October 23rd, 2006
Now here it is, 18 days since the end of PAC Tour and I’ll end this blog with some final, rambling thoughts. First, I was concerned about how it would be to fit back into daily non-PAC Tour life since I’ve heard some horror stories about difficulty adjusting back to reality with depression, weight gain, bloating, changing jobs, quitting jobs, etc. Actually, I returned to a spiffed up office- my staff had done quite a bit of painting and some interior design and my batteries seemed to be re-charged when I started to see appointments. It seemed that the longer I was away on the Tour, the less they needed anything from me!!!- Now that’s a concept. Anyway, the practice WAS still there and we are very busy but manageable caseload.
I continued to ride my bike after the end of the Tour, both because I still like riding my bike and secondly, because Lon advised people at the banquet not to just throw the bike in a corner of the garage. The day after the Tour ended I rode 35 miles to the Savannah airport to pickup my rental car to drive the following day to Jacksonville airport. It REALLY felt strange to sit in and drive a car for the first time in a month- I was almost looking for the shifters on the handleba….ah, I mean steering wheel! My first day off the bike was the 2nd day after the Tour ended when I flew home (Saturday). As soon as I arrived home, Kathy & I shot right down to our cycling team’s Fall party and I received almost a hero’s welcome when we arrived! It felt a bit strange, especially since one of our team-mates is the real hero of the crowd with his involvement in the Air Guard and multiple trips to Iraq. On Monday (Columbus Day) I raced the last USCF race of the season- and forgot what it was like to get the heartrate up so fast and for that long! However, the 39 mile race seemed like a sprint- some hills and still averaged almost 25.5 MPH for the entire race.
It’s getting pretty cold up here in the Northeast with our weekend rides starting in the 30’s for temps and warming into the 50s by the time we finish around noontime. I continue to ride on the longer side with our weekend team training rides- this past weekend saw 80 milers on both days.
As a final thought, I’m psyched that I accomplished my goal for turning 50 years old last November and glad that the daily grind in the saddle is over, but miss the PAC Tour crowd and all of the great new friends I made during the Tour. I’m SURE many of our cycling paths will cross again….
Again, thanks for reading the blog- I received many kind words via e-mail during the trip.
Life at Home has gotten back to…normal?!!
October 3rd, 2006
Well, we are in our FINAL state of PAC Tour; we crossed into Georgia from Alabama after 3 miles of riding today as we crossed Lake Eufala. The route was slated to be 104 miles (piece of cake these days) and some of us took a detour after lunch to visit Andersonville, GA, the site of the brutal prisoner of war camps were during the Civil War. This detour added a few miles to give me a total of 113 miles with 4,594 feet of climbing. The POW camp consisted of housing the thousands of prisoners out in open fields with no protection from the elements.
The terrain today continued to show us some early large rollers and then flattened out some as the day progressed. The weather AGAIN cooperated but it was still on the hot side in the mid-90 degree range. So, tomorrow’s 114 mile ride to Metter, GA will be our last ‘full’ day of riding before our arrival into Savannah on Thursday with an 86 mile day. Also, we are finally now on Eastern time which is my home time zone and easier to make phone calls to friends and family in Rhode Island and Florida.
Arrival here tonight was extra special for me as two friends from the Atlanta area drove 2 hrs to have dinner with me. Stacy and Taffi are veterinary ophthalmologists and good friends in addition to being colleagues- it was great to see familiar faces from ‘home’ and a sign that we’re getting close to the end of this PAC Tour adventure. Well, time to post this info and photos and will ‘talk’ to you tomorrow night….
Two photos taken at the Civil War P.O.W. camp in Andersonville, GA…not sure if the ‘Andersonville’ has any relationship to my friend Paul Anderson at home?…Nah…
Stacy (left), myself, and Taffi (right) meeting in Perry, GA for dinner. I wonder if I can write off this trip since we talked practice management over dinner?….Nah…. or….”How many veterinary ophthalmologists does it take to change a light bulb?” Answer: Three- one to turn out the room lights, a second to examine the burned light bulb filaments with the slit lamp biomicroscope, and the third to replace the new bulb… or something corny like that…
September 30th, 2006
Here we are “rockin’” on the front porch of the Cracker Barrel restaurant after dinner. We are definitely thinking that the end is near as we have just completed our 21st consecutive day of riding an average of 113 miles per day…and boy do our butts know it now!! We can’t believe that we will be in Savannah this Thursday.
Today’s 133 mile/ 4,946 ft route from Winona to Meridian, MS was a bit challenging with another day of rolling hills but mostly quiet roads. We want to call today’s ride “The Mississippi church ride” as we saw a new church on almost every corner along the country back roads that we traveled. In fact, at times it seemed that there were more churches than houses in some areas of the countryside. The weather AGAIN was perfect with very warm afternoon temps around 90 degrees and the high tomorrow in this area is predicted to be about 93 degrees.
Tomorrow we have yet ANOTHER long day in the saddle as we tackle a 149 mile route to our first stop in Alabama at Greenville. I think most of us feel that we’ve had enough as we cross the 100 mile mark each day now and those last 30-40 miles really seem to make a difference.
A bit late but here is the Mississippi sign but we’re outta here tomorrow and into Alabama!
Churches dotted the Mississippi countryside today. I photographed the first sign for my friends back home as we have a Liberty church on our typical backroads ride in Exeter, Rhode Island.
September 28th, 2006
This is Kathy, Ken’s wife, reporting for Ken with a brief telephone report. The PAC Tour cyclists are out of internet territory tonight in Lula,MS, but they had a safe 122 mile ride in sunshine and headwinds today. Ken will hopefully be back online tomorrow night. Good night from Rhode Island.
September 21st, 2006
We are now in Erick, Oklahoma with very difficult connections to the computer so I will make it short and sweet and let you enjoy lots of photos! The route was 117 miles and 2000 ft climbing with a whopping tailwind- hardly had to pedal the whole way from Amarillo to Erick! Ride was pretty boring until we got to Erick and then experienced the highlight of the trip with a visit to Annabelle and Harley in town at their ’shop’. They are amazing folks- they greeted our group with food and song and comedy- as they say it, they are America’s best redneck stop! Anyway, other people waiting to use this computer connection so I will leave you with photos… Sorry to be so short tonight- will try to explain more another night.
Greg, Paul, and Anne at lunch. Anne proudly showing her FDNY uniform for her husband, Mike, who is on the department, and then the ‘back end’ of the uniform!
Crazy Harley and Annabelle at their shop in Erick, OK. They welcomed us warmly with food, song, and redneck humor. This visit was THE highlight of our trip!
Old gas station seen along the way to Erick, OK.
September 20th, 2006
Can you believe another flat, tailwind day?! We left Clovis, NM and rode 112 miles to Amarillo, TX over only 1000 ft of climbing today. The tailwind again kept everyone moving along at 20-25 MPH easily and 29-32 MPH with some effort at the end. I rode the day with the Aussies and a bit with Reed and Jim from RI. Not much to see along the way besides the state sign and some horses interested in our rest stop near the end of the ride. Tonight we are staying off of I-40 at the Big Texan hotel and restaurant. This restaurant is famous for a challenge where they will give you your dinner for free if you can eat a 72 ounce steak in 1 hour! Some people were talking about taking the challenge. Tomorrow we head into my adopted state of Oklahoma as that’s where I lived for 5 years while attending veterinary school. Anyway, it’s only 20 minutes away from this special dinner so I better finish this post and get organized. Thanks for everyone’s support I receive via e-mail from all over the world- Italy, Australia, Canada, and USA.
Jon, our crew from San Antonio, says “Don’t Mess with Texas!”
Curious horses at our last sag stop outside of Amarillo, TX
Big Texan Restaurant, Hotel, and HORSE Hotel- Amarillo!
A good time at the Big Texan Restaurant; Brett trying the Floyd Landis approach to fast riding for tomorrow morning!
September 16th, 2006
We finished our first week of our trip with a total of 844 miles and 38,381 feet of climbing after a long, 157 mile trek from Springerville, AZ to Socorro, NM. Many of us used today to recover from a long week and specifically, from yesterday’s brutal ride into the wind. It was interesting that the mood of the group today seemed to be more subdued and it seemed that many of us rode alone at our own comfortable, recovery paces. It’s strange to have a new mindset that a 157 mile ride served as a recovery ride! The weather was beautiful as we climbed into the New Mexico mountains and crossed over the continental divide at almost 8,000 feet. Lunch was served at the top with hamburgers cooked on site and our usual, full assortment of snacks and drinks. The day was made particularly trying after yesterday’s brutal ride by the fact that we lost an hour overnight so our wakeup calls started at 4:00am!
Spectacular views greeted us near the Continental Divide in New Mexico!
We all took turns having our photos taken at the Continental Divide
September 15th, 2006
Payback big time today for yesterday’s awesome tailwind. We left Winslow at our usual 6:45am time and we rode past the corner made famous in the Eagles song. Next, we started our trek on I-40 for several miles with a headwind or crosswind for the entire day. The wind was blowing at a constant 20+ knots with gusts to 40MPH- it was absolutely relentless all day with 4407 ft of climbing in wide open desert, upward terrain. I have to say that in the end this was one of the hardest days I’ve ever spent on a bike- I was (and others agree) totally wasted when we pulled into our hotel in Springerville, Arizona on the New Mexico line. Just in case we were thinking tomorrow might be a recovery day, it’s not- a 157 mile day with over 4000 feet of climbing. Good night!
Standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona; such a fine sight- a Colnago CT1
Walter, thinking he’s home in Switzerland with these Arizona mountains!
Scenery from today’s trek from Winslow to Springerville.
Greg (40 years old from Pennsylvania), then Larry (60 years old from California), and myself (50 years old but feeling about 90 right now!) have been riding together for a few days. Larry realized today that we represent 3 consecutive age decades and we’re showing our decade in number of fingers. I’d like to give today’s wind “the finger” !
September 14th, 2006
Our ride today took us from Cottonwood to Winslow, AZ. Contrary to the stats listed on the route info, today’s leg was actually the 112 predicted BUT with 6,513 feet of climbing through more of the Prescott national forest area. We left in another morning rain but quickly the scattered cloud/sunny day took over for our climbs. Wildlife was on our minds as we climbed and saw a tarantula crossing the road (”Why did the tarantula cross the road…?”) and then slowed to see a coyote running in our lane then it stopped just off the side of the road- got a photo of the tarantula and almost got one of the coyote! At 65 miles we had lunch with excellent burritos made by our talented, always there, crew. We were near the top of our climb at that point and after lunch we found ourselves on a mostly flat, rolly smooth road into Winslow..with our FIRST real tailwind. Three of us (Larry, Greg, and I) did our typical rotating paceline, rotating at each mile marker- at speeds of 27-40 MPH; we covered the next 28 miles in 50 minutes and then did the final 18 miles in about 35 minutes!!! The grade was flat to +/- 1% for this 48 mile stretch of road. In the end we had done 112 miles in 6:23 ride time with the 6,513 feet of climbing getting us to the Winslow hotel at around 2:40pm. Tomorrow we head to our last stop in Arizona to Springerville. On the way out of town we go by the corner made famous by the Eagles…”She was standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona, such a fine sight to see….”
Tarantula found along our route today
“Bisti” getting some shade under the trailer. She is the official PACTour mascot- found about 8 years ago as a 6 week old puppy by Lon when riding cross country. She’s been with them since.
September 13th, 2006
Today we entered some beautiful terrain as we rode from Wickenburg to Cottonwood, Arizona. The ride took us into the Prescott national forest and had miles of gorgeous climbing in the range of 4-6%. The roads were smooth, weather much cooler, and no traffic for most of the ride. Once we got to the summit of a couple of points along the way, we had miles of fast, smooth descending. The route is actually a bit different from the route listed from the link- we actually had 105 miles with 8,047 ft of climbing! We’re heading over to Sizzlin’ restaurant for dinner so that will make 2 dinners at Sizzler, 1 at Denny’s, and 1 Mexican restaurant. Enjoy the photos and don’t forget that you can click on any image for a larger picture:
Reed, with hotel key in shorts….just in case of ‘emergency’ before departing the hotel!..(If you know what I mean!
Larry (California) on left and Butch and Randy on right
As we left this morning, we saw this rainbow
Some views from the Prescott National Forest