Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Bicycle Eating Machine Day 28

Let's see--we rode 111 miles today, with lots of hills, into a strong wind.....hmmm......what am I forgetting?......Oh yes, it rained alot as well! Despite all that it was FUN--in a cross country CHALLENGE sort of way. We're in Topeka tonight, the state capitol.
All the riders were happy to finally reach the hotel, I'm sure. Eastern Kansas is beautiful, and very green this year. The locals all tell us that this has been an incredible year for rain.
And we all agree that the roads in Kansas have been excellent, for the most part. That's something Kansans can brag about to their "bumpy roaded" Colorado neighbors. But with record consecutive days of headwinds, I don't think my fellow riders will be sorry to cross the Missouri River and enter a new state tomorrow.
I rode with Mike awhile early today, then with Christine (of the AbB bike staff), and then I rode the last 35 miles with Brian. We laughed about the awful weather, and about how much fun we were having! When I saw the "structure" shown above, I first thought it might be a "horse sculpture" (as we were over half a mile away). Riding closer, I saw a sculpture of what can only be a "bicycle eating machine". With the day we were experiencing, I knew I had to capture this contraption for this website. If you "double click" on the photo, you'll see that a bicycle is being "devoured". And there are parts of (apparently recently "digested") bicycles at the foot of the sculpture. I wonder if anyone felt like feeding their bikes to this thing today?
I am doing very well, thank you, and am enjoying this ride immensely. After arriving at the hotel, I washed my bike (lots of road filth gets on it during and after the rain), then washed myself. We are having a very late dinner tonight, to give all the riders a chance to get in and shower. Tomorrow we will ride into Missouri, then have a third "rest day".
To all who have contributed to the LAF, I say again a big "THANK YOU"! I would love to have as many of you as possible donate to the Lance Armstrong Foundation, to fight cancer. Lance is an amazing inspiration, and his foundation is doing great things. To contribute, please visit
or email me at

Friday, June 29, 2007

Halfway to the Atlantic Ocean Day 27

Pictured, left to right, are Tim, Bob, Andrew, Herb, me and Brian. Pete took the photo, but also was riding with us. As you can see, we passed the "official" 1/2 way mileage point of our trip today. I have ridden 1950 miles (about 1915 where the photo was taken) so far.
Despite the (somewhat milder) headwind, today's trip of 64 miles was easier. We are getting into eastern Kansas, where the towns are closer together, the farms are greater and the cattle ranches fewer. In honor of the 1/2 way point, the food at our SAG stop was all cut in half (donuts, peaches, pickles,.....). But everyone ate lots anyway!
We arrived in Abilene, Kansas at noon, and after a hot tub soak and shower, I went with Rick to the Eisenhower center. President Eisenhower grew up in Abilene, and is buried here with his wife, Mamie. His presidential library is here, as well as a museum with many artifacts from his life. They are all part of a complex built near the house where he grew up. It was a lovely place to visit, and since Eisenhower retired to Gettysburg, I appreciated the symmetry.
Tomorrow we have a very long, hilly ride (into the wind, but I digress) to Topeka, Kansas, so we appreciated the shorter rides the past two days. Time is flying on this trip, and we have trouble comprehending that we've already ridden more than halfway across the continent!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Wind and Natural Gas Day 26

So what do we know after riding more than halfway through Kansas? There are lots of farms growing wheat and corn, lots of cattle, sometimes thousands of them at the feed lots, amazing amounts of wind (which was again in our face all day--surprisingly, a few of the riders expressed a little aggravation about this). But Kansas is also a leading producer of natural gas. And, so it turns out, are my fellow riders.
On a ride where folks burn thousands of extra calories a day, they also eat thousands of extra calories a day. As I've mentioned, it's interesting to watch thin folks fill their plates three times at dinner, then go for dessert! As a result of this extra intake, there must be extra "outgo". Early in the trip riders lose their embarrassment (often in the Nevada desert), and men and women move a little off the road to urinate--proper etiquette requires other riders to look away.
A few days later, folks lose their inhibitions about passing gas as well. It can be quite funny when one rider in a group breaks wind, only to be answered by other riders in kind--the kind of competition which would cause my father and siblings to laugh out loud (Mom's delicate sensibilities would preclude this). As we move quickly on the bicycles, the health risk to any riders in the rear is minimal (unlike those family vacations in the car).
We have one fellow who has actually counted the number of "toots" produced by each person during a riding segment--I've affectionately dubbed him "TFC" (you'll have to figure that one out)!
So I couldn't resist this photo of the Oneok Hydrocarbon plant in Conway, Kansas. Natural gas liquids are gathered in mixed, raw form from basins in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. They are then sent via pipelines to this "fractionator". The plant pictured here separates the gas/liquids into ethane/propane mix, propane, butanes and other marketable products, which are then sent along other parts of the 2100 miles of pipelines to storage areas and to various "markets". This facility can handle 110,000 barrels/day--and you'll agree that that's an awful lot of gas.
Tonight we're staying in McPherson, Kansas. We completed our 26th day of 52, and tomorrow we'll reach (and pass) the halfway point in terms of total mileage. It's been a great trip so far.
My thanks to all who have contributed to the Lance Armstrong Foundation--it's a great cause, and knowing that you're giving really motivates me when I'm tired.
My web page for donations is
Thanks again!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Wicked Wind Day 25

Pictured is the sign for a feed lot, taken after we passed it (yesterday, BTW), looking westward. Notice that the trees all lean to the north (the "right" from this view).
The word Kansas comes from "Kansa", a group of Sioux people who lived in this part of the country. Apparently it means "People (or land) of the South Wind". Since the day we left Salt Lake City, Utah, we have been travelling east (of course), but also south. Yesterday, in Dodge City, we were at the southernmost point of our trip. Dodge City is at a similar latitide to Richmond, VA (a little south of San Francisco, and well south of our destination in New Hampshire). Also, since leaving Salt Lake City, the wind has always been from the east and/or the south; i.e., in our face--sometimes soft, often harder.
So guess what happened today, as we turned northeast? You got it--we got our first northern (actually northeastern, to boot!) wind in two weeks! Youch! Our 85 mile ride turned into a real test, as headwinds "made us earn every inch", as Andrew said. Fortunately, several of us took turns into the wind--I rode with Howie, but also at times with Phillipe (from Israel), Robert (from France) and briefly with Gary, Pete, Cliff, and Rick. When riding behind someone, it wasn't too hard (as their bodies blocked much of the wind), but when it came your turn to "pull", the wind was almost demoralizing at times. I've ridden in stronger winds, but we had really hoped that when we turned to the north.......
Anyway, all got in safe, and we get to ride into more strong winds for the next few days--at least we're all getting good at it! A relaxing swim and soak/stretch in the large hot tub was enjoyed by many. We had a good dinner, but I noticed that many more riders than usual ordered beer or other adult beverages....guess they feel they earned it. I expect folks should sleep well tonight!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Dodge City Day 24

Pictured with me is Elisa, one of the Can Can dancers in the Miss Kitty show at the Longhorn Saloon on Boot Hill in Dodge City. Several of us enjoyed an afternoon visiting the site of the original Boot Hill, named for the folks who were killed and then buried with their boots on (the bodies were later moved to a new cemetary). They have a great museum, some reenactors, and we even saw a "gunfight" where just about everyone was shot!

Dodge City is on the Arkansas River, and was famous first for buffalo hunters, who quickly slaughtered the large herds. Then the town became a center for the cattle trade. It was particularly "lawless" from 1872 to ~1880. I read that in 1872 there were at least 30 gunfights when the population was only ~ 500 people. Famous lawmen such as Bat Masterson, Bill Tilghman, and the legendary Wyatt Earp served in Dodge(and, of course, sheriff Matt Dillon was on Gunsmoke for ~20 years as well!).

This evening we enjoyed a song and dance and corny joke routine at Miss Kitty's. All who attended had a good time. However, about 2/3rds of the riders remained at the hotel--I guess they were tired. Most of the cast of the show are locals, many of them pursuing degrees in dance or theater at various colleges.

Oh yeah--we also rode this AM. It was a short ride of 51 miles, and I arrived in Dodge by 12:15 p.m. Nice to have a shorter riding day for a change. The afternoon and evening were well spent, as you can see.

Welcome to Kansas Day 23

Another day, another 100 plus miles. Pictured is a typical scene we saw today. As we continued on the "High Plains", we left Colorado and entered our fifth state, Kansas. The landscape remained relatively flat, and you could usually see for many miles in all directions. There were scattered farm buildings, occasional threshers which were cutting golden cereal grasses, and, as one rider said, "a whole lotta nuthin".

All the riders ares tired this evening. We rode over 225 miles in the past two days, and the wind today was a real challenge. It came from the southeast, and was either in our face or blowing hard from our right. Apparently "Kansas" comes from a native American word meaning "land of the south wind". Many of the trees lean to the north. I took several photos this AM, but, as we were facing the rising sun, they don't look so good on the computer. So I offer this mundane view to give a sense of what we saw all day.

The temperature again rose over 100 degrees, and with the strong winds, we all spent many long hours on the bike. With towns still very far apart, keeping hydrated was also a challenge. Sometimes the distance between towns (and even gas stations) was 30 or more miles. And with the heat, our water warmed up quickly. We really appreciated the hard work of the AbB staff, who kept the vans moving, delivering cool water. Some riders felt that today was one of the hardest we've had yet. The wind doesn't bother me as much as some, so I felt fairly strong, but was still happy to reach the hotel. I sympathize with those who suffered in the heavy winds today, just as they have sympathy when we heavier riders work extra hard to climb the high mountains!
I'd like to say a special "Thanks" to Howie today. He had a sore ankle from a swimming pool slip (honestly, the risks the cyclists take!), and rode with me all day. After 50 miles with a larger group (including my usual cohorts of "Team Stops Alot for Photos"), Howie and I rode ahead the last 54 miles, taking turns "into the wind" (and he waited for me a few times when the road went uphill). It was a pleasure chatting and sweating with you, Howie.
My congratulations to all the cyclists today! Tomorrow we have a "short day"--only 51 miles--into Dodge City. There we'll check out Boot Hill, and catch a "Wild West" show. It should be fun.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Onto the Prairie Day 22

I said "Goodbye " to Carol this morning, as she drove to the Denver Airport. We both really enjoyed her visit, and I hope she and Bekki will be able to visit me when we cross the Mississippi. It was her first trip to Colorado, and she was also "wowed" by the scenery, the mountains, and the spirit of the riders.
Carol also drove one of our riders to the airport this AM. He decided to go home after he fell two days ago. He is sore, but will recover. We were sorry to see him go, and encouraged him to return, but he said he'll probably just take it easy at home. Best of Luck!
Today we rode 121 miles onto the prairie, where we'll be until we reach the hills of eastern Kansas and Missouri. We saw dozens of Prairie Dogs in the countryside outside Pueblo. Tonight we are staying in Lamar, Colorado, and we have another 100 plus mile ride tomorrow. It's amazing how strong all the riders are becoming--no one complained about the mileage, though there are some sore joints and butts!
Our terrain was much flatter, but as we continue to follow the Arkansas River, most of the fields around us are irrigated. Corn, grasses and cereals are growing everywhere, and we passed two "feed lots", the second one with thousands of cattle and the associated smells!
Above are pictured Bob and Wayne. I stopped to take of photo of this interesting sign, when these two guys decided to see if people would ignore it. Despite the flashing of (very pale) flesh, no one stopped to pick up them up. I guess they looked too dangerous--or something!
Please contact me at if you'd like to comment on the ride or this blog, or if you'd like to donate to the Lance Armstrong Foundation, for whom I'm riding. Thanks!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Relaxing in Pueblo, CO Day 21

On our second "rest day" of the trip, we did the usual--cleaned the bike, washed laundry, ran errands, etc... Having Carol and the rent-a-car was great, as a group of us went to the bike shop, Walmart, a computer store, and out to lunch. After a brief nap, Carol and I saw "Ocean's Thirteen", my first movie in three weeks!

Every evening at a new hotel, the AbB staff puts up this map of the US, and adds in black marker the distance we travelled that day. We are now in eastern Colorado, having travelled 1461 miles (mileage varies depending on side trips, missed turns (it happens to all of us, occasionally), and other variables, so I list the miles I have travelled). It's really amazing to realize that we've travelled over 1/3rd of our route.

We have about 121 miles tomorrow, and have to "load up" at 5:30 AM. I will be sad to see Carol leave (flying home from Denver), but we hope that she and Bekki will be able to join me for a few days as we cross from Missouri into Illinois over July 4th.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Out of the Rockies Day 20

We arrived in Pueblo, Colorado after an interesting Day, with a 102 mile bike ride. Leaving Salida this morning, we followed the fast flowing Arkansas River downstream for about 40 miles. We chatted with folks who were white water rafting (and got some good photos), and enjoyed our descent.

Pictured here is the "Rock Shop". Rocks from all over the country are available here for landscaping and other uses. We pass all sorts of interesting places every day, but I thought that, as we left the Rockies, we should at least celebrate rocks (I feel it might be inappropriate to show the photo I took of one of my fellow riders posing at the sign for the "Half Assed Ranch"!)

Before officially leaving the Rockies, about half of us rode a VERY STEEP CLIMB to the Royal Gorge Bridge, which is billed as the World's highest suspension bridge, at ~ 1060 feet above the Arkansas River. The road to the bridge was terribly bumpy, and when we arrived, we were told it cost $19.00 to ride across the bridge and "enjoy" the associated (honky tonk) park. Most riders felt it should be renamed "Rip-Off Gorge" after that. The views were spectacular, but really....

After a well earned descent, and lunch, we continued until our first major thunderstorm. Six of us took refuge in a stable as the lightning got closer, and the rain and hailstones fell. It was fun waiting out the storm--I'm sure this will happen again as we get further east this summer.

We will spend the next two days in Pueblo (at an altitide of 4690 feet) as tomorrow is our second "rest day". We have ridden 19 days, a distance of 1461 miles, with total climbing of about 60,230 feet (and descending of ~ 55,540 feet). The Rocky Mountains are now behind us, and the riders feel very proud of their accomplishments to date. Eight riders will be leaving the trip (they had signed up for either the 1st 20 days, or the last 8 days, and a "new" rider will join us. His name is "David" (which he prefers), so that works well as I can continue to be "Dave" or "Dr. Dave". I'm looking forward to spending some time tomorrow with Carol, who has been a big hit with the riders.

Monarch Pass @ 11,312 feet! Day 19

All the riders felt a special sense of accomplishment today. We crossed the high point of our ride, at 11,312 feet above sea level. After 30 miles of gradual, almost gentle, climbing, we arrived at the base of Monarch Pass. For the next 9 miles we climbed an additional 3000 + feet to the summit. It was beautiful and challenging. The air was progressively thinner, but all our cyclists made it to the top!

At the top of the pass, there was a tram (like an enclosed ski lift) that rose an additional 500 feet. From there, you could see high, snow covered mountains in all directions. We were on top of the Continental Divide--until now, all water had flowed (eventually) into the Pacific Ocean (except the water in the Great Basin which simply returned underground (see prior posts)). After crossing the Divide, water flows (ultimately) into the Atlantic Ocean (for the next several weeks, the route we travel will be in the Mississippi watershed, flowing into the Gulf of Mexico).

I had a special visitor last night, who took the photo on top of the tramline at Monarch Pass today (who insisted I use this photo--sorry for the mis-aligned "do wrap", but I had been working hard!). My wife, Carol, flew to Denver, then drove to Gunnison yesterday. Today she was fantastic, bringing peaches to the first SAG stop, then offering water and encouragement to the riders as we climbed. Her rent-a-car was a welcome sight going up (and occasionally back down) the mountain, stopping to offer aid. She will be with us four days, before flying home. It's her first trip to Colorado, and, like me, she is enjoying the sights.

After an hours stay at the top of Monarch Pass, we rode 23 more miles into Salida, Colorado. It was all down hill (the first 9 miles steep and fast, fairly similar to what we had climbed). It was fun to go fast without having to work any more! We have a long ride tomorrow to Pueblo, then another day off the bike to rest and relax

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Climbing the Rockies Day 18

We really did some climbing today! Leaving the hotel in Montrose, we started East into a strong headwind. The "mountain wind" blows down to the west in the AM, then subsides (but too late for us!) We were riding very slowly uphill, all bunched together to help shield against the wind. Our first climb rose about 2300 feet, and when we reached the top, Tom (our assistant mechanic, jack-of-all-trades, and funny story teller) said "man, I can't even kid with you guys--that looks really tough". It was so windy that I benefitted by riding behind Erin (who weighs very little) just to block some wind so I could climb more easily. (Hey, Erin, do I get bonus points for that comment?)

After a fast and fun descent we started a second climb that took us up another 1500 feet, to about 8700 feet above sea level. It was getting warmer (and the wind had died down). Pictured here is part of the second climb. I pulled over to wait for the riders shown on the right--although the photo flattens out the altitude changes, they were riding hard, and still took a few minutes to reach me! Most people rode in their lowest gears for long periods of time.

We then enjoyed easier riding with smaller "ups and downs", and rode along the dammed up Gunnison River, upstream of the beautiful canyons we had visited yesterday. Everyone arrived at the hotel in Gunnison, ready for our big climb over Monarch Pass tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Black Canyon Day 17

We started climbing today, and are staying in Montrose, Colorado, at an elevation of ~5900 feet. In the next two days we'll climb over Monarch Pass at 11,312 feet! Today's ride led us closer to the tall Rockies, many of them with lots of snow, esp. to the south of where we'll cross the Continental Divide (at Monarch Pass).

After arrival and showers at the hotel, we were then given the chance to explore "Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park", but only about 12 riders decided to ride in the vans to the park. I guess folks are pretty tired!

We rode in the vans about 7 uphill miles from the hotel (a preview of tomorrow's route), before turning north and climbing 7 fairly steep miles to the park. Interestingly, there is an option for riders to climb to the park on their bikes tomorrow, then return down the same way and continue the route up the Rockies. Last year 12 riders did that--more power to them!

We then explored the canyon, carved through softer volcanic, then (lower down) through harder, older crystalline rock (over the last 2 million years) by the Gunnison River. We had earlier seen the Gunnison at its downriver junction with the Colorado River at the aptly named Grand Junction. Again, I have lots of great photos, though none show how vast and deep the canyon is. At it's deepest part, it is over 2700 feet high. In the area shown, I think the canyon is about 1500 to 2000 feet deep. If you "double click" on the picture (did you know you can do that?) you should be able to see part of the Gunnison River in the left-middle portion. Look to the right of Mike's head (he's the man on the left), and you can see the green water.

We were again at ~8000 feet here in the park, and the air was thinner. After returning to the vans, we again descended to ~5900 feet, where the air seems much "thicker". It was 96 degrees as we walked to dinner (a dry heat, fortunately). We should have nice weather tomorrow as we start the big climbs. It will be interesting riding up to those high altitudes--we've talked about the importance of riding more slowly, drinking more fluids, and resting when needed.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Welcome to Colorado Day 16

Add another large western state to our list, as we entered Colorado after about 71 miles into our 96 mile ride today. We're staying at Grand Junction, where the Gunnison River joins the Colorado River.

Pictured, right to left, are my "riding mates" Andrew, Wayne and Bob. On my right (left in the photo), is Steve, who normally rides well ahead, but who was with us as we entered the state. BTW, Steve is a very fast, competitive rider. Yet I did have a moment of glory today, shortly before this photo was taken. Steve was about 200 yards ahead of me, when we came to a fairly steep descent. As I pedalled hard and "tucked", I quickly caught and passed him, travelling at about 45 mph. I called over "Hey, I thought you were supposed to be FAST". He grinned back, and before he could "drop me" on the next hill we arrived at this sign! Ah, one has to savor the moments where one can.

Steve has ridden across the country several times, and he's riding this time until Pueblo. For Andrew, Wayne, Bob and me, this is a first time cross country ride. While we ride with many different people every day, the four of us have spent lots of "road time" together, mostly because we agreed on the first or second day that we wanted to really experience the country, take lots of photos, see the sights and the people, and not just ride fast from one hotel to the next. All three are strong riders. We have lots of laughs every day, and help each other if one of us is tired, etc. Gerard, the AbB mechanic has dubbed us "Team Stops Alot"!

For those who want more info re: this ride, here are the webpages for Andrew's, Bob's and Wayne's blogs. Like me, all three men are riding to raise money for a charity. Andrew's blog is "wicked funny" (he's English, don't you know); Bob's blog has the most photos (I haven't been able to get him to delete the uncomplimentary shots!); and Wayne's blog is more inspirational. There are other blogs as well, and the folks who are more computer savvy than I know how to "link" them.

Andrew's is at:

Bob's is at:

Wayne's is at:

Tomorrow we start climbing up and over the Colorado Rockies, and after 4 days in the high mountains, we'll arrive In Pueblo, for a second rest day.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Arches National Park Day 15

Pictured is "Boston" Greg, a funny guy and a stong rider from some northeastern city in the U. S. Greg is posing below "Tunnel Arch", one of over 2,000 catalogued arches, ranging in size from 3 feet to 306 feet, in Arches National Park in Southeastern Utah, near Moab.

These arches, and the spires, balanced rocks, eroded monoliths, etc. which we saw are the result of 100 million years of erosion. Water and ice, extreme temperatures and underground salt movement are responsible fot the sculpted rock scenery we enjoyed after the bike ride today.

Our ride took us through more desert until we reached the town of Green River (surprisingly, it's located along the Green River) in SE Utah. Despite headwinds, we made good time on the 67 mile ride, mostly due to the gradual descent from ~5500 feet to ~ 4100 feet. Everyone was at the hotel by early afternoon. After much needed showers, we loaded the two vans with riders for the 60 minute ride to the Arches National Park, where we spent several enjoyable hours. Our van was driven by Gerard (our mechanic), while his girlfriend Angie sat up front with him. Nine men sat in three rows behind them, and made sure Gerard kept his eyes on the road!

My daughter, Bekki, wished me a Happy Father's Day by phone, and she laughed when I told her that I was riding with a group of guys in their 30's, 40's, 50's and 60's, and that they were joking around like the kids on her school bus trips!

We saw incredible sights, and took lots of photos. It was hard choosing which one to post here, but how can you go wrong with "Boston" Greg and a beautiful arch?

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Canyons Up and Down Day 14

We really had it all today--a 75 mile ride that took us over the Wasatch Mountains (to an altitude of 7447 feet) then down through beautiful Price Canyon, into the wide valley that separates the Wasatch mountains from the more eastern branch of the Rockies through which we'll travel this coming week.

Leaving Provo, we started a gentle climb until we reached the valley through which we would ascend (more steeply as we progressed) for the next 35 miles or so. The headwinds were unbeleivable. I had some problems with my rear tire (we ultimately changed the inner tube, which seemed to help), and after my riding friends had waited for me several times, I asked them to go ahead. After Gerard, our mechanic, worked on the bike I started after the other riders. Fortunately, Andy and Michelle (our ride leaders) rode by at this point, and I was able to tuck in behind Andy as we road into the strong headwinds. I stayed as close to his wheel as I could, and was breathing very hard just to keep up with him (he was probably doing 30% more work than I was!).

It took alot of energy to deal with my mechanical problem, than catch the group, even with Andy's help. I felt tired most of the day, but don't worry--past experience has shown that when I'm tired, it's best to slow down and take it relatively easy. By doing so, I actually felt better as the long day progressed. And I owe a special "Thank you" to Andrew and Tim, who road with me during the long climb over the mountain.

The descent through the canyon was fantastic, with gorgeous (yes, I chose that word with "gorge" in mind!) views, as seen above. Rock formations of all shapes and sizes surrounded us. The area through which we passed was the "haunting ground" of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. We even saw a photo of the Kid, pictured with the grandfather of the proprietor of a roadside "country store"!

Tomorrow, should be a gentler ride, before we start ascending into Colorado. A group of 17 of us (chosen by lottery) will be going to Arches National Park tomorrow afternoon. Folks who didn't get chosen will be able to visit another national park in Colorado. More about "Arches" after we visit tomorrow.

After dinner about a dozen riders got a ride to the local Walmart in Price, Utah, where we're staying. It was funny seeing people looking for "saddle creams", pain relievers, suntan lotion and other rider necessities. And we all have the funniest tan lines!

Friday, June 15, 2007

On to the Rockies Day 13

We welcomed three new riders today. David, who will turn 14 next week, joins his father Steve, who started in San Francisco. They will continue to Pueblo, Colorado over the next 8 days. Jay has ridden part of the Cross Country Challenge before, and he is riding from SLC to Pueblo as well. And Angie is joining her boyfiend (and bike mechanic extraordinaire) Gerard for the next stretch to Pueblo.

Todays route took us closer to the Wasatch Mountains, which border Salt Lake City (and Provo, Utah, where we stay tonight) on the East. These are part of the Rocky Mountains, although people from Colorado hate to hear that! We had a fairly short ride of 66 miles, and did not enter the mountains--we'll do that tomorrow.

About 15 of us stayed together all day, with frequent stops for photos, lunch, flat tires, and just to let some riders catch up. Shown is a photo of the Wasatch Mountains. I stopped to take this picture, and other riders who then passed agreed it was a good idea as well!
We road through several small towns, all with lawns that are irrigated. We especially enjoyed riding through the BYU campus. Note that the snow is mostly off the mountains (a little early this year), and should return by October.

We'll do some real climbing again tomorrow, and people want to last all through the Rockies. I haven't mentioned it yet, but riding these distances and climbing these heights is a strain on the body. We've had riders take part or all of one or more days off (riding in the vans) due to knee pain, Achilles tendonitis, and vomitting. Fortunately we've had no really severe problems. I do occasionally give advice (when I'm asked, or if I see something I'm concerned about). Our AbB staff is concerned about safety first, so it's a pretty good situation--and all riders offer their support if someone is feeling poorly. We really are blessed to have such a good group.

Salt Lake City Day 12

Everyone enjoyed a rest day after our first 11 days riding. We said "Goodbye" to 7 riders, who planned only to ride from San Francisco to SLC--they were all strong riders, and each was able to give a short speech at dinner last night. There were lots of laughs, and we'll miss those guys. Some may meet up with us when we get further east (near their homes) to say "Hello".

Most folks washed their bikes, and clothes, then went into the town. One fellow, Phillipe, bought a new bike! Several of us toured the city, esp. Temple Square, where the Mormon Tabernacle (open to everyone) and the Mormon Temple (reserved for members of the Church of Latter Day Saints) are located. The temple took about 40 years to build, and is located next to Brigham Young's home. Young assumed leadership of the Mormon church after the death of founder Joseph Smith, Jr., and he founded Salt Lake City in ~ 1847. He also facillitated much of the construction of the Union and Central Pacific Railroads through Utah.

Pictured is the Mormon Temple, looking at the main entrance on the East side. Apparently there are several weddings each weekday at the Temple, as members of the LDS wish to be married there. We saw at least 3 different wedding parties (all with brides dressed in white) having their photos taken in front of the church. Howie took this photo--please note the bride and groom on the far side of the pool, posing for their photographer.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Wind, Salt and 117 Miles to SLC Day 11

We reached Salt Lake City today, but not without effort! The wind was blowing from the north and the east, either across from our left, or directly into our faces. Until now, we've been very lucky with the weather (if you don't mind a one hour snowfall while climbing the Sierras).

Our route went from the Nevada-Utah border, across the Bonneville Salt Flats, to the Great Salt Lake and Salt Lake City. It was a challenging day for everyone, riding into the wind. We only had a few hills to climb, and it seemed quite hot as we pedalled up them.

For the first 40 miles, we had a group of 7 to 8 riders taking turns "pulling"--i.e., riding in front, into the wind, while the other riders "drafted" behind. We experimented with single and "double" pace lines (e.g.two lines of riders, riding beside one another). Each man (sorry, that's not sexist--only guys were in my pace line) "pulled" for one mile, then rotated to the back. The scenery wasn't the best unless you were upfront, riding hard!

We stopped a few times to take pictures of the salt flats (that's Wayne, above, who even tasted the salt--"hmmm, I think it needs a little paprika"). At our first SAG stop (after 40 miles), we still had 77 miles to go!

The group broke up in the middle part, after we left the flats. Andrew had two flat tires--we ultimately patched a small hole in his last inner tube, then used a granola bar wrapper to "boot the tire"--i.e., we found a small hole in the tire as well, and placed the wrapper as a barrier between the inner surface of the tire and the outer surface of the inner tube. It lasted to the end of the ride, but he'll buy new tires and tubes tomorrow on our "rest day".

Between the heat (mid 80's), the constant sunshine, the exertion against the wind and the long distance (added to the previous two challenging days), some folks were really tired when we arrived. However there was a spirit of accomplishment as we celebrated at the hotel. We've ridden 855 miles in 11 days, and climbed over many high mountains, big hills and even those overpasses which burn the legs when you're exhausted!

BTW, the Bonneville Salt Flats cover ~ 30,000 acres, and, along with the Great Salt Lake, are the remnants of ancient Lake Bonneville. Wind and water combined to create the flat surface of salt, and in winter a shallow layer of standing water floods the surface of the salt flats.

The first recorded crossing of the Great Salt Lake desert region was in 1845 by Capt. John Fremont's survey party, with scouts Kit Carson and Joe Walker. The salts include potassium, lithium, magnesium and sodium chloride. (Info courtesy of the Utah park service).

Tomorrow I hope to explore Salt Lake City.

Our First Century Day 10

Pictured here is part of the 2000 foot climb up the Pequop Mountains, to an elevation of 6967 feet. As we've crossed the Nevada desert, we've been at an average elevation of ~4500 feet (the High Desert), where there is little annual snowfall. For the past few days we've climbed some hills, and today we crossed the Pequops to get to Wendover, on the Nevada-Utah border.

The photo was taken halfway up the climb--unfortunately pictures tend to "flatten out" elevation changes, but as I stood there looking around, I knew I wasn't anywhere in the Eastern part of the Country. There was some minor road repair going on, so we climbed on the left side of the interstate, with the barrels between us and the cars.

Andrew and I enjoyed some excellent downhills as a reward for our climbing efforts. I reached 52 mph on one part (don't worry, they road was clear and smooth, and there was no other traffic except this 6 foot 4 inch, large British guy on a bike!). At another part there was a 4 mile descent that was less steep, so we were having a nice chat at 37 miles an hour riding side by side. That's easier than chatting when we're climbing the steep hills at 5 to 8 mph. Our friends sometimes wait for us at the tops of hills, but even if they don't, we still often catch and pass them on the downhills.

Today was the longest ride so far, at 108 miles. Four of our riders did their first century rides today (a ride of at least 100 miles). They were Arlene, age 67, Erin, age 24, Jeff, age 34 and Tim, age 36. (Jeff and Tim are brothers from Michigan). Quite an accomplishment--and they get to do it again tomorrow!

We have been lucky so far with the weather--highs only in the 80's which is warm enough when you're sweating up a mountain in the desert! The AbB staff keeps busy getting us cold water and snacks--vital for a day like today.

Tonight we're staying in the Rainbow Hotel & Casino. What a place! Glitzy, shiny and bright, with bells and whistles everywhere. The rooms have wall to wall mirrors with plenty of purple and red decor. I was briefly tempted to play blackjack, but after watching others play awhile I decided to keep my money. Interestingly, they deal from a single deck, and the players cards are dealt down. This is much nicer than the Atlantic City method of dealing from ~ 6 decks at a time, and showing the players card(s) right away.

Tomorrow is a 117 mile ride to Salt Lake City. Nothing like giving our first time Century Riders a chance to become veterans really quickly.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Beauty in the Desert-Day 9

Our route today took us from Battle Mountain to the much larger town of Elko, Nevada. We rode much of the time along Route 80--sometimes the berm was smooth, and at other times it was so rough that all the riders felt it after 9 consecutive days in the saddle. Discussions re: cortisone cream, vaseline vs. A & D ointment vs. "bag balm" can be heard at mealtimes, SAG stops, and while riding. Non-cyclists who "listen in" must wonder why riders talk so much about their bottoms!

BTW, SAG stands for "Support and Gear". Our four AbB staff members (Andy, Michelle, Gerard and Tom) take turns riding their bikes with us and driving the two vans (one with a trailer) along our route. They set up at about 25 to 40 mile interals at predetermined places, where riders can eat (fruit, snacks,..) and get water. On hot days they also ride back and forth offering us cold water. They're a great group, and we riders really like and appreciate them.

Today's highlights included a 12 mile climb in the middle of our 75 mile day, and a beautiful ride through Carlin Canyon. Andrew, the detective from England, and I are climbing buddies. We get up the big hills at a reasonable pace, and encourage each other if one of us is tired.
Carlin Canyon was formed by the Humboldt river, which flows east to west. The emigrants followed the river through this canyon (fording it up to 4 times in this narrow canyon alone!) en route to California. The Central Pacific Railroad then added some "fill" along the northern side of the river upon which they laid their tracks in the 1860's. In 1903 a railroad tunnel was made through the small mountain on the southern side of the river, and a road now runs where the old RR tracks were. Luckily for us, the road is now closed to cars (who go through an adjacent tunnel as well), and we had this incredible canyon to ourselves!

Pictured today are Andrew and Bob, riding on what was the old RR bed. The Humboldt river is flowing toward them one the right. It's a small river, but Nevada isn't known for its rainfall! Unfortunately, pictures tend to "flatten out" hills, so it's hard to see how steep the canyon walls really are. We are so lucky to be able to enjoy this beauty!

Please consider a donation to the Lance Armstrong Foundation if you haven't done so. You can go to my webpage at

All money donated goes to the LAF, and is used to help people prevent, detect, fight, defeat and cope with cancer. The donations are tax deductable, and knowing that each of you cares really means a great deal to me. Thanks!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Further Into the Desert--Day 8

We continued into the desert today, surrounded by mountains (many snow-covered) as we cycled on flatter terrain. As you can see, vegetation is sparse. Pictured is a view of the outskirts of Battle Mountain, the town we sleep tonight. We were told that most of the residents work in the mines (gold, silver, tungsten,...). We also passed cattle, and saw some real cowboys. Cattle need far more land here to graise than back in the East.
Today the group I rode with was varied, including Rick (from Tucson) who normally rides very fast, and Greg (from Dayton) who takes a gentler pace. Rick is such a strong rider--we appreciate his spending "on the bike time" with us today. He has worked for the Dept. of Defense, and is a huge Arizona Wildcats fan. Greg is a meteorologist for the Air Force, and keeps the group posted about weather trends. He's getting a kick out of the varied conditions we've seen so far. As we all ride at different speeds, it was a real challenge keeping our group of riders together today.
Highlights included a visit to a convenience store/saloon along the Interstate, where our British friends, Andrew and Brian, got a real taste of a western saloon. Brian saw his first real cowboy, purchasing a six pack and a bottle of whiskey at 10:00 AM. Well, it is Sunday, I guess.
Today was our last "easy day" for awhile. Tomorrow we get back to some significant climbing, and the next two days will include consecutive "centuries"--a bike ride of (at least) 100 miles. Wednesday afternoon/evening will see our arrival in Salt Lake City, followed by our first day off the bike.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

No Water Anywhere! Day 7

Today we rode 73 miles further into the Nevada desert. We crossed arid lands, including the 40 mile stretch from where the Humboldt River disappears into the Humboldt Sink (Yup, it just drops into the earth) to the fresh water supplies 40 miles to the west. The emigrants to California usually took two days to walk across this waterless plain, and people/cattle/horses suffered cruelly. Today, thanks to "pedal power" and a tailwind, that stretch took us just over two hours!

We rode again part of the time on the interstate. Last night, at dinner, ~12 or 14 people (including me) raised their hands when asked if they had a flat tire. Today, only Andrew in our group of 10 or so suffered that indignity.

Cars and trucks are mostly courteous as they fly past us. Many wave or give a friendly "honk". And when folks find out where we're going and what we're doing, they are amazed. And for some unknown reason, they often express more astonishment to me than to the thinner riders. Go figure!

We are staying in another motel/casino tonight. I walked a mile to a laundromat, and a friendly lady gave me a ride back to the hotel after talking to me there. Nice folk.

Pictured is Erin, with whom I rode many miles today while our friends were ahead or behind. Erin had only ridden a few hundred miles on her bike, and never more than 35 miles in a day before this trip. Now, she's ridden 91 miles in a day, and--like the rest of us--has cycled 500 miles in a week, climbed the Sierra Nevada mountains and travelled well into the Nevada desert.

Like I said, these folks are amazing!

Riding 91 miles was actually easy! Day 6

The theme today was "Recovery". All riders were tired after the last two days--those who went up the mountains quickly, and those who arrived hours after the faster climbers.

We rode along Route 80, and actually spent most of our time on the berm of the Interstate. It was much nicer than it sounds, as after the first 20 miles the traffic thinned, the surface was pretty smooth, and we were able to "draft".

When riding a bicycle, the forces we must overcome are gravity (so uphill is slow), rolling resistance (where the tire meets the road--Brits--please not the spelling!) and wind resistance. The flatter the surface, the easier it is to overcome wind resistance by riding behind others. While we all took turns up front--"breaking wind", one might say--Wayne must have had an extra bowl of Wheaties today; He "pulled" our group along much of the way, making it easier for the rest of us. That's the left side of Wayne on the right (yes, we take photos while riding), while Bob is on the left, in front of me. That darn Wayne rode so fast I couldn't get him centered in my picture!
Note the flat road, mountains all around, and minimal vegetation. I repaired my second flat tire today, after a small piece of wire from a radial tire (there's much debris along the interstate) pierced my tire. (The first flat occurred in San Francisco when a small piece of glass entered my tire). A quick change, and we were off--until Gary (a funny, pleasant lawyer from Missouri) had a flat. I helped him repair it, then Gerard, our mechanic, came up to quickly finish the job.

Quick aside--How many lawyer jokes are there?

Answer--Only three--all the rest are true stories!

Despite the long distance, I felt stronger as the day progressed. The terrain of the arid Nevada desert is quite different from California's Sacramento Valley and the Sierras. Lack of rain makes for quite a visual treat as we rolled past treeless mountains and high desert.
We stayed at a hotel/casino in Lovelock, Nevada. There are slot machines everywhere in Nevada--hotels, gas stations, convenience stores! Amazing. And, no doubt to the disappointment of the ladies who work at my office, I have no desire to gamble (or gambol, for that matter) at any of the casinos.

What a climb!

Today we finished our climbs over the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and entered Nevada. After yesterday's exhausting ride, we enjoyed a beautiful 30 mile ride to, and along, Lake Tahoe. This gorgeous lake is filled with water from the rains and (mostly) snows of the Sierra Mountains which surround it. It is at about 6200 feet altitude. The Truckee river runs from it, and is the main water supply for the Reno area. Interestingly, no water from the lake, or from the Great Basin east of the Sierras ever enters the Pacific Ocean. It is used for agriculture, people,etc.., but then returns underground or is evaporated.

After a slow, leisurely day, Bob (from the DC Area), Andrew, Wayne and I started up Mount Rose. This was an 8.2 mile climb from about 6200 feet to 8900 feet! It was steep, relentlous, and had beautiful views. Wayne and Bob are good climbers, and today was my day to "bring up the caboose". We caught Arlene and Erin at a scenic view stop, but they soon continued with Wayne and Andrew ahead of me. Despite my slow pace, Bob stayed with me the whole way--telling stories, setting a pace I could maintain, and stopping when I wanted to catch my breath. We all felt the altitude, but the riders again showed true toughness.

After a rest at the top of the mountain, we descended into the Reno area, and ultimately ended up in Sparks, east of Reno. As tired as I was on the ascent, I felt fantastic with the descent (my bike riding friends all envy my ability to descend so fast--a skill that weight loss will adversely affect--and by the time we dropped 4000 feet I was riding again with ease.

So thanks again to Bob. As you can see, while he climbed the mountain first, I got higher!

Over Donner Pass--in the Snow!

I really struggled deciding what picture to post today! We rode 78 miles, from 1500 feet, to over 7000 feet (over Donner Pass) before descending into Truckee, California. Wayne, with whom I rode much of the day, is from Lexington, KY, and is raising money to support the family of a dear friend who died.

As we rode mile after mile uphill (and downhill, knowing that every foot of hard-earned altitude that we "gave up" we'd have to climb again, Wayne got so hungry he understood why the poor Donner party resorted to eating their own dead when they were stuck below the pass in the winter of 1846-47 on their way to California.

One moment we were taking pictures of huge pine cones in the warm weather. An hour later we were shivering in the SNOW! Wayne and I spent 100 minutes in a Burger King along the Interstate (Route 80), waiting for the snow to pass. Several riders came in snow covered. Wayne massaged Erin's frozen feet, while I held Arlene (a sweet 67 year old grandmother from Alabama) to warm her up because she was shivering when she got to the BK. My wife, Carol, has always said she married me for my body heat, and Arlene now knows why!

These riders are tough! My congrats to everyone today. We climbed over part of the Sierras, through all kinds of weather--a journey that took the emmigrants several days at best. With macademized roads, pnematized tires (or tyres, as our English friends spell it), and fairlylight weight bikes, we use only man (or woman) power to travel amazing distances in a day.

For Wayne and me, the descent from Donner Pass into Truckee was fantastic. The road was dry, the light was perfect, and our tired legs enjoyed gravity on our side for a change!

Into the foothills

Howie is a "blur" in this picture because he rides so fast! This shot was taken on a scenic bike path that led us from Sacramento up the Sacramento River, then up the American river for more than thirty miles.
Our tour leader, Andy, rides this trail up to 4 times a week! And we could see why.
After leaving the trail, we passed Folsom prison and continued on a fairly steep climb into Auburn, about 1500 feet above sea level. Tomorrow we climb the Sierras in what is "the hardest day on paper"of this entire ride.
Howie is a Non Hodkins Lymphoma survivor. He is also riding to raise money to fight cancer. He has all my admiration for his toughness!
Please help in the fight against cancer. Visit if you'd like to support the LAF in this battle. All donations go to the LAF, as I am paying all costs of this ride myself.

Old Town Sacremento

Today we road to Sacramento, the Capitol of California. The ride was flat and fun. After an early arrival, we had lunch in Old Town, on the Sacramento River.

I was able to tour the Railroad museumwith Andrew (also from England, near Manchester) he's the fellow on my right--and Rick, from Tuczon. We learned more about the building of the Central Pacific Railroad, which ran from Sacramento, to Promintory Point, northwest of Salt Lake City, where it joined the Union Pacific Railroad, out of Omaha Nebraska. Preparing for this trip, I read Stephen Ambrose's book "Nothing Like it in the World" detailing the building of the Trans Continental Railroad. Our first eleven days on this bike ride follow very closely the old Central Pacific RR line, and we cross it many times.


Over the Golden Gate Bridge Day 1

We left our hotel in Burlingame, just south of San Francisco, and rode through the fog to the Pacific Ocean where we dipped our rear wheels. The ride took us thru the hills of San Francisco on a Sunday morning with little traffic--except the 2500 people riding the opposite direction (to LA!) on an annual ride to fight AIDS. They frequently called to us "you're going the wrong way", and many of our riders shouted back "We're going to New Hampshire".

It was quite fun riding up and down the streets of San Francisco, then through the Presidio, and across the Golden Gate bridge. As expected, the fog cleared as we rode through Sausalito. We then travelled north of the San Francisco Bay on a causeway , while climbing over 2 small coastal mountains. Our long, very hilly challenging first day ended in Fairfield, CA (of all places!) as all the riders came thru with a real sense of accomplishment.
The middle photo shows Andrew, in the distance, cresting our last climb. Andrew, from England, is a retired detective, and has been to the U.S. several times. Below is
Brian, who you see "disappearing into the fog", in San Francisco. Brian is also from England. This is his first trip to America, and we love his accent, sense of humor, and readiness to experience everything.

Bicycling. Across the USA for Livestrong Day 0


My name is Dave Moore, and I'm riding my bicycle across the USA this summer to raise money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Our ride started on Sunday, June 3rd in San Francisco., and will end on Tuesday July 24th in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

About 25 other cyclists will be riding across the country, and perhaps 20 plus more folks will be doing part of the journey. We will ride an average of 80 plus miles a day for 47 days, with 5 rest days in between (about every 8 to 10 days on average).

America by Bicycle is the touring company with whom we ride. Our tour leaders include Andy, a strong rider (and lovely guy) from Sacramento, who has led several tours; Michelle, our co-leader, surrogate mother, and ever faster-riding New Yorker, Gerard, our mechanic who also rides fast, fixes all kinds of bikes, and knows more music than Casey Casem (sp?), and Tom, from Indiana, who also helps with bikes, food, and tells great jokes (and others as well!). We're lucky to have these four staff members!

A little about me? I'm 48 years old, married to a lovely woman (Carol), father to a lovely daughter (Rebecca-Bekki), son to two lovely parents (Carey and Pat). Owner to three lovely pets...yada, yada, yada.

A family doctor for 22 years (including residency), I live in Gettysburg, PA and practice in Fairfield, PA with Dr. Andy Farkas and a lovely staff. A dedicated (if not fast) cyclist, I've ridden 2,000 to 4,000 miles each of the past five years. A cross country trip was planned with friends, but when they couldn't pursue it this year, I chose to ride with AbB.

My mother survived breast cancer, and my father-in-law died from esophageal cancer. I've also helped many patients prevent, detect, and "beat" cancer, but have seen many succumb to it as well. I've been inspired by Lance Armstrong, the 7 time Tour de France champion, who survived metastatic testicular cancer, and I'm raising money for his foundation.

I urge you to consider giving a tax-deductable donation to the LAF. You can do so by visiting my web page at

I hope you enjoy following the ride with me!