Sunday, February 10, 2008

Last Updated 2/10/08

I'm still working on getting all of my paper journal typed up and posted here. Keep checking back! :-)

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Post-Tour Century Ride

First off, my apologies for being so behind on filling in the log from the summer. Things got busy when grad school started, as expected. I'll try to find some time at some point to finish typing in the entries. Whenever things get a little rough, all I can think about is the summer, and I find myself bringing up biking in all my conversations. It's my happy place. So it's probably a good sign that I haven't been obsessively updating the journal... haha.

This past Sunday, Dad and I rode in the Staten Island Bicycling Association's Pumpkin Patch Pedal. It started only 15 miles from Princeton, NJ, which was super convenient for me. Dad came up on Saturday so we wouldn't have far to go on Sunday morning. Dad also rode in a century with Lauren last weekend.

It was only my second real ride since I moved to Princeton, the first being only 16 miles. I do ride to and from campus a couple times everyday, giving me a grand total of something like 10 miles a week. But I found a new outlet--spinning class. I've been going to spinning pretty much every weekday since classes started. I'm addicted. It's not quite the same as bicycling outside, but it's an amazing workout in only 45 minutes, and I think it keeps me in good biking shape. I don't feel like I can get the same kind of workout outside on my bike in the same amount of time. Maybe I'm just not driven enough without an instructor yelling at me :-)

It's not very hilly here in New Jersey, but I guess it rolls enough to keep things sort of interesting. Maybe I just need to look harder for some hills. It's funny to hear students complain about the hills on campus. I probably would've been complaining too about this time last year, but everything pales in comparison to the Ozarks and Appalachians.

The century ride was pretty, and aptly named--we passed a ton of pumpkin patches. We couldn't have asked for better weather, and the terrain was also really pleasant. The food was amazing. Breakfast and the first two rest stops had pumpkin bread, banana bread, really good bagels and fixins, bananas, gatorade, candy bars--everything a hungry cyclist could ask for. The last rest stop even had pumpkin and apple pie! That definitely hit the spot. The people running the last rest stop also dressed up in halloween costumes, and it was a lot of fun. We also got a pretty cool shirt and water bottle out of the deal.

I didn't hurt too badly afterwards. I actually started out with mild shin splints and a sore knee, but it was from running around campus in my horrible old tennis shoes (which should now go in the trash) on Saturday during "The Game," a crazy seven-hour-long puzzle-solving scavenger-hunt for grad students. I was a little concerned going into the ride, but it was no big deal. It went by so quickly. I guess time flies when you're having fun. But was I ever exhausted afterwards! I could hardly keep my eyes open. I napped on and off between doing laundry on Sunday night, had a full night's sleep, napped 4 hours after class on Monday, and was still exhausted! I finally feel back to normal today. I skipped spinning on Monday, but I went back today and felt fine.

I can't say enough how much I miss the summer. I hope you enjoyed the journal so far... 22 days down, 51 left to write about :-) I was also planning on posting a FAQs section, but one step at a time...

My bike and the Staten Island Bicycling Association sign

Me and dad at the 84 mi rest stop

Amazing feed station with pie

Crazy pirate biker who also took the picture of us

Monday, July 9, 2007

Day 29

Date: July 9
Mileage: 40
From: Madison Junction, WY (in Yellowstone)
To: Grant Village, WY (in Yellowstone)

Today we did Yellowstone! It was incredibly tiring for the amount of riding we did.

We saw a bunch of little geysers and “springs,” and we got to see Old Faithful erupt twice. Old Faithful wasn’t the most spectacular thing we saw—it is what it is. My favorite thing was the Grand Prismatic Spring—it was breathtaking.

We went on this 3.5 mile bike path which SUCKED! Our bikes were not intended to go on that type of loose gravel. It was both nerve wracking and physically draining. It did allow us to go see Fairy Falls and see Grand Prismatic from an overlook (way better than from the walkways, since it’s so steamy and big). We also hiked to two falls—I think that was almost harder than biking.

After Old Faithful, we had to do two big climbs and cross the Continental Divide twice…wow was that tiring. At least we were fueled by the frozen yogurt from the visitor center. Lauren and I purchased children’s hats for really cheap from the gift shop. We had been wishing we had hats the whole time we were hiking in the sun.

Scorching sun in our eyes! This is near Fairy Falls. It's sad how so many of the trees in Yellowstone are dead from fires in the 80s

Fairy Falls

Some sort of rodent thing I spotted near Fairy Falls

Grand Prismatic from an overlook view. Beautiful lunch spot!

Hot springs are bubbling up everywhere!

More pretty hot springs, viewed from walkways

Lauren had a thorn in her butt. I really offended some Amish/Mennonite ladies by helping her out with that problem.

I don't think any of us would really recommend hiking on rocks in bike shoes with cleats. We found Crocs or Mions slightly better...

Another falls

Crowds of people gather to see Old Faithful erupt

Thar she blows!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Day 28

Date: July 8
Mileage: 34.5
From: 19 mi NW of West Yellowstone, MT
To: Madison Junction, WY (in Yellowstone)

Tonight we’re at the Madison Junction campsite in Yellowstone in Wyoming! Big Day!

We rode into West Yellowstone and I bucked the headwind for almost all of the 19 miles. West Yellowstone was ok—I got some expensive gloves and some new bar tape (both of mine are giving up the ghost). We ate at Wild West Pizza at the recommendation of the bikeshop girl, and it was very good. Beth and Greg came in and found us when they saw our bikes outside.

We saw bald eagle, elk, and moose from the road through Yellowstone. Traffic is a little unpredictable/dangerous with all of the drivers gawking and pulling off and being irratic. There was also a family of bison by the river by the path in our campsite! Two big ones and a baby. We can check that off of our list!

Hebgen lake

Entering Wyoming inside of Yellowstone

Moose! (At least I think these are moose... maybe elk?)

One of many somewhat dangerous pull-offs with indecisive drivers a-plenty

Near our campsite near dusk

Bison! Also near our campsite near dusk

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Day 27

Date: July 7
Mileage: 53.5
From: Ennis, MT
To: 19 miles North/NW of West Yellowstone

I really don’t like Ennis, MT. In a word, people there sucked. We went to Sunrise Bagel this morning, expecting sunshine and happiness, but instead met the bagel bitch. Worst server/restaurant owner/whatever I have ever had. She went out of her way to be a complete bitch to us, especially Lauren for some reason. I’m too annoyed to explain further…

It was cloudy and cool today! We got caught in a storm and got hailed on a little bit, but man is that better than 106 degrees! Luckily, there was a rest area with picnic tables under roofs and we took a siesta. Very lucky, because we were in the middle of nowhere without shelter for most of the day.

It was only 4 when we got to our originally planned campsite, and we all felt great because of the cool temperature, so we were going to press on to at least West Yellowstone and maybe Madison. But then the storm picked up when we were near an RV park. We had an amazing tailwind that pushed us over a hill, but then a not-so-amazing side-wind that almost pushed us off the rail… So we decided not to risk it, because it would be really rough if it became a headwind. Plus there was lots of lightning.

The RV park had two teepees, so we got excited about that. So we’re staying in a teepee about 19 miles North/NW of West Yellowstone for $20 (with showers!) on Hebgen lake.

We cooked dinner and hung clotheslines in the teepee. It’s even big enough that the bikes are in with us. Oh, and of course it stopped raining when we paid for the teepee.

Lunch stop! Mmmm cheese whiz and tuna on crackers...

Nice view... This is Earthquake Lake. We had to go up another big dam hill to get up here (although the wind helped push us up).

Inside the teepee!

Teepee at sunset

Friday, July 6, 2007

Day 26

Date: July 6
Mileage: 46
From: Twin Bridges, MT
To: Ennis, MT

Montana is my least favorite state. The bugs are horrible, more people have yelled at us and flipped us off than the total number in my entire life before this trip, people in campsites are weird, and it’s been record-breaking 100+ degree Fahrenheit weather. Bleh!

This morning dad drank a bottled root beer, which was a huge mistake (he has stomach problems and went through some surgery last fall). He was a mess for the entire morning. We didn’t make very good time and took a long break in a library in Sheridan. Lauren ran into Greg and Beth there, who sent her back to us with cold drinks (non-carbonated for dad!). Greg is riding across the country in support of his prematurely born granddaughter, and Beth is running sag wagon.

So it was HOT before we got in much mileage. We killed time in Virginia City during the hottest part of the day. We ran into Beth and Greg again there, and sat with them and their dog Charlie outside of an ice cream shop. Virginia City is a weird place—some people were hung there and there were some creepy museums, which included a petrified cat in a really painful looking position found under a house, along with someone's gross clubbed-foot that was dug up from his grave.

We took a nap in the shade by some picnic tables where people were picnicking, and a lady brought us half a watermelon, a cantaloupe, and 3 spoons…told us we could “eat like animals” and kind of gave us a funny look. Regardless, the melon was delicious.

It looked like a thunderstorm all around, but we started up our climb anyway. We made it dry, but got some awesome views with clouds/rain in the distance. I hit 46.5 mph going down the other side, even with excessive braking.

Tonight we’re in an RV park in Ennis, MT. People here are kind of awful…

It’s hot.

Today we met a father and son (Wendell and Ben) who are biking from east to west. We swapped some stories before taking a group picture.

Stormy views on the other side of the pass

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Day 25

Date: July 5
Mileage: 76.5
From: Jackson, MT
To: Twin Bridges, MT

Today was a long mileage day! We did two peaks in the morning, ate lunch number 1 at the second peak, then breezed down to Dillon for the afternoon. The water in MT is horrible, and so it’s really difficult to stay hydrated…bleh.

We had second lunch, along with lots of lemonade and water, in a cute little restaurant with a gas station theme. Then we went to the library. We wanted to wait out the hot part of the day, but in the end that was impossible. We went to the library and it was 95 degrees. When we came out, it was 98.

Our next stop was the Patagonia outlet, which was absolutely amazing. I got great deals on a fleece vest, new winter coat, and caprilene top. By the time we left at 6 PM, it was still HOT.

We went to a gas station/casino (everything here is a casino) to get some refreshments. When we came out at 6:20 PM, the sign across the street said 106 degrees Fahrenheit!

We pressed on to Twin Bridges, MT. We’re staying in Madison County Fairgrounds. Nicest outhouse thing I’ve ever seen (no sarcasm). Lauren and I had sink baths in the rest area across the street. We cooked some delicious pasta for dinner, and Dad bought us sourdough bread, peas, apricot preserves, and bottled water as a treat.

Lauren and Dad checking out the signs in front of Beaver Head Rock.

Pretty mountains / water.

Rehydrating (note glistening sweaty bodies). Boy, was it HOT!