Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Day 52 Manchester, N.H. to Portsmouth, N.H. 62 miles & wrap up.

The last day of the ride:
 Day one you wondered how you were going to do it; day 52 you wondered where did the time go.

Todays ride:
Every one wore their America By Bicycle jerseys today, all16 riders looked like a team. We stayed together for most of the 62 miles, each rider taking their turn leading the peloton to our final destination Portsmouth, N.H.. As you can imagine lots of chatter going on about the different rides that we had done over the last 52 days. Around mile 57 the excitement started to build with the riders; every one was about to finish up an incredible adventure.
The group from day one seemed to really form a great team spirit, and this spirit became stronger as the days passed by. About a mile and a half outside of Portsmouth we held up at a high school waiting for our escort in to town; and on to the beach for the wheel dipping ceremony. We were there for around thirty minutes and two police cars showed up, and we started our final 3 mile journey to the beach. The police cars had their lights flashing one car at the front of the pack, and one at the back of the pack. People would clap as we rode by, and as we approached the beach you could feel the excitement from the riders. When we did arrive at the beach it was packed with people; as we carried our bikes on to the sand and started walking towards the water to dip our front wheel in the Atlantic Ocean; people would get up and start clapping for us. It was an awesome feeling; (overwhelming); WE MADE IT.

Prospective of the Ride Across America for Alzheimer's:

When this journey started on May 31st. I knew that I was about to embark on a very special journey. What I didn't realize at the time is that this has turned out to be the journey of my life time.
The first day was orientation a day when all of the riders and staff were introduced to one another; and the rules of the road were explained to us.
There were a total of 17 riders from all over the world at the start of this ride. I was the only rider from California; and the only rider riding for Alzheimer's. In the fifty two days of living and riding together; these riders have become good friends that I will have for the rest of my life. At the start of the ride not one person knew one another; we did have one thing in common cycling.
As we rode out that first day it was great to have Bob and Christine Paterson, Christine's daughter Heidi and her husband, Doug and Donna Roberts, my sister, and the folks from the Alzheimer's assoc. present to send me off. In addition the Alameda Velo bicycle members showed up in force to escort us across the Golden Gate Bridge; and bid me a farewell on the Marin side of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Day fifty two and Portsmouth, N.H. sure looked to be a long way off; but before you knew it we were 11 days in to the ride setting in Salt Lake City. It was so nice to have Doug and Donna Roberts (these are my life long friends that I grew up with); drive all of the way from Pacifica just to spend a day in Salt Lake City with me on my first rest day.
To be able to cycle over the Sierras in California; and then cycle over the Rockies in Colorado is the best.
Each state that we cycled through had something to look at and see; the miles and miles of corn fields, and soy bean fields, the farms and friendly people. All of those little towns that we cycled through; each town had it's own little story.
While riding through Kansas I had a great reunion with my brother Denny; even though it was a short visit it was so nice to spend a little time with him. Denny rode with us for part of the day even though it rained like hell; we still had a great ride together.
The surprise visit while we were riding through Ohio from two of my shipmates off of the USS Oriskany; I had not seen these boys in fifty years.
The TV interviews, Radio interviews, and passing out my letters on the ride every time I had an opportunity. The visits to the different Sterling Homes, giving talks to Alzheimer's patients, caregivers, and staff. I was able to bring up the awareness about this horrible disease more that I could have ever imagined when I started out on this journey of my life time.
All of the kind people who donated so generously to the Ride Across America for Alzheimer's and gave this rider so much support. It overwhelms me to think about this; thank you is not enough to say
After 52 days on the road, riding a total of 3,971 miles, cycling through 13 states, staying in 52 different cities, climbing a total of 139,217 vertical feet, going through three tires, 10 tubes, 1 spoke, one rear light, one jar of Queen Helens (lube for my bottom). I am ready to come home and very proud of what I have accomplished.
The riders who were strangers at the start of the ride; are all good friends that I will have for the rest of my life. There were certainly a lot of highlights, each and every day while I was on the road. I guess that I can say with experience that I know what it is like staying in a different town every night.
The folks from America By Bicycle were fantastic in their support; and making sure that the riders were safe and nourished during the entire ride. I could go on and on; but I would like to sum it up this way.
My challenge riding Across America to raise $$$$$ to go to Alzheimer's Research is small in comparison to the challenge the family members of Alzheimer's patients face day in and out. I did not only do this ride for my good friend Bob Paterson who is battling the disease and his wife Christine who is an incredible caregiver. I did this ride for every one who is reading this blog and every one who I had the pleasure of talking to a long the way; because every one knows some one who has this horrible disease. Please never forget that together we can make a difference, helping to get closer to creating a future without Alzheimer's.
I hope that you have enjoyed reading about each days rides, and adventures on the blogs. I have sure enjoyed sharing this this 52 day adventure with you. One last word would be to thank every one for your kindness, generosity, and support. It is not to late to get a friend involved and make a donation to this worthy cause.



Monday, July 21, 2014

Day 51 Brattleboro, Vermont to Manchester, New Hampshire 80 miles

Todays ride was a fitting ride for day 51 we had some great climbs; and the four of us had a really good ride. The weather and scenery was fantastic, roads were a bit rough so you had to be on top of your game. It is hard to wrap the thought around my brain that we have almost completed this fantastic adventure. When we started 51 days ago tomorrows ride sure seemed a long ways off; this morning while I was putting on my riding kit it really hit me that we were almost there. For those who are keeping track we have cycled through 13 states, stayed in 51 different cities, cycled 3,781 miles, and have 64 miles to cycle in to Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Todays Ride:

Wake up call at 5:30am; breakfast at 6am, load luggage at 6:45am, on the bikes riding at 7am. Today I was riding with the same group of riders, Chicago Bob, Washington D.C. Bill, and Yope from the Netherlands. As you can imagine there was a lot of chatter between the group looking back on the rides that we have done together in the past seven weeks.
At mile one we stopped at the New Hampshire state line to take photos under the sign. As soon as we jumped back on our bikes we encountered our first climb, this climb was around one and a half miles long and woke every one up. These hills were not to long but had some pretty good pitches; every rider in the group showed up with legs so the team climbed up and over all of the climbs together. At mile 54 we rolled in to our last sag stop, watered up grabbed some fruit and we were off riding the last 26 miles.
The weather for the entire ride was fantastic, no wind, and the scenery was beautiful. We were in and out of hills for pretty much all of this ride; didn't really flatten out until we were just about in the City limits of Manchester. All riders made it in safe, it just took a little longer for some to complete the ride because of the hills that we rode in today.

Tomorrows Ride will be the final ride, for The Ride Across America for Alzheimer's, as you can imagine there is a lot of excitement and emotion going through this riders head. I will be sending out my last blog with the days activities and my thoughts on the ride.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Day 50 Latham, New York to Brattleboro, Vermont 80 miles

Well folks we are down to two days, and 148 miles to go to ride in to Portsmouth, N.H. Today was a great ride ended up doing  bit over 6,000 vertical gain in 80 miles; the fellows that I ride with back home would have enjoyed this ride a lot. The weather was perfect with very little wind; and the road conditions were fantastic.

Todays Ride:

Wake up call at 6:30 (Got to sleep in an extra hour), Breakfast 7am, Load luggage 7:30am, on the bikes riding at 7:45. Today I was riding with Chicago Bob, Yope from the Netherlands, and Washington D.C. Bill; ride out temperature was in the high 60's.
Today we had four climbs, a four mile climb at mile six, a five mile climb at mile twenty two, a eight mile climb at mile thirty eight, and a three mile climb at mile fifty nine. All of these climbs were quite gentle with an average gradient of 6/8%. The road conditions were the best of the trip so far; so you could let your bike go o the descents; which we did. The rest of the roads were a series of gentle rollers.
At mile thirty two we passed in to the State of Vermont; we all stopped and took pictures of each other under the "Welcome to Vermont" sign. The four of us had a great ride today, we are riding really well as a team of four riders. The last eight miles heading in to Brattleboro was a down hill with some of the sweetest sweeping curves that this rider has seen in a long time. Our speed on those last eight miles was around 35/39mph, all in a single line spaced about three feet apart. When all of the riders have confidence in each other you can ride like that; each rider knows what the other rider is going to do.(we hope). Any way it was a hoot riding in to town; and I imagine looked pretty cool too.
Tomorrows ride is from Brattleboro, Vermont to Manchester, N.H.; we will be staying at the Comfort Inn. Tomorrow will be another day of climbing, with a thousand feet more vertical gain than today.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Day 49 Little Falls, New York to Latham, New York 78 miles

It is hard to believe but we are down to three days of riding left; the group has cycled 3,618 miles we have 227 miles to go to hit Portsmouth, New Hampshire. In the next two days of cycling we will have just under 12,000 feet of vertical gain which is a great way to wind up the ride. The final day riding in to Portsmouth, N.H. will be a cake walk; you know that this rider will be doing a little celebrating with the rest of the cyclist.
My final blog will be on the 22nd; I will try my best to put this incredible adventure in to prospective for all of you.

Todays ride:

Wake up call at 5:30am, 6am breakfast, 6:45 load luggage, 7am on the bikes riding. This was a really pretty ride today; we paralleled a river called the Mohawk River for just about the entire ride. The river is a pretty big river about 200 yards wide; and there was boat traffic on the river. On the other side of the road were rolling hills; the scenery was to die for the entire ride. Today I was riding with a group of nine riders; Chicago Bob, Washington D.C. Bill, and Yope from the Netherlands were also riding in the group.
We had promised each other that we were going to hold it down today because of the climbing that we had in front of us over the next two days. Two miles out it became an all out hammer fest led by yours truly; I have never had the good sense to ride easy in the past why start now. The pace stayed at around 19/22 mph for the entire ride; occasionally it would rise a bit depending on who was in front pulling.

We cycled through two towns by the name of Rotterdam, and Amsterdam; so we stopped while the boys from the Netherlands took pictures of them self's under the signs. And I saw the longest train that I ever saw in my life four locomotives were pulling all of these cars; not exaggerating it was over a mile and a half long. Even Chicago Bob who has seen a lot of trains commented that he had never seen a train with four locomotives pulling it.
Todays route was a bit technical there were 47 turns; to every ones surprise we didn't even get lost once. During this trip all of us have got lost at one time or another, we refer to them as bonus miles when that happens.
Two days ago I made a wrong turn and ended up climbing up a gnarly hill that pitched up to 16% towards the top of the climb; and was about a mile long. Yope from the Netherlands followed me up the hill also; and we had a good laugh when we got in.
Todays ride was a kick ass ride; when you are riding in a pack it is a hoot. All riders made it in safe, that is always a good thing
Tomorrows ride - Latham, New York to Brattleboro, N.H.; this ride should be a good one. We will be staying at the Holiday Inn Express.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Day 48 Liverpool, New York to Little Falls, New York 80 miles

This rider is starting to get excited to finish the ride, and come back home; this is a long time to be away. It hit me today while we stopped at a Burger King to grab a quick bite to eat. (only the best for this rider). A lady was asking us about the ride, when I told her that we have been on the road since the first of June; she gave me this stare like so many people do.
 I wouldn't trade this experience for any thing in the world; but I wanted to share my feelings with you. We are down to four days and 304 miles to go, and I will enjoy every mile of it.

Wake up call at 5:30am, Breakfast at 6am, load luggage at 7am, on the bikes riding at 7:15am. I am riding with the same crew; Chicago Bob, Washington D.C. Bill, and Yope from the Netherlands. As we ride out we start to climb our first hill right out of the box, we got warmed up in a hurry. The weather was really nice from the get go; I rode out with out a shell, just a jersey.

The ride today had a series of rollers and then mostly gentle hills which made for a very comfortable ride. When all four riders are in sink it makes for a very cool ride, and that is where we are now. The country side is still very pretty, although not as spectacular as the last two days of riding. All and all it was a great ride, and all of the riders made it in safe. Tomorrow will be our last day riding in New York State; on Sunday we will ride in to Brattleboro, Vermont. New York has turned out to be one of the better states that we have cycled through; and the people have been really friendly.

Tomorrow we will be riding from Little Falls, New York to Latham, New York, we will be staying at the Holiday Inn Express.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Day 47 Canandaigua, New York to Liverpool, New York 71 miles

This part of the State of New York where we are cycling through is very pretty; and the roads are in excellent shape which makes it great for cycling.

Todays Ride:

Wake up call at 5:30, breakfast at 6am, load luggage at 6:45am, on the bikes riding at 7am. Today I am riding with the same crew, Chicago Bob, Yope from the Netherlands, and Washington DC Bill. As we rode out you could see the dark clouds way off in the direction that we were headed, we were hoping to get in before the rain started. The weather was on the cool side, we all rode out with our riding shells on.
This part of the state is not only very pretty, it is full of history. At mile 21 we rode through Waterloo, this is the birth place of Memorial Day. At mile 25 we rode through Seneca Falls, this is the birth place of Women's rights; couldn't help but notice that just about all of the shops in this town are geared for Women. At mile 30 we stopped at the sag to water up, this was located at the Montezuma Wildlife Refuge. They have put up lots of bird houses; and we were treated to a bunch of different species of birds to look at. At mile 55 we rode in to the Erie Canal Park and Museum, which is located right on the Erie Canal. One of the guides told us all about the history of the Erie Canal; as he was talking I kept getting flash backs on school when we learned about the Erie Canal.
Most of the last fifteen miles were gentle rollers which made for a fast ride in to the Hotel. Just as we got to the hotel the sky opened up; we just looked at each other and smiled. As I am writing up this blog there are still some riders that have not ridden in yet; they probable ducked under some shelter to wait the storm out.
Todays ride was suppose to be 68 miles but turned out to be 71 miles, according to my Garmin. Each day we have recorded any where from 3 to 9 more miles that our route sheets have indicated. For those who are keeping track, we have traveled through 10 states, stayed in 47 different cities, and cycled 3,462 miles. We have 383 miles to cycle to our final destination Portsmouth, N.H.

Tomorrow we will cycle from Liverpool, New York to Little Falls, New York; we will be staying at the Knights Inn.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Day 46 Hamburg, New York to Canandaigua 96 miles

Todays ride despite being rained on for the first 25 miles was a really nice ride. We are definitely in the heart of New York State; this part of the state is where most of the wine vineyards are as you can imagine it is a very pretty part of the state.

Todays ride:

Wake up call at 5:30, Breakfast at 6am, load luggage at 6:45am, and on the bikes by 7am. Today I was riding with my regular crew, Chicago Bob, Washington DC Bill, and Yope from the Netherlands. Each day we become a better riding unit and today was no exception; we probable had the strongest ride of the trip so far.
When we rode out the sky was as dark as (you guessed it) a good glass of Cabernet; the sky opened up after just 1 1/2 miles of riding. The good news no lightning and Thunder, the bad news it was really coming down hard. At mile 17 we held up under an overpass, looked like four Hobo's hanging out. After about twenty minutes the rain let up a bit and we rode off, it lasted until mile 25 and the sun replaced all of that wet stuff and we had a chance to dry off as we rode on.
The roads were a series of gentle rollers which made for really pleasant riding; and you can maintain some great speed going up and over these bad boys. We passed through the Towns of Clinton, Avon, Lima, Bloomfield, and a lot of smaller clusters of 12, and 16 houses. I mention the towns for my friend Tim who is from Buffalo; and just completed his fourth Death Ride for his 60th birthday.
As our trip draws closer to a close so do the rides, todays ride of 96 miles is the last long ride that is on tap, we have a 69, 79, 77, 79, 84, and a 64 mile ride left. I should ad that some of these rides coming up in the next six days have some pretty good vertical gain so it is by no means a walk through the park.
Todays ride ended in a very cool place, we are in the finger lake district of the state. There are five lakes that surround this area; Lake Hemlock, Lake Canadice, Lake Honedy, Lake Seneca, and Lake Canandaigua. Canadaigua is the best known of the lakes that are in this area. In addition we are surrounded by fifteen wineries. We are just here for the night so I won't have a chance to take in to many of the local sites. I got to see a lot of great scenery while on the bike today; as I do every day. As much as I would like to sample some of the local wine; that is not going to happen. We sure had a great ride today; and all riders made it in safe.

Tomorrows ride - Canandaigua, New York to Liverpool, New York; we will be staying at the Hampton Inn. We will be riding through New York for three more days, and then we will ride in to Vermont.