Monday, May 31, 2010

Day 12: 62 miles to Abilene, KS

62 miles to Abilene, KS to: Eisenhower Library, Museum and Boyhood Home, Greyhound Racing Hall of Fame. Todays picture is of Jan, Me, and Janice. The lovely lady's representing CrossRoads.

Distance: 62.90
Total elevation: 844
Calories: 2936
Average speed: 11.4
Time on bike: 5:31

There is a place close to heaven. Its name is Braum’s Ice Cream. It’s better than DQ. I know, it’s hard to believe. But, it’s true. They have the best yogurt with Butterfinger crumbs mixed in. Yummy! It also makes a great recovery snack.

One of the staffers, Mack, had to return home due to an ill family member. Mack is amazing and SAGs the group every mile. I will truly miss him. Rick is one of the mechanics on the trip. He and I are both Texas proud. He has also left the tour for a few days due to work obligations. (He will return the day I leave.)

Some topics I purposefully do not blog about. Call me superstious, but there is one topic I will not address until after the trip. More to come on this…

Roy has once again worked his magic and has arranged for complimentary ice cream at the Applebee restaurants- for the group, two nights in a row. He also has the massage therapist picking us up at the hotel, driving us to her studio then returning us back after our massages. Who knows what else will be in store for our much needed rest day. All you have to do is ask. Anything this possible.

As we travel further from LA, we seem to be reaching rock star status. The manager of Applebee’s had us all sign a menu and took our picture. He will frame the menu and the picture is to hang in the restaurant.

Yea, and right now... starts the rest day!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Day 11: 63 miles to McPherson, KS

Appropriately for Memorial Day weekend, the flag is flown at half mast. We had overcast and wind for the first 30 miles out of town and to the first SAG. The wind let up and the overcast provided some nice shade and cool temps.

Distance: 64.21
Total elevation: 795
Calories: 3097
Average speed: 12.8
Time on bike: 5:00

Depending on the town we stay the night at, there is not much to do or see when we get to town. On the road, we ride the back country roads with not many stores and most places are out of service range for 20 miles at a time.

In Kansas, there are fields of wheat and mostly flat roads. The winds can be gentle or change direction along with the curve of the roads. I don’t check the weather, winds, or temperatures because we ride no matter the weather. Minus lightning and tornados.

I have seen smashed turtles, and turtles walking across the road. Plump snakes, baby snakes, and flat snakes. An injured raccoon and a stranded deer. A rabbit ran in my path. The road kill include a skunk and a possible pregnant fox.

There is an abundance of meadow lark. As I ride, I work on my whistle and had the pleasure of conversing with one. Our chirps went back and forth 4 or 5 times.

I have lost track of time. It seems like forever ago that I was at work and in Albuquerque. I find it most difficult to be in a different room every night and not being in my bed. Thank you for the comments and posts. It’s wonderful knowing that you following me and keeping me close to your heart.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Day 10: 86 miles to Great Bend, KS

86 miles to the Santa Fe Trail’s historic Pawnee Rock, Offerle CafĂ© Cinnamon Rolls

Distance: 84.95
Total elevation: 1231
Calories: 4388
Average speed: 11.6
Time on bike: 7:21

Today I felt a little sluggish and I maybe fighting a sinus infection. I was slow today but still enjoyed the ride.

We passed by the half way point between San Francisco and New York. Attached is the engine that marks the spot.

Roy slowed the guys down for a few miles and I was able to enjoy the company. The weather has been good, nothing to complain about. Me and my bike are both holding up and looking forward to the rest day on Tuesday.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Day 9: 83 miles to Dodge City, KS

83 miles to the Dalton Gang Hideout, Boot Hill Museum, Can Can Show and Gun Fight.

Distance: 84.01
Total elevation: 1070
Calories: 4429
Average speed: 13.9
Time on bike: 6:01

He did it again. I don’t know why it still surprises me, but it my sleepiness I got on the bike and started pedaling yet again this morning. It was an awesome day with a breeze to push me to the hotel at 12:30. That was with a stop at the Dalton Museum at the half way point. My legs are not fast enough to keep up with the first ones in and with any cycling group I am in; I end up right in the middle.

The birds chirp me a love song.
The wheat fields wave to me as I pass.
The gravel winks at me.
Lil’ Lady purrs softly with each pedal stroke.
The cows and horses stop and stare.

Roy and I have become friends since day 1. He walks around like he owns the world and charms all in his path. He flashes a smile and before we have blinked, a car from the owner or relative of the hotel shows up to give us a ride. His philosophy is: just ask. You never know if you don’t ask.

That is so true with anything we want out of life.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Day 8: 39 miles to Liberal, KS 39 miles

The fifth State Line Crossing, Land of Oz, Yellow Brick Road

Distance: 39.36
Total elevation: 414
Calories: 2254
Average speed: 14.7
Time on bike: 2:40

Every morning I ask Him to give me what I need to make it through the day. He does.

The evening can be hard as far as recovery goes. There isn’t a night that goes by where I don’t think I can ride the next day. My body is still vibrating from the road, my legs hurt, and my shoulders are sore. But, I do as I am told and drink chocolate milk and eat my fill of food.

Something miraculous happens through the night. I wake up ready to pedal. When I get on my bike, I feel great. My body seems to be adjusting to the routine and the miles become more bearable.

My legs are in the grove and I am able to see get ride time with the others.

Compared to the previous days, today was a short 40 mile ride. It is nice to be in the hotel room early to catch up.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Day 7: 72 miles to Guymon, OK

The Fourth State Line Crossing, Oklahoma Panhandle. Two states in two days, it feels like we are making progress.

Distance: 71.9
Total elevation: 619
Calories: 3335
Average speed: 12.8
Time on bike: 5:36

Before going to bed last night, I looked in the mirror and saw a different person. True, physically I may become more fit but I am changing into a new person. I am going to be a new Barbie when I get to the end.

I am not sure how many miles to date I have pedaled and I am not really counting. I guess I could go back and count from the blog, but it’s easier on my brain to not know.

I miss home. Not the things that I thought I would miss but the people. The friends, family, and companions that make up my day. Reading all the comments make me so happy. They are inspiration and keep me motivated. I want to speak to each of you personally and thank you! You are so encouraging.

The game I play to keep my mind occupied is to think of a music artist that starts with each letter of the alphabet starting with the letter A. A: ABBA, B: Boy George, C: The Cars. Get it? I am stuck on letter X. Any suggestions?

Any one up for XC11? Next year, the plan is to ride from Champagne to Boston. I need some company out here!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Day 6: 96 miles to Dalhart, TX 96 and Feed Lots

Distance: 96
Total elevation: 1747
Calories: 4308
Average speed: 11.7
Time on bike: 7:03

Woo hoo, back in Texas- babe! Today was Texas jersey day and I was sportin’ my colors.

At about mile 55 through 67 I was having a hard time but I kept pedaling. One pedal stroke at a time. At the Texas sign, I laid on the ground to rest. Some time after the SAG, I started feeling better and muscled up the strength to continue riding.

There wasn’t much to see but a large cow farm. Yesterday I had the wind to keep me alert, today there was nothing. It was just me and the thoughts in my head.

I am hoping that two back to back centuries will get me over the hump and into the grove of riding, eating, and recovery. Repeat.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Day 5: 109 miles to Tucumcari, NM 109

I thought the desert was over with and left my camel back at home. Yikes, what I have I gotten myself into?!

Distance: 108
Total elevation: 3829
Calories: 4395
Average speed: 13.7
Time on bike: 7:03

My numbers are for 97.7 miles. I turned off my Garmin to save some battery. I knew it would be a long day.

It was a windy day! 20 mph winds with guts of 30 mph, or more. I rode solo; there wasn’t much to listen to but the wind. The winds took me all over the place and had me gripping the handle bars for dear life. There is no ride or any wind in San Antonio that could compare to the magnitude of the wind.

There were breathtaking views but I didn’t look long for fear of falling over. The first 50 miles went fast, in about 3 hours.

I am certainly not the fastest one here on tour. As a matter of fact, I am the last one in. In all fairness, they are two riders that started early. I am ok with this. I am enjoying my ride and the time on the bike.

Accumulatively from last year and this year, I have ridden 1000 miles across America. Today was a milestone ride.

Ben, Glad your following! Would you ask Ed if he packed my flag? My flag didn't make it over with the bike. It started with me and was hoping to keeping it going. If its still at the shop, that would be really cool too.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Day 4: 72 miles to Las Vegas

The highest point on tour: Glorieta Pass at 7570’ above sea level, Pecos Indian Ruins.

Distance: 72.70
Total elevation: 3637
Calories: 3605
Average speed: 11.8
Time on bike: 6:08

The thing about starting after the group has already been riding for 12 days is that most already have their friends to ride with. I rode 44 miles on my own. It wasn’t so bad but I kept thinking of every thing I could do to get me some music and regretted leaving my blackberry at home.

Thankfully, Greg rode up next to me and kept me company up the slow climb to the hotel.

My booty is kinda sore. Ya know like how it feels when you start the new riding season. The saddle is breaking me in where I should be breaking in the saddle.

My bike is doing me right. The handlebars and adjustments after the crash are good! (Thanks Ben and Ed!) It’s my left knee and toes that tingle once in a while. I changed out the specialized insert (only in my left shoe) and placed the standard insert in. At mile 20, I took the sole out and rode without a sole. My foot moved around too much so tomorrow, the insert will go back in.

I loved finishing at 1:30 because I had plenty of time to stop at Dairy Queen and already had my lunch. Ops, and there is my distraction…. Buckies Break!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Day 3: Rest Day in Old Town Santa Fe

No rest only sight seeing with da fam. Getting excited about the next 9 riding days. I am only awake because I am waiting for my laundry.

The day started with breakfast at an organic joint followed by a stop at The Chapel Lorentto. The stair way has no mark of nails.

Then off to Chimayo, 35 miles from Santa Fe, to get holy dirt. We left some money in a casino and I am exhausted! Rest over visiting with my parents. If you ask me tomorrow if I regret this, I may say yes. In 15 days, I will say I miss my folks and don’t regret the time.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Day 2: ABQ to Santa Fe, NM

Distance: 66.21
Total elevation: 3968
Calories: 3440
Average speed: 10.9
Time on bike: 6:03

My apologies up front if my stories are short or cut off abruptly. A blinking light may catch my attention or like yesterday, the riders coming into the hotel grabbed my time.

Mom, Dad, and Robert are here with me until Sunday. I have to get some good luvin’ while they are here because after that I have to get my own water and carry my own bags after that.

Rich, from XC09 (the local in ABQ) came to the hotel, stayed for route rap, and took a group of us for dinner.

Darrell and I spent some time riding together but his 6 days of riding proved to me that I have some catching up to do. Overall, I feel strong. My knee is grumpy from fighting the hills but at least I can still walk.

I spent the first 20 miles catching my breath. In San Antonio, I am at 323 feet elevation. Starting in ABQ, it was 5000 feet elevation.

Tomorrow is a rest day and we plan to take Mom around Old Santa Fe for some shopping and sight seeing. For now, I must hydrate, stretch and rest.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Day 1: Travel Day ABQ

My last night in San Antonio left me tired and dehydrated. Margarita was calling my name. After meeting with her, I meet with jack later on that night.

Today is a travel day so I will try to catch up with sleep on the plain. Or, maybe my excitement will supersede and keep me awake.

My total luggage is 19 pounds. Not bad for this girl. Once I get settled into my routine, I will figure out what I left out. One purchase I will like to get is the t-shirt in the town of Hooker that reads, “All my friends are hookers.” I have to find a cleaver way to roll in and stuff it in my jersey pocket for that days ride.

I am excited to meet my new riding friends and hope to be the welcoming committee at the hotel as they start arriving.

The map shows the distance that has been traveled and if you look close, the pink line shows the route we will be riding.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Perfect Afternoon

As I wait for departure, I find myself looking for the next big adventure. I am reminded of the open air and the freedom riding across America can bring. It is a feeling of freedom.

My bags are packed and my heart longs for the challenge of testing my limits. There is nothing left for me to do here at home and all I am left with is time. There is only time to ponder what is important to me with moments to take in and afternoons to waste.

Robert had me running around town with him showing houses. I feel asleep on the shaded porch. The sky was clear, the wind was soft, and the grass was delicately swaying in the wind.

The cyclist in me noticed the tree branches moving in the wind. It was a bit too windy for a bike ride. But does the weather actually matter. The day would be just as peaceful if there were rain. That baby’s smile would be just as bright with thunder rolling in the distance.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Need versus Want

As I mentally prepare for “the trip” I realize the wants and needs that I absolutely require.

Bike shorts
Cloths to wear after the ride
Water bottle

Nice to have and will take:
Foam roller
Face cream
Nail polish
Nail polish remover

Things I am going to miss:
My pillow
My family. Mom, Dad, and Big Sis.
Hugs from my nieces
The comfort of recovering on my couch
A room full of cloths and shoe choices
Watching TIVO
Sleeping in my bed
The garden
Food conveniently in the kitchen
Riding with the ECT (Employee Cycling Team)
Familiar roads
Coffee crew
Washing machine-in my house
Hair straighter and big sexy hair spray

Things that I can used to being without….
Wearing a watch

Friday, May 14, 2010


How am I going to fit all this in 2 bags?

Do you think Tracy will notice if I take an extra bag?

Seriously, the yellow one is last years bag and I will send it home once I start riding. It holds all my bike stuff. It has all the things that I will carry on my bike and on the plane.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Yes, I realize have not yet left but I am already homesick. Before leaving for work, I crawled back into bed and watched Robert sleep. I am emotional like that.
I can not help but think about all the things I am grateful for and the people I will miss while I am away.

At spin class, I was climbing Mt. Mingus. I closed my eyes and moved the setting to the hardest setting, found my pace, and climbed. When I couldn’t climb any more, I remembered getting off my bike to admire the view. I caught my breath and climbed some more, with a huge smile on my face.

Rich will meet me sometime next Thursday and is available to take me to the nearest bike shop in case anything is needed for my bike. He tells me the weather is crazy in ABQ. It snowed a week ago. One day it will be 45 degrees and the next day it will be 90 degrees. There are other days, in May, where the “March winds” are blowing at 60 MPH.

My parents and Robert will be flying out with me. They will follow me up to Santa Fe where we will spend the rest day together. It means the world that Mom will be seeing me on part of the trip. Their support has been tremendous!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Almost That Time

Friday, I picked up my bike with a new wheel and handle bars. Saturday, Robert and I rode about 4 miles out before he broke a spoke. A whopping 9 miles total route, but that is all I could handle with the bum wrist. Sunday, I rode from my mother’s house to Robert’s mother’s house. A total of 14.96 miles, one way.

Today, I will box up my bike and ship it out to ABQ. Last minute changes to the handlebars are sorta freakin’ me out but at this point there is not much I can do. The road rash has healed up and my wrist only hurts when I move it in that certain way.

For the past few months, I have been getting my bills sorted out, purchasing travel size personal items, and I still have a list of things to be done before I leave. I leave in a week and a half and I still do not have pajamas. (I forgot them last year. Tracy did not have them on the packing list.)

As the riders depart from LA, I am so excited about what they will experience and hope that the attitude of the weather brings only fond memories.

This year I need a better way to remember my hotel room number, as it changes from day to day. Last year, I kept the key in the sleeve. The floors and hallways start looking the same. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


It is so cliché but I feel better everyday. The first two days were the worst but I found that moving around kept my body from getting too stiff. Keeping the road rash moist with ointment seems to be the trick.

Taking Roxy for her walk yesterday and getting on my cruiser, gave me on the confidence I needed to hold on to the handle bars and feel the bumps on the road.

Sad that my bike will not be ready until Friday, all I can do is go out dancing and stay up late to watch Spurs playoff games. (I talk so big. I end up falling asleep by 9:30.)

Robert has been the best help. Saturday he helped get me dressed and undressed, he helped change my bandages, took me to get food, AND he did NOT laugh at the way I was eating with my left and only hand.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Fight With The Road

Fought with the road and the road won. Went out for a 65 mile ride and 18.86 miles in, Grant and I got too close and the winds got the best of us.

Grant’s new gloves, shorts and jersy were torn as my bike padded our fall. In shock and numb, all I think about is the trip. How will I recover and will my bike be ok?

Worried that my wrist is broken, I wanted to get some peace of mind. My wrist is only sprained, confirmed by the ER doctor.

Bike damage is bad. Handlebars, wrap, gear covers, three spokes, and seat. I have a sprained wrist, road rash on knee, thigh, elbow, an ache body, and sore ego. I guess it could be worse. I am more upset about the miles I did not get in and the duration that it now takes to type.