My Route, More or Less (Red line, but starting in NY)

My Route, More or Less (Red line, but starting in NY)

Make a Difference

I'm pedaling for many reasons, the most important of which is to raise awareness and funds for Pedals For Progress. P4P is a non-profit that collects used bicycles and sewing machines in the US and donates them to poor people overseas. P4P combines my love of bicycling with my growing concern for those deprived of life's most basic necessities - sparked by a visit to the slums of Kibera in June '09 (pictures). P4P improves mobility and economic options for destitute people, opening pathways to greater dignity and opportunity.

Please make a donation, if you can (please write "TSQ2USQ" in the '...honor of' field). Remember, a bit of fragrance always clings to the hand that gives roses. :)

My Game Plan

I'm following portions or all of three routes mapped out by the Adventure Cycling Association: the Atlantic, TransAm, & Western Express. I'll cycle through thirteen states: NY, NJ, PA, MD, VA, KY, IL, MO, KS, CO, UT, NV & CA! I'm leaving on 4/17/10, and expect to return to New Jersey by mid June - back to my family, friends, & neighbors. I plan on cycling 5 - 6 hours per day, 6 days/week, usually starting in the early AM. My laptop and phone will allow me to work remotely most days, but I won't pass up opportunities to smell the roses along the way!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Day 38

Montrose, CO to Grand Junction, CO. About 63 miles.

Uneventful far. My ride was easy - mostly downhill w/ a tailwind - and short. Left Montrose 'round 7:40 and arrv'd in Grand Junction 'round 11. I've been working from Main Street Bagels since then. Sean's on his way to pick me up...we're gonna find a bar and kick back a few. Mark, Dan & Kasia will arrive later today, and perhaps others. We'll all be mtn biking tomorrow in Moab, and racing on Sat/Sun! Good times! My trek to SF is on hold for now, probably until Spring, '11. I've only about 1,000 miles to go; ten days of hard riding, or 2-3 weeks at a leisurely pace. I have plans to rope in a riding partner, in which case the emphasis will be on enjoying the ride rather than maximizing mileage. There's lots to see and experience between here and SF.

Please donate to Pedals for Progress:

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Day 36 & 37

Took Monday "off" and worked. Tuesday: Salida, CO to Montrose, CO. 129 miles. 9,700' ascent.

Today's ride was the most challenging I've ever faced. For me, it was epic. I was committed to camping short of Montrose if I felt any stress in my Achilles, Patellar, etc. The stress never came...just tired legs. So I rode 129 miles through the Colorado Rockies. Highlights included climbing the 11,300' Monarch Pass; coasting down a 6% grade road, uninterrupted, for nine (!) miles; two add'l 1,000' climbs; and a merciful, fifteen mile descent into Montrose. I've only about 60 miles to go until Grand Junction, CO, where I'll end this segment of my journey. I'll be meeting some friends there for several days of mountain biking, including a 24 hour race in Moab, UT, before heading home. Life is good... 
Please donate to Pedals for Progress:

Monday, October 4, 2010

Day 35

Pueblo, CO to Salida, CO. About 95 miles & 6,300 feet of climbing. Perfect weather!

What an awesome day of riding. The scenery was breathtaking, and the weather perfect. My legs were a bit tired. What a welcome change from the High Plains. I felt like I was in Kansas, though, when I got lunch: a vegetable burrito, which consisted of vegetarian hamburger "meat", iceberg lettuce & tomatoes wrapped in a burrito and topped w/ unmelted grated cheese. No beans.

The food in Salida was better. What a lovely little town; I'll take Monday off here to give the legs a rest and catch up on work. Lots of coffee shops, bars, restaurants, and Amica's, a great little micro brewery and wood fired pizza place. I stumbled across Simple Hotel & Hostel, a cozy, clean, friendly lodge right in town. $22/night 1st night's stay; $11 for the 2nd night! This place has it all over the boxy, cookie cutter hotels and run down motels typically on offer. Kimberly, the mountain bike touring host, gave me intel on where to go in town, and where to camp between Salida and Montrose, 130 miles away through the Rocikes and the next town where lodging's available. I traded stories w/ Dave, who was in town for the weekend from Boulder to mountain bike. He gave me all sorts of sport nutritional provisions for my ride and reminded me how much I'd likely love living in Boulder.

Please donate to Pedals for Progress:

Day 34

Eads, CO to Pueblo, CO. Just over 115 miles. Cool weather.
Left before sunrise w/ rain gear on. It was raining heavily as I prepared my ride, but let up by the time I was under way. I had a nice tailwind most of the way, and made good time. No flats! Pueblo consisted of a sleepy downtown, with ample evidence of planned civic restoration. I stopped at a bar, had a few beers, and met Lincoln and Brad. Brad crashes cars on the weekends; demolition derby. Lincoln, after wrapping up a 1 hr, 13 min phone call, suggested I take Rt 50 instead of 96 to Salida. I checked into the Comfort in, amidst strip mall hell, and was briefly locked out of my room. Somehow the latch closed along w/ the door; it  s/ only engage when someone in the room engages it. I managed to open it w/ a credit card. I had penne marinara for dinner at a "casual dining" spot, and was pleasantly surprised that the pasta was not overcooked, thought the sauce was of course too sweet; worked for me, though.

I was glad to arrive in Kansas; it was flat. I'm happier still to be at the foothills of the beautiful Rockies.

Please donate to Pedals for Progress:

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Day 33

Leoti, KS to Eads, CO. About 80 miles, clear skies, pleasant temperatures. Crossed into the Mountain time zone from Central shortly before leaving KS behind for CO.

I worked furiously until FedEx arrived 'round 1:30 with my new rim strips. They worked like a charm.  Not a single flat today. What a relief. Despite a late start I made it to Eads, CO. This is extraordinarily desolate country. I didn't notice a single restaurant along the way and only a few, tiny, grain elevator towns.

The landscape changed noticeably shortly after crossing into Colorado. It's less intensively tilled, remarkably flat for long stretches, and dominated in areas by what appears to be sage brush. Between burying my head in work this AM and trying to make Eads before sundown, I met almost no one today. So happy to be riding w/o flats!

Please donate to Pedals for Progress:

Day 32

Dighton, KS to Leoti, KS. About 50 miles. Great weather; highs in the 70s or so.

Met some interesting people along the way, including a couple in a van who slowed down to invite me to stay at their place in Leoti. It's not unusual for people take in cyclists along this well established route, but I wasn't planning on staying in Leoti. When I arrived in town, their daughter, Abigail, flagged me down. She lead me to their home, where I met her two sisters and chatted w/ her dad for a bit before heading out towards my destination further west. Tire went flat again...

Nothing but tube problems all day. Patched my tire another 8 or so times today, the result of a faulty rim strip. I was a hair's width away from hitching to Pueblo again, but one call to Jim Vance turned everything around. He stopped whatever he was doing, cycled to James Vincent's bike shop, bought me two rim strips and other supplies then FedExed them. I checked into the Hi Plains Motel and settled in for the night. Thank you Jim!

Oh, these pictures really capture a part of my Kansas experience: "bull hauler" truck and horrible food. A disproportionate number of the bull hauling truckers, as Joe from Hornets Nest Cafe in Dighton calls them, find sport in buzzing bikers. Not motor cyclists, I'm certain. Their large, low to the ground rigs generate a powerful blast of air in their wake. One came so close to me while I was changing a tire today he knocked over my bike and pannier. Fortunately most drivers, especially truckers, fail to see the sport in dangerously hazing cyclists and tend to give wide berth.

Please donate to Pedals for Progress: