switch with
the van driver's bike for the next two days, and then hit up a bike
shop in Memphis.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Dunlap, TN


Dunlap, TN
Originally uploaded by Dan Carmody
Sign in the bathroom of Mayberry Ice Cream.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Overnight Spot: National Guard Armory

Friday, June 6, 2008

photo.jpg


photo.jpg
Originally uploaded by Dan Carmody
The last couple of days of riding we had were the toughest of the trip
so far. We essentially biked over and through the Appalachians and the
Smokies. We spent a night in Gatlinburg (a tourist trap of a town
whose economy must be built entirely on t-shirt shops), and we're now
in Maryville, Tennessee.

There have been a couple of build days since my last post: one in
Asheville, NC (note the picture of the sweet ramp we built) and one
(so far, there's another tomorrow) in Maryville.

Climbing through the mountains has been an interesting experience. The
other day we stopped and hiked a mile and a half to see a waterfall,
and the day before I stopped with my friend Claire mid-climb to step
in a babbling brook (the only type of brooks there are). That brook
probably saved my life - we were 11 miles into our second 15 mile
climb of the day, and it was 80 or 90 degrees out. Cooling off was
definitely a hood idea.

There was a bit of a scare that day as well. At the top of the second
climb (Newfpund Gap - the border b/a Tennessee and North Carolina) a
motorcyclist came up to us and said that one of our riders had taken a
nasty spill. The rider, Daven, had popped a tire on the descent and
spun out, narrowly missing getting hit by a car. He was badly scraped,
but otherwise fine. Claire, myself, and a rider named Dan Thomas sat
and kept him company while we waited for the support van to come pick
him up. While waiting we played the alphabet game. Here is what we
came up with:

I went to the store and I bought:
Apples, bananas, cherries, dancing shoes, elixir made by Cole, fudge
brownies, guava, Hatteras islands, ice, juice boxes, ketchup, lace
underwear, motion sickness medicine, nuts, Oreos, papaya, quilt, red
meat, succotash, Tennessee, underwater camera, very large rock, yak
skin coat, ...

And then the van showed up. 4 people - points to whoever guesses what
number I was in the order.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Blue Ridge Parkway Biking

For the last two days we've been riding on a section of the Blue Ridge
Parkway, up and over mountains. Today's ride was an 80-miler, and
definitely one of the toughest things I've ever done. The total amount
of climbing we did today was about 12,000ft, and we topped out
elevation-wise at about 5600ft.

The climbing was rough - my legs are killed - but it was worth it. The
views we saw were extraordinary, all the more so because we achieved
them under our own power. It's incredible to realize that I just biked
80 miles over a mountain range.

The second best thing about riding up a mountain, besides the view, is
the downhill that comes at the end. For miles and miles, barreling
down the road at 35, even 40mph (certainly breaking the speed limit).

Tonight we stay in Asheville, NC. Tomorrow is a build day. Wednesday
is more mountains.