Day Off-Casper

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Today we had a day off in Casper and had two friendship visits which were both great. This morning we had the opportunity to sleep in until 10:15 which was the latest wake up we've had so far; some of us woke up early to do a bible study to prepare us for our day.

A few of the team members brought their bikes for our first friendship visit with the Boys and Girls club of Casper where we did arts and crafts, a Kids on the Block puppet show, and a short bike ride with some of the kids. It was a great friendship visit and the kids were definitely tired after the ride, we all had a great time!

We had some down time between friendship visits where we split up and ran necessary errands. Dinner was with the ARK of Casper at a local park where we played on the playground and played baseball. Everyone enjoyed several helping of food and didn't want to leave.

Another great day on the Journey of Hope and a perfect day of rest before our longest ride of the trip, 126 miles!!!


Day 18-Casper

Monday, June 29, 2009

Today was incredible and by far my favorite day on the Journey so far. We had a 100 mile day from Shoshoni to Casper of which the first 45 were uphill to a little town Highland, population 10. The ride was far from scenic, but my pace line had great conversation that made the miles fly bye. Today was the first day that we didn't have to add layers to endure the cold weather, which reduced down time at crew stops.


The locals called the ride the "longest 100 miles in America" and said that you could "put your head down for 50 miles, look up and have not missed anything." One gentleman went as far as to say that "there were more trees inside the senior center than on the ride" and that wasn't too far from the truth.

During our ride we rode past the Texas 4k group that bikes from Austin, Texas to Alaska for cancer research; the team is associated with Lance Armstrong.

Texas 4k

One exciting part of today's ride was that we rode past Hell's Half-acre, which is really 320 acres and is more of a mini grand canyon; it was the canyon for the battle in the blockbuster hit "Starship Troopers.

Hells Half-Acre

After arriving in Casper we cleaned up and prepared for dinner provided by the Kiwanis club which was a delicious buffet. We all ate to our hearts were content and stomachs were miserably full.

Casper Population 49644

We returned to lodging at a local high school for a team meeting to recap the past few days of riding and debrief. The team ventured out to the local theatre to catch Tranformers 2, Revenge of the Fallen.

It was another great day on the Journey of Hope!


Day 17-Shoshoni

Today we rode from Dubois to Shoshoni, Wyoming which was a 100 mile ride. The day began quickly with a strong tail wind and an awesome descent that had us averaging 22 MPH for the first 60 miles compared to 15-18 MPH usual pace. I unfortanetly forgot to get my Garmin bike computer out of my backpack before so I had to wait until I arrived at the second crew stop (20 miles in where my computer was to start recording) so my total daily milage was 21 miles short.

However the day took a turn for the worse around mile 60, plagued by 3 flats in a less than a few miles my paceline quickly lost an hour of the day making repairs on the side of the road. We finished the ride by 12:30 and had lunch upon arriving in Shoshoni, a small town of a little more than 600 that used to be a hot spot for uranium mining.

The afternoon was filled with napping and a trip to the local malt shop, a great dinner was sponsored by the cooks at the Shoshoni senior center and a trip to Walmart in Riverton capped off the night.

Here are some photos from a mountain top sunset after the cattle woman dinner:

Ben Thacker, Thackdaddy!

Cool shot


Day 16-Dubois

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Today was a wild ride, including the highest elevation of our trip and some of the steepest climbs well see. We prepared to depart the church at six this morning for our long days ride which started with a 30 mile ride out of Jackson which we had already ridden, except this time it was all uphill. Visibility was low and thick fog made for treacherous conditions on the road, but it made it the time go by fast and before we knew it we had begun our 2o miles, 3000 vertical ft. climb. Nearly halfway into our climb at about 8700 ft. we pulled into a crew stop with more vehicles than usual and immediately knew something was up. Our project manager who had already driven the route decided the construction ahead was unsafe for us to ride on and would be racking us to the peak, a heart breaker! After talking the rack over with him we were allowed to ride the last half mile of the climb hitting our peak elevation of over 9600 ft. We were all very disappointed that we didn't get complete the whole climb on our own but knew that we could if allowed.

My helmet was raining all morning, cool shot of Trevors glasses Sweet huh?

The team being racked, bummer!

A shot at the peak, kinda a half earned photo

The rest of the ride was cake with an awesome descent and freshly paved roads which made it more enjoyable. We were able to catch a tail wind and finished the last 25 miles in just under an hour, incredible!

The town of Dubois sits just below 7000 ft. and has a poplulation of 962 people, pretty small but had everthing the team needed including an awesome cafe which I'm writing this blog at with awesome espresso drinks and a laundry mat for some much needed fresh clothes! Tonight we have a sponsored dinner by the Cattle Woman's association which will be great and lot of time to relax before two 100+ days followed by two friendship visits on our day off.


Day 15-Jackson

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Today we rode from Yellowstone to Jackson, for a total of 46 miles. Our scheduled ride of 80 miles was cut short due to complications with a one day cycling permit for Yellowstone, which forced us to rack 21 miles until we were out of the park. That in combination with 2 miles of good roads and 8 miles of construction after the park forced us to rack for 31 miles which worked well since our scheduled arrival time was 11:00 AM.

Where we began our ride today, Gorgeous

Today's paceline

The scenery was just....okay

We worked very hard today to make our scheduled rack time of 40 miles by 10:00 AM. We pushed hard and worked as a team barely making it. The scenery today was gorgeous, we rode along the Tetons couldn't help but stop and take lots of photos forcing us to work harder to make our rack time; we rode along an amazing new bike trail that was super fun to ride on and was nice to get off the road away from cars.


These antler arches are all over town

We had a police escort into Jackson and a warm welcome from a large crowd. The team mingled with everyone before packing into the vans and heading to lodging. We stayed at Twin Creek Ranch in Idaho, owned by a former Pi Alpha. Horseback riding, skeet shooting, and driving golf balls off a cliff were just a few of the activities everyone partook in; we dined like kings for the evening, well fed before white water rafting tomorrow.

Kevin on a horse

Again another amazing view

Shortened ride


Day 14-West Thumb, Yellowstone

Today began by riding a mile to the park entrance, where we formed a double pace line and were permitted to ride in the park in groups no larger than 4. No more than a few hundred feet into our ride we stumbled upon some bison on the roadside and stopped for a few pictures.

Bison with their young

4 States

Although the day was short in mileage it was not easy by any means, because we crossed the continental divide twice! We spent the majority of the day above 7000 ft. and today was the first day the altitude bothered me. The climbs were gradual but my heart was working hard to keep up with the thin air. We reached the top of the first divide and stopped to take a photo in the “Two Oceans Lake” which runs both ways down the mountain and feeds both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

VT conquers the divide

Two Oceans Lake

We continued on our ride and summated the second divide 5 miles later, winded and out of breath but proud of ourselves and having conquered the difficult ride.

Second Divide

The rest of the ride was downhill and we stopped and ate lunch before checking into lodging. The ride was gorgeous and even though it was challenging its been my favorite ride so far.

After everyone showered and cleaned up we made our way to Old faithful; we made it just in time to see it go off.

Old Faithful

We also made it to the Geyser Bash which was incredible.

Yellowstone is a gorgeous place!

Day 13-West Yellowstone

Today was another very tough day, we climbed 1% grade for 70 miles and fought a head wind for the last 40 miles of the ride. I also swept today so there was a lot of stopping and starting and after yesterday it was exhausting. We arrived in West Yellowstone late in the afternoon and quickly showered before attending to a few chores we had to do before our night off. The team loaded up in the vans and headed off to the local car wash where we all cleaned the vans and vacuumed them out doing our best to keep them in good shape. After that we were set free to explore the town and eat dinner; we found a great pizza shop and I had no trouble polishing off a large pizza on my own.

Sweet rolling photos


Day 12-Bozeman

Monday, June 22, 2009

Today was our first true century (we actually did over 100 miles this time) from Butte to Bozeman. The day started off great with an early wake up and a goal of ~65 miles by 11. We had a tough climb to begin the day, our first time crossing the continental divide; one of many for this trip. The ride today was the most scenic ride we've had so far, we rode along a river for a good bit of the ride and the were taken aback by the scenery.

Our climb early this morning

An amazing view

Along the river (representing school spirit)

The guys taking in the view

My paceline was moving right along at about 58 miles when we hit the worst head wind I've ever experienced. Our pace was drastically slowed and it took us about an hour to make it to lunch ~68 miles into our ride. We all huddled in the vans while we ate lunch and then took a valley that sheltered us from the wind for the rest of the way.

107 Miles!

We arrived at our lodging and quickly ran errands to the bike shop and Walmart before our friendship visit at six. The team met with Eagle Mount an organization that teaches people with disabilities to ski, ride horses, and hand cycle. I had a chance to try out a hand cycle and man was it tough work, my arms are sore from the short ride.


Day 11-Butte

A few photos from the night before at the famous Doe Brother's Ice Cream Soda shop.

The best food I've had on the trip so far, a Montana Moose Moss Malt
(Peanut butter with mint)

We left Phillipsburg early in the morning but before we left the owner of the candy shop opened it especially for us and gave us all free samples. The candy shop produces 500 lbs. of candy a day and doesn't distribute any of it; here are some photos of the amazing shop.

Every type of taffy possible

The beginning of the ride was cold and wet, we were rained on for the first hour of the ride until the climb began and then thankfully the skies let up. The climb was challenging but had an awesome waterfall at the top and a beautiful mountain lake that made the work well worth it.

My paceline at the top of the climb

We finished the day early and had a friendship visit in the evening with BSW, an organization that helps people with disabilities live independently. The facilities had a wood shop and sewing machines where clients sew up to 200 pairs of boot liners a day that are used by the Navy and Army.


Day 10-Phillipsburg, Montana

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Today was a very long day, not long in the sense of mileage but in the number of flats. Between 4 people in my paceline including myself we had 6 flats; this drastically slowed down our day and made everyone a little frustrated. We worked as a team and with some help from our crew bring us extra tubes we were able to finish our ride for the day of 75 miles.We arrived six and half hours after our departure time of 7 AM, but averaged 17.2 MPH considering we only spent 4 hours and 20 minutes in the saddle; so we were making good time when we weren’t fixing flats.

1 ride, 6 flats

Flat #5

I stopped by several bike shops during our day off in Missoula and picked up a new saddle in hopes to alleviate my sit bone issue and some new tape to replace my torn bar tape. They didn’t have any black tape and all of the other colors didn’t really work with the color scheme of my bike, so I chose the boldest color they had, Pink.

Some photos of my new whip

On Thursday evening we had a team meeting and our project manager handed out two awards one of which being the Hammer Head award for the best cyclist and team member, which I was honored to receive. I have the privilege of handing off the award to who I feel worthy next week, pretty cool!

Phillipsburg is a very small town that doesn’t even have a stoplight. There are a lot of really neat stores and shops and a famous soda shop that was recently filmed in "Call of the Wild 3D" movie, I had a delicious Montana Moose Moss Malt. For dinner we went to a town cook off where we had incredible food that was piles 8 in. high on our plate; awesome meal.

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