Monday, August 12, 2013


We're now in Texas, just made it here. It's been 25 days since leaving Anaheim and that's a pretty long way.

Attended the Colorado Rockies game with a lot of wonderful people which was great!  Biking up the mountains not so much.  Crossed the Continental Divide for the second time. Jack’s dog Beaumont was sprayed by a skunk this but a dog grooming place gave him a free bath. And ate, A LOT when I wasn’t riding.

Today was the second time on this trip I've biked in three states in a single day. The first time was the day we got to Cigago through Indiana and then continued on towards Milwaukee, finishing within Wisconsin. 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Desert Wasn’t So Bad and Phoenix was Great!

With Jacob Ride supporters showing my Maryland colors.
Seems like a lot has happened since I left California. It took four days to get to Phoenix from Anaheim. It wasn't as hot as we warned. In fact, I was rained on the first day and the second day was very humid, not scorching hot. There was a great river trail out of Anaheim -- the Santa Ana River Trail that took up almost 50% of my first day. We made it just about to Palm Springs. We had problems with the Indian roads and then unpaved roads. We ended up having to illegally bike on the Interstate for a few exits, and cut the day "short" at 102 miles as the sun set.

The original route had us on a lot of side roads until Blythe, CA. At that point, we would get on Interstate 10 (legally) to Phoenix. I used to like the riding on the interstate because the first time we did it (Rt 5 in Northern CA), I was able to go so fast. Since then, the interstate has been more like regular roads but with more flats due to the debris.

After spending the night in Palm Springs, we kept on going the next day and went through Joshua Tree and 29 Palms. Two very big hills before each of those towns followed by shallow up and downs. At this point, I was a bit disappointed not getting any tailwinds. We're heading east now, and tailwinds should be the rule.

The next two days were pretty basic -- I rode, and Jack drove. We got on 10 west of Blythe for the final day. We met our awesome host home that night, Rob and Kari. They were great for two days and three nights.

This ride has been a life changing experience for me and meeting so many great people has definitely been the best part. For three nights and two days, we were treated to great food, and as much beer or wine as we would like. It was so fun to just hang out with Rob and Kari and talk about the ride, sports, and life in general. Almost from the moment we came inside, it felt more like we were staying at an old friend's house.

There was a great meet and greet type at the ballpark put on by AB. Met a few old faces and quite a few new ones. My Uncle Larry and Aunt Linda came, driving 7 hour from Las Crues, NM -- always great to see family!  Have to say I got some satisfaction seeing Kevin Gregg blow a save for the Cubs. I have seen him three times during this trip, and I still resent him for his poor performance as an Oriole.

Something fun about the Phoenix Diamondback’s game… because I wore my Maryland flag arm warmers onto the field during the "Special Guest" on field introduction, a lot of people recognized me during the game as I navigated the ballpark. It was really great to be able to talk about the cause and my ride with baseball fans.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Dodgers, My CI Surgeon and Thinking Ahead

With Dr. Niparko before
the LA portion of the ride.

The Dodgers game today was great. Dodger Chris Capuano made a generous donation and said that he would help to get the word out. We also unexpectedly got interviewed by Yahoo Sports. Every time we get coverage it helps the ride get more momentum.

Dr. Niparko, the surgeon who implanted my CI, joined us for the 32-mile bike ride in LA! After the Dodgers game, he took my sister Sarah and I out for dinner. It was wonderful spending time with the man who had such a major impact on my life.

It's been a great few weeks for the ride. We made it through two hard stretches to Oakland and to San Diego. The next six days I have off are a time to rest and reflect.

Everyone is warning me about the hot weather in Arizona but I'm remaining optimistic. I'm going to buy a headlight in case we need to ride at night. Hopefully if we reverse out sleeping schedules we can still sleep indoors at hotels.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Echo Park & Looking Forward to a Break

Echo Park-Where Cycling Began for Me
Echo Park-where cycling really began for me.

Just made it to San Diego! But want to back up a few days. After 4 days of more than 100 miles I got to north of LA on Tuesday night. We met with Alyssa (our great PR lady) for dinner which was really nice since she’s been working with us for months and I’d never met her. After dinner, I took the van to Echo Park.

Echo Park is a great place which has special meaning for me—it’s the site of my first long bike ride three years ago during a visit to the West Coast. That ride inspired me when I came back to Annapolis and started me riding my bike to work every day. Wow, how far I've come--literally! On my next visit to LA, the park was closed for renovations. This was my third visit and again I got there by bike! My brother Noah and his finance Kat were there to greet me.

Later, we went back to Noah’s apartment. He was glad to see me and I was glad to see him so it was a good time—we stayed up until almost 2 am! This lead to a late start yesterday and then we ran into traffic. But I still made the 24 miles to Dodger Stadium, plus 66 more miles towards Petco Park. I finished the ride to Petco today. Kind of hilly, but good riding. All along the Pacific Coast Highway, beautiful girls abound.

Now we are at a host home for the night and I just had an amazing pasta dinner and a beer. Tomorrow we get a head start towards Anaheim, then drive back to San Diego for a picnic at Advanced Bionics and the ball game. After I make it to Anaheim on Saturday, I’ll be off the bike for 6 days! This is my last big break off before the ride ends in Miami.

So I will be spending the weekend with my brother Noah. We’re planning on a night ride with Kyle Stevens on Tuesday. Kyle stayed at our house in Annapolis for three days in December after biking from LA to Maine! I had a lot of questions for him back then.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

What a Way to Celebrate the 4th!

At the Oakland game with a couple of As (and Jacob's Ride) fans.

The game at the Oakland Coliseum was great.  The Coliseum is old and it is the last NFL stadium with a baseball team in it, so I liked that. It was sold out due to fireworks night and I have to say, Oakland's fans have made a very good impression with me. A fun atmosphere where it seemed like everyone knew each other--reminded me of Camden Yards. The only downside was for the first time, we didn't get our mini batting helmet because they didn't sell them at the stadium! Jack ordered one on eBay and its waiting for us in Santa Monica.

I'm in the van waiting for Jack and Sarah so we can begin exploring San Francisco. Independence Day is a great holiday because there is no pressure to be with someone--much better than New Years for sure. Happy Fourth!