Ride of Silence



Crooked Tan Lines, #14: July 20, Schedules

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 too late.

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.)
Butt bones – both sides
Saddle sore – left side
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.)