by Peter Crowley » Sat Apr 21, 2012 10:20 pm
Cross country ride…
OK, this is not quite an NCC event, but I in LA and will start riding east tomorrow through CA, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. It will be an adventure.
I will post occasional updates as replies to this posting. Hoping for tailwinds!
Post by Patrick Rondeau » Sun Apr 22, 2012 7:08 am
“It will be an adventure.”
There’s an understatement. Good luck, Peter! Safe travels and keep us updated.
Post by Peter Crowley » Fri Apr 27, 2012 9:28 pm
Friday April 27, Gallup NM. We are now 6 days and 700+ miles from the Pacific. And so far, it has been an adventure. Short days are 105 miles, ,long ones over 130.
We went across the Mohave desert in 107 deg heat, with really strong cross winds. I went through water bottles every 5-10 miles and had an ice pack on my back. Then three days later climbed to Flagstaff in 34 deg rain that turned to snow.
We have ridden lots of miles on the shoulders on Interstate highways. This sounds bad, but the road is better than most of the roads in MA, and the semis are remarkably easy to ignore. The real downside are the wires from exploded truck tires – fine needles that are hard on tires (3 flats for me today). OK riding past off ramps is a bit dicey at first.
America by Bicycle is over the top good as a tour operator, and my riding companions are great. And so far, there have been more tail breezes than headwinds. If you are interested in more details, check out the blog at: http://www.bamacyclist.com/BAMA/Fast_So … _2012.html
Post by CarsonPoe » Sat Apr 28, 2012 1:03 pm
Keep the updates coming! I did MA to OR 4/26/08 to 5/30/08….sun, rain, snow, tornado incl. mercy ride in the back of a pickup, endless appetite, and massive amounts of tractor trailer buzzes. Good luck and ride safely!
Post by Peter Crowley » Mon May 07, 2012 9:33 pm
I am writing from Ft Smith Arkansas, 15 days and a mess of miles (I could figure it out, but after a point it became less meaningful) under my belt. We passed the halfway point on Saturday and have ridden 300 miles since then. The riding in New Mexico and Texas was awesome. Monday (Albuquerque-Las Vegas NM) was a long hard day, at least on paper (137 miles, 8000′ climbing), but with strong tailwinds at the end of the day it was …just fun. The next day (to Tucumcari) was even better -shorter, overall descent with a tailwind through awesome scenery. The days in Texas were “short” (just over a century) and fast …again tailwinds (97 miles in under 4 hours).
Oklahoma brought payback for the favorable winds, along with heat and humidity. Saturday was a 120 mile ride from Elk City to Chickasha (… and no, I had not heard of any of these places either) that ended with mind frying heat and killer headwinds. That was just the prelude for yesterday’s 145 mile hilly (Oklahoma??, ok endless rollers). Heat humidity and headwinds …aargh, at least the scenery was good. I was spent 35 miles in, and just survived the rest of it. And yet, today was another great day to be on a bike, even with an all day headwind. Pics and more details on the bama cyclist blog (link in last post)
Post by Frank Sleegers » Mon May 07, 2012 10:58 pm
great to see your posts. Fascinating!
I have looked at them a couple of days ago.
Seems that very landscape on the route is fascinating.
What a great and unique experience. I also wonder about all the climbing that you guys are doing.
Keep riding strong and keep us posted about your adventures on the bike from West to East.
Post by Peter Crowley » Tue May 08, 2012 10:07 am
So what is it like?
Roads: generally good pavement, better and smoother than I was used to. But, often, bigger roads, so we are on the shoulder. I think that 200-300 miles in the west was Interstate highways. Sounds awful, but it is scarey how easy it is to forget about the really big trucks to the left of the rumble strip. And if you look right, the scenery was incredible. The down side was the debris, mostly the remains of tires – the steel wires from tire belts eat bike tires. I lost count of the number of punctures (although I had 3 on two different days).
Climbing: easier then rides in the Hilltowns. The hardest climbs were long (10+ mile), gentle grades – they really were not hard, but it did not look like you were climbing. it just felt like the bike would not go.
Descents: awesome. Just reverse that climb and you can be screaming at 30-40 mph for a long time. And if it did not look like a descent, I felt super strong.
Sore legs, butt, etc? Duh, Yes. Every day I start on tired and sore legs. But, after a few miles they start to feel better and within 30 minutes I feel like hammering.
Bad days? So far not an entire bad day, but almost every day there is a 25 mile difficult stretch. Generally it is not the final 25 miles, so I finish the day on a positive note.
Food: Eat everything in sight. I am not really hungry, but once I start eating, I eat a lot. Favorite foods are Fritos and pickles (really).
Can you ride after eating that? Yeah… But we always roll out slowly after breakfast and lunch, but within 15 minutes I feel like going hard.
My companions: Great! We started with 17, lost one almost immediately ( not prepared), had 4 who were only with us for 1 week and are now down to 12. Youngest 33 (only woman -excellent rider), oldest 63, the rest of us 48-55. Only one other bike racer, the rest have lots of marathon, tri and other endurance sport experience. All but two would be strong NCC B riders. Sometimes I feel like I am pushing the pace, other times I have dropped back so that I can finish the day feeling good.
Pretty cool experience!
Post by Chris deHahn » Tue May 08, 2012 1:06 pm
It sounds like you’re having a great time with some fine people.
Post by Peter Crowley » Sun May 13, 2012 5:01 pm
I am now 20 days into this cross country epic, 5 days remain. Since my last update, we have crossed Arkansas and Mississippi and are now in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Leaving Oklahoma, I thought that we had left the armadillo road kill behind. With the number of dead armadillos in TX and OK, it is almost hard to imagine that any live ones remain (I did not see any). They decreased in number, but continued across MS and even into AL. My strongest memory of AR was the abundance of road kill, in all stages of finally becoming just a stain on the road.
For much of the past 5 days, we have dealt with the 3 H’s – heat, humidity and headwinds. In the “Delta” of Arkansas and Mississippi, the roads were flat and straight and the wind was dead on our noses. Not hard riding, but not too exciting, and that constant headwind is discouraging.
Once we got out of the Delta in Mississippi, the riding has been excellent. Back roads, constant rollers and rain. Give me warm rain to heat and humidity! I was warned about rough chip seal roads in the south, but overall the roads have been great. OK, there are the dogs, often more dogs than cars. But, so far no problems. In general, the dogs are lazy. Most do not make it all the way to the road, and most of those who do “stay” when you tell them to (who woulda thunk?). When it was raining, few left their porches or dog houses. I have had a couple who ran with me, yapping at my ankles. If you can take the dogs, this part of AL has riding that rivals (surpasses?) the Valley, …who woulda thunk?
Post by Peter Crowley » Mon May 21, 2012 8:18 am
I finished up on Friday and am writing this from home in Pelham. The final five days just flew by. The first of those days was in the hills of Alabama. Riding there really reminded me of the Hilltowns. But, that day was really the only bad day do the whole trip for me. Awesome riding on generally good roads (short sections of chip seal, but that just brought out my inner Tom Boonen). I went hard for the first 80 miles and then my right knee gave out. It was extremely painful, but I sat on a kind wheel for the final 40 miles. It hurt to stand or walk that night. But somehow ice and ibuprofen worked miracles and I woke up feeling better. The knee was not 100% (still isn’t), but I could ride and got better as the next day progressed. I had been a bit worried about rednecks in pickups, and we had a lot of them, but most were the original rednecks with pickups, …farmers, who displayed southern hospitality behind the wheel.
The final 4 days in Georgia are a blur -we rode on good rural highways (think Rt 9) through former plantations. The final 20 miles of the ride may have been among the worst -heavily traveled 2-lane highway. It was a good adventure: 25 days, 2931 mles, 1 broken brake/shifter, 1 cut tire and at least 8 flats.
This is a big country.
And most of it is lightly populated (a nicer way of saying -there is a whole lot of nothing out there).
People are abandoning rural America- lots of derelict houses and empty main streets.
You can eat anything and ride 100+ miles/day. Even chicken fried steak and Dr Pepper.
The portions at chain restaurants are too large. Eating “normal” chain resturant breakfasts and dinners, supplemented with the occasional (OK, daily) milkshake gave me the 6000 calories needed to ride 100-140 miles.
Hotel breakfast buffets get really old after 20 days.
My back, neck and shoulders quit hurting after the first week -but a sore butt seems to come with the territory of long rides.
Post by Mike Hempstead » Mon May 21, 2012 10:30 am
Thanks for the report. Congrats on completing an daunting journey. This should be some nice base training as well.
Post by Roy Currie » Fri May 25, 2012 9:04 pm
Peter- thanks for the account of that awesome trip and Congrats!! Are there pics too? Certainly a trip that I want to make some day, ever since the NCC RAAM crew tore it up, and more so, now so with your account, But for me, it would probably have to wait a few more years until I retire -but not a 25 day trip(I don’t think I would handle that, kudos to you), more like a summer trip, kind of a tour of the country on bike.
Again, AWESOME & CONGRATS
Post by Jordan Greenberg » Tue May 29, 2012 10:24 am
Thanks for sharing this Peter. From dead armadillos to lazy dogs, this sounds like quite a ride; welcome back!
Post by Don Frank » Wed May 30, 2012 10:19 am
You have lived my dream, my friend. Thanks for the posts. I wish I had read them before now so I could think about it more. I have dependent kids and still feel guilty if I ride both weekend days. (which I work may way through).
See (the back of you) on the road.