Tuesday, June 29, 2010

First Commute of the Year

Bike, lights, water bottle.
Cloths for the day, and socks. (I always forget socks.)
Bike loaded.
Thunder and lightning. Check.

Note to self: Don't forget to check the weather the night before a ride and for the week in this case.

Between my fathers being in the hospital the past week and taking Mom to her doctor’s appointments I seem to have NOT noticed that Alex is brewing in the gulf and storms are forecasted for the entire week here in San Antonio. Riding will be inside for the week.

Commuting will be on hold until next week and my commuter friends will be back in town to guard me on the ride home for that half mile stretch on Huebner Road. This is a good thing to wait for my poesy.

I miss my XC09 friends. I am gonna look up you and call you soon. XC10 rides, welcome back home. How are you adjusting to being back? Isn't it everything you dreamed it would be and more?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Boston XC10

The XC10 group is fast approaching Boston. I am elated at their success. Each of you is spectacular in my book. We are among the few that ever attempt the challenge of riding across America. XC09 and XC10, remember me this time next year. I will be standing where you stand.

Last year I remember being miserably sad to not be on my bike. This year I am happy that I was able to ride 1300 miles across America and now more than ever, I want to send Tracy my deposit for next year because there is no doubt in my mind that I will be on my way to Boston next year, June 8th. My family is already making plans to meet in Boston next year.

My life has once again caught me off guard. Riding hundreds of miles, with lots of time to meditate, helped prepare me for the change in life cycle and taking care of my parents. Between my sister and me, we are tag teaming each other to spend the days with my folks. I am thankful that their home is in a location that makes it easy to hop on my bike to get miles in.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Mark

The cruelest joke my sister would tell me is that I was adopted.
Frantically I would search through the family photo album look
for a picture, looking for proof of baby pictures with my parents.

It is the mark behind his left knee and the curve of his pinkie
toes. I have his nose. It is a boxer nose. When we stand side
by side, there is no mistake that I am my father’s daughter.

He is quiet and shy. He does not talk much. When he does
speak, I know it is important.

Dad has worked most of his life and did not have the luxuries
that some are offered. His pride kept him strong and
courageous so that he could provide the best for his family.
He often tells me how proud he is of me but it is the other
way around. I am proud to call him my father.

The military has taken him to two wars. I remember the second,
desert storm. It’s hard to forget a time when your family is not

These days he moves a little slower but he character remains the
same. He is a hard worker with pride, honesty, and loyalty. I love
you Dad, Happy Birthday and Happy Father’s Day.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


It is a reunion of sorts. It is like seeing a friend that I have not seen in awhile. Though it has only been a week, I missed seeing my bike and riding.

As I drove to the shop, I started crying with excitement. It was an overwhelming feeling to realize the magnitude of what I have just accomplished and I am jumping out of my skin to get on the road again. My bike has some mud on the frame, from the last ride, that I was too lazy to wash off. It seems so bare without a flag waving in the back.

Luckily, Jason from the shop is able to order the rubber part of my sunglasses that I lost 3 days before I left. Shoes are good but stinky. Nothing is falling apart so I guess I will keep them and store them in the garage when I am not wearing them.

The first few days back were rough but I am slowly feeling back to my old self, just more laid back. My legs want to get some good dancin’ in followed by a 70 mile ride with my faithful ride partner. Because of Father's Day, it may end up being a 40 or 50 miler.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Mom said I seem different. She says that I have changed. She knows me best.

I feel lost and do not feel like I fit into the world that I once belonged. I walk around in a cloud with no specific purpose.

Being on the road is so blissful. It is magical to be living a dream and getting through the wet roads and steep hills that make the challenge a reality.

This is where the confusion and the questions start.

How do I bring that magic into my every day? I have everything at my disposal and I now know that anything is possible. There is nothing holding me back but my own responsibilities.

My bike has yet to arrive. I anticipate it being delivered and ready to ride on Wednesday. I want it back now! My brain is already working on a new commuter route so I can get back to pedaling soon. I am even asking around at the local races. Really, I just rode 1300 miles and I cannot wait to ride more.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Day 21: Travel day and going home

It was an early morning out. Earlier than even waking up for ride days. The roads are wet with a slight wind. Who am I fooling? I am flying not riding.

I hate good byes. They always make me cry. Two days before I left, I started to say farewell and down played how much I would miss the community meals, the good mornings, icescream after dinner and the SAG stops. Sorry if I did not stay in the lobby long enough to get to each of you but know that I was thinking about you.

Over the past 21 days, I feel like I have changed and I do want to be different. I do not want to stress or be anxious. When Tracy hugged me good-bye she said, “Your so cool and layed back”. It was good hear. That is exactly what I want.

There is something about XC riders. I may have said it already but it is worth repeating. Everyone takes care of each other and genuinely cares about the other. Each XC tour is different and takes on the personality of the riders in the group. I am lucky I get this exeperince three times over.

As of today, the total miles complete across America is 2224. This time next year, I plan to complete the journey and ride to Boston. XC11 all the way. EFI!

Please be patient with me as I adjust to the real world. All my body knows is to ride. Eat to fuel and pedal. I seem to have forgotten how to use the restroom and flush a toilet. It is slowly coming back to me.

Last but not least… Mister Italian waiter from a few towns ago, if I were 13 years younger I would have accepted your date and introduced you to the hotel you have never been in. Thank you for making me feel young and desirable again.

I have had the best time of my life and truly believe that XC is the best thing I have ever been a part of and the best thing that I have ever done for myself. My wish is that you have a dream and that you are able to make your dreams your reality.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Day 20: 87 miles to Champaign, IL

Distance: 71.87
Total elevation: 924
Calories: 3179
Average speed: 12.5
Time on bike: 5:45

About half way through the ride, we got rain. It has been hard for me this year because my rides have been solo. It is a different group of riders this year and most enjoy riding on their own. I have always had a ride partner so this was a difficult change for me.

It is a bitter sweet day for me. It is my last ride day and I am sad to leave but excited to get back home. I am glad that it rained because the rain blended away my tears.

Mentally, I couldn’t stay focused and the rain made it hard for me to want to keep riding. I have ridden this whole way any way, what is a few miles in the van. I believe I played it smart. 3 riders went down on the railroad tracks so I am thankful to be all in one piece with a bike with all its parts.

My bike is already boxed up and in route to be mailed back home. Lil’ Lady, I will see you in about 5-7 days. I hope to keep on riding and commuting real soon.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Day 19: 107 miles to Springfield, IL

Day 19: 107 miles to Springfield, IL. Harrold and Roy must have made a secret pact and decided to slow down and ride me into Springfield starting at mile 40. One was in front of me and the other in the back the entire time. It was nice not having to pull and be pushed in for most of the miles.

Distance: 108.5
Total elevation: Ops, deleted it before I wrote it down. I believe it was about 3000 feet in the first 30 miles of the day.
Calories: 5125
Average speed: 13.0
Time on bike: 7:31

Thanks Tom for snapping this photo right before crossing the bridge.

As I ride through all these towns, I realize that it’s the weather and the people that make the trip. I have to search my heart and find the will inside me so that I can accomplish what I have set out to do.

This was an easy century ride for me. I had a pull and great company to guide me in. Not only that, a guest in the lobby who came by to say hi. It was a highlight of the trip for me.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Day 18: 74 miles to Quincy, IL

Today marks 2000 miles and the seventh State Line Crossing along with riding a bridge over the mighty Mississippi River.

Distance: 75.53
Total elevation: 2040
Calories: 4039
Average speed: 14.2
Time on bike: 5:18

The television almost never has anything worth watching. I started listening to the radio to get the music back in my life. Last night, I went to bed with thunderstorms and tornado watches. The radio test signal came on every 30 minutes or so.

This morning I asked The Big Guy Upstairs to dry the road and cool the wind. While He was at it, He turned the fan slightly at my back. I’m telling you, He always gives me what I need. It may not always be what I ask but He gives me what I need. At times, it could be someone to converse with or something that makes me smile. Today, it was a serenade.

The morning was cool. It was so peaceful watching a mare nurse her colt as I rode out of town. I have to pinch myself to make sure this is really happening. I am awe struck contemplating the miles I have accumulated.

It has not always been easy and not always pretty. This morning was the first time that I did NOT wake up before my alarm. It’s so easy to turn off the alarm and go back to sleep. We choose to eat our way across America and bike in between.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Day 17: 76 miles to Kirksville, MO

148 “Roller Coaster” hills in the rain. I didn’t think I could stand the wet roads but I did- and I made it through. The cloudy skies made the temps cooler and made the ride more bearable. According to a bike thermostat, it was 107 degrees yesterday and 83 today.

Distance: 75
Total elevation: 3838
Calories: 3794
Average speed: 10.5
Time on bike: 7:06

Today marks a first…

After getting on my bike after the first stop, there it was.

My first flat.

The monkey is off my back and I am happier now that I can blog about it. It’s a relief to not have to worry about it. It was not that bad. Pat was there to help find the glass and help with the back tire gears and breaks.

Here is Missouri, there is not much to see but green fields that go on for miles. There are cute farm houses but no cattle. There are just hills. Lots of them. Up and down. Down and up.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Day 16: 86 miles to Chillicothe, MO

Distance: 86.54
Total elevation: 3800
Calories: 4227
Average speed: 12
Time on bike: 7:11

Usually, a special SAG Stop at Maysville Historical Society is prepared for the CrossRoad group, however, the days were mixed up and the town did not greet us today.

The further I ride the more I feel like a rock star. While stopped at a stop light, two cowboys in a pickup truck asked if I was REALLY going to Boston. Their yaws dropped when I answered.

Maybe it was the look of desperation in my face but a nice man at the corner store bought my chocolate milk and ham sandwich. My legs were shaking and I thought that I might fall over. I started to cry at the counter. He made my day.

It was hot, hilly, and hard. 10 miles from the hotel I was looking for the SAG. He finally showed up 2 miles from the hotel and by then, I had to ride in.

Rest and recovery are key. Until tomorrow...

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Day 15: 85 miles to St. Josephs, MO

Growing up, my father would wake me on the weekends saying, “Don’t waste sunshine”. Those words have stuck with me, even now. The morning sun is so still and calm. It reminds me that we have a new day to write whatever we want on that day.

As we rode out of town, we crossed Kansas Street over a bridge. This was taken at about 7:15 this morning.

Distance: 86.45
Total elevation: 2218
Calories: 4061
Average speed: 11.7
Time on bike: 7:07

Today we crossed our sixth State Line Crossing. It was nice to be able to blink and not have stars floating around my head. Sleep and food did me good and I felt back to my old self.

Riding into town, I saw a water moccasin crossing a small pond. Shortly after that, there was another sitting on the side of the road. I pedaled my little heart out until the creepy feeling went away and the hairs on my neck went down.

Lesson for the day: keep your mouth shut or spit will fly out and bugs will fly in.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Day 14: 106 miles to Topeka, KS.

Today marked the half Way Point across America 1,698 Miles! Topeka is the capitol of Kansas.

Distance: 71.2
Total elevation: 1909
Calories: 2795
Average speed: 12
Time on bike: 5:15

This feeling never goes away. I always get nervous the night before a ride, especially a century ride. My body knows the routine but there was something in my head.

I wasn’t eating and wasn’t drinking enough. At the second SAG, I sat on the ground and tried my hardest to re-hydrate but I still felt funny.

It was decision time.

Fight the wind and the rollers for the next 38 miles in or take a ride. It was hard but I didn’t have it in me today.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Day 13: Abilene, KS Rest Day

A group of us visited the Eisenhower’s museum and boyhood home. This museum has a large collection of Dwight D. Eisenhower’s personal items and accomplishments from his entire life.

No miles. It has been nine days of riding and we all could use the break. Massage is top on the list. Next is napping.

A luxury on the trip is finding a restroom with an actual door and walls. Most of the time is works like this. I see a clear spot on the horixon and I stop my bike. Let's just say that I left my modesty at home.