Thursday, May 24, 2012


I bought this tube on the road. It was an old shop that had a bunch of over priced used bike stuff from the 90's. It wasn't until I left that I realized the tube was the wrong size and looks about 15 years old.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

This is my office

The Blue Ridge

The Blue Ridge has lived up to all of its reputation. Beautiful, pristine roads, that seem to climb for ever. I have had to readjust my rhythm for the mountains. Spending nine hours in the saddle of continuous climbs and descents is not the same as riding the flat coast.

As I crawl up the seemingly never ending hills I can feel every ounce of my bike battling with gravity and I question the need for every single piece of gear. After some 45min climb you might be rewarded with some epic down hill but they never last long enough. I keep telling myself that it's all worth it, put my head down and grind my way up the next hill.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Almost Heaven

After a farewell breakfast I made my way up the mountain to the Blue Ridge Parkway. I was excited and nervous all at the same time. It was going to be nice to have real campsites and cooler temperatures but I knew it was going to come at a price. I night before I did a little too much research and found out the the 450 mile Blue Ridge Parkway has over 45,000 feet of climbing (Mt. Everest isn't even 30,000 feet). This bit of knowledge can play some pretty strong head games with you but I did my best to push through.

The Parkway is full of cyclist so I was able to ride with different groups from time to time. The conversations would always lead to horror stories that sounded like something out of a Tolkien novel, of climbs up vertical cliffs, people pushing their bicycles, and lack of supplies from stop to stop. None the less the conversation would end with something like, "but I'm sure you will make it".

After the first day I had only gone 70 miles. I pulled into camp and my legs felt like noodles. I kept saying to myself "did I really only go 70 miles, maybe my computer is broken." I had a little bit of doubt creeping in.

After pitching my tent the neighbors from the next site over came by to here what I was doing, I gave them my elevator speech and they invited me over for dinner. It was good to be with other people for a change. Up until now I was usually quietly hiding in some clump of bushes hoping no one would find me. Although the company was nice I had to get some sleep. I couldn't shake the thought of the next mornings challenge, a 13 mile continuous climb from the lowest elevation on the Parkway to the highest elevation in Virginia.

A visit with Mike and Mary

With a good tail wind it didn't take anytime at all to reach aunt Mary and uncle Mike's hobbit home. As I mentioned before Mike and Mary are building a mountain home but while that home is being built they have rented a quant little one bedroom mountain cottage that has become known as their little hobbit home.

I was lucky to have that tail wind because I made it just in time for happy hour. We traveled down the road (by car) to a small micro brew called Blue Mountain Brewery. We enjoyed a glass beer as we watched the sun begin to set behind the mountains. Realizing that we still had steaks to consume at the hobbit house we decided it would be in our best interest to get a Growler to go.

Back at the cottage I got Mike and Mary caught up on all my stories from the road and they shared their experience becoming recently retired.They would say something like "we just wake up in the morning and decide what to do, when we get tired we go to sleep and wake up when our bodies feel rested. If we get tired of somewhere we come see how the new house is coming along or go visit family." We agreed that retirement sounds a lot like bike touring.

The next morning they took me up the Blue Ridge Parkway to the build site of their new mountain home. I made sure I staked a claim to one of the bedrooms for my future visits.

On the way down the mountain I couldn't stop thinking about the Blue Ridge. Although I had been intimidated by the climbs I was intrigued by the cool crisp air and beautiful vistas. With the help of Mike and Mary I convinced myself to abandon my original plans of following the coast and follow the Appalacian's down to Georgia.

After we got off the mountain we stopped at a great little hole in the wall BBQ. My mouth began to salivate from the smell of the smoke coming from behind the building. I am convinced BBQ is with out a doubt the best fuel for cycling.

From Middleton to Middleton

After visiting with Jason and Kimberly I had planned on seeing Jason's parents (my aunt and uncle) who live south of DC. Well because of my delay with the weather Mary and Mike weren't at their house south of DC, they were in Charlottesville VA checking up on the mountain home they are building. For those of you who don't know Charlottesville is not next to DC, it is west of Baltimore in the Appalachian Mountains.

Well if it was anyone else I probably would have stayed on my original route but if you have ever meet Mike and Mary you would understand. I knew what. I had to do, so I headed for the mountains.

The two day trip was a fantastic cruise through the Virginia country side. My body felt good, the sun was shinning, and the roads began to roll over the foot hills of the Appalachians.


After the long and arduous ride from Manhattan I had finally made it to my cousins house in Baltimore. Jason is one of my oldest cousins and has always lived 1000 miles away. The separation in age and physical space has meant that we aren't able to see each other nearly enough.

Jason and his wife Kimberly have grown roots in Baltimore with their two children Max and Sarah. When Jason and Kimberly heard about my trip south they were so kind as to open their doors to me.

After 11hrs in the saddle my body told me if I didn't slow down it was going to quit. I decided that warm hospitality and good company of Baltimore was the best place to get a little rest and relaxation.

I spent the next day catching up on sleep until Max got out of school. Max reintroduced me to baseball (I think I was 9 last time I played) and although I had a blast with my cousins it reminded me why I ride bikes and why I'm not in the majors.

That night I was able to catch up with. Jason while Kimberly helped me plan out a route to Charlottesville.

I wish that we didn't live so far apart because Jason and Kimberly have a special family and I am glad to be a part of it.

PS Kimberly, I hope your triathlon was a great success