Pedal Another Mile

Bicycling, death, life after death.


Well, I'll be on the road in about 7 hours.  I think...think I have everything packed.  I am a neurotic mess thinking I forgot something when we go away on a weekend trip to New Orleans or something.  This is overload... this is a week.  This is throwing a bicycle and camping into the mix. I only hope I don't forget anything.  Like my bike.  

I'll be making another post in a minute which I think I'll be able to pin to the top.  I am not bringing my laptop or iPad, only my phone.  That being said, I am going to spend a whole lot of time in rural Iowa, where "cell service" may not be a phrase uttered quite often, especially with thousands of extra cell phones attacking the occasional tower.  I will try to update as much as I can - I just don't know the delivery system.  I'd like to take a lot of pics, so I really hope Instagram works.  The Squarespace iPhone app is pretty lackluster, so there won't be much flash to any posts I put here.  I'm not even sure I can share from here to the Pedal Another Mile Facebook page... did I mention I did not anticipate how fast this was coming?  I spent 2100 miles, hundreds of hours, on my bike getting ready for this week... I let a few things online fall to the wayside.  I'll do what I can, and we may even experiment along the way.  I think my GPS unit will actually broadcast where I am (if there is cell service).  Maybe I'll try and figure that shit out on the long bus ride tomorrow.  

So I will make a pinned post now, with links that will stay up all week, and then the next time I post will be from Iowa.  

Good night all!

Crunch time

It's a little alarming how fast this is here.  I leave about 4am next Saturday, headed to the end town of Davenport.  A week from right now I will be getting off a bus somewhere in the start town of Onawa. 

I can only hope I'm not greeted with this, like on my initial RAGBRAI:



I think I can safely say I am ready for this challenge, or as ready as I'll ever be.  The RAGBRAI training coach recommends that you have 1000 miles for the year when you arrive in Iowa...


I think I'm good on that front :).  I also think that I set my mileage goal for 2018 a bit too low, as I will pass it near the end of RAGBRAI.    

My only concerns about the week are my lack of hill training and the weather.  The weather is completely out of my control - I just hope it's not too rainy or windy, and 7 straight days of heat indexes in the triple-digits.  I will likely not have more than a few minutes in air conditioning from the time I get off the bus until the time I get back in my car a week later.  

The hills?  Well, I know for a fact I am in way better shape physically than I was the first two times (especially heartrate-wise), and in over 900 combined miles those first two times, I walked up one hill. 

This will be a busy week - I'll be getting everything packed - the checklist of things to bring is extensive, and I'm sure there will be things I am forgetting - I just hope it isn't anything major, like my bike. 

In the most important part of this update, I want to again thank everyone who has donated to Stand Up to Cancer.  As of right now, $1,350 has been donated this year (that's over $3 a mile!), bringing Team Pedal Another Mile's grand total since I started in 2010 to $17,312.  If you haven't yet donated, please know that 100% of your donation goes to cancer research - not a penny of it goes to overhead, advertising, or salaries.  Those are paid by corporate sponsors.  The minimum to donate is $5 and I'd really appreciate it!  The fundraising page will be open the entire time I'm on the ride, and will remain open afterwards.




Three weeks. THREE WEEKS?!?!?

RAGBRAI starts in three weeks already??!??  WTF!!!!

Okay, okay... my last post was two and a half months ago and it was complaining about the horrendous "spring" weather we were experiencing.  I really meant to make some more posts between then and now, but life, work, and training for RAGBRAI had other thoughts about that, and that's okay.  This post will catch up.

The weather obviously improved, somewhat.  I had many very cold rides early on. Weekday rides are exclusively before work, starting at about 6:30 am. it wasn't too uncommon to start my ride in temps in the low 40s.  There's been quite a bit more rain than normal, sometimes resulting in flooded, impassable trails.  There's been days with temps in the upper 90s and heat indices in the 110-115 degree range.  Despite all of this, since the day of my last post, I have ridden 53 times totaling 1,332 miles.  Not too bad, considering I have a full time job with a 2-3 hour daily round trip commute. 

Highlight of these 53 rides include three metric centuries (100km or greater), riding down a trail for a few hundred yards with deer on either side of me not more than 20 feet ahead (I wish I had the GoPro on for that!), and...

a pretty nasty crash three weeks ago, to which I am still bearing damage.  I was two miles from the end of a 31 mile ride on Sunday June 10th.  The pavement was damp the entire ride due to overnight rain, and I thought I was being cautious enough.  Apparently not.  I approached a 90 degree left turn, slowed considerably (not enough) and entered the turn.  The next thing I know I'm on the ground, bleeding, and my left hip/thigh is screaming in pain.  The bike seemed okay, except the front brake hood/lever was knocked out of alignment.  I determined it was ridable and finished the last two miles on adrenaline.  I had road rash on my shoulder, elbow, and knee, but none of these were too bad.  The elbow bled a LOT, but no stitches were required.  My big worry was going to be my left thigh.  Before I even left the parking lot, I knew I was in for a long period of discomfort.  I only hoped that I'd be able to resume riding quickly, as RAGBRAI was a mere six weeks away.  I went home and immediately began ice and tylenol treatment.  The following week was pretty uncomfortable, especially sleeping.  I am a left side sleeper most of the time, and the size of the hematoma on my leg was not going to permit left-side sleeping anytime soon.  Oddly enough, the only activity that did not hurt on Monday was the three minutes I spent on the indoor bike trainer.  I reluctantly decided to not ride Tuesday morning, but by that afternoon decided I'd give it a go on Wednesday.  Everything went well on that ride, and each one since has been fine as well.  95% of the bruising is gone, but a sizable swollen lump remains.  A doctor visit resulted in assurances it was normal and would recede with time. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here is a pic of my leg at it's worst, about 10 days after the crash:

The bruised area was about 12 by 6 inches.

Like I mentioned, most of the color is gone now, and I'm patiently waiting for the swelling to recede.  There's no pain rmaining and I can sleep on my left side again.

So that's what has been going on, cycling related, since my last post.  I'll be making an effort to update more in the next three weeks, and then, if there's a cell signal, I'll be posting daily from the trip.

In much more important news, I'd like to thank everyone who has already donated to team Pedal Another Mile at Stand Up to Cancer, as I am attempting to raise $10 donated for every mile ridden on RAGBRAI.  This would bring the total raised since 2010 over $20,000.  There has been over $1,000 raised since March - so over $2.50 per mile has already been donated!! Thank you all SO much!  If you haven't donated and would like to, I thank you!  Just follow this link.  Even the minimum donation amount, $5, means a little over a penny a mile, and every penny counts!! 



This "spring" sucks

As I started this post, it was a Saturday afternoon in mid-April, and instead of being out on a ride, I was bundled up in the house as 39 rain degree pelted the house driven by 30+ mph winds.  We went out to dinner and then rented a movie so I left this as a draft to finish today.

As I continue this post, it is a Sunday morning in mid-April, and instead of being out on a ride, I am bundled up in the house as 33 rain degree pelts the house driven by 30+ mph winds.

This weather is driving me absolutely crazy and it's severely limiting my ability to get some much needed miles on my bike.  I was startled to see this post from the RAGBRAI Instagram account on Friday:

A post shared by RAGBRAI (@ragbrai) on

Yeesh - that's a lot closer than it sounds.

On the less than 10% chance that Spring 2018 decided to grace us with a nice day, it always seemed to be a weekday and therefore I'm at work.  I did discover a routine mid-summer last year that I like to ride before work (leaving the house by 6am, driving in, and riding the trails nearby for 10-15 miles), but I also like to enjoy riding before work, and I cannot really enjoy riding in weather below 45 degrees.  Lately it's been in the 20s to mid 30s at 7am.  As a result, it's been 28 days since I have ridden outside now :(

I've also not been feeling very well for some weeks now (follow-up doctor appointment is tomorrow so hopefully I'll have some answers), and this has led to a grand total of 20 miles over two rides on an indoor trainer in April.  Granted, yesterday's 12 mile ride was up a 1500 foot "mountain" using the app/service called Zwift, but I am really lacking in miles the past month or so, and I now have 98 days before the long ride back east.  Zwift is a pretty cool service, and one that has made it possible for me to ride an indoor trainer for more than 20 miles a winter.  In my opinion, riding inside flat out sucks, but having my old bike on a smart trainer, coupled with this app, allows me to ride with other people, ride different routes in a video game setting, and the coolest thing is that when you approach inclines, the trainer automatically adjusts the resistance, making it feel like you are actually climbing that mountain.  

The basement winter riding set-up.

The app runs through an Apple TV connected to my old 61" TV which has a failing DLP chip in it, resulting in white dots on the screen.  For watching TV or movies it was no longer an option, but for this purpose it's absolutely fine. There's three "worlds" - London, Richmond Virginia, and the fictitious island world of Watopia, which features beach roads, tropical jungle roads, a volcano, and several snow-covered mountain climbs.  About the only thing missing is the wind resistance.  Anyway, according to Zwift, since I started with the app on Halloween I've ridden 662 miles.  That's about 600 miles more than I would spend on a bike during the winter on a normal trainer, so I'm definitely thankful I have this, or this "spring" I would be SERIOUSLY behind schedule.

Approaching the top of the mountain.

Here is Strava info of the ride I did yesterday. I'm thinking I may pick a somewhat flatter route if I ride later today.