An International $20 Adventure

April 15th, 2012

Our adventure began when Dave Clark sold Elaine a $20 raffle ticket last fall.  The raffle was a fund raiser for the Baltimore Bays soccer teams (we’ve now learned that it is really ‘football’, but more about that later).  The prize was two tickets to a Premier League Football match in London and include the flights and four nights in the Copthrone Hotel at the Chelsea Football Club – what a prize.

Life is complicated.  My shoulder injury and subsequent surgery in mid December prevented us from getting to London until April. The Bays folks worked out tickets for a match on April 14 – Chelsea/Newcastle United.  With hotel reservations and airline tickets in hand, there was yet another twist; the FA Cup semi-finals were scheduled for April 14 and the Chelsea game was postponed.  The Bays and their friends at the Chelsea Football Club came through yet again! We had tickets for a pair of great seats to the FA Cup match in Wembley Park, one of the newest and largest stadiums in the world.  Liverpool was playing Everton for the right to play in the FA Cup finals on May 5.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  Elaine and I flew from Dulles to London on Tuesday night, arriving early on Wednesday morning. We figured out how to purchase Oyster cards, the London transit multi-trip payment card, and headed for the Hotel; about an hour from Heathrow. Once our bags were dropped at the Copthrone, it was time to start doing London.  First stop, Keningston Castle and a walk up the Broad Walk.  After looking for a museum that didn’t exist anymore (I finally remembered that my Pop-up Map was over 10 years old and just possibly out of date), we bought two day tickets on The Big Bus loop tour. These tickets included a river trip up the Thames river to Greenwich, the time place.  We were tired enough so that sitting on the boat was great and provide some unique views of London.

Thursday, after completing most do the Bus tour, we started our real museum quest.  It appears that we picked a Spring Vacation week for all London area school kids and most of the museums were FULL of families. We attempted to scheme our way around the crowds, but we only had limited success.

We started Friday by finding half priced tickets to Rock of Ages for an 8:30 performance (3rd row, no less).  Then it was off to do more wandering, museums, wandering, and dinner before a great show – now I’m starting to get tired of trains and walking.

The Chelsea stadium was at our hotel – getting to a game would have been super simple. The trip to Wembley Park took about an hour of bus and Underground, that  was mostly above ground – London public transit is really something! It wasn’t hard to find the way, we just followed the Red and the Blue football jerseys – there were thousands of them going our way!  We noticed that the fans even separated on the broad walkway heading to the stadium – Red on the left, Blue on the Right.

Our seats were great – in NFL terms, about the 10 yard line, in the center of the lower section of the very Red, Liverpool half of the stadium. The eastern half of the stadium was Liverpool territory (Red) and the western half was filled with Blue, Everton fans – we were possibly the only neutral folks in 87,231 crowd! These fans LOVE their teams.  The passion is deep enough so there is a “no man’s land” between the stadium halves, enforced be lots of security folks – no one crosses the zone! And these folks go LOUD when about anything happens, except the other guys scoring.  Their cheering includes multi-verse songs! We were lucky enough to be near the goal where all the goals were scored – some crazy stuff! I played “American fan” by leaving just after Liverpool scored their second unanswered goal, less than 10 minutes left on the clock – the crowd hadn’t started to move as we made our way to the train station. The London Police were pretty much ready for ANYTHING!  We walked through row after row of mounted police and hundreds of foot patrol officers.

What an experience! Thanks to the Bays, especially Hope Lookingland and Kevin Healey for their hard work to make it happen for us!

Update on Jim’s Challenge

March 24th, 2012

It was almost six months ago when I reported my Minor incident — Possible Major Challenge.  The challenge was real and significant, but I’m working my way through it.

My surgery was on December 14.  Dr. Lashgari reattached the tendon to the rotator cuff and I started the slow comeback.  First few weeks were with Nurse Elaine providing significant services, including helping with my showers.  The 24/7 sling was a pain in the butt and results in significant sleeping difficulties.  Getting to the point where I could shower without her help was my first big goal.

I entered physical therapy a few weeks after the surgery – all passive stuff to begin with.  And I was given permission to start walking.  Since the weather wasn’t super, I joined Gold’s Gym (the closest gym to home) and January was a 50+ mile month.

Getting to the work and the Washington Navy Yard finally happened once I could toss the sling; the commuting challenge was just too great.  The sling went away and I was back at work six weeks after the surgery.

Work, twice a week PT and trying to keep up with my cardio workouts has kept me pretty busy; I’m over 100 miles walking for the year and my therapy team insisted that my progress was fantastic.  Back to full mobility and starting to rebuild my strength.

Yesterday was absolutely the best day of this process!  I had another appoint with Dr. Lashgari.  He was pleased with the progress and warned me about trying too much too fast.  My next appointment is in three months, if I think a need to see him – my choice.  But wait, the significant news is that he told me to ENJOY MY MOTORCYCLES!  I’M BACK!

And YES, I did take a ride this morning.  I was a little worried about the storms that the weather folks think are trying to spoil our weekend, but I missed them all.  I now have 40 motorcycle miles in 2012!  My spring and summer plans with Medalist are still possible.

The therapy team wants me to continue the process through May and to continue to work on strength.  I probably wasn’t all that fit when this all started and six months of almost very limited upper body exercise has taken it’s toll – there is plenty of hard work left to come.

Minor incident — Possible Major Challenge

October 18th, 2011

I was a couple blocks from home on Thursday afternoon (10/06/11), turning right onto Regents, when a didn’t exactly see the car making a left turn from the lane I intended on using — go figure, I wanted to use the right hand side of the road in Crofton. The good news is that I didn’t have a head-on; I got the bike stopped, but I didn’t square the handle bars in the process and I couldn’t keep the bike from a zero mph fall on the right side. The best way to describe the fall is a “laugh-in fall” for us older people who can remember Laugh-in, but it isn’t too funny when the bike is a R1150GS Adventure. I landed on my right shoulder and re-injured stuff from my ‘Toona accident. No significant damage to the GS Adventure.

I went to Dr. Pressey on Friday and had x-rays — nothing broken. I saw an Ortho doc on Saturday morning and backed up the x-rays with an MRI to determine what level soft tissue damage is involved.
The Ortho doc and I did the MRI review this on Monday afternoon. Rotator cuff isn’t right — a significant tear, totally disconnected. Doc says that if I was 10-15 years younger, he’d have me in the first available slot for surgery and he’d be looking for a cancellation to get me in earlier. And if I was 5-10 years older, and concentrating on reading in my rocking chair, he wouldn’t consider surgery at all.

The plan is to start PT this afternoon. The goal is significant increases mobility and function. If I can get my arm over my head by early December, we’ll cancel the surgery scheduled for December 14. If the surgery happens, I’ll be out of commission for awhile — 6 weeks in a significant sling (no motion of the upper arm and my lower arm sticking straight out, not across my belly); I’ll be allowed occasional keyboard use. This is followed by six weeks of limited desk duty, nothing heavier than a coffee cup. Then, at the three month point, we start rebuilding strength with more physical therapy.

I can’t tell you that I’m happy about that recovery schedule, but it is what it is. I’m going to pray that the PT works and I can put all that really bad stuff aside. The first challenge is trying to find sleep – I haven’t solved that part of the issue yet!

2011 Adventure, Phase II – The High Country

September 5th, 2011

The fun starts again tomorrow (8/8/2011). I’m flying to Salt Lake City to be re-united with my new motorcycle and the Tour of Utah. The bike is all serviced, repaired and has a set of new sneakers. My bags are packed and I’m ready.

We’ll be staying in the Sheraton Salt Lake City through next Sunday; the Tour of Utah runs Tuesday through Sunday. You can follow this event at http://www.tourofutah.com/.

Bright and early on Monday morning (8/15), Ed, Bob, David, Jeff and I will head out following the path outlined in the attachment. We’ll stretch the trip from Salt Lake to Colorado Springs to about 1700 miles. I’ll try to send updates during that run if I can find Internet connections.

Colorado Springs is the start of the final full week and the US Pro Cycling Challenge on 8/22. Check out their website to follow the event — http://www.usaprocyclingchallenge.com/. This event has a star-studded field ready to tackle a very tough race, especially Wednesday as the race from Gunnison to Aspin including almost 10,000 feet of climbing!

The current plan is to leave Denver for a three day ride to the Right Coast on Monday, 8/29.

I’m excited about this second big adventure of 2011!

ToU Prologue is History

I arrived in SLC pretty much on time. Chris Monroe, one my riding buddies from North Carolina, was kind enough to pick me up so that I didn’t need to worry the shuttle stuff. I snapped the first picture on the way into Salt Lake — must be hard working in a downtown with views like those. Chris had also gotten the bike out of storage and had all my gear stored in his room. All this was quickly sorted before we had a quick team meeting the Ed.

I spent the evening and early morning (early here, not on my body clock) solving problems with some of our GPS files — all fixed. After a great breakfast, we stopped by the BMW dealer to pick up Ed’s motorcycle and got ready for the afternoon Prologue. The venue was the on the grounds of the 2002 Park City Olympic Games. The second picture shows the weather (PERFECT) and the start area. The riders climbed to the top of that hill in 1.3 miles.

ToU First Two Road Stages Done!

Wednesday’s circuit race was three laps on a 38.5 mile course with a short climb. On paper it looked like a typical day at the office. However, it seems that there is a VERY wide range of talent in the field — the “haves” didn’t find issue with the day’s ride, the “have nots” flirted with the 8% time cut finishing as much as 22+ minutes after the leaders. This did give us a great opportunity to train some of the marshals who hadn’t worked with our system in the past. Some of the training appeared to take, some, not so much.

We finished the day by joining the officials at Cindy Yorganson’s house for dinner — great time in the cool, dry evening air of Ogden.

Speaking of dinner, on Monday night I did a little search looking for someplace for dinner. I stumbled onto the Devil’s Daughter, a new (opened in May) BBQ place with fantastic reviews. We walked up to the place and discovered that the reviews were accurate. If Uncle Nickie’s was a 10, this place makes it to about 9.8! It was so good that we went back again tonight. Tuesday there weren’t many people there. The words spread through the race staff and they had pretty close to a full house tonight.

Today’s stage was flat and HOT. And yes, even with a dry heat, 95 is HOT. The route went down the west side of Utah Lake and finished in Provo (and no repeat of the weather when Kirk and Dave were out here). Utah has some great scenery, but not around Utah Lake. The good part about today’s event was that the boys raced at 28 mph for 100 miles, so it was over pretty quickly. The stage also proved again that our training isn’t being too effect — this herding cats stuff gets hard after a couple days of it. I’m thinking that some these folks won’t be with us if we do this again.

Tomorrow is a late day — first rider off at 5 pm. The event is about 50 miles away at Miller Motorsports Park, the big car/motorcycle racetrack out near the Great Salt Lake. We take over the track for the Time Trial — lots of loops on the track. My job will probably be the same as with all similar events — organizing the team cars so that they end up behind their riders.

ToU is History – On the Road Again!

Some of you heard about my morning wake-up at 06:00 AM that my bike had been tipped over in the parking garage. Mine was selected from the big line of machines. It appears that someone rolled it off the center stand with the front wheel locked and it feel on the right side. The garage was only open to motorcycles and two legged vandals, so… Damage is all cosmetic, but will cost a bunch to get fully fixed; perhaps I can convince USAA Insurance to help. Gorilla tape is holding the mirror parts together.

We left SLC after a great breakfast at the Park Cafe — it is good that I don’t live close to the Park Cafe, it is way too good. We slabbed down south of Provo and hopped onto the Nebo loop, complete with cows wandering the road. We have used this for earlier Utah races, fun road.

Next stop was Salina, UT and Mom’s Cafe for a light lunch; then on south to the unbelievable southern Utah Mountains. Utah 12 is a wonderful road down to Escalante. It is so good that we’ll do it again tomorrow morning :) . I’ve attached pictures of my cabin — Yes, I’m staying in a single room log cabin.

All the way to Montrose

We left the little cabins in Escalante and rolled up the road 10 miles to a Kiva Koffee shop. I had called the night before and asked, “what time are you open tomorrow morning” — simple enough question. The answer was 8 AM. The missing information was that they’re closed on Tuesday. We continued to roll back north toward the Capital Reef and Castle Rock parks until we found an outstanding little coffee in Torrey, UT. Just a little gas station looking place, but really good coffee and hot cereal.

The ride to Colorado was characterized by incredible scenery that was constantly changing around every high-speed sweeper. I did get some video before the battery went dead on my new camera (it would have been really good to remember to pack the charger — oh well). The rocks are all part of the same Colorado Plateau. The only constant is that these giant formations are all different. There are even areas that look they could have been transplanted from a lunar landscape. Then toss in Lake Powell and hop across the Colorado River — what a day.

Late in the day, as we approached the turn to the east, just south of Moab, UT, Ed started having trouble with his bike. He finally rolled to a stop on a little gravel road with oil pouring out if the final drive — another one bites the dust. And you guessed it, no cell coverage, not a single bar. I went a little over a mile up the road and contacted the towing dudes. An hour later, the group was down to four and Ed was in a pickup cab taking his bike to Grand Junction. Latest reports are that he may have it fixed by tomorrow, or Friday morning at the latest.

We stayed in a little in western Colorado last night. I think it was really someplace beyond the middle of nowhere. I’d never even heard of Naturita until I reserved three rooms in the Ray Motel. Now we’ve done the Ray; Motel 6 would probably have been an improvement, but it was only one night.

We rode north to Gateway’s Canyon Resort for breakfast this morning — really neat place. They have a great car museum, but it didn’t open until 10, so we didn’t get to play with the cars. The route took us south through Telluride, Deloris and on to Durango. I met some old bike race friends from New Jersey about 2 PM and drank tee and water for a bit while the other guys headed north to Montrose and our Hampton Inn rooms :) .

One of the big differences was that most of the Colorado hills are green with trees. Sure there are the big rocks, but the base of the rocks are all covered with trees. Not so many trees out on the Colorado Plateau. The attached pictures show the amazing contrast.

The trip out of Durango was on US550, known as the Million Dollar Highway. Rumor has it that the original pavement had some gold dust in it — not real any gold anymore. The section of road between Silverton and Ouray, about 23 miles, is pretty spectacular with lots of technical turns and DEEP, vertical drops.

On to Boulder

Two days in the high mountains. Yesterday we climbed up the Stage #2 race route, on a dirt road, to Cottonwood Pass. The road was interesting going up and I’m glad we don’t need to go down that way. Weather was great — chilly a 12,126 feet. Bob, Jeff and I did the ride while Ed continued to work issues on his bike in Grand Junction.

Ed arrived a in Vail, just in time for dinner. BUT he discovered that there was oil all over the new final drive, which would be the $1800 final drive. We cleaned things up and sent an email to Bob’s requesting an early morning consult. We got up and decided to ride 25 miles to Frisco where there were some great breakfast places. Close inspection in Frisco showed that the leakage was around the ABS sensor. It seems that the mechanic forgot to install two o-rings. Ed left us and headed for Foothills BMW in Denver just so that he could spend most of his third day this week sitting in a BMW waiting room. Jeff decided to join him since his front tire really needed a new one.

Bob and I headed for Rocky Mountain National Park and Trail Ridge Road, US34 headed across a 12,200 foot plain. This was a common trip when Elaine, Scott and I lived in Boulder — it was the thing to do when you had visitors, similar to taking people to the Capital Mall in DC. We always started on the Estes Park side, this time we did it backwards. It is still fantastic! I think I saw more cars up there today than I saw on all our previous visits! We came down off the mountain at 15 mph! The trip also included a late afternoon thunderstorm — typical in this area. I’m including the best picture of the day.

I think we’re going to shorten ride tomorrow and get down to the Springs to do some bike cleaning. Pre-race meetings start on Sunday, race starts on Monday. The new motorcycle now has more than 9,200 miles on the clock. I’ll be about ready for my 12K service when I get home :)

USA Pro Cycling Challenge has started – back to work!

Based on the reception we got today in Colorado Springs, this race is going to redefine professional cycling in the USA! The crowds were AWESOME! Chuck was being asked for good places to set up chairs to watch at 04:30 this morning. The speeds were fast, even for a down hill course. Top 10 are within 11 seconds — this will change.

The final two hours of each day is being broadcast LIVE to 161 countries. USA feed is on Versus until Sunday when it shifts over to NBC. Since most of the stages are scheduled to end between 3:30 and 4:00, you can plan on tuning in about 4 PM back east to catch the action, but please check your local listings.

We head out to Monarch Pass tomorrow, this is a baby for this week at about 11,312 feet and only a Cat 2 climb by Colorado standards — only a 10.3 mile climb. Once we’re off the decent, then the road climbs gradually all the way to Crested Butte, where we’ll finish and spend the night.

Wednesday is the monster day where we are either going up or down all the way to the finish — going to be hard work for us marshal dudes.

USPCC – The Queen Stage and Vail

The high mountains are here! Stage 2 has two awesome climbs – in fact the riders are either going up or down for the entire day. First up is Cottonwood Pass. The road to Cottonwood winds along a great little river before kicking up on a dirt road. The weather wasn’t great – a little morning rain produced a little mud on the dirt that made it pretty slick. The crowd at the top of Cottonwood was really big with many fans camping on very small ledges. Virtually every place where a car could be parked, there was a car parked!

The run down to Buena Vista was super technical near the top and then settled into to a solid 60 mph run to the valley. The valley gradient was just a few percent up until we made the left turn headed to Independence Pass. We started getting reports on the summit crowds about 30 minutes before we got to the top. I can’t estimate crowds, but all possible parking spots were taken the final 10 km of the climb! My job was to try to determine where resources would be required for the run into Aspin – we knew the race would break up on the climb. I jammed my bike into a slot just beyond the KOM line and waited – I was there for a LONG time. Before I headed down, the weather turned complete with rain and sleet – I was not looking forward to the run into Aspin on wet roads. Everyone made it to Aspin safely!

Vail’s little 10 mile, up hill Time Trial was attended by more people than I’ve ever seen at a TT – the crowd surpassed the excellent bunch at the Colorado Springs Prologue! The race organization has to be happy with the response to this event.

USPCC wraps

The next three stages are all sort of a blur. We stayed in the finish towns each night and ran off to the start towns each morning. Each venue seemed to set new records for crowd sizes. We even had a big start crowd when we started in a monster parking lot in Steamboat Springs. And finish crowds always outnumber start crowds. The crowd on the final climb before Breckenridge was the first time that I remember being truly afraid of hitting spectators as they closed in on us.

The crowd in Golden for the Stage 6 start was the biggest of the week. The route actually looped back through Golden twice after the start and they ALL stayed for the show. Then there was Denver – I couldn’t believe the people, especially near the finish.

The Final Phase – the run home

Ed and I left Denver early Monday morning. Our goal was to ride for a while and grab some breakfast as we ran across Kansas on US36. We didn’t totally understand how empty northern Kansas really was. US36 is a two-lane highway with 65mph speed limits and almost zero traffic – we were near Saint Joseph, MO, before we actually saw anything that resembled traffic.

We stopped for a coffee break in Shelly Ann’s in Phillipsburg, KS (with a name like Shelly Ann’s, we just had to stop). Ed and I felt like invaders in their little town. We wanted to snap a picture, but everyone in Shelly’s was staring at us getting back on the bikes and we decided that taking the shot might not be appreciated.
Traveling east sucks – they take an hour away from you every day! We stayed in Saint Joseph, MO, and Huber Heights, OH (near Dayton).

My new motorcycle now has more than 12,000 miles on the clock. The Salt Lake City damages are going to be fully covered by USAA as a comprehensive claim – parts are on order.

The 24 days on the road was a fantastic experience and will certainly be hard to top, but I’m willing to try! Three full weeks over a mile high!

I’ll post pictures in Facebook album so that you can experience some of the sights.

Adventure 2011 — Trip West

May 29th, 2011

This is a review of my trip across the country.  I traveled on my 2011 R1200RT, departing on May 8 and arriving in Sacramento five days and 3100 miles later.

Day 1

I rolled away from 1803 Roxboro at 05:45.  I arrived at my Hampton Inn home for tonight at 4:20 PM, 620 miles later.

The first almost issue was the pair of deer that tried to spoil the trip on the 2-lane section of MD32, just south of Stefan’s house — I saw them in plenty of time and complete avoidance was handled.  I had to think about Lisa Hecker’s encounter that ended her big trip last fall — I guess it was good to put Bambi behind me right away.

Today was mostly slab.  I did wander US250 across WVA rather than riding up I-79 to I-70 from I-68.  US250 was once a great road, but is currently needs some serious repair to be fun.  There were spots where the GS suspension would have been better.

Weather was cool to almost cold this morning; I almost dragged out the Gerbings.  It only got to the mid-60s by afternoon.

Tomorrow is another mostly slab day up to Fairmont, MN.

Day 2

The on-road routine is settling in.  I got up at the same time this morning, did a little Hampton treadmill exercise session, quick breakfast, load the bike and rolled out at 06:45. Once I’m on the road, I stop about every two hours for some reason.

About 630 miles today; a mixture of major highways and interstates.  There is ZERO traffic out here in the heart land (you’ll notice that I didn’t go anywhere near that ugliness on the Lake).

Weather was an an interesting mix — cloudy most of the morning.  I found rain near Peoria, but my timing was good — I missed all the storms with yellows and reds on the radar.  I was under the mistaken impression that the wind normally blew from west to east — NOT TODAY.  I had a 30+ mph East wind, with MUCH higher gusts, from the time the rain ended.  The wind made the trip north really challenging; it reminded me a trip across the desert last spring; bike leaning, wind trying to rip my helmet off, way too much work for my tastes.  If you look on the map, you’ll see the route would go west for a bit, then swing back north — I really enjoyed the rest on the westerly legs!  I even took an extra break before the final push up into MN and I-90 over to my Hampton Inn in Fairmont, MN.

BTW, the Mississippi is out of it’s banks as far north as Davenport.

The bike is running well.  Mileage is great — 270 miles on less than six gallons is typical even with a 70+ running speed.  I finally put a quarter quart of oil in this evening — the fist oil I’ve added.

Today was probably my most states day — IN, IL, IA, MN — states now start to get harder to ride across :)

Tomorrow I’m in the Bad Lands and staying in Custer.

Day 3

Routine was about the same this morning, exercise, breakfast, on the road.  I wasn’t exactly as organized and hit the road a little late.

The wind had shifted and was now a 20-30 mph head wind which zapped my fuel mileage!

I think God made western MN and eastern SD as a test — IF a body makes it though those planes, they are rewarded by being allowed to play in western South Dakota — I could love this area.

The Bad Lands were super neat!  I did the tourist thing until a got almost to the end of the loop and then I turned left on the gravel road for very long way.  The gravel in the park is true wilderness, complete with park own Bison grazing the way they didn’t before we screwed everything up.  These big guys don’t much care about cars, but the noises coming off a BMW concerned them greatly.  Their reaction is to run in the same direction as the bike is traveling — about 10 feet off the road.  I had ten of them running next to me for 250 yards at one point.  All I could think of was the Sioux braves, riding bare back, spears in hand — what a kewl scene!  I really wish I had been ready to film it.

Once I got back on paved roads, I headed back north around a big area without roads and over to the base of Custer State Park and the run up to Mount Rushmore.  There are a couple of roads, but I picked SD16A, and I picked well!  SD16A is a GREAT road, pure Euro quality.  I managed to ignore the speed limits and had a blast all the way to Mount Rushmore, which looks exactly like the post cards.

My geography wasn’t good enough to understand that Custer is over a mile high — tomorrow mornings departure will be a good clothing test for Sunday’s AToC event.

Tomorrow I’m off to Ogden and Dinner with Cindy and Jim.

Day 4

Day 4 dawned cold, but clear in Custer.  There aren’t any interstates near Custer, so it was local roads for most of the morning — actually most of the day.  The weather started to slip as I got down near Casper — ceiling was coming down and spots were showing up on the windshield, and the temperature was slipping.  I got some gas (it is a LONG way between stations out here) and a quick bit and headed down the road.  The rain started, got heavier, it got darker, visibility kept coming down, then I started hearing the sound of ice hitting my helmet, then the snow started.  It did get down to under 30 on the bike!  The ground was covered with more than an inch (although I never stopped to measure :) .  Why did I continue to ride?  There was absolutely no place to stop!  Checkout the attached picture.  I guess the good news is that I don’t think I missed much by not being able to see anything — there just isn’t much to see!

Did I mention that it was cold?  I didn’t bring my Gerbing pants — perhaps a tactical error — but I did have the Gerbing liner and gloves.  I’ve never used this stuff on max settings, but I was grabbing every BTU I could find!  And still freezing.

I finally stopped in Rock Springs for a cup when I noticed a Starbucks on the Garmin — now we’re talking.  As I approached Utah, conditions improved, the showers were further apart and finally ended.  It was in the 60s when I got to Cindy and Jim’s for the evening.

Tomorrow is a slab run into SAC and the longest day of the trip.

Day 5

I had a great evening, good dinner and fantastic breakfast with Cindy and Jim in Ogden — beats the stuff out of another Hampton Inn (not that there is anything wrong with Hampton Inns).

This morning’s launch was about 7:00.  The weather was clear and crisp.  It was interesting to drive with some minor traffic — I’ve spent the past couple days on the road by myself.

I’d forgotten how much nothing there was in western Utah — just fat salt lakes; some with water, some without.  Winds were calm and the lakes just before the mountains made for some interesting reflections — I probably should have stopped for a picture, but…

I’d gotten pretty good about calculating how many miles before I needed gas.  There’s even a computer to help me.  But the computer doesn’t take into account the fact that the head wind really kicked up.  With 40-60 miles between stations, one can screw up.  I was within six miles of the exit for gas when the bike stopped!  BMW’s super road side assistance thing took an hour to tell me that they could only send me a tow from Sparks, about 50 miles down the road.  I discovered that the bike would actually start after sitting on the side stand for an hour — I ran up the shoulder to the exit and got within 250 yards of the gas station — leg power the rest of the way.  As you can probably guess, the station was on the OTHER side of the four lane street.  And, if anyone ever asks, the R1200RT tank holds 6.665 gallons, according the the Shell station in Fernley, NV.

Lots of construction coming across the mountains after Reno and the temperatures dropped back down — I had put all the liners away back up in Nevada.  The roads that weren’t under repair really needed repair.

Total trip to my hotel in Sacramento ~ 3100.  Tomorrow is the clinic and a run back up the mountain to South Lake Tahoe for AToC preps.  It looks like my snow experience will be put to good use on Sunday — there is a snow event planned for Day #1.

More on the Race, including the Snow Storm and the Crash later.  And then there is the trip from Thousand Oaks to Salt Lake to look forward to :)

Neat Morning Ride

July 21st, 2010

My morning motorcycle rides to SE DC are normally far less interesting than Scott’s bicycle commutes (and we don’t have a Commuter Dude), but this morning was worth mentioning.

The sun was just about ready to pop over the horizon as I rolled down the drive. The temperature was super enjoyable, hovering in the low 70s. As I settled in to the Car Pool lanes on US50, zipping past Freeway Airport, I looked up at the sky to my left and saw a pretty pink sky with a full, double rainbow in the foreground. The low, tropical looking clouds must have been spitting just enough upper level rain to form the rainbows. I actually had trouble concentrating on the road :) Traffic was heavy enough so that stopping for a sky pictures just wasn’t an option. A couple miles later, as I approached the Washington Beltway, the temperature jumped 10 degrees and reality set in — darn!

Jim

Friday’s AToC was amazing!

May 23rd, 2010

The motor crew rolled out of our hotel in Bakersfield at 6:00 without coffee or breakfast.  Most of us don’t know enough about California geography to understand that we were headed over a pass and down into the desert, but that is where we went, right through Mojave, the town.  We also weren’t aware of the desert winds – the wind was so strong that we had to lean the bikes into wind for miles!  Reports were that the sustained winds were 55+ with significant gusts – not my idea of fun.  The desert was amazing in the early morning, but the wind required lots of concentration on the ride rather than enjoying the scenery.

The race rolled out at 9:30, our earliest start of the week.  The road was either up or down for the entire 135 miles.  The route took us through several forest fire burn areas.  The stark ugliness of the blackened trees was contrasted by the purple and orange of fresh ground vegetation returning – I’d need my sister Kathy to help put names on these super hardy plants.  There is an amazing high country plant that has a many feet high flower, which was in full bloom – apparently not concerned about the fires at all!

Next we headed onto the Angles Crest and onto the Rim of the World – this means more mountains, different fantastic rock formation, long climbs, quick descents, vistas of the valley below and on, and on.  We finally made it to about 8,000 feet where there was still LOTS of snow on the hills.  This stage included seven King of the Mountain climbs and then they tossed in a couple of sprints as well.  We had seventeen riders abandon the event and eleven more took too much time to get to the finish and were eliminated from the race on the time cut.  This was the hardest stage I’ve ever been involved in.  I’ve never gone from the desert to a high mountain lake in one stage of a race!

Our day ended with another hour on the bikes riding to our hotel — at least the hour took us down to warmer weather for our Saturday morning transfer.  I was so tired that I literally collapsed in bed!  What a day, what an experience!  This will make work at the Washington Navy Yard seem pretty dull.

November 3 — Why is it significant?

November 3rd, 2009

Nope, the significance isn’t Election Day, or the full moon last night, or even that I only have one more trip on an airplane this year.  It is significant because I finally pulled out the Gerbing Electric liner for my motorcycle commute into DC this morning!  Today is my first day of extra warmth and it felt good!

I’m tired of the weather…

October 18th, 2009

I woke up in Denver at 23 degrees a week ago Friday.  I woke up in State Collge last Friday with multiple inches of snow on the ground.  Then I worked two days of Cyclocross events this weekend (Granogue and Wissahickon); Saturday the rain never stopped and we waded in mud, today was cold with lots of wind.

I’m really looking forward to the LAF ride in Austin — I’m trusting Austin not to screw up the weather!

Bike for the Heart — First Annual

October 12th, 2009

Yesterday was the first annual Bike for the Heart ride and Time Trial in downtown Washington DC. This was another well-run event brought to you by g4 Productions.

The only issue with the event is that there could have been a much larger number of cyclists who wanted to take advantage of the totally closed streets of downtown DC. The ride started at the Verizon Center and looped up by the White House and to the north side of the Capital building — lots of lanes, great weather, and some VERY interesting machines.

Great way to get the family out on bikes!

Great way to get the family out on bikes!

This event and the US Air Force Classic earlier in the year provide great opportunity for all to enjoy totally closed road. Come on out and play in 2010!