AXC - The bike

AXC - The bike

Monday, May 5, 2014

The daily: Good / Bad / Unexpected

This was something that occured to me as I was traveling to the start of the bike trip, but didn't know the best way to implement it. 

Each day, I'm going to post about something good, something not so good, and something that was unexpected. The way I'll do it is by editing/updating THIS blog entry. So if you're curious about following this bit, you should bookmark this entry seperately, and check back once in a while. 

#AXC June 3, tour day 31
In Eminence, Mo. 

I'm the bit that cried wolf, because I keep saying 'this is the hardest day ever!' But... whew, today was a doozy. 

Daily G/B/U:
Good - despite the grueling day, it was still epically beautiful. 
Bad - You know when I said it was hot as the 3rd ring of hell two days ago? That was a winter wonderland compared to today. And the hills! Oy, the hills. 
Unexpected - I really didn't think the dial went up to 11 on how hard a day could be. 

June 2, tour day 30
In Johnsons Shut-ins state park, MO
It was an easy day, only 38 miles. Still pretty hilly though. 

Daily G/B/U:
Good - The forecast called for rain, and it was threatening to rain all day, but it didn't rain. The cloud cover kept the temp down. 
Bad - There were no stores nearby, so we had to buy dinner in the morning and carry it. Dinner was canned salmon (didn't know that existed!) with powder mashed potatoes and canned peas. It was as delicious as it sounds. :-/
Unexpected - Since the day was short, we stopped in Pilot Knob and visited a civil war battle museum and old fort. 

June 1, tour day 29
In Farmington, MO. 

We crossed the mighty Mississippi River into Missouri. 
The day was endlessly beautiful. 

Daily G/B/U:
Good - My cousin Stacy came all the way down from St. Louis to visit me! And I got to meet her daughter Allie too! 
Bad - Today was hot like the third ring of hell. 
Unexpected - We stopped at a brewery for a late ride lunch and refreshments. I had the best draft root beer ever! 
Also, the Bike Route 76 signs are back! It's SO nice to have the route markers again. 

May 31, tour day 28 (4 weeks!)
In Chester, IL. On the banks of the Mississippi River. 

Today was a great riding day. We took a suggested alternate route along the river and had 40 flat miles with almost no traffic to cruise along at a good clip. 

Daily G/B/U:
Good - Too much to list! Great riding day. Got in so early I didn't know what to do. 
We're staying at a county park with a public pool, so we went swimming, it was fantastic. 
Bad - The 3 mile hill into Chester was so slow that the bugs were swarming around my head. 
Unexpected - OMG! My bike computer (odometer/speedometer) started working again! It hasn't worked since the second day. 
I fiddled with it yesterday, and apparently whatever I did worked!

May 30, tour day 27
Still in Carbondale, IL

Slept so well last night! Ahhhh. 
Taking full advantage of the rest day. Slept in late. Took The Beast (my bike) to a shop for some TLC. 
Saw a movie, and shopped for some gear I need to replace/upgrade. 

Daily G/B/U:
Good - Feeling rested. *Loved* the new xmen movie!
Bad - Trapped in a T.J. Max while it storms outside. 
Silver lining - found 3 things I needed at less than 1/2 price! I had put off buying them because it was more than I wanted to spend. 
Unexpected - Two people on the tour (an older married couple) are leaving the tour! They've had enough, and are throwing in the towel. This really caught everyone by surprise. 

May 29, tour day 26
In Carbondale, IL
Good riding day, but 110% humidity, like bicycling in a steam room!
Either I felt better today, or the hills weren't as hard, but either way it was a better day than Weds. 
We stay at a real hotel tonight, and have a rest day in Carbondale on Friday. 

Daily G/B/U:
Good - ahhh, this is the life. 
Bad - I was sweating all day like a whore in church.
Unexpected - In Carbondale, doing mundane things like shopping at walmart and having a milkshake at a chain restaurant felt weird.

May 28, tour day 25
In Eddyville, IL. 
Dammit Illinois! You were supposed to be better than your lower, slower neighbor Kentucky! But you have the same horrible hills! 
At least my cohorts are happy, KY was an almost entirely dry state, but the booze flows freely here!

Daily G/B/U:
Good - the group found a bar 1 mile from camp and got totally shit faced. 
It took them until now to realize I don't drink. To their credit, nobody tried to push alcohol on me, as some often do. (People think it's a game/challenge to get a non-drinker drunk.)
Bad - I was completely wiped out after the day. 
Unexpected - We stayed at a horse campground, in a "cabin" that turned out to be a trailer/mobile home. Another first!
Bonus unexpected! - I got to sleep in a real bed, that turned out to be 'BYO sheets.' Sigh. 

log May 27, tour day 24
It was a 73 mile day, coming off an 81 mile day. I know the numbers start to blend together after a while and lose their meaning, so I'll point out that we typically average about 60. Anything over that is long. 
The weather was nicer yesterday, but it was still extremely difficult. The last 5-7 miles into town were just all uphill. 

Daily G/B/U:
Good - For most of the ride I felt really good, strong, and upbeat. 
Bad - The last 7 miles really kicked my ass. 
Unexpected - I helped pick up groceries, and right and right as we checked out, it started pouring. Like, raining sideways. We waited it out, but it took a half hour. 

#AXC log May 26, tour day 23
In Utica, KY. 
I have biked over ONE THOUSAND MILES!!
Today was a very tough day, 81 hilly miles, with 4600 ft of climbing. 
I'll elaborate in a blog post, look for that in a couple days. 

Daily G/B/U:
Good - I finished the ride today and didn't die. 
Bad - I keep redefining 'really f###ing hard.'
Unexpected - Great Scott! I traveled one hour backwards in time!

log May 25, tour day 22
In White Mills, KY
Easy 61 mile day (65 with detour). Not too hilly, nice roads, fair weather. 
I was cooking dinner tonight, but there's no store anywhere near our campsite, so we had to buy all the groceries in the morning and the group carried them. It also required planning a meal that wouldn't spoil in 10 hours. Made spaghetti and sausage. Nailed it. 

Daily G/B/U:
Good - cooked dinner with one other rider and we really did a good job. Some fresh sautéd veggies, and a big pasta dinner. Lots of happy riders. (Although, we're not a discriminating lot.)
Bad - got rained on a little. This wasn't actually bad, felt kinda nice. But I now need to re-lube my chain. 
Unexpected - I'm getting noticeably worn down. And tomorrow is a really long day. Hope a good night's rest helps. 

log May 24, tour day 21
Wherefore art thou, Aaron?
Thou art in Bardstown, KY. Huzzah! 
Day 21, three weeks in!
This was another great riding day. Short, perfect weather and scenery. Bardstown is a cute and quaint burg. 

Daily G/B/U:
Good - Just another day in paradise. 
Bad - My sandwich at lunch was a little dry. 
Unexpected - I was so quick today, I got to camp just before 1p! I don't know what to do with all this free time!

log may 23, tour day 20
In Harrodsburg, KY
Today was an easy day, only 50 miles and 2600 feet of climbing. Easy peasy. 

Daily G/B/U:
Good - on the patio of an old style soda jerk (and bar), listening to a couple guys from our tour playing guitar while we all chill. 
Bad - we are staying the world's crappiest motel (because the YMCA is closed today.)
Unexpected - Today was possibly the best riding day of the your yet. Perfect weather, beautiful roads and scenery, and easy rolling hills. Just perfect. 

May 22, tour day 19
In Berea, KY
Had a layover day. We're a bit outside of town, so I didn't get to see Berea. But we had a relaxing day at camp. Was woken up by severe thunderstorms, which cleared up by 8a, and then the day was clear and beautiful. We did some much needed bike maintenance.

Daily G/B/U:
Good - thunderstorms overnight while in my tent. Intense and exciting!
Bad - Banged my head on the pavilion we're at, got a small cut. Hurt like a mothrr*****. 
Unexpected - We took a field trip to the movies! (Godzilla.) We rode there in the back of a pickup! 

riding log May 21, tour day 18
In Berea, KY. 
Today was easier than the last two days. Only 52 miles, and the hills weren't as brutal. There were some short but very steep spots where I did have to walk my bike up. 
We have a much needed rest day tomorrow. 

Daily G/B/U:
Good - It was a shorter riding day and I was in camp by 3, as opposed to 6 or 7p the last few days. 
Bad - After yesterday, my legs were all used up. I struggled, even though it was an easier day. 
Unexpected - I stopped at a random person's house to ask for water, and he turned out to be a cyclist supported (with a sign out front that said biker friendly) and he gave me a couple bottles of water. Just what I needed to keep going at that point. 

May 19, trip day 16. 
In Hindman, KY. 
This was a brutal day. Are you getting tired of me saying this is hard? Because I'm getting tired of saying it. But every time I think it's really hard, it gets more so. 
Today was the longest day so far, 67 miles, 6000 vertical ft climbed. Took 12 hours point to point (maybe 9 hours in the saddle.) Rough estimate of 8000 - 9000 calories burned. 

Daily G/B/U:
Good - the weather was great, it started off cold, but once the sun came out it was ideal riding weather. 
Bad - the hills were so steep, and we had 4 peaks to crest. 
Unexpected - I was really strong all day. Didn't bonk or fade, even when other riders were dragging. 

May 18, trip day 15.
In Breaks Interstate Park on the VA/KY border. 
Today was a shorter ride day of only 30 miles, but the hills felt much steeper than usual. 

Daily G/B/U:
Good - slept really well last night, despite the cold. Made up a little for a sleep deficit the night before. 
Bad - it was stupid-cold this morning. It should not be 39° in Virginia in May. (Upside though, it warmed up by noon.)
Unexpected - short ride day meant arriving at our lodging early, which gave me a lot of time for chores. Also, the view from the room is spectacular. 

#AXC LOG, May 14. 
Staying in a presbyterian church in Wytheville, Va. 
Today was a good day; gently rolling hills, pretty scenery, and better weather. Plus a great lunch stop. 

The daily G/B/U:
Good - everything that sucked about yesterday was better today. 
Bad - I just locked myself out if the room I'm staying in. 
Unexpected - We stopped for lunch at an awesome restaurant that really supports TransAm riders! There was even an attached bike shop!

May 7;
Long and hilly 55 mile ride today. But the route was on country back roads, as opposed to the more heavily traveled roads we were on yesterday. 

The daily G/B/U:
Good - after the long (but beautiful) ride today, dinner was homemade cheeseburgers and ice-cream for dessert!
Bad - Today was a little hilly, with some steep sections. Not bad, but it was the worse that happened!
Unexpected - Tonight we're stating at a farm. Mr. Hale works with the ACA and let's us camp on his farm. He also opened up his house to us to use the facilities. 

#AXC log, May 6:
Easy 30 mile day. Set up camp at an established campground. Nice showers and even laundry facilities. 

The daily G/B/U:
Good - we stopped at this hole in the wall BBQ place and had an awesome lunch. 
Bad - not much bad today at all. It was a bit cold to start and I was shivering, but warmed up in 20 minutes. 
Unexpected - One of my best friends from high school, Marc, lives in Richmond, Va., and he came by where we were staying last night to visit with me and meet the group!

May 5, Day 1
Good - This was the ride where we finally headed west, and it felt great to really get started. 
Bad - My front wheel/fork is a little wobbly, I think because I have just so much stuff on it. I'm going to try and move a few pounds to the back, but even so it's not a big deal. 
Unexpected - Our evening stop is at a methodist church where they are cooking dinner for us and putting us up in their hostel, set up specifically for cyclists on the TransAm trail. (Our tour makes a 'donation' to the churck for the meal and the accomodations. So it works out for everyone.)

May 4, Day 0;
Good - The weather and the setting for the shakedown ride was litterally perfect. I could not have come up with a better way to kick things off. 
Bad - I've been having some foot pain, and this is making me nervous. 
Unexpected - There are no vegitarians in the group! That means when we cook our communal meals, we don't have to make special accomodations! In fact, the only 2 hangups are a mild peanut allergy and a major shellfish allergy. Shrimp fried in peanut oil, but besieds that it should be easy to work around!

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