Today was our easy day. Actually,
it was our easiest of our schedule. With only 70 miles to get from Custer to
Rapid City, SD, we had a stop at Mount Rushmore scheduled in the middle. Some elected to ride over and see
the Crazy Horse carving. I’ve done that before.
If you ever been to this area, you
know firsthand of the hills and climbs to get to the monuments. Though we had a
short distance ride, it was filled with easiest gear, out-of-saddle, throwing
the bike from left to right, just to get up. It was a lot of huffin’ n’ puffin’.
Though some chose to skip it, I
went. A journey to see the famous stoned, er, stone presidents years ago was a
wash when fog forbid anyone from seeing beyond a few feet, let alone the side
of a mountain. Today, it was crystal clear blue skies…and a lot of people. Hey, it was Sunday. Evidently that’s
a great day to feel patriotic as it was swarming people who wanted a glimpse of
Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln, and get a nifty t-shirt,
necklace, sweat shirt, painting, or anything you could think of, souvenir. It’s
the American way. Nothing is a success until an associated vendor culture is developed. Nevertheless, a nice day. Glad I
got to finally see the carvings.
We have some closet views to this
blog. Cool! It’s OK, trust me. I’m laughing. A spike in your nose, a rubber on
your thumb, and I don’t mind. This site can use all the clicks it can handle.
Even the clandestine ones. So enjoy the reading. Know that I know you’re
reading along, too.
* If you plant honesty, you will reap trust.
* If you plant goodness, you will reap friends.
* If you plant humility, you will reap
* If you plant perseverance, you will
* If you plant consideration, you will
* If you plant hard work, you will reap
* If you plant forgiveness, you will
So, be careful what you plant
I got a care package a couple of
days ago…WITH BROWNIES!! And Rice Krispy Treats, red twizzles, Smart Food (popcorn),
and some chocolate. How cool is that?? (I also received a card before that.
Rode, and finished, with the lead
pack on the same day. That was an accomplishment given how I started out and where I was riding. It was 109 miles in a stout head
wind the WHOLE way. Just a beating you know you have
to suck up and take; there was no way out. Scenery? There’s not a whole lot
in central Wyoming. …No wonder the sheep are scared.
The right Achilles is REALLY
bothering, tight from Big Horn’s climb. The masseuse worked on it for a bit,
besides my left pelvic bone. It’s swollen big time. It’s quite
sore. I’ve iced it, Ibprophen… Organizer
Lon Haldeman taped it up before today’s ride and will wrapped tomorrow morning.
I’m icing as I can.
Our hotel was next door to a Pizza
Hut. I ordered and ate an entire medium
onion & pepper thin crust pizza without any problem. Then went to McDonald’s for
cookies and a vanilla shake. I’d like to lean out from this
ride, but I get hungry.
Sometimes I think God must have
fun with me. First, I have to fight sickness
and a sore butt just everyday just to get started. I overcome that while being propelled
up a mountain. Not done with me yet, He has me
ride with the leaders for two days, then blows up my right Achilles. He must have GREAT confidence in
me, or just like me for amusement. I finished well again today. …But,
it’s not a race. J
We rode past Devil’s Table
yesterday where the Spielberg movie, “Close Encounters of a Third Kind” with
Richard Dreyfus was filmed. It’s also where I wanted to stop years
ago, but the thinking at the time was the Nat’l Monument had bad mojo, and
elected to keep going.
We’re in Rapid City tonight. We’re
well over 1500 miles total. Unbelievable. That seems SO huge to me. Can’t
believe I’m doing it. I can tell I’ve gone a good
distance because my back tire is no longer round. The part that’s in contact
with the road is starting to square off. The scenery was great, and I felt
I had my own rhythm on the mountains
Tomorrow we will ride our longest
day (150 miles). That will be part of our longest week, 930 miles! After seeing
how I did today, I think I can do it. Once I find that pace, I think I can last
forever. It might sound a little sick, but
I’m actually looking forward to the test. I think I can shine. The rest of the week is: 150, 145,
137, 123, 123, 125 miles! It’s a heck of time for me to not
be 100%. This Achilles has been the bane of my athletic career.
A week from today, I should meet
up with Bob Ruby in Portage, WI, if it doesn’t rain he said.
…I just realized it’s July 21.
Wow. The month is moving on. Good.
Lance is still sick. I feel bad
for him because I know exactly what it’s like. I was the first to get sick. Now
at least half of the group has it and are feeling miserable. At the end of one day’s ride. my
chain locked up and was really stuck, jammed. I got it fixed, but then couldn’t
shift into the big chain ring up from. The last 11 miles were a bit scary,
wondering what was wrong. Lance got in front and pulled me
in. Organizer Lon is an expert with
bikes. After looking at it he was going to have me ride to a bike shop in town
(tired and sore).
But he and another guy tweaked
with it, and it seems to be working now. The problem is the front
Most of the time, most of the
days, the mind is a blank, awash as an ocean beach with waves constantly
washing away the slightest thought, other than the worldly pain, discomfort,
and goal of the day. I’ve gone through sickness while
riding consecutive 100 milers, up mountains, through desserts, and four states
Beauty, blandness, dramatic
landscapes, and openness the mind can’t absorb. And the best is yet to come. Lessons
are in pieces, and daily, particles of thoughts that might get strung together
with a moment from the day before.
|Dan Beckman catching a draft into South Dakota|
Wondering what we’ve been doing out
here in the outer reaches? Ridin’!
Just so you know, each and every
day, is not a shopping spree where we pop into town refreshed, showered, and
dressed to visit the sights and talk to local people. Nada. It’s a bike ride to
get your tail across the country. If you want to sight-see, take a bus.
We wake up about 5:30 most
mornings in a mad rush to find some cycling clothes that don’t stink too badly,
get our bikes down to the start area, gobbling down some food (usually oatmeal and
some fruit for me), and get your bag loaded all in an hour.
At 6:30 (usually; sometimes
earlier, sometimes later), we leave from the hotel parking lot on our bikes to
chase the white line to the next town. Usually we arrive about 3pm (sometimes a
little earlier, sometimes later) right up to the hotel door. There’s no
skimping on miles here. If you’re going to say you “rode across America,” you’re
going to ride every inch of it.
Immediately after arriving, you
gather your stuff (bag, bike, and hotel key) and head to your room…exhausted,
dry, hungry, drained, sweaty, and in bad need of a shower. But first, there’s
your pre-shower routine that Lance and I think would be hilarious to the rest
of the world.
While we’re debriefing about the
days ride (“Did you believe that climb?” “Did you see the antelope on the side
of the road?” “Did you see the billboard at Mile 80?” “How about that screamin’
downhill?”), we’re stretching, moanin’, and groanin’. We’re applying ritual of
creams, lotions, pills, and stretches to help our ailing bodies before we
shower and eat. We laugh at ourselves when we look at what we’re doing as we
try to get our tired bodies across the country. Me, I’m smearing large amounts
of Aspercreme, then Lantiseptic, and finally Neosporin. Then there’s the Advil.
THEN there’s the shower.
Easily an hour and a half to two
hours have passed. Now it’s time to eat. Usually, since we’re walking (since butts are sore and
our legs are heavy), we go to the closest place just like everyone else.
Sometimes it’s Pizza Hut. Sometimes it’s a burger place. Hey, food’s food at
this point. Pay for it and swallow. There have been days where I’ve been
falling asleep as I ate.
Now walk back to the hotel
arriving about 6 pm, if you’re lucky. You’ve still got to prep your bike and
liquids for tomorrow. Maybe there’s enough time to make a call or get on the internet.
Maybe not because bed time is usually 8:30 pm. If you’re up past 9, you’re up
And that’s day. I’ve brought along
a book, my trusty note pad for jotting down thoughts, and my workout log. I
haven’t looked at the book or pad, and barely have time to quickly write down
the days ride information. And then it’s lights out. That’s it. Dream land as
your heart pounds through your chest wall just lying there attempting to
recover from the day’s effort and prepare the body for the day coming. (Our
bodies are SO amazing!)
As you can see, there’s little
time to read ANYthing, visit ANYthing that’s further than a few feet from the
hotel (My airline friends will understand this very well.),
We passed the one-third mark, 1200
miles, of the total distance yesterday. It was met with smiles, but the
knowledge that we still have a long way to go.
Let me list my ailments, other
than general tired and achiness such as knees and quads, to put things in
perspective. (Sorry, Smith and Jame. It’s not whining if it’s real.)
Wrist weakness from constant
shifting and feathering the brake – left side
Achilles tendon, blown up, swollen,
unable to walk and painful to ride – left side (having it taped tomorrow; could
use an Ace bandage)
Met up with The Ride Of Silence
organizer from Sandpoint, ID, JIM DOUDNA. Great guy! The guy was very sincere
about wanting to host a ride. As we talked, I could see his emotion. This ride
speaks to him. Later he took me by Greasy Fingers bike shop for a photo to send
to the local paper. Cool guy. Good guy to have as one of our organizers. I’m
very thankful for him.
Later, in Missoula, MT, Ethel MacDonald
and I weren’t able to connect. Communications were rough. She’s the RofS
organizer in Missoula and had been in a recent bike wreck. When I got into to
town (July 11), the Missoula Marathon was the next morning. Ethel was involved
with that as well. Both our allotted time was limited. I was disappointed, but
so it goes. I don’t know when/if I’ll be this way again.
We found some humor in a huge road
side billboard from Butte to Bozeman, MT, July 15. Large yellow board with red lettering:
“Testicle Festival.” Yup. Felt like they had us in mind. My wife simply wrote
back, “Must be a guy thing.”
Day 10, July 16 was Bozeman to
Columbus, Montana. It was 106 miles with a 20 MPH head wind the entire way,
slowing our speed to under 10 MPH. It was nothing short of a beating. The goal
was just to make it. Find a position and hold it. There was no attacking. We
got in very late. … Can’t we just fly to Williamsburg? (Joke. Not whining.)
Maybe it was just Dallas
Or so I, and the many other runners and cyclists I hung
out with, thought. Maybe it was Dallas
"football-at-all-costs" mind set, plastic surgery, personalized
licensed plates, and glass buildings.
It was true what "foreigners," what people
were sarcastically called when they moved to Dallas
from other parts of the U.S.
saw. There are only two important things on Sundays in Texas
' gateway city: church in the morning,
and "The Game" in the afternoon. Or, as local legend says,
"There are two religions in Texas
The other is football."
The sixteen weeks of the sport has so permeated the
local culture that it appears in the Dallas
newspaper 52 weeks a year, as well as on the local TV news. The pig
skin rules, unabated, with no end in sight. There is no battle for first place
hierarchy of events and new items. It is football, of all levels. Basketball
and baseball make up the second tier. Then it appears to be golf, NASCAR,
bass fishing/hunting, horse racing, soccer, and ice-hockey in the
third tier they way they show up in the paper and TV news. After that,
fourth tier running/biking/swimming might be so far down the list as to
be on the floor, or buried beneath it, in last place.
This is not a good thing because of that mindset mentioned
earlier breeds other unhealthy, unnatural, and sometimes
illogical patterns of behavior such as neglecting the rights of others on
the road way.
Unfortunately, due to their status and the conditions and
locations fostered upon them by the City Of Dallas
government, runners and cyclists have
become rivals competing over the same basic rights afforded to neither. Where
they should be linked together in their common causes of traffic
control, facilities, and execution existing laws, they disrespect and
fight against each other for and on the same small turf allowed to them to
Even more worse is the respective sports have problems
internally as well. The two running stores servicing Dallas
(there are others, but they total a
small amount of the community pie) are bitter rivals that stop at almost
nothing to see the other fail. The same goes for the areas two bike stores. At
one point in the 1990's if a runner of one store went to the rival store's
event, it was considered an act of defection. The runner was brought
before the store manager, and if not fired from his position on the store
running team, then at least reprimanded and shunned by the rest of the team.
has the reputation for being the worst place in the country to bike,
according to one of the cycling industries magazines. That behavior is also
reflected to runners and the running community at large, as well. Dallas
noted in other magazines as one of the angriest, vainest,
and unhealthiest, and as having the worst drivers. All those different
magazines, editors, and writers came to the same conclusions. When you
think about it, adding those things together, who would want to bike or
run there at all.
Nevertheless, where it was stubbornness or a genuine
admiration for their respective sport, the local cyclists and
runners persevere, despite the conditions, despite the odds. I use the word
"local" liberally because a large majority were actually transplants,
cyclists or runners from other areas of the country who transplanted to
for college, a job, or relationship. As best they could, they
thrived, developing races, training groups, and places to train.
They created their own local champions, teams, clubs, stores, and
infrastructure. The aerobic scene in DFW is definitely 1980's home grown.
Dr. Kenneth Cooper's world famous institute and clinic is
located just a few miles north of downtown Dallas
, amid streets filled with traffic and
stores for the well-to-do. He is credited with creating the running boom with
his book "Aerobics." He has since created a sprawling campus on prime
real estate that is internationally known. The Cooper Aerobics
is the gold
standard for health clubs, despite the feeble attempts of other health clubs (a
fancy name for gyms to lure a higher clientele and charge a higher fee). But if
one wishes to join Dr. Cooper's healthy society, one must first get on a
waiting list, and then pay dearly with cold, hard cash.
Cooper especially influenced the world back in 1969 with his
book. However, despite being cited and referenced as the "Father of
Aerobics" world wide, he did little to filter down to the local
population's way of thinking. Fried food, real butter, and lots of it, still
reign in Texas
One only has to visit the annual state fair held in Dallas
to get a "taste" of what
passes as food, or what the dietetic society annually condemns.
Further, the number one activity isn't an activity at all.
It's watching the local pro, college, high school, junior high, and even Pop
Warner football teams, the bane of runners at those levels as well, loose.
It's truly amazing to see how the local economy and productivity is influenced
by whether, say the Cowboys (Ugh!) win or loose, and play at home or away.
The NFL sees a spike in Super Bowl viewership (and related sales of NFL
gear) when the Cowboys, or "Da Boys" as they are affectionately
called by locals, play in it. Tortured runners and cyclists constantly joke
about using the main highways (75 Central Expressway, the north-south toll way,
I-30, and I-635) to train on during games because they are usually deserted. In
fact, if one wants to do anything in Dallas
that normally involves a crowd, it is suggested to go during a pro football game;
dinner, movie, shopping, the gym, all are available without crowds or lines
during a Cowboy game. As stated earlier, this isn't necessarily a good
During a Cowboy game, it's not unusual to see life as we
know it come to a halt in Dallas as people, men AND women, crowd around TV sets
as if watching world history unfold. Maybe it's the second coming of Christ?
No, sadly, it's the Cowboys playing. It’s just football.
It becomes obnoxious (even without Jerry Jones' cowboy twang
and his plastic surgery pulled back face) drowning out other activities
while doing nothing to make the area healthier, or contributing to the welfare
of society. The sad part is seeing thousands of people being duped into an
empty way of being.
It's against this standard where the size of your SUV is
your status, runners and cyclists are regarded as geeks! Not man enough to have
played or watch a 100-yard game of grid iron. However, college
statistics show that those who participate in aerobic sports (running, swimming,
biking) have a higher average GPA than any of the big three sport's
players: football, basketball, or baseball, with football having the lowest
scores. But there's a bonus! As their GPA's go, so does their discipline
problems reports the statistics. Ask any college recruiter for verification.
It's also fact aerobic sport athletes work harder than team sports such as
football because they are year long sports, not seasonal like their team sport
is a sprawling landscape of 1-3 story buildings and strip malls with too many
tanning salons, mapped over homogenized neighborhoods. From Plano
to Cedar Hill, from Forney to Arlington
, and all points in between, there
is no difference between the neighborhoods, developments, and other pockets of
real estate. In fact, the only difference at all is only minor among the overly
rich in Highland Park
Such is Dallas
sadly bland, without character or characteristics to set it apart. It could be Kansas
or central Montana
I arrived on Memorial weekend, 1983. The "US
Festival" played on the radio as I drove through states and into the Dallas
city limits. I had
never owned a pair of sunglasses before then.
Remember your first bike ride? Do you remember the sense of
freedom and independence you felt? You could go anywhere. The world was yours
Do remember your first bike? Of course, you do. Do you
remember your first really bad crash? Probably.
Now I’m asking you to remember those that have gone before
us, who have died doing what was a legal right to do, ride a bicycle. It’s a
sad fact there are very few of us who don’t know a friend, a relative, a
co-worker who wasn’t killed through no fault of his own.
There are those who feel we are a futile bunch for riding a
bicycle, even doing this ride. Yes, there is an opposition to what we do, what
we’re doing right here right now, and what we think. There is a distinction
between those who ride and “get it,” and those who don’t. Unfortunately, those
who don’t have a louder voice than those of us who do “get it,” the pleasure of
being self-powered down the road with the sound of an engine other than our own
breathing and pedaling, traveling at a speed that allows one to take in his
surroundings so much more than by a motor vehicle.
We can see things, smell things, and I dare say, feel things
our motoring brethren can’t. That’s too bad because it is such a world out
there to be experienced and felt and seen and smelt, from sunsets to the rain,
from shadows to light, from hay fields to autumn leaves falling, from another
cyclist’s back tire spinning like a roulette wheel down a hill to the beat our
legs pumping up a hill.
But them out there, they don’t get it. “They are darkened in
their understanding and separated from life, because of the ignorance that is
in them due to the hardening of their hearts. They have lost all sensitivity.”
If we are a light, there are people who want to put that
light out, and thereby, forget; forget us on the road and those who have been
killed, forget there is another way to live and travel. They want to reject
what we do. Whatever.
Thankfully we don’t have their point of view or bully angst
of oppression and opposition. We are not anti-cars, but rather firmly believe
we can all co-exist just as the law allows. We know we have a legal right to
use the roads. We also know motorists have a legal obligation to share their
We ask that people
in Dallas, in Texas, in the US, and around the world allow us our right to ride
without worry of harm or death, to make it as safe from motorists as
pedestrians walk ways, and at the very least, with the same legal ramifications
when a motorist does hit a cyclist.
A dirty little
secret cyclists are well aware of is if a motorist is sober and doesn’t leave
the scene of killing a cyclist, he will never spend a day in jail or be fined.
How do we know this? Because to date, no motorist has. It’s a “Get Out Of Jail
Free” card for motorists.
It wasn’t until the Ride Of Silence did anyone know or
realize the extent to which cyclists are being killed, not only in Dallas, but
all across Texas, this country, and the world. Your world and mine. Everyday.
On April 20, the The Federal Aviation Administration
reported over 200 people dying
as a result of birds getting sucked up into airline engines, since 1988. Since
1988. Twenty-four years. 200 people. Meanwhile,
we’ve lost thousands
(!!!!) of cyclists in only a few years from motorists running into cyclists.
Our message is obviously NOT getting out there. There is obviously a gap, a
disconnect, as well as a great imbalance. I’m not here to debate why, but to
point out it exists.
I’m asking you to remember; to remember this privilege we
have to ride, to remember why you ride and why we ride tonight; to remember
those feelings of freedom and accessibility of first ride. I’m asking you to
remember our legal right to be on the road that appears to be eroded away by
those that have forgotten the law, motorists’ legal responsibility to share the
Let us be consoled that our ride is attracting attention to
the deaths of cyclists that are taking place. These cyclists did not die in
lost his brother on March 22, as he was riding his bike to work in San Diego
. He will be
organizing a Ride Of Silence in his brother’s name. He wrote me this on April
16: “Thank you for your condolences and support. Fortunately, I am not doing
this alone; I have the support of friends and family to help make this event
become reality. Three weeks ago, I had no ties to the bike community; I don't
even own a bike. Now I find myself becoming an advocate for safer
conditions for bicyclists. This event continues to grow because people have
been and continue to be affected adversely by tragic bicycle accidents,
whether directly or indirectly. My brother was my best friend, and now he
is gone. Riding in his honor next month will let his family and friends
know he still has a voice and will be remembered.”
tears are our only truth. Tears cried for fellow cyclists are the only absolute
truth. Any one can spout moral babble and sound sincere or even intelligent.
But do they care? Do they back their words with action, or inaction? Do they
Alone we are but a
whisper. But, together tonight we will speak loudly through a silence that will
resonate around the world.
Let us ride for Larry Schwartz and every cyclist
who’s been hit. Let us come together to remember, and to feel what its like to
ride a bike. Let us ride in silence.
If this is Wednesday, this must be Spokane.
Well, for those of you trying to emails of support,
encouragement, or mental evaluations of doing such a ride, you have probably
figured out by now I’m not getting any. Either that or the world really has
If you want to send hate mail, love mail, brownies, a new
credit card, cash, or a new set of legs (Did I mention brownies?), the mailing
addresses for where I’ll be are below. The US
Postal Service has actually been doing a great job with everyone else’s
mail and packages, getting it to the appropriate hotels. And the hotels are
doing great, too, at holding the mail for us. Letter, bike parts, brownies…did
I say brownies?...have gotten to the right person. It’s quite simple and
relatively inexpensive. Let me put it this way: it’s beating the heck out of
technology like a piece of vermin.
Lance should get his compact gearing from Richardson Bike
Mart (Yeeaaa!) today. (Thank you Jack Gilespie.)
Jul 6, 2013 Best Western Cascadia Inn 2800 Pacific Ave. Everett WA 98201-4528
Jul 7, 2013 Three Rivers Inn 210 Ball St. Sedro-Woolley WA 98284 360-855-1333
Jul 8, 2013 The Virginian Resort P.O.
Box 237 Winthrop WA 98862 none
Jul 9, 2013 Columbia River Inn 10
Lincoln Ave. Coulee Dam WA 99116 509-633-2633
Jul 10, 2013 Econo Lodge 1503 South
Rustle Rd. Spokane WA 99202 509-747-5950
Jul 11, 2013 Quality Inn Sandpoint P.O.
Box 128 Sandpoint ID 83864 208-263-3289
Jul 12, 2013 Rimrock Motel P.O. Box 1450
Thompson Falls MT 59873 406-827-9804
Jul 13, 2013 Campus Inn 744 E. Broadway
Missoula MT 59802 same as phone
Jul 14, 2013 Super-8 Butte 2929 Harrison
Ave. Butte MT 59701 same as phone
Jul 15, 2013 Days Inn Bozeman 1321 North
7th Ave. Bozeman MT 59715 406-587-5351
Jul 16, 2013 Super -8 Columbus P.O. Box
88 Columbus MT 59019 406-322-4636
Jul 17, 2013 Super-8 Powell East Coulter
Ave. Hwy. 14 Powell WY 82435 307-754-3387
Jul 18, 2013 Best Western Sheridan 612
North Main Sheridan WY 82081 307-672-3018
Jul 19, 2013 Best Western Gillette 109
North Hwy. 14-16 Gillette WY 82716 307-682-5105
Jul 20, 2013 Super 8 Custer W Mount
Rushmore Rd Custer SD 57730 605-673-2201
Jul 21, 2013 Best Western Rapid City 2505 Mt. Rushmore Rd. Rapid City SD 57701
Jul 22, 2013 Graham's Best Western West
5th PO BOX 78 Murdo SD 57559 605-669-3139
Jul 23, 2013 Super-8 Mitchell 1700 S.
Burr, Hwy. 37 & I-90 Mitchell SD 57301 605-996-5339
Jul 24, 2013 Travel Lodge 2015 Humiston
Ave. PO Box 68 Worthington MN 56187 507-372-5301
Jul 25, 2013 Country Inn & Suites 2214 East Main St. Albert Lea MN 56007 same as
Jul 26, 2013 Courtyard Marriott Hotel 500 Front Street La Crosse WI 54601
Jul 27, 2013 Super-8 Portage 3000 New
Pinery Rd. Portage WI 53901 608-745-0167
Jul 28, 2013 Econo Lodge 908 Washington
Street Manitowoc WI 54220 920-682-1020
Jul 29, 2013 Snyder's Shoreline Inn 903
West Ludington P.O. 667 Ludington MI 49431 231-845-4441
Jul 30, 2013 Quality Inn 3301 Highland
Drive Hudsonville MI 49426 616-662-5000
Jul 31, 2013 Super-8 Coldwater 600
Orleans Blvd. Coldwater MI 49036 517-278-2347
Aug 1, 2013 Howard Johnsons c/o Jeff 1920 Rochman Ave. Lima OH 45804 419-221-2604
Aug 2, 2013 Holiday Inn Express 23911
U.S. Route 23 South Circleville OH 43113 740-420-9181
Aug 3, 2013 Red Roof Inn 3714 East 7th
Street Parkersburg WV 26104 304-485-1746
Aug 4, 2013 Super-8 Elkins 350 Beverly
Pike Elkins WV 26241 same as phone
Aug 5, 2013 Best Western Harrisonburg 45
Burgess Rd. Harrisonburg VA 22801 540-433-6485
Aug 6, 2013 Hampton Inn Ashland 705
England St. Ashland VA 23005 804-752-8445
Aug 7, 2013 Econo Lodge Inn and Suites 119 Bypass Rd. Williamsburg VA 23185
My address is as following:
Hotel address from above list
Figure out the days to get it on time.
Easy. That’s it. Simple. Done.
Last night I got to meet Roger Schramm, the organizer for
the Spokane Ride Of Silence. Six other people also attended the chance to talk
at Spaghetti Factory, including the local super woman bike organizer, Erica.
Hank took pictures, sat next to me, and asked great questions. My voice,
unfortunately, was torched. So I strained to be heard over the clatter of the
restaurant. But it was great. It inspired me to hear THEIR stories, when they
wanted to hear mine. Sincere, grounded, active. Good people. I’m VERY appreciative
of these people. I’m glad Roger put out the word.
I think I’m only meeting one other organizer during the
entire 3600 miles, and that’s in western Virginia. …Sure wish there were more
It’s windy and cool outside. Got a massage on the high
hamstrings. Today’s another short day before we begin the 130 mile days.
Ride on, ride on, ride on…
Lance Shelton, my bike buddy, is driving the mountain alleys as the sun rises behind
us, as if a giant bedroom shade is being lifted across the sweep of pasture and
craggy ridges. There’s beauty on the banks of Black Canyon reflecting the rock
centurions that guarded these spots for centuries. We remark how this is how it
will look when we start our journey in three days. My ears pop from the
Our bikes are sitting on back seat behind us (it’s a
rental!), and our body-bag size luggage is in back. Packing for a month on the
road is tough if you’ve only got one bag.
After the initial hoo-rah of starting that is familiar to
anyone who’s done a large athletic event (marathon, bike rally, etc), I envision
the ride becoming rote, a job, another day in paradise, or in the saddle as the
case might be. For example, I expect when we pass the inspiring Mount Rushmore
in South Dakota, we’ll casually glance over at it, but be more concerned about
making the hotel to rest and eat. When passing the glorious wheat field oceans
of the mid-west after three weeks of 100+ mile rides, we’ll have a road-weary
look of veteran road warriors. When looking out over vistas of majesty that’s
taken millions of years to carve and create, we will pass by in an almost
disrespectable instant, bemoaning the climbing, grade, and the “miles we have
to go before we sleep.” Like a soldier in the trenches looking gritty and a
little beaten up with a slight jadedness, we’ll adopt that look and attitude
naturally. It will be apparent when “The Thirds” (those coming on to ride a
third of the distance with us) join our group. They’ll have the excitement and
energy of a recruit, or new puppy. We’ll just give them a blank stare of an old
Janalou gave me a journal the night before I left. She
tucked in under my pillow. In it, she wrote something for me to read every day.
VERY cool, not to mention a lot of work. She also left a blank page after each
entry for me to write in. On the inside, past the cyclist on the cover, Janalou
wrote a bunch of cycling quotes. Pres. Kennedy, writer Ernest Hemmingway, and
poet Robert Frost are included (referenced above in quotes). Janalou’s a good
wife. I’m very thankful.
But that wasn’t all. She gave me a necklace with two small
charms on it. One is just the word “Faith.” The other is a bike with an
inscription on the back: “Faith Journey, PAC Tour, 2013.”
A few months into the concentrated training for this trip, I
was injured. It was a critical time in the middle of the build-up that I didn’t
have time to repeat given the time line I was on. I was out for at least four
weeks that had me questioning how this ride would be completed if I didn’t have
the necessary training. I told Janalou it was have to be on faith. Faith that I
would heal, faith that I would be able to continue the training, and faith that
I would get to the start line, and then be able to finish. A faith journey.
Out the window, the giants are still standing guard over
their valleys and peaks.
….How will the mountains celebrate our 4th
I have thought about, read about, asked about, and talked
about this ride for almost as long as I can remember.
There’s the anticipation of Christmas, the excitement of one’s
birthday, the worries of starting a new job, and the nervousness at the feeling
of not having done enough training. One more long ride. One more fast ride. One
more hill ride… Never enough.
It’s like the SAT’s. You’re either ready or you’re not.
There’s no faking it. This isn’t the weekend 5K.
I’m of the thought that if one has done the work (trained)
and is able to arrive at the start line, then they have already stepped out and
(almost) achieved their goal.
Though the idea for this sojourn has been with me since I
was kid, focused preparation has been building for since 2007. Lance Shelton was
a big part of actually moving the idea off the table with a conversation
centered around “when.” I remember he said he had arbitrarily picked out five
years (2012) because it was enough time to gather resources.
Let me begin by saying that as a four year old kneeling
beside the cracked open window in the spring and listening to a distant train’s
lonely whistle after each sunrise, I dreamed of far off places.
I listened to my dad’s romanticized stories of hitch-hiking
around the northeast, between New York City and Boston in post WWII. I sat in
wonder and looking around my bleak “no-where’s-ville” town and thought about
these great adventures he had.
I began hitch hiking while in high school one day trying to
make my way back home after going the winter car races on a lake in the next
town. It was “do or die” and not being late for dinner. I stuck out my thumb
and it started. Since then, I’ve hitched from the North Carolina border and up
the east coast to the Boston area, the length of Illinois, and from the
Atlantic to Lexington, Kentucky. I’ve stood under a street light in the middle
of the night not knowing what state of the U.S. I was in. Scary!
Many years later, I would travel by train across this great
continent, and even later, by plane. I’ve also driven and ran in every state
I’ve done three 140 mile Ironman triathlons, swam the 5
miles across Lake Ray Hubbard three times, crossed the state of Texas by bike
three times, and climbed Africa’s Mount Kilimanjaro over eight days. Now it’s
time for another adventure, easily my longest yet.
On July 7, I will be among 31 other cyclists who will bike
3600 miles across the country in 32 days. I’ll start in Everett, WA, Saturday, July 7, and finish in
Williamsburg, VA, Wednesday, August 7. The longest single day
will 149 miles, with a typical week will be 930 miles. Generally, I’ll be
averaging 112 per day. On the biggest climbing day, we will ascend 9,500 feet
on Day 29 of 32. Not everyone will make it...
Ride of Silence Founder Cross-Country Trip Starts in Everett July 6
By Barb Chamberlain | Published June 17, 2013
The founder of the worldwide Ride of Silence will be crossing the United States between July 6 and Aug 8. Chris Phelan will begin his journey in Everett, WA, July 6, and end in Williamsburg, VA, Aug 7. He’ll be one of the participants in the PAC Tour Northern Transcontinental Cross Country.
He will be riding to raise awareness of the Ride of Silence and with hopes to meet as many ROS event organizers as possible. Because he needs to average 112 miles per day for 30 days, he realizes he may only get to shake a few hands and say thank you while guzzling a Gatorade in the shade at a 7-Eleven on a corner. But, to him, it will be worth it.
If you can visit him along this sojourn that will include Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, and Virginia, please come out and cheer him on. Point him to your favorite pizza place. Buy him a beverage.
In Washington state at least three rides took place for 2013: Seattle, with 36 riders; Spokane, with 40; and Wenatchee, with 40. If your community participated and you haven’t reported it yet, let Chris know so he captures the full reach of the event.
Chris’s schedule is listed below with dates and cities that he should be passing through. If you’d like to meet up with him send him an email to let him know; include the date and city so you can coordinate: Chris.Phelan@rideofsilence.org.
In Spokane, Ride of Silence organizer Roger Schramm is putting out the call to get local riders to meet Chris. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to participate.
Dates and Cities List
Sun, Aug 4, Elkins, WV:
Super-8 Elkins 304-636-6500
Mon, Aug 5, Harrisonburg, VA:
Best Western Harrisonburg 540-433-6089
Tue, Aug 6, Ashland, VA:
Hampton Inn Ashland 804-752-8444
Wed, Aug 7, Williamsburg, VA:
Econo Lodge Inn and Suites 757-253-1663
CROOKED TAN LINES (CLT)
If all goes well, this will end the same way it starts..with
Janalou: wife, friend, life partner; "Particular and Peculiar!" "Eat and Run!" Cool.
Lance Shelton: the man who put a date behind the idea
Mike Stieglitz: always my coach, mentor, and friend
Bob Rubey: officially introduced me to proper cycling while rooming together at SIU
Dave Morgan, Darren & Rebecca Durrett, and Young Life; great people
for a great cause!
Duct Tape People (Dr. Randy, Dr. Dr. Himmelsehr, Dr.
Palacios, Dr. Sherman, Logan Sherman, John Sutherland, Darci West): those attempt
to keep me from falling apart, but when I do, put me back together…physically
RBM: Jim Hoyt, Woody Smith, Jack G, Joe Howard, etc, etc.
Mike Keel: a voice in the wilderness of Dallas
The Core: Michael Montgomery, Tracy Cleveland, Michael
Smith, Mike Gibson, Khai Harbut, Jamie Shaw, Joseph Murphy, Art Fairchild
Team Z: Terry Zielger, Victoria Piper, Chris Hughes, Jane
Zeigler, and company
TNT-Tuesday Night Track: runners all, triathletes some, but
all of open hearts
Builders (McEvily's, Eggert's, Balch's, Weaver's, Fletcher's, Ronan's, etc, etc,...and the back row!)
The support of those who believed and stuck by me… I’m sorry
for those who chose not to.
AND OF COURSE…The Ride Of Silence. Those who keep it
together (Tim Potter, Elizabeth Adamcyzk, Benoit Valin, J. Steve, Mark Hagar,
and every local director around the planet!) and the thousands who have lost
their lives legally sharing the road with the motorist that killed.