Current Ride Status (Pre-Ride Preparations)

Apr 25:

After yesterdays Ride for Deborah and the great weather we had, we thought that there would never be a day to beat it! Guess what? When we started out, it was chilly but as the day "rode" on it was just like the day before. Blue skies, smooth roads, and very little traffic. We feel like we’ve been riding though history, but backwards. In the first week when we saw how the "west was made", today we saw how the "westward migration" developed. Leaving Ashland and crossing the Big Sandy River into West Virginia, going through Huntington and passing all the "shuttered" steel mills along the Ohio River one sensed going back in time: homes and office buildings dating to the 1800’s and towns that were built by and around the steel plant. Traveling up the Ohio River Valley and along the Ohio River, it was obvious that at one time this river was the highway of commerce and the expansion route westward. For example, the town of Point Pleasant was one of the first settlements along the Ohio River as the country moved towards the west. The historic area of Point Pleasant is worth going back to for a second or third time. Old buildings with eccentric architecture. As we continued along the river bank we were amazed at the size of the barges traveling on the river and the communities that line both sides of the river bank. On the Ohio side ofthe river, homes looked more affluent. That led to one of the discussions of the day: why do the homes look nicer in Ohio? The other discussion was how similar or how much alike today’s ride was as to riding in Europe? Rolling hills, lush green grass, a river on one side of the road and hills on the other. Near Mt. Alto we passed field after field of dogwood trees being grown: hundreds of trees and the whites, the pinks! Truly, a pleasant sight! To keep everyone honest: Marc had another flat and now is the undisputed leader in the flat stats with 22. Ride Observations: the West Virginia Mansion is a "double wide"; in a community of "double wides" there is always at least one fancy conventional house; Linda (at the credit union in Ravenswood) saved us from having to ride more than necessary and gave us a short cut (but hilly) to the hotel in Mineral Wells; the indigenous animal of West Virginia according to the "road kill" category is the possum; and it’s just now becoming spring here in the hills of West Virginia. Again, it is amazing what a day or two or a couple hundred miles makes with respect to foliage because in this area the trees are not as full and/or lush as the day before. Many are just in the budding stage. As the afternoon "rode" on the skies darkened and there was the threat of rain. Guess again? Wanda got us to the hotel not just safely but dry! Within seconds of our arrival, the sky opened up…so again, a crewmember (today Wanda) got us not just safely to the hotel but made sure we beat the rain! Were it not for Wanda looking out for us just as Chic, John, Tom, Bobbi, Jeff, Sara, Karen, Kathy, Dianne, Amy, and Ken and Jennifer, Michael, Robert, Amy Jarret, Amy King, Kathryn, Al, Michael, Alicia, and Deborah had in the days before: we’d never make it.

Apr 25:

Hey, Kemp Intermediate! Thank you for your support! Now go tell Mrs. Angeles you saw this here!

Apr 24:

This morning, as we assembled around the RV getting ready for Deborah Welsh’s ride, we all remarked what a great day today was and how the rest day did us wonders. The debate of the morning: "arm warmers or not, windbreaker or not". The skies were overcast (looked like rain) and the temperatures were about 60 so we pondered "what would Deborah suggest?" Once underway (we left the girls and the RV behind) we rode out of Lexington on back country side roads where all one could see was one horse farm after another. We all wished we were the salesman that sold the lumber for the fencing! Guess what? Most of the white fencing is vinyl. About 18 miles east of Lexington is Winchester, Kentucky with grand old Victorian homes, large manicured yards with abundant dogwood trees; there were several registered in the "historical register" one house was built in 1836 and is today still occupied. The roads were exceptionally smooth with very little traffic; all of which made for a very safe ride despite the fact that there was no shoulder. Leaving Winchester, the hills started; long hills with a steep ascent (compared to out west) and, like yesterday, the descents were just as steep with a quick (30-40 mph) ride downhill so we could do it all over again. The country side is absolutely gorgeous and Deborah brought out the sun and blue skies for us. If there ever was a day to Ride, today was it. Midway between Lexington and Ashland, we passed Carter Caves Park; it is supposed to be one of the US’s biggest caves. Ride Observations: the home of choice, the "doublewide"; the dogs in eastern Kentucky are just as mean as out West but I think in Kentucky they are faster (they almost got us a couple of times!), US 60 mostly follows the creek/river beds with hills on both sides and we fond out today why these are called "hollers" (it’s so narrow you communicate with your fellow neighbor by "hollering"; any resident can run for political office so long as your first name is Dottie, Betty, Jack, Johnny, Darrell, or Zeke; and instead of being elected as prosecutor the title in Kentucky is "jailer". We so thoroughly enjoyed ourselves that we almost passed the Hampton in Ashland and we were here before 4 p.m.! We could find only one bike shop in Ashland Kentucky, but wow, did they ever take care of Henry. Fixed his bike while he waited and then fed him dinner. Status: Flats: current standings are Paul 12, Marc 21, Rob 7, Bobby 4, Tom 9 and the RV 1. Thankfully, no changes in the "fall" and "crash" categories. Today, we completed another day, a great day, with a special thanks to Deborah Welsh just as we had before with Chic, John, Tom, Bobbi, Jeff, Sara, Karen, Kathy, Dianne, Amy, and Ken and Jennifer, Michael, Robert, Amy Jarret, Amy King, Kathryn, Al, Michael, and Alicia.

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Apr 19:



We're Famous!!! Great. Just great. So much for your theory of "He can’t arrest ALL of us!" If you want to know how to spoil your hotel guests, call her and beg for lessons.

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Apr 18:



Goodbye Arkansas. Helloooooo Memphis! What is it about the inside of that RV that makes cyclists fall asleep? Hey Mom! We found these guys in funny hats laying all along the side of the road! Can we keep 'em? The crew and two Angels (First Class with Bronze harps) from the Hampton Inn Headquarters.

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Apr 16:



I don’t know what’s in that water or that food bar, but I don’t think I want any. Hmmm. I wonder if he ate and drank the same stuff as the other guy? And for our next act, we’ll all climb on the bicycle at the same time. A gift for the crew from the parents of the day’s honoree.

Apr 23:

Rest Day in Lexington
As we get ready for the "hills" of West Virginia and Pennsylvania and having ridden 8 days straight without a rest day, we needed today. For most of us, it was the first day where we could sleep in without having to do some kind of "loop" ride. It was like when we were small and our parents said "quiet time". This was most needed and appreciated. Most of the day was spent cleaning out the RV, re-supplying our food and water stocks, doing maintenance on the bikes, and going off to buy "cold weather" clothes. Think we all learned something after having ridden 2 days in a cold soaking rain and looking at the forecast for this week? The Jamis bikes have been great: they absorb much of the road shock, go fast downhill, and the gearing is OK for the uphill climb. The "hard core" guys like Paul and Henry did their "thing" and went for a "training" ride with the local bike club and their shop. You’d think that they’d had enough! Today, we lost "crash" Rossetti. No, he did not wreck again; he had to go back to Dallas and work….something that the rest of us will have a hard time doing after the 9th of May. I wonder what the "sick policy" is for guys having ridden almost 4000 miles in 33 days? Think our employer will reward us? We have been in constant contact with Rob, he’s on the mend and will re-join us next week; something that we are all looking forward to. Tomorrow, it’s off to Ashland, another day of hills but the rest did us well, and we are looking forward to the challenge ahead.

Apr 22:

Today, as we started preparing for our trip to Lexington, we had a "fog delay". The "original" plan was to get underway at 7:00 for the 130+ miles. "In these here parts", as the locals say, the fog comes "rollin’ in ‘bout this time" and within an hour or two after it sunrise burns off. Alicia Titus, I think, wanted us to wait a while, eat a good breakfast, so we would have enough in reserve for the hills and enjoy the day! What a day it was! It was a great day for a bike ride! Alicia was rewarding us for the 2 previous days of rain and discomfort that we had the other day. The skies were crystal blue with temperatures in the low 70’s and a favorable wind (tailwind). Alicia provided us with wonderful two lane roads with minimal traffic. We had the roads to ourselves and it was a cyclist’s dream! We know we are getting closer to home: we are now in the same time zone (EDT) as Shanksville, New York, and the Pentagon! We had the opportunity to: take in the "sights" such as in Hodgenville and the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln, pass by a moonshine still, go by the Wild Turkey distillery, ride along and/or next to vast open fields where (honest Indian) cows, horses, and even the occasional donkey would run next to us as we passed them by! Approaching Lexington, we went by large and grandiose horse farms like Calumet Farms and Keenland where the Lexington Stakes ran yesterday. In case you are interested, Showing Up won by 1 ¼ length. No, we did not see the finish; we were busy with the one and only flat of the day! Upon arriving at the Hampton, it was a bit like Christmas: there were packages waiting for us. Bud at Atlantic Fitness and Nutrition sent us another large box of Clif "stuff". We now have enough gels and food bars to get us home. Ride observations: in Kentucky the security of choice is 3 or more dogs in your yard or on the porch (no need for ADT); the indigenous animal of Kentucky according to the "road kill" method is the wild turkey (the fowl, not the drink); going almost 40 mph down a hill is scary and the climb back up at 8-11 mph is no fun (that’s the payback for going down the hill); Kentucky is called the "Bluegrass State" but all the grass we saw was an emerald green. Is there blue grass? In Kentucky there must be a law that the only day to cut grass is Saturday. We saw countless people cutting their grass: a Dad "bonding" with his little boy on his lap while Dad’s riding on a Deere mower; a tractor with a bushhog mowing 25+ acres; a couple riding his and her tractors! Today was a great day and we owe it all to Alicia, just as Chic, John, Tom, Bobbi, Jeff, Sara, Karen, Kathy, Dianne, Amy, and Ken and Jennifer, Michael, Robert, Amy Jarret, Amy King, Kathryn, Al, and Michael had in the days before provided us with a safe day.

Apr 21:

Have you ever wondered how Noah handled 40 days and nights of rain? Forget two of each species…think of 6 "middle aged" (+) men riding their $5000.00 Jamis road bikes (which were donated), lightning, two lane roads with no shoulder, and minimum forward visibility: and these guys fly commercial airliners? No wonder the airlines are in "dire straits"…..it’s because of guys like these 6 working for them! These past two days were "pay back time" for the 17 previous days of sun, warmth (sometimes heat) and no rain. Okay, so we had one moment in Texas, about 30 minutes, with big rain drops (hurting drops) and some hail! Today, we rode for Michael Tarrou and there was not a moment today that one of us did not think of Mike and asking for his help in getting us through today. Today, we were not just wet but we were soaked to the bone; we were cold because the temps were around 62 and thankfully there was not much wind. Just because it was 62 and wet do not think that we are not exposed to hypothermia: going on a bike 15-20 mph does make things a little chilly. Seriously, think of water sloshing in your shoes, think of your hands and feet looking like prunes, think of the odor…..better yet, don’t. Too Much Information. The country side, what we could see of it, was green and lush. It is absolutely amazing what a couple hundred miles can do to the scenery! Yesterday, for example, we climbed a little over 3200’ and today with more hills, I’m sure we climbed even more (3600+). I am still somewhat mystified as to why every animal we pass must look up at us as we pass! Could it be the sight of 6 middle aged guys on bikes who never grew up, or could it be the animals looking at us and thinking "what were they thinking?" As you can imagine, as we ride there is "some" conversation and today’s topic was: "how are we all individually going to deal with life after the Ride?" How long will it take to "decompress" after such an intense and arduous schedule? I guess we will just have to wait and see. First we have to get to Shanksville, New York, and finish at the Pentagon. Then worry about the other things. Ride observations: never trust the local gendarme for directions (they will lead you astray and make your ride an additional 38 miles like we did today); when it rains or the roads are wet use fenders to protect your eyes; stay off the white painted lines when they are wet (one tends to fall…although no one did today), and do not stand under trees when lightening is present! All the above we did today! Thankfully, we arrived safely at the Hampton Inn, even though we rode an extra 2 hours; I think Michael wanted to get his days worth out of us! Michael got us here, just as Chic, John, Tom, Bobbi, Jeff, Sara, Karen, Kathy, Dianne, Amy, and Ken and Jennifer, Michael, Robert, Amy Jarret, Amy King, Kathryn, and Al had in the days before. Tomorrow, hopefully it will not rain (hope Alicia N. Titus takes care of the weather); we are off to Lexington, Kentucky and a rest day on Sunday.

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Apr 15:



When a Texan tell you he has "An acre or two and a l’il fish pond"... Now THAT is the dumbest lookin’ horse ah have ever seen in mah life! A better time than this couldn’t possibly be legal! Paul working on bicycles. Who’d a thought?

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Apr 13/14:



Some of the 120 riders who rode the Dallas Loop Bikes? We were supposed to bring Bikes? One of the Stopping Points: The CR Smith Museum

Apr 20:

Before "launching" into today’s activities, there are some minor corrections vis-à-vis the Ride Status: Flats: none today so the current standings are Paul 11, Marc 20, Rob 7, Bobby 4, Tom 8 and the RV 1. Fall Status: Paul 1 (corrected as a result of the Bobby’s fall in Phoenix, a long time ago), Marc 0, Rob 0, Bobby (now in a commanding lead) 4, Tom 1; still leading in the crash stats is the "rookie" Mike Rossetti with 2, you are correct, if you are keeping track, he too did it again. Today we rode for Alfred Marchand and during the course of the day we all were wondering if he was mad at us: the day started out with the rumble of thunder and a 15 minute lightening delay; then once on the road and near Milan, it started to rain. A better description would be: pour! In the first mile from the hotel, the Hampton Inn that had the greeting on the marquee, Mike literally crashed. Picture a cyclist trying to jump not forward but sideways while attached to the bike! What happens to the forward motion when displaced 90 degrees? You got it, a phenomenal and picturesque "crash" which is better known a severe case of "road rash". Again, someone must have been looking out for Mike; must have been Al because all we did was watch the fall and he got up with just a few scrapes and a bruised ego! Mike hops on the bike for the next 18 miles before he realizes he fell and the swelling starts. Tom, on the other hand, got the "Bobby disease" and forgot to get out of his toe clip, fell, and he no longer has a 0 in the fall stats category. Once things settled down and we got into the "groove" we tried to outrun the heavy rain. Needless to say, we were not successful and for the next 5 hours rode in pouring rain. Under the best of conditions, riding in the rain has some risk: no brakes because the brake pads a wet and cannot grip the rim. The risk was greatly diminished and/or negated by the Tennessee State Police who provided a rolling escort from the Hampton Inn to Ft. Campbell. We did not have to stop at intersections because the troopers had us "roll" through them and on the roads where there was no shoulder, they rode in front and in back of us providing us protection from the errant motorist that does not pay attention. About 30 miles from Clarksville, Tennessee we crossed Kentucky Lake which is part of the Tennessee River waterway and entered the Land Between the Lakes Recreational Area: on the other side is Lake Barkley and then the hills before Clarksville. We entered Ft. Campbell around 16:00 and spent the night with the men and women of the 101st Air Assault. The 101st Airborne, known as the "Screaming Eagles" has many men and women in harms way overseas: Iraq and Afghanistan. There is no more fitting tribute to these men and women than the Ride passing through their base and acknowledging their sacrifice: remember, they would not be in harms way if it were not for September 11, 2001. As we end the day, rather wet but safe, we thank Al for getting us here, just as Chic, John, Tom, Bobbi, Jeff, Sara, Karen, Kathy, Dianne, Amy, and Ken and Jennifer, Michael, Robert, Amy Jarret, Amy King, and Kathryn had in the days before!





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