Indianapolis, IN

Friday, July 31, 2009

Today began as any other day on the Journey of Hope with an early wake up, packing our bags, and eating breakfast to fuel up before our ride. Today’s breakfast much like last nights dinner was an unusually awesome meal for us because the house cooks prepared another delicious feast including my favorite, chocolate chip pancakes.

The house, or Frat Castle (sleeps 100 guys, awesome!)

After breakfast we took a photo in front of the house and saddled up for the ride. I’ve begun putting my tires to a higher pressure (130 psi. when the max is 120 psi.) in hopes to avoid flats on the road; it had been working quite successfully until today. The beginning of the ride was really fun with freshly wet road from an early morning shower and canopy covered roads that kept the overcast skies out of view made us feel as if we were riding in a rain forest for the first part of the morning. Once out on a main highway the shoulder quickly became a mine field and the team was plagued with flats. About 5 miles into our terrible excursion on Hwy. 37 going about 25 down a hill I heard a sound that no cyclist wants to hear at that speed, PPPSSSSHHHHH!!! A rear side wall blowout quickly put my rim on the ground and I let my paceline know that I had a flat, after examining the sidewall I realized this wasn’t a replace a tube type flat, but instead replace the tire.

The rear tire failure

Today was my first day racking the bike for a non-construction related reason. I was disappointed because until today I had ridden every mile fighting through aching knees, saddle sores, and fatigue that I didn’t know was possible and a silly tire kept me off the bike. On the bright side however today was only a 52 mile ride of which I only missed 24 miles. I put my bike on the back rack of a crew vehicle that was jumping up and joined the crew to help the cyclists finish there rides. I directed the cyclist into stage up and gained a new respect for the crew position and all the hard work they do everyday. The day wasn’t all a loss since I was able to get coffee and an ice cream cookie sandwich for second breakfast at 9 AM. I rode with the lead vehicle behind the police escort and snagged some awesome photos and video of the guys riding in arrival formation.

Arrival paceline

On the other side of things

We arrived at IUPUI, Indiana University Purdue University of Indianapolis to a warm welcome from some IUPUI Pi Kapp’s and school faculty. The team showered up at the dorms and ran to the bike shop quickly before dinner. We headed to David's home for dinner and enjoyed spaghetti lasagna and some delicious carrot cake that I could not stay away from. Since we had the day off some of the team decided to go down town. Colin and myself decided to go for an adventure and hiked the 3 mile walk from campus to down town and saw some really neat war memorials as well as found a Starbucks that was still open.

An attempt at a cool photo at a fountain that failed miserably
(not easy with a point and shoot)

Sweet hotel in the circle with the fountain and giant obelisk

Excited for a day off in Indianapolis tomorrow and another awesome friendship visit!


Bloomington, IN

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Yesterday when we crossed into Indiana we changed to Eastern Time which was my fourth time zone of the trip and made me realize how close we are to DC. The ride today was quick with a noon arrival and 11:30-55 mile rack point; we had some pressure to keep the crew stops short and ride fast. By 11:00 we were at mile 57 and about 2 miles from stage up when disaster struck. We were riding downhill and looking ahead to merge over because of a right turn lane ahead when the leader of our paceline caught an edge merging from the shoulder to the road and went down hard. Fortunately we all managed to dodge the downed cyclist and quickly secured the scene by blocking traffic and I quickly grabbed my phone to notify the crew chief that a cyclist had gone down. There is a real danger to cycling and in this case everything worked out well and he finished the ride out with nothing more then a few scrapes and bumps, but an incident like this makes us appreciate how fortunate we are to do this ride and really enjoy every minute of it.

Once at stage up we prepared for arrival at Stone Belt, an organization similar to the Arc. We arrived at Stone Belt to a very warm welcome and a great group of clients. Stone Belt was having an outside fair with games and face painting. After lunch we played basketball and hung out for a few hours together.

Stone Belt Today
Brenda and I


We saddled up and rode the last few miles of the day to the Indiana University Pi Kappa Phi chapter house. The house is incredible and we were honored with two very distinguished Pi Kapp's including Dr. Phil Summer, past national president and Ledford Carter a 93 year old alumni from Mercer University. The house cooks prepared a delicious steak dinner for us including red skin potatoes, broccoli, and fresh dinner rolls.

After dinner Ledford drove us around campus and showed us some of the building he use to lecture at and answered lots of questions we had about the campus. We rounded out the evening with a trip to get ice cream where I had an amazing mint chocolate chip cone.


Terre Haute

Monday, July 27, 2009

Awesome! Awesome! Awesome! That's how I would describe the day today. The day began with a sponsored breakfast by Dick and Deb outside the Arc at 6:30. I invited Dick and Deb to ride in our paceline, it was fun to mix things up and made the 60 miles go by much faster.

We rode quickly today with most of the ride being flat and averaged about 19.5 for the day. Dick and Deb took us on a cool detour that took us over a covered bridge and by an awesome winery.

The covered bridge detour

Today we had a solid challenge of eating a personal cake each on the road, I had a German Chocolate cake that was amazing, and made the last 20 miles feel way better.

A paceline picture at stage up

We arrived at Indiana State University and had a cool arrival around a fountain where we were welcomed by the dean of students and Pi Kapp's from the ISU chapter.

ISU arrival

A great lunch at the university student union filled us up, and then we headed off to the Pontius' home. Dr. Pontius is the faculty advisor for the ISU chapter and was kind enough to invite us into his home for the night.

Cool historical home

We had the afternoon to find coffee and make a quick bike shop run before we headed off to our evening friendship visit. A venti iced latte had me energized for the friendship visit and when we arrived the clients were outside clapping and cheering for us, we knew it was going to be a great visit as soon as we saw them waiting. The Happiness Bag inc. is an organization that works with people with various disabilities, both developmental and physical.

This was a very special friendship visit for me because I met Sabrina. When I first met Sabrina she was very cold and didn't want to join everyone singing and dancing out on the gym floor. She did however want to sing Karaoke, and after singing Tim McGraw "Nothin to Die For" she really warmed up and we sang and danced for the rest of the evening together.

The guys singing karaoke

Drayton getting his dance on

Sabrina and I

We all left the friendship visit super jazzed, it was a really memorable night and everyone had a great evening. Fitting that tomorrows ride was to Bloomington, IN we decided to watch "Breaking Away" with Dennis Quaid about cycling that was filmed completely in Bloomington and on the campus of IU.

The days ride

Tomorrow is a short ride to Bloomington and I'm really excited to be in another college town!


Effingham (Teutopolis)

Today was the second longest day of the summer, we rode from St. Louis, MO to Effingham, IL. The day started early at 5 AM and we packed up from the hotel and had a sponsored breakfast from some alumni Pi Alpha's. Everyone pigged out on donuts, sausage-egg-cheese biscuits, and fresh fruit that fueled us up for the long ride.

The ride out of the city was slow going because of all the stop lights and one way streets but once we made it out of the city it was gorgeous countryside and rolling hills.

The ride out of town
Part of our ride was on the historic route 66; we decided to stop and take photos over the Mississippi river and photos of the state "line."

Missouri Side

Illinois Side

Our paceline moved fast for the first 60 miles and had a great snack provided by a 2010 cyclist's family. We continued moving and had a nice break at 90 miles for lunch and finally trucked out the last 26 arriving in Effingham by 3:30. We rode over to Teutopolis the next town over and stayed in the local Arc.

115 Miles!

For dinner we headed to Deb and Dick's home where they grilled out and everyone hung out and watched the final stage of the tour. Deb and Dick are cyclist and just returned from a trip to Glacier national park; Dick is the CEO of the Teutopolis Arc and they'll be joining us for tomorrows ride to Terre Haute.


Day Off-St. Louis

We had a jammed packed day off in St. Louis including a friendship visit and a trip to the Zoo. The day started early for me, while the rest of my team slept I got up and took advantage of the one washer and dryer the hotel had to offer. I walked 14 blocks to find the closest Starbucks and it was well worth the downtown adventure. After I had my morning fix I finished my laundry and the team headed out to a friendship visit with the St. Louis Arc as well as the St. Louis society for Individuals with physical disabilities. We had lunch together and then spent the afternoon playing games and enjoying their company.

Lots of photos from the friendship visit

After lunch and our friendship visit we had the afternoon off to tour the city. A group of us decided to see the St. Louis Zoo, a very nice zoo that was Free. The zoo is in the center of Forest Park, the second largest mid-metropolitan park, behind only Central Park. The zoo was awesome and we had perfect weather for an afternoon of cool animals.

The Zoo

After the zoo we went to the Holt home, Whitey a team member from St. Louis family invited everyone over for an evening of swimming, relaxing, and dinner.

Relaxing at the Holt's

Judy, Whitey's stepmother prepared a monster of a feast for everyone including bbq, lasagna, and some delicious salads. Clement's mother traveled from Illinois and brought everyone personal cakes from their families bakery. I indulged in the best Oreo Cheesecake I've ever had and really enjoyed getting to meet the Holt family. The rest of the evening was spent packing and preparing for the long 116 miles ride to Effingham, IL.


St. Louis

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Today we rode 60 miles from Union to St. Louis and had a police escort for 30 of those miles. We woke up at 6 AM and and quickly packed and headed out to breakfast. This morning was a real treat because had breakfast cooked for us, which meant no cup of cereal and half a bagel. Everyone enjoyed eggs, bacon, sausage, and fresh donuts that were cooked on site and really hit the spot.

Breakfast at Union High School

We got on the road about 7:20 and were told we had to be at mile 30 where the police escort began by 9, which meant we would really have to move to get there. At 9:01 we hit 33 miles where the police escort was waiting for us, and we had some down time while we waited for the rest of the pace lines to arrive.

The first police escort was a St. Louis County officer who escorted us for 20 miles into the outskirts of the city, where he handed us off to the St. Louis Metropolitan escorts who took us the rest of the way into the city. We arrived for lunch at Forest Park a very nice downtown park area where lunch was sponsored by a team members mom.

Lunch at a golf course in Forest Park

After lunch we had time for a quick nap and then got back on the bikes for our 2 PM arrival down town. Our final escort took us into the heart of the city and with two officers we were able to blow through lights and make the arrival quick. The St. Louis Arch, the gateway to the west and the state building made for a gorgeous backdrop for the reading of the mayors proclamation declaring July 24, 2009 Push America day in St. Louis.


We rode a few blocks to our hotel which was provided by our generous sponsors and then cleaned up and ran to a bike shop where I had my rear wheel trued. It was another amazing day on the Journey of Hope and excited about a day off to explore St. Louis tomorrow.

Some very cool news about the Garmin is that I found free program that allows me to upload my rides to the internet so everyone can see them and if other cyclist wanted to try the ride they could download it to their computer, Very Cool!


Union, MS

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Missouri made us work for it today, no 15 MPH tail wind or negative elevation change, No Sir! Today I hit the wall, backed up and hit it again face first, but in the end managed to finish the day.

Today's ride wasn't our longest 126 miles, nor was it the largest climbing day (although it was close), it was simply steep rolling hills over and over and over again for 106 miles and man did it wear on me. We really crushed the first 40 miles or so in a paceline of three and average around 18.5 until the 9% grades began to wear on me. Around mile 50 I was wondering weather or not I would be able to finish the day as my legs began giving out on me and I was having trouble staying in the saddle on the climbs. At mile 72 (around 11:30) at the top of one of the steepest climbs 0f the day I was done, BONKED! Shaking and dizzy I quickly polished off 2 bottles of water and Clif twists energy snacks like they were candy trying to get sugar in my system. I decided to keep riding and was certainly struggling with the heat and humidity of the day, working to keep my eyes open while riding from heat exhaustion. At mile 82 our crew chief prepared snacks for us to keep our sugar levels high and we all devoured snacks and gatorade trying anything to give our bodies quick fuel to burn. 24 miles is what I kept telling myself, 24 miles I could do in my sleep by this point in the summer and little by little it became 12, then 6 and by 2:30 we arrived 105.8 miles to Union High School home of the Wildcats.

A generous sponsor had pizza waiting for us; it could've been the worst pizza in the world and it would've tasted like heaven to us (it was great pizza by the way). After showering and an afternoon nap we headed to downtown Union to Aggies where we had a delicious sponsored dinner. Everyone returned to lodging and participated in a midsummer ritual which really helped us re-center our attention on why were out here and how to make the most of our remaining time together.

We determines that today was physically the toughest day on the trip so far, it may be a combination of the wear and tear on our bodies or the constant exhaustion that we're facing but it really made us earn it today.

We did it tough, as a team we all finished after no one though that we would, we completed what may be the hardest day on the Journey of hope..... together.

A night on the Journey of Hope wouldn't be complete without ice cream and I'm proud to say I polished off a 2000 calorie large browie batter blizzard from Dairy Queen, and three volcano taco's from Taco Bell; I burned 6500 calories today I feel like I earned it.


Columbia, MS

After several hours of examining cornfields today I've determine one major difference between cornfields in Kansas and cornfields in Missouri, Nothing! The team awoke to a down pour which was supposed to be a zero percent chance of rain. The weather changed soon after we left and we rode into clear skies and warm weather that was much more enjoyable to ride in. A few crew stops into our ride the crew members bombarded us with water balloon which quickly escalated into a full on water fight, keeping spirits up and putting a smile on everyone's face.

Early morning stretch at a crew stop

We finished the around 1 and quickly headed to a bike shop in town to pick up the essentials; tubes, tires, and other misc. bike parts are always needed after a days ride. Again spoiled by one of generous sponsors we had a hotel to stay in and enjoyed beds and nice showers. The team headed to dinner at Jerry's house, the gentleman who put us up in the Holiday Inn, also grilled out and had a great BBQ for us.

The team had the evening off and being in a college town some of us decided to go downtown and get icecream and coffee. We walked the campus of the University of Missouri-Columbia, also known as Mizzou.


On our way back to the hotel we stopped by the Pi Kapp house and were fortunate to take a tour and see another neat chapter house. Another great day on the Journey of Hope!!!

Few news articles including video in the second one, which has some glamor shots of Heidi my whip.

Columbia News article from the Missourian

Video from our arrival yesterday


4 New Posts!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Hey everyone,

Sorry internet has been so scarce, but I've caught up on the past 4 days of post tonight when I had internet and I'll try to post one for today Columbia, MS asap.

Thanks again for reading!


Sedalia, MS

“We’re not in Kansas any more Toto!” –Wizard of Oz

Today we crossed into Missouri and after a day off in Olathe we were all jazzed to be on the bikes again. The morning started off as a terrible day to be on the bike with gray overcast skies and a morning chill that made us all wonder if sending home our cold gear was a good idea. The ride out of town was horrible with rush hour traffic, terrible city streets, and frustrated motorists all combining for bad conditions to be on a bike. Add to that the fact that it started pouring buckets about 15 miles into our ride and you had quite possibly the worst possible day to be on the bike, and WE LOVED IT. Today was FUN, and with spirits high everything and anything that went wrong we couldn’t help but laugh at. 5 flats, bike failures, poor weather and we all just kept smiling and enjoying our day on the bike together.


The team keeping high spirits during another flat, raging on the side of the road!

This trip has made us all truly appreciate being fortunate enough to get up and dress ourselves in the morning, let alone being able to ride a bike 100 miles as if it were work. My fellow schoolmate Matt said “that when the miles start to feel like work, you’re doing something wrong!” and he was definitely right about that. Once we arrived in Sedalia we walked to the community pool and showered up for our friendship visit in a few hours. A quick bike shop run for tubes and CO2 and we returned just in time for dinner provided by the Sedalia cycling club, who was kind enough to prepare a pig roast for us. We all gorged our selves with pork sandwiches, baked beans, and some great slaw that energized us for tomorrows ride. After dinner clients began arriving at lodging for our evening friendship visit. We enjoyed ice cream together and had a hula-hooping contests. I met an amazing gentleman named Robert. Robert has an acquired disability of blindness from a firearm accident that actually discharged a bullet into his skull, leaving him blind for the past 29 years. Today was a very special day for Robert seeing that he had proposed to his girlfriend and is now engaged. He was full of life and energy and really brought this whole trip home for me and why were riding. Tonight was a truly special night for me on the Journey of Hope and I’m looking forward to the very precious 23 days I have remaining with these amazing men I’ve been privileged to spend my summer with.


Day Off-Olathe, KS

The team woke up at 6:00AM what we consider to be late these days and enjoyed an omlette breakfast provided by members of the independent living resource center. We then had a guided tour of the Deaf Cultural Center which was right off campus and viewed a demo home for someone living with a hearing impairment. Some of the things I found really cool were the flickering lights for the doorbell, and a bed shaker as an alarm in case of severe weather.

Some photos of the demo home

A special weather tracker to alert individuals of incliment weather

A cool sign language alphabet made from plater sculptures lined the entryway

The team loaded up and headed off to Mark Cameron’s home who was kind enough to show us his state of the arm home for a quadriplegic. Mark is an amazing gentleman was responsible for the Texas Roadhouse dinner and all of the events we attended while in Olathe. Mark is truly inspiring and showed us how he uses a dot on his forehead to control his computer and controls on his chair to open doors and change light settings in his home.

Mark in his Home

His website and amazing story can be found here:

The team had a crew lunch and then headed downtown for a friendship visit with TLC (Therapeutic Learning Center) of Kansas City. The learning center is a preschool for children with disabilities and has on staff OT (occupational therapists), PT, and teachers with focus in special education that are responsible for 5 classes of children with various abilities. We were broken into groups of three and placed in classes to meet and interact with the children. I had the opportunity to work with children that were ages 2-3 with varying developmental disabilities. Jake, Deshawn, and Kaylee were quite the handful; I spent the most time with Deshawn who used sign language to communicate and really put me through the ringer during story time trying to keep him focused on the teacher Hygun.

Drayton and I with the 2's and 3's

After our visit we all headed to the vans drove to Union station Kansas City to kill some time before the evening festivities. Olathe really went all out for us and scheduled for us to be recognized on field at the Kansas City Royal MLB game against the Angels. We enjoyed an awesome tailgate with delicious brisket and pulled pork and then headed into the field to be prepped for our appearance. Mother nature unfortunately didn’t cooperate and we waited 2.5 hours in the pressroom for the game to be cancelled. They made the mistake of placing 27 young men in a room with an open microphone and the K-crew, the royals cheerleading squad and wound up having a Backstreet Boys concert, interviews, and impressions done to the microphone while killing time.

After the game was called we at least had an opportunity to go out and walk around the field before heading home, it’s a shame that it didn’t work out but we all had a great time waiting for our time in the spotlight.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

  © Blogger template On The Road by 2009

Back to TOP