Day 48 – Athens and some hills

May 28, 2010

Columbus, OH to Athens – 90 miles.

Once we got out of Columbus area, today was a beautiful reminescent of my undergrad, Kenyon College.  The landscape was rolling, with picturesque houses and farms.  There was quite a bit of climbing today, which felt great on a set of fresh legs.  It’s amazing what you can do when you don’t wake up sore in the morning…  On a steep descent, I hit a top speed of 50.1 mph – the first time I’ve broken 50.  It’s a great feeling, but at the same time scary as crap because you only ride on rubber ~1 inch wide.  I guess that’s part of the exhilaration?

We rolled into Athens right before the skies opened and dumped on all the remaining riders.  That evening, we stayed with medical students – and our hosts were amazing.  They lived right near the downtown area, and per par – Pete and myself ventured out for some drinks.  What we found was shocking: 50 cent drafts.  Good thing I didn’t come to this college, that’s for sure.

Tomorrow we enter West Virginia and the portion of the trip I have been most looking forward to – CLIMBING!

Ohio = grey. Ohio = pretty

Adam Koon celebrating his namesake

Patiently awaiting showers.

The Voss Face

Columbus Global Health Day

May 28, 2010

On Sunday, I went back to Columbus to re-join the team.  Fortunately, it happened to be two riders birthdays (Pete and Maggie), so we had something to do in the grand C-Bus.  Typical to our style, we had a themed sunglass bowling party.  As I wanted to show off my new manhood (trimmed beard and haircut), I went all out – Jersey Shore style.

I was really happy that my style also translated into one of my better bowling scores in decades (I almost broke 100), and I may try the waters of professional bowling should this whole doctoring thing not work out.

After dominating in bowling, a few of us painted C-Bus red (OSU red, that is) and went to a bar to play some cornhole.

The next day, we were busy all day with Global Health day activities.  There was a group of high school students that presented projects on the UN’s Millenium Development goals (that we base our lecture series on).  It was great to see how amazingly they integrate technology and to a much better way than I ever could.

I’m excited to get back on the saddle tomorrow for a 90+ mile ride into Athens, OH.  5 days off has given me fresh legs, and I’m excited to start riding again.

Boston Graduation

May 28, 2010

The day of the ride to Cincinatti, I flew back to Boston for some marvelous graduation ceremonies.  It was weird to be a visitor in a city that I lived for 4 years, but my life is already moved back to Denver.  Catching up with friends was great and I enjoyed taking in the last bit of Boston I likely will for quite some time.

My parents make the journey out, and we stayed in a great hotel near Boston Commons.  The weather was beautiful spring, but unforunately we graduated in an underwhelming hockey arena with our reception in a multi-purpose gym.  I guess all of the 200,000+ in tuition money actually went to my education, right?  Regardless, our commencement speech was fantastic and I left that stage as a Doctor.  It was quite surreal when they read our names, and it was the first time the preface of Doctor was used.

Proud mother pre-doctoring

Really, really missing my bike

Do I look any different as a doctor?

Proud parents!

My friend Paul

Dessert platter that was destroyed 50 seconds later by myself and parents

DC or bust

May 23, 2010

Today we ride into DC, 90 miles with a finish at the reflecting pools. What an amazing finish to such an epic journey.

Obviously my blog is hugely outdated, but I plan to push the blog aside to enjoy these last few days as a group. Not to worry – I’ll finish it when I get home this coming Wednesday.

Day 41: Beautiful Kentucky Hills

May 19, 2010

Leitchfield KY to Jim Bell’s House.

Today was a special day and one that I’ve been looking forward to for quite some time.  Kentucky hills lined with horse spectators, and an overnight at the family of one of my great college friends.  The ride definitely did not disappoint, even with the threat of rain nearly all day.  After a really difficult internal debate – I may even rank it the #3 ride of the trip after Day #1 and Guadalupe.

What could be better?

The Ohio River

Crossing into Indiana

We had tons of up and down climbing, and we definitely hit some really steep hills.  To those of you that care, 21% was our steepest section and we had multiple long sustained climbs of 15%.  To those of you that don’t care, that is super steep and way steeper than most of our hills in Colorado.  Mountains in Colorado are typically 6-10% grades with much longer climbs of 5-10 miles, but obviously a little friendlier on the legs.

15%

11% per the computer, but I was going sideways almost falling over to take this photo!

To help us up those massive hills, we enjoyed an enormous tailwind.  So big, in fact, that we would easily cruise 27 mph on the flat sections.  This trip has made me really aware of the direction of the wind, even on days I’m not riding.  It can be your ally, or your enemy (see Texas).

I spent most of the day enjoying the scenery and beat out the rainstorm by about 30 minutes.  After that we really enjoyed relaxing at Jim Bell’s parents house.  It is in the “Knobs” of Indiana, and was a perfect way to relax after a really hard riding day.  We were treated to probably the best dinner we’ve had with some home cooked BBQ, chicken, corn, and a perfect cake.

There's a reason Jim's nickname is huckleberry fin

So excited, Katie had to do some cartwheels

Our cake!

Day 40: A Day of Mammoth-sized oddities

May 18, 2010

Nashville to Mammoth Caves National Park

Our support crew did an excellent job getting us out of Nashville, avoiding both the floods and traffic.  The morning kind of had a gloomy air to it – it was misting, and there was kind of an odd mood among the group.

We were riding along nicely and keeping warm, until we hit some construction when we had wreck #3.  We unfortunately had to weave in and out of cones and signs obstructing our path on a relatively busy road.  Roshan smacked straight into a construction cone and went down two in front of me.  Pete couldn’t avoid him in time, and ran directly over him – landing hard on his wrist.  Pete and Roshan were okay physically, although Pete was probably a few MPH from breaking his wrist as it was really sore.  Roshan’s bike got the sore end of the stick, and his full carbon frame was cracked in multiple places rendering it dangerous to ride.  Luckily Pete rides a steel bike, and it was relatively unscathed.

The following pictures are for medical/legal documentation only🙂

Bum wrist

Knee boo boo's

Bike o Steel

$2,000 crack

Huddling to keep warm

After the accident, we had an abbreviated day so we could visit Mammoth Caves.  I had recently been, and I loved it then – so knew everyone would enjoy it as a way to unwind after a stressful day.

What lies beneath?

We showered in a firehouse, and played in the locker room and on the fire trucks – showing you never really do grow up.  That evening we stayed in a county fairgrounds, and it may have been the most odd sleeping experience we’ve had.  Literally every square foot of our “barn” had some peculiar/odd to it.  Feel free to explore the pictures below.. words just can’t describe it.

Firemen hard at work

yes, that is a jeep. and no, that isn't drinking and driving.

excellent accomodations

"homemakers"

Day 39: Nashville Off Day

May 16, 2010

There are few things that I truly appreciate on this trip – and one of them is  a bed.  It has been about 3 weeks since I’ve slept in a bed, and wow – what a difference.  We were tempted to get another night in the hotel, but instead, we ventured out to quite the interesting breakfast destination.

Our hotel concierge sent us to a “greasy” restaurant called Monelle’s.  It was far from the greasy diner experience we so desperately needed, but it was amazing nonetheless.  In fact, it was so great, that former Titans (and Buckeye) RB Eddie George was dining with us.  The mothers day morning wait was well over an hour – but they had a fantastic courtyard complete with free apetizers to stave of our grumbling stomachs.

Three Buckeyes and a Gazebo

Courtyard

The dining experience was quite unique – and was in a group.  The 4 of us were seated with 8 other strangers, and shared a southern breakfast family style.  It was really interesting, and the food was fantastic.  We completely stuffed ourselves, and then met up with the rest of the group.

Katie and I ventured out to explore Nashville.  We enjoyed our mandatory bloody mary and after we were brave enough to go to the Country Music Hall of Fame.  Unfortunately a few of the rooms were closed due to flood damage.  The museum motivated us to explore the bars again for a bar crawl in search of the best country music.  It turned out to be one of the better afternoons on the trip.

Batman building

Hall of Fame lobby

My many platinum records

Carrie Underwood's dress

Katie and her orange R4WH balloon

The Stage

Jam session

Day 38: Honkey-tonk Riding

May 16, 2010

Hohenwald TN to Nashville, 60 miles.

Today’s ride was awesome.  One of our portion riders suggested we take a different route, using Natchez Trace Trail.  I love him for it.  Today’s ride was easily Top 3 on our trip and was absolutely stunning.  The pavement was awesome.  The terrain was rolling with some longer climbs.  There were a lot of fancy pull-offs with waterfalls, scenic vistas, etc..

Top of a fantastic climb

Pull of the trip, with Josh hammering at 26 mph

Time for a bath

We were passed by a total of 3 cars.  We saw around 100 bikers.  When you see 10x more cyclists than cars, you know you’re on a excellent road.  Today was no different, and I kind of wished we did 400 miles on this road coming up from Mississippi.

Chain grease brothers

Dear Natchez Trace, please don't stop

Nashville was fantastic, even with the flood damage.  A few of us rented a hotel room for beds and no rules.  After recharging with a nap, we went downtown for a BBQ dinner and to enjoy live music.  I absolutely love country music, and Nashville is a fantastic town.  Each and every bar had spectacular live music – so we obviously had to close out some of the bars before heading back to our plush hotel beds.

Getting the evening started off right

Mingling with the locals

More mingling with the locals...

Taking a quick break from our honkey-tonk breakdown

Day 37: A humbling parade

May 16, 2010

Today was yet another support day, and one I’ve secretly been waiting for for quite some time now.  Today is the the culmination of Humbodlt Tennessee’s Strawberry Festival – the grande float parade.

Last night, we went shopping for decorating material, but we knew we wouldn’t be able to compete with the solid floats that people spend months on.  Luckily, our legs have taken >1 month to sculpt, and these were definitely the main attraction.  Little did we know, but the streets were lined with around 15,000 people celebrating strawberries (and us).

The riders really got into it and decorated their bikes (and themselves) to the max.  Roshan really became the main attraction with his hip-thrusting dancing, much to the crowd’s delight.

Due to the parade, the ride that day was a solid 15 miles – and people got a well deserved rest on their legs.  It’s funny that my support team seemingly draw the hard stick, and we have all the short days off and are the only group doing ALL of the planned centuries.

Day 36: Flooded Tennessee

May 14, 2010

Memphis to Milan, 90 miles.

Over my last 3 ride days, my legs have accumulated 290 miles worth of lactic acid.  Today’s ride was pretty once we got out of Memphis, and was relatively non eventful.

Yummy rest stop

As it is old news now, we definitely avoided the flooding damage that destroyed much of central Tennessee.  We have been incredibly lucky with regards to weather, as we have often threaded the needle with storms and this is nonetheless the same story.  Today we passed through flooded farm land, where random cars were abandoned in the middle of fields.   A few stretches of the road were definitely recently flooded, and luckily none of bikes had to swim.  Unfortunately, I didn’t grab any pictures of the floods..

One of my favorite things to do on this trip, is to find completely random bars in tiny towns.  Today was maybe one of the best.  $1.50 drafts, townie crowds, and the best woman’s bathroom yet on this trip.

Dale Jr watches you pee and do your hair


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