Saturday, May 9, 2015

Monday, May 11th: Tuscola, IL to Lebanon, Indiana! Day 23 on the road. Back home in Indiana!
(Just before crossing the state line there was a

I spent 5 incredible (ok, I changed majors half way through my junior year and needed more time to get out! :))) college years in Indiana at Purdue University during the early to mid 1980's. I've been back only a couple times since then and was looking forward to getting back but a little anxious to see, although this time would be by bicycle, if my feelings for being back in the state would change any....Riding through gave me lots of time to remember back to my Purdue days and reflect on those experiences. I was able to visit with several really close friends Monday night. After getting into Lebanon, I first got to see my college roommate and his wife and then later that night a couple of my closest Cary Quad RA pals and then stayed with one them and their family in Zionsville for the night and was driven back early Tuesday morning for the ride to Richmond. A great time! To the very special people 'from back in the day' at Purdue, others I befriended in South Bend and down in Bloomington, I very sincerely and with a deeply, grateful heart, say: 'Thank you.' My feelings hadn't changed much while riding through.
You can take the Tad out of Indiana, but you can't take the Indiana out of Tad.



Sunday, May 10th: Happy Mother's Day! Off to Tuscola! Day 22 on the road.
(photos courtesy of Mike Munk, Bamacyclist)
 A beautiful (and flat!) day riding today. Our shortest day of the whole crossing at 77 miles. One of our fellow riders, Scott Alexander, is rejoining the group after falling In New Mexico and suffering 2 broken ribs. After some recovery and a doctor signing off on him continuing, we're glad to have him back. Leaving Springfield, it begins the 3rd and final 'section' of our trip. Costa Mesa to Albuquerque was the first, from Albuquerque to Springfield the second and now from Springfield all the way east to Amesbury, MA - the third. The photo below is our cue sheet for the day with all of the directions to get from Springfield to Tuscola. With the rain it's always a challenge but w/ the great help from the staff (Judy), a MacGyver'ed holder between the aero bars allowed me to use the bars and read directions!

Saturday, May 9th: Springfield, IL!!!!
After getting through the very beautiful and MANY rolling hills of Missouri the last few days, we're 'settling in' to a few days through much flatter Illinois. Quincy, Springfield and tomorrow to Tuscola as rain is catching up to us and making for wet, sloshy adventures. Today we all enjoyed our second scheduled day off of the trip in Springfield. I woke to the yearly fundraiser  run in town called the Big Ass 5K. Instead of water tables along the route, there are tables with hotdogs, chips, ice cream and beer! I visited the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, his boyhood home and had the chance to meet up with a very close friend from Purdue for lunch! It was a really great day off. Tomorrow we head to Tuscola come rain or shine!!

Dear Everyone,
Thanks for following my journey across the United States and all of the tremendous support you've given me and offered in donations to Gender Spectrum. I'm very grateful and appreciative. Posting updates on this blog spot is challenging for a variety of reasons so I apologize for not being able to do so very often. I hope you have been able to click on the facebook tab and get more up-to-date posts. Below are some updates taken from my facebook ride page. Sincerely, Tad

April 29th:
Nothing offers perspective like riding a Greyhound bus. People just trying to get through their life, trying to get to where they need to be. It's them. It's me. While the rest (more on that soon) of the riders made their way yesterday to Las Vegas....New Mexico and today to Tucumcari, NM, I fast forwarded with my gear and bike (you'd think my bike took a private limo for what they charge to 'ship' a bike w the luggage) straight to Tucumcari. I added aero bars and more padding to my handle bars and have worked with the staff for the 'best' of tomorrow's overall ride to test my 'new' normal. I feel a new chapter to this trip unfolding and I am excited by its possibilities. Even nowhere becomes somewhere with the right attitude and perspective.
While I was tending to my hands in Albuquerque, the group went through quite a round of drama itself.
To back up a second, we started in Costa Mesa with 16 riders. Day 2 saw a rider need an IV for dehydration. Day 3 saw us lose a rider to a fall that resulted in a broken collarbone and injured shoulder. Day 7, 5 riders finished the Fast South leg only portion and another ride left the tour early for personal reasons. There's me on Day 8, and yesterday 1 rider fell pretty hard and broke his bike. We're waiting on his status but hope he can continue and 3 riders had a pile up resulting in one taking a day off. Phew!!! On a good note we added a rider in Albuquerque who seems like a great addition to the group. We're beat up, but there is so much in our focus of what's ahead, like Texas tomorrow!! We pedal on!

May 1st:
With every day and a new town (and when there's time and the ability to still walk! :))) we try and get out visit, tour, check out whatever points of interest or features of the town we're in. Yesterday, we had strangers at a rest stop ask what we were doing and then wanted to take pictures with us.. :))) After getting into Liberal, a fellow rider, Wes, and I toured 'Dorothy's House' from the Wizard of Oz and historical site building next door. It was a fun change of pace and
 our tour guide, Christina, did a great job keeping a couple cycling nuts entertained. Today we had lunch in Meade, KS in front of the 'Dalton Gang Hideout' which was really cool. We rode from Liberty to Dodge City. Beautiful weather, a nice tail wind, great riding shoulder and a zillion birthday wishes didn't hurt either. Thank you for all of them!!! There are only 8 of us riding now (1 had to end the trip early w/ broken ribs from a fall and another is out for a week and we hope will rejoin us in Springfield) and our 4 wonderful support staff members. We're like a small close knit traveling family.

May 3rd:
I woke up with a 'Barry White' voice today which would have been great to have, without the little cold I've picked up. Thank you to my Ireland family for the great b-day jersey, so I rode representing the Emerald Isle (without the riding on the other side of the street part!) today. Thank you Dee, Michael and Donagh! Today's ride included little Sunday traffic, a bridge that was impassable by bicycle and super humid weather by day's end. Tomorrow the forecast is for thunderstorms. And the adventure continues

May 7th:
Just reached over $3000 in donations for Gender Spectrum! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!! I am so appreciative and grateful of everyone's generosity and support. Thank you again.
All great here in Quincy, IL after a day finishing off a zillion hills through Missouri. Crossed the Mississippi River and got caught in a little rain, but otherwise a successful day! A day off Saturday after we get into Springfield tomorrow, so more updates then. Thank you all for your continued support!!


Monday, April 27, 2015

Sunday April 26th - A rest day!!! Closing out our first week, we rode yesterday mostly along the historic Route 66 from Gallup, through lots of little towns, the Continental Divide and down into Albuquerque, NM. It was a long, but very pretty ride with some cross and tail winds and many nice descents.
It has been a very unique, mental and physically challenging week filled with many ups and downs - on and off the road. It was great to have a rest day. Lisa flew into town and we enjoyed getting up to Santa Fe, having a great dinner and even the surprise of some snow!! With a great week, it was still sad to say good bye to 5 riders whose trip ended in Albuquerque. For the last couple days I've been dealing with nerve and numbness problems in my hands to where I am now wearing braces on them. I'm staying in Albuquerque on Monday to get a proper evaluation. My hands are so much a part who am, how I work and my heart and soul that I want to make sure everything will be ok before I push forward. I'll post an update as soon as possible.

Update:I was diagnosed in Albuquerque by a hand surgeon today with ulnar nerve compression in both hands. Moving forward, I am modifying my bike that will include adding an aero bar to take the pressure off my hands. I'm bussing up to rejoin my group and, while my ride is going to change greatly, I look forward to the next chapter in this journey across America. Thank you everyone for all of your amazing support.
With a little free time left in very friendly Albuquerque, I swung by a few of the set locations from 'Breaking Bad'. Goofy times. :))

 Walt and Skylar's Home.
Day 5 and 6: From Cottonwood to Winslow AZ and then to Gallup, NM

108 was great! I needed a joyful day, and I got one. Cottonwood, Sedona, over a BIG climb into Flagstaff and a nice tail wind while on the interstate all afternoon got us all safely (1 flat for me and many many more for others) into Winslow, AZ. The roads were the total range from smooth to unrideable. Riding out tomorrow for a biggy (130) to Gallup, NM and a new state.

130 miles and made it to New Mexico! We all tried out riding a storm and lost :)) so we had a nice break in a gift shop diner. Otherwise, a pretty smooth ride (another float). In Gallup and heading to Albuquerque tomorrow, where 5 members of our group will end their trip (America Fast South leg). These 5 were terrific to meet and get to know.

Sorry for the delay in updates. Long days, little time and hard to do off my phone. :))

April 21...Day 3: Into Arizona!! This rider is keeping it short today. To put it simply - I'm very tired. :)) Desperately long, straight rode in the middle of no where. Much happened today as we are slowly becoming a sort of traveling family. I've started many 'counts' and will share them soon. 114 miles today and tomorrow we climb. Thank you for all of your continued support.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Day 2 - Long ride to Blythe. Super hot, but the 133 miles to get here are in the books! It got up into the high 80's and the temperature off the road (we spent much of it on the shoulder of I-10) was listed at 110. Ice packs on our necks while we ride and lots of water and food support was the only thing to get us through today. Although I move them around constantly, I've got numb ring and pinky finger tips, otherwise I'm super tired, but in very good shape. Double dinners and tomorrow we cross into Arizona and the town of Wickenburg.
THANK YOU for the incredible support you send me and the surge of donation support today! I am moved beyond words.
*The photos are from: This morning leaving Palm Springs, Box Canyon, some of the roads we ride on and what came out of the pockets of my jersey at the end of todays ride.


Sunday, April 19, 2015

*The following entry was copied from the entry I made on my ride page on facebook. I'll try and make them a little different going forward with no promise. :)))

** Also, THANK YOU for all of your support in all of the many forms you've shared with me. I am so grateful.

Day 1 is finally in the books. Phew!! I'll back up for just a sec. Day 0 (yesterday) was filled with orientation meetings, getting to know my fellow riders, meeting my roommate (Really great, 20-something Marius from Norway who i found out today is a complete animal on a bike). Alot of the pre-ride jitters were quickly erased after initially sizing up the crowd and meeting the staff, who were all terrific too. (Mike, Jim, Karen and Judy who you will hear me reference over the next month). Quite an amazing collection of riders - 16, 11 are going all the way - 5 are going to New Mexico and then heading home. Riders are from UK, Australia, Norway, and from 'home' MA, VA, FL, and CA, to name a few.
Today - Day 1: A mix of heat in the high 80's zapped a lot of everyone's energy, mine included.

 Lunch was around mile 60 which was very welcomed. Mile 90 after riding the last 10 (and eventually the last 40 solo), and taking a full break and a terrific tail wind I had a second wind which really turned the afternoon around for me. The day was filled on bike paths, city streets, country roads and...the Interstate, which is where I had my first flat at about mile 91. (btw: the amount of crap on the side of the road is brutal to weave through.) Thankful there was a big, shaded tree way off the shoulder to change out the tire.
 I had another one just 1.7 miles from the hotel in Palm Springs and there was no way I was going to get picked up by the staff, being that close and walking in wasn't going to happen either - so another tube change and bingo - 121 miles were mine.
 I rider left the road early not feeling well and I was the only one w/ 'issues' w/ flats. Oh, well. I'll put on a fresh tire and tube before heading out tomorrow and it'll be fine. Tomorrow is 133 miles to Blythe and we can leave as early as 6:15...Oh, boy!!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Day 0!
Today we check in, make sure our bikes are in perfect shape, attend orientation and safety meetings, meet the support crew, fellow riders, roommates, do all of the last minute things to get ready for the take off tomorrow morning.
I will be pedaling across the US with a 2015 Specialized Roubaix Comp SL4, with a Ksyrium SLS wheelset. On-bike gear includes bags for tools, sunscreen, ID, $$, tubes, food, phone, bike computer, Go Pro, water bottles, pump, cue sheet clip and lights. At first I wasn't completely sold on the colors but quickly realized they are perfect. The blue represents the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean and the steel gray represents all of the roadway in between!! I love this bike. I guess I'd better, right?!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

My most epic ride ever. Riding with America by Bicycle ( Leaving from Costa Mesa, CA on April 19th and arriving into Amesbury, MA on May 21st. 33 days. 3450 miles.
A really important organization that I've decided to ride for and that I have a personal connection to is Gender Spectrum.

To learn more about Gender Spectrum, click on the tab above. To learn more about my connection to Gender Spectrum and the fundraising page I've created for them, click on the 'Tad's Be Your Best Self...' tab above.

This is the adventure! One day at a time, one pedal at a time.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Rediscovering the Golden State - A memorable ride from September 2013...

I have always enjoyed bicycling for lots of reasons. From the health benefits, being outdoors, self-reliance, peace of mind and the simple freedom and fun that pedaling a bike gives me.
When an old college buddy (and big bicycling enthusiast) from St. Louis, MO, recently came to visit Northern California for the first time, I had the chance to rediscover and share the beauty of the state. Our plan was to ride our bikes during the 5-day window we had over as much of what I proposed to be the best of the best bicycling that defined California and the California Coast. We had hoped to include: Mt. Tamalpais, Big Sur, Lake Tahoe and the Wine Country. The plan was a tall order physically given our available time, but an exciting adventure, a chance at renewing a great friendship and an opportunity to see the Golden State from a different perspective – a bicycle.
Getting into town Saturday night, we quickly visited many San Francisco sight-seeing favorites: Lombard Street, Coit Tower, downtown, the Embarcadero and listening to the ‘singing seals’ at Pier 39.

Sunday morning we parked at the Presidio’s Sports Basement, picked up his great rental bike (Cannondale CAAD10 5 105), unpacked my Bianchi Imola from the car and began our bicycle adventure on what was an absolutely perfect weather day in the Bay Area.

We immediately climbed up and crossed the Golden Gate Bridge (west side on the weekends) and then climbed up again into the Marin Headlands to enjoy amazing views looking back over the bridge into the city. This view never gets old. Returning back over the bridge, sharing the path with lots and lots of fellow bicyclists, we carefully disassembled the bikes enough to get them both, with all of our gear for the next 5 days, comfortably inside my car. By noon we were in Stinson Beach, climbing Pan Toll to Mt. Tamalpais and along Ridgecrest with views of the Stinson Beach/ Bolinas Bay coastline. A challenging ride but worth every last grinding pedal for the scenery and views. Pan Toll is very curvy and lined with redwood trees and fern and Ridgecrest Blvd., which feels more like an exaggerated bike path, is used in many car commercials because of its fantastic location, panoramic views and swerving road pattern. Total ascent was close to 2000 feet and took about 2 ½ hours to complete. A true California Delicious moment came afterwards with a stop at In-N-Out in Mill Valley before heading to the Monterey/ Carmel area.

Once in Monterey, we stayed at the Monterey Plaza Hotel, an incredibly beautiful hotel on the water, in the middle of the action in Monterey – seconds from the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium in one direction and Cannery Row in the other. Hearty meals were enjoyed at Monterey’s Cannery Row Brewing Company.

Everything I had read about riding a bike down the Big Sur coast warned you about the lack of shoulder to ride on, the size (RVs!) and speed of the cars on the two-lane highway you’d be sharing the road with and the physical climbs, descents and wind that would all be a constant part of your ride. To answer the question if what I read was correct? Yes! Check, check and check to all of it. You had to stay very focused for all the reasons listed above but especially because the wind swirls, so crossing bridges and coming around bends is very unpredictable as the wind gusts. As challenging as it was on a bike, it was equally as dramatic in the views and natural beauty that the coastline offered.

It was so dramatic and so beautiful. Just when we thought we’d see the best angle or view of the coastline, we’d ride a little further and there would be an even more impressive sight to be seen. One of the many highlights going down the coast was crossing the Bixby Bridge. It is one of the tallest single-span concrete bridges in the world and one of the most photographed bridges on the west coast due to its design and scenic location. The River Inn and general store, located inside the Anthony Molera State Park – about 25 miles from the south end of Carmel was a much needed and appreciated rest stop for us, as well for a couple bicycle touring groups and vacationers we met while there. Out of reach for us on our ride, but worth the trip further down the coast would have been Hearst Castle in San Simeon. Total miles covered on the Big Sur coast was 50 miles.

Tuesday was a light day in comparison. We first biked to Pebble Beach, entering 17-mile drive from the Carmel-by the Sea side. This is recommended so you aren’t competing with the tour buses and traffic. After marveling at the spectacle of several holes and the clubhouse at Pebble Beach, we cycled by the Lone Cypress, The Links at Spanish Bay, Cypress Point Lookout and Carmel Bay. Looping back around to the very quaint downtown area of Carmel. Big Sur and the Monterey/ Carmel peninsula were truly magical. A must-do location whether by bike or automobile.

We packed up for the 5-hour drive up to Truckee, which is just a few miles from Lake Tahoe. Once in Truckee, we had a delicious, family-favorite, dinner at Village Pizzeria.

Riding around the United State’s second deepest (and maybe most beautiful) lake is a 72-mile adventure. Of course there is the constant natural beauty, little traffic, some very good climbs and descents and all of the little changes in location and appearance from town to town – Nevada side/ California side as you circle the lake. It’s highly recommended to ride around the lake clockwise so that you have the lake at your side the whole time and also recommended to start your ride in Incline Village, NV to help get through higher climbs earlier in your ride and to minimize traffic through busier parts of the day as you go through South Lake Tahoe, Emerald Bay, Tahoma, Homewood, Tahoe City, Kings Beach and Incline Village. Riding on a non-weekend day was beneficial too. Although we started our ride at 28 degrees (8:30am) it warmed up into the mid 60’s by the middle of the afternoon. All of it was great riding filled with incredible views. A little more than seven hours later (lunch in Sunnyside), we proudly joined the fraternity of fellow riders that have circled the lake by bike. The Emerald Bay climb out of South Lake wasn’t as bad as I thought and the stretch from Tahoe City to Kings Beach was longer than I thought.

Thursday was our last riding day and when we got to the Napa Valley town of Yountville in the early afternoon, it was 86 degrees with not a cloud in the sky.

After stopping in for a map and some riding suggestions from the very helpful people at Napa Valley Bike Tours, we raced out to the Silverado Trail and up to the very comfortable grounds at V. Sattui winery in St. Helena and then on to Velo Vino (Clif Family Winery), which, especially if you are fan of bicycling, is a great little stop. Their friendly retail/tasting room pays great respect to the passions of bicycling, food and wine. We finished our ride with stops at the Robert Mondavi Winery and the incredible Silver Oak Cellars winery. The wine country in California is a treasured place, filled with great wines, beautiful wineries and some incredible restaurants. Total distance in the wine country, 30 miles.
Total for the 5 days: 194 miles.

Five days of all-out riding through head-shakingly-gorgeous parts of California, accented by the chance to experience it by bicycle and shared with a great friend made for a very, very memorable time.