Day 41- 44: Enjoying every moment of New Mexico

Day 41: Service Day
One of the things I love about 4k is being able to give back to the community throughout the trip. Today was one of those days, and our host had set up the morning for us to go to the local YWCA where summer camp was being held for kids from ages 5-12. We arrived and set up shop in a local schoolroom where a news crew was waiting for us. We had different groups of kids come in where we were and held a short Q&A and afterwards made cards with the kids for other kids who were going through cancer treatment in the hospital! I definitely think it made an impression on the kids there for what we were doing and how they were helping others. Unfortunately, my artistic skills weren’t as good as others, so Bri, Dan, Matt, Brad, and I were sent to go to play with the kids on a different part of the grounds. I had a lot of fun playing knockout, tag, and dodge ball with these rambunctious kids. After getting beat multiple times (literally and figuratively), it was time to walk away from the field and say goodbye to the wonderful kids we met for the day. We headed back to the host where we had a quick lunch and began to paint some tables the church had out back. Afterwards we hit the town for dinner and came back to learn how to Western dance! It was pretty fun, but it was time to turn in for the night as everyone was exhausted from a really great day in Lubbock.

Couldn’t help but free patriotic today

Day 42: H20 goes a long way
After a great rest/service day in Lubbock, it was time to move forward and finally out of Texas into New Mexico! It was my turn to drive the water van and Danny was my partner-in-crime for the day as we were going to support our riders along their 107 mile day to Clovis, NM. It was going to be an easy day for us as well because it was incredibly flat and there were only 4 turns the entire day. In fact, we were on this one stretch of road for 90 miles at one point. As we started out for the day, Danny and I realized it was going to be tough to support the troops with some much needed caffeine, so we took a quick pit stop at the local Mickey D’s to grab some Joe before the riders started out on their day.

Another state line down!

As soon as we set up the first water stop, we decided that we shouldn’t be the only ones not exercising so we set a goal to try and do the impossible: Attempt 1000 push-ups before the end of the day. We had plenty of the time before the first group arrived, so we were able to knock out a lot of push-ups and get some good photo shoots in (see below). By the time we reached the host, our riders were well hydrated and in good spirits as Danny and I had done our job. We, on the otherhand, were exhausted and disappointed in ourselves as we were only able to do 650 push-ups for the day. It wasn’t a total loss of a day because we had an absolutely delicious home-cooked meal provided for by our host and a relaxing night talking to them.

Day 43: New Mexico is a beautiful place

Not much happens out here in New Mexico

The morning started out as it usually does, however we had to start a little later than usual because our gracious host had done our laundry the night before and we had to wait for it to come back to us. As soon as everyone’s laundry was returned, we split off into groups based on our favorite state. Micaela, Lauren, Brad, and I all chose Virginia and we set off on our first full day in New Mexico as we headed 85 miles to Tucumcari. The first half of our trip was actually pretty uneventful as we were riding in the middle of no where with some rolling hills. It was nothing we weren’t used to, but it was a little bit greener out here compared to Texas (maybe the grass is greener on the other side). When we reached the second water stop, and we decided to take a different route than planned because it would take us on historic route 66 to Tucumcari. What we didn’t realize it that it would take us on the most scenic (read: craziest) ride we have ever experienced. About 6 miles after the water break, we stopped because we were facing something we haven’t come across before. A canyon. After a quick discussion about the quality of the roads, we decided to descend on switchback and gravel roads. What we didn’t realize is that the gravel roads (which were barely ride-able) turned into completely dirt roads (nearly impassable) however we pushed forward to a hopeful end of these awful roads. Since the roads were tough to traverse, we decided that everyone should go at their own pace so I took off with Brad and Dan as we were able to quickly get over the sand and dirt and bike in awe of the extraordinary scenery around us. It took us about 12 miles of dirt/sand roads to get to paved roads again and where we stopped for everyone else to catch up to regroup for the rest of our trip. It took a little while for everyone else to reach us, but when they did, we had a quick water stop and headed out once again because we could see a storm brewing in the far distance. As soon as I jumped on my bike, misfortune took me as I realized I had a flat. I told my group to go ahead of me because I thought I could quickly change my tube and make up the ground quickly. I made a crucial mistake as I forgot to check the tire for any punctures that could have caused the flat. Because I didn’t check the tire, the minute I put on a new tube, I immediately got another flat and had to change it again.

Awesome photo Aaron took of me when I was playing catch up

This became a little problem because my group and the other groups had already left and I was behind with just the water van. Since I was so far behind, I realized I needed to book it in order to catch up to my group so I floored it and was biking at about 30 mph for about 5-6 miles to catch up my group. Aaron who was in the water van took some awesome pictures of me riding and it gave me a nice little workout. We only had about 6 miles to go when we finally reached the historic route 66 sign and had our last water stop there for some quick pictures. After the photo shoot, we headed to the host to beat the storm and made it to the host in good time where we were able to relax and I was able to cut off my mohawk because it was time for it to go.

In front of the sign for Route 66!


An idea of our view at the end of the day

Day 44: What happens on the road to Las Vegas…
Gets publicized on my blog, because why not. The morning was pretty uneventful, but it was time to get to business because it was going to be a tough 108 mile day to Las Vegas, NM (Although it probably would have been fun if it was the one in Nevada). I was riding with Michelle, Jackie, Eric, and Kirk as we set off into an awesome canyon to begin our journey. It is amazing to see these rock structures hundreds of feet high right next to where you bike then looking down to see a beautiful valley hundreds of feet below you. Although a picture can say a thousand words, seeing it with your words makes it indescribable which is why I feel as if I can’t take pictures of the scenery because it simply does not do it justice. We continued on throughout our scenic route up on top of the canyon ridges all the way through the valleys and the small towns (as in 15 people) that littered our route.

View from the top

Today marked a milestone in our route because we were going to climb above 5,000 ft above sea level, which is when the atmosphere begins to affect your cardiovascular ability due to a reduction in the partial pressure of oxygen from the high altitude (thank you Dr. Rogers and your course for teaching me that). I didn’t really feel it too much until we climbed above 6,000 ft sea level in the middle of our ride and I begin to realize I had some shortness of breath and I couldn’t ramble to my teammates like I was used to. Some of my other teammates though were feeling the altitude more as they begin to have headaches and a tightness in the chest. Fortunately we were all OK enough to ride, but we were about to take on our toughest challenges on the trip: A 3 mile climb with a 7% grade. Think about a road leading straight up a mountain, with guardrails in place because if you look down, you would see a drop of hundreds of feet and it is what the road was like that we climbed.

Had to do some elevated push-ups at the water stop

The view as we slowly climbed this beast was incredible (and terrifying because I’m scared of heights), but fortunately we had a water stop about 2 ½ miles up to give us a quick break from the climb. When we finally ascended the mountain, the scenery completely changed from canyons and desert-like conditions to rolling hills with lush grass as far as the eye could see with no trees anyway in sight and the majestic Rockies before us. It was most exhilarating view we had came across and was worth every mile that we rode to get there. It reminded me of an advertisement you would see for Ireland or Scotland, minus the Rockies of course. Anyways, it was pretty fun rest of the ride and we were able to make it to the host with plenty of time to unpack and get ready for the ride the next day.

Day 37 – 40: Texas Keeps on Rolling By

Don’t hate me!  I know I’m super behind on the blogs, but I am determined to catch you up on my journey.

Day 37: Just another day in Texas

Heading out with my team for the day!

The thing about Texas after making it past Austin, is that everything is the same.  From the horses, goats, and cattle to the unchanged scenery of rolling hills of barren land with rows upon rows of enormous windmills spreading out among it.  Today felt pretty dull as it was once again a pretty tame day for our 74 mile ride to Brownwood, TX.  That morning we picked teams based on our favorite breakfast item and of course I had to choose eggs with Taylor, Tyler, and Matt (Although if coffee was a choice, I would have definitely chosen that one).  It was a pretty easy ride that day with not much happening on the road for our team.  I wish I could say the same for the other teams, but we did have to wait 1 ½ hours at the second water stop for one of the teams because they broke two spokes and the water van had to go back for them to help with repairs.

Dan and Matt couldn’t stay awake long enough for the picture

After that little ordeal, we were able to get back on the road and make our trek onward to our next host.  The rest of the day went smoothly, and we arrived at our host with plenty of time to spare.  Since we had so much free time, and there was a shower at the host (something that has turned into a perk with this trip) I was able to go out for a quick run.  I’ve learned by going out for little runs after cycling has helped with my recovery and my muscles are less sore in the morning.  After my short run, dinner was ready and it was time to eat, blog, and get ready for the next day.

Day 38: Middle of Nowhere, TX (Actually it was Winters, TX but it was essentially the same thing)

Not kidding you on this one.  We were literally in the middle of nowhere (well sort of), but the host were absolutely amazing so it made up for it.  Anyways, we woke up at the usually time of 4:30 am to start our ride as soon as possible because it was a short day of 65 miles to Winters, TX and we wanted to avoid the heat as much as possible.  Heather, Danny, Kirk and I took off for the day, but there wasn’t too much excitement on the road as it was just rolling hills and the usual scenery that we were getting used too.

Team in front of the famous Rock Hotel!

By the time we were 10 miles out from Winters, we hit flat grounds once again with nothing around us for miles on end.  It was a short day though, so we finally reached Winters around 1 pm and arrived at our “host”.  I put that in quotation marks because I honestly can’t pinpoint a person, or group that had us because it seemed like the whole town was our host! Our central location for meet up was a diner/movie rental/liquor store where we were able to meet up for lunch and to regroup.  After everything was said and done (including a quick nap) they pointed us to the community pool where we go swimming for the afternoon!  Before the swim though, I had to go on a run with Matt and Max for 30 minutes, because my legs were itching for a little more.  After the quick run, we all jumped in the pool to cool after a long day of hard work.  Afterwards, we went back to the diner/movie rental/liquor store for a lovely dinner and to catch up on the day’s events.  From there, we all separated to different people’s houses for the night where we could all relax until the next morning.  Brad, Dan, Matt, and I went to a lovely family’s home who owned two businesses in the town.  We chatted with them for awhile and were able to take some nice showers and even get some laundry down before we turned in for the night.  I think I was the most comfortable I have ever been on this trip at this house, because I was sleeping on a leather couch that just sucked me right in.  Even the population of the town was less than 2,000 people, we all felt welcomed and overwhelmed by the generosity that these people had for us.

Day 39: Nothing like a good night’s sleep

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Our view for miles on end

Wow I think I had the best night’s sleep.  Sleeping on that couch with an actual pillow and blanket was absolutely amazing and I felt so well rested when I woke up.  After struggling to get up from the best sleep ever, we headed over to the historical inn which served as a museum of the town. They had some really interesting photos different years dating back around 100 years and it was really interesting to see how the community changed over time.  After the quick tour of the place, the rest of the team arrived and we sat down to have a delicious breakfast of eggs with biscuits and gravy with some of the locals.  We then headed over to the diner to pick up our bikes and prepared ourselves for another fun adventure of 86 miles to Synder, TX.  Today I rode with Lauren, Taylor, and Danny and we were able to cruise for awhile because the roads were so flat and nice.  I don’t think I have mentioned about the massive amounts of wind turbines that are in Texas.  It was especially prominent during this ride today as some fields were just rows upon rows of these turbines as far as the eye can see.  It was really cool to see these massive giants of power be moved by the wind and interesting to see how they were arranged on the land.  The only problem is that the turbines are the only scenery around for miles and it kind of gets boring seeing at all the time.  Anyways the ride was awesome because the roads were super smooth and flat after the second water stop and were able to cruise around 20 mph for the majority of the day and were able to get to the host pretty quickly.  After arriving at the host, we were able to take showers, have dinner, and call it an early night as we were all pretty tired.

Day 40: The Land of the Red Raiders

Bonus points if you find me in this photo of the team

Some days I feel like we are just taking a tour of colleges, and today especially felt like one of those days.  We were heading 87 miles to Lubbock, TX which was home to Texas Tech and the Red Raiders.  I was riding with Danny, Michelle, and Kenny this day and the roads were not kind to us as they had been.  The shoulder was nearly impossible to ride on because it was so bumpy and we paid the price with Kenny and Michelle getting flats.  By the time we made it to the second water stop, we decided to ride on the road because of how much smoother it was and we were able to cruise on it until we reached the next town along our route called Post.  I specifically remember this town, not because of its name, but because of the MASSIVE hill that was situated right after it.  It was a 2 mile climb with a at least 6% grade, but the best part was that in the middle of the hill was a house that had a dog that tried to chase us when we were already tired.  The secret to keeping the dogs at bay is yelling at them in a really deep voice, which I have gotten really good at since we encountered these loose dogs several times a day.  After the climb, the ride became really flat and the roads became really smooth like the previous day and we were able to cruise once again.

Enjoying the Texas Tech locker room

The last water stop we had before we hit Lubbock was the Miller beer company’s distribution factory and we were able to get some really cool pictures in front of the sign.  Also some of the employees came out to see what we were doing and decided to donate several cases of water to us! It was pretty cool seeing how we can affect so many people around us, just by cycling.  We were able to get back on the road after a small photo shoot and able to make it to the host in good time.  The host was a church right across from the Texas Tech campus, so we were right in the middle of the college town.  After a quick nap, we drove over to take our showers at the one and only Texas Tech football stadium!  It was awesome because we were allowed to go into the locker room, head out to the field, and have a fabulous dinner in the private trophy room all provided for by our wonderful host.  It was a great time because at dinner we were able to talk to cancer survivors and doctors all interested in our cause.  It was a great day, but exhausting as well as we soon turned in for the night.   Here are some more pictures from the day, and don’t worry I WILL catch everyone up!

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Day 32 – 36: Enjoying Texas as Much as We Can

Day 32: Another food van day

Another rest day for my legs as I was in the food van with Brianne for the day.  Many of you should know about the tasks and responsibilities assigned to the food van because I was just in it a few days back with Heather.  Anyways, it was a short day for the team as they had to travel 67 miles to Navasota, TX as they made their way out of Houston.  Since Bri and I were in the city, our plan of attack was to get as much food donated as possible in the city, then transport it to the team later.  The plan worked flawlessly.  We were able to get food from Chic-Fil-A, Chipotle, and even got some bike tubes donated to us as we waited for the food to be prepared!  Overall it was an easy day for us and we were able to get to the host just as the first group was arriving so we were able to have lunch right at the host!  This saves so much time, because it doesn’t take away from any riding time, and people don’t have food babies when they try and start to ride again.  After everyone was settled in, people went out to Target to get some supplies while I stayed back to get a quick run in and to do a little workout on my own.  After I got done my endorphin fix in for the day, I was able to take a quick shower and talk to our host for the evening.  He was the minister of the church we were staying at and found out that he was actually accepted into medical school back in the day, but turned it down to go into ministry.  He was really interesting to talk to and just makes me appreciate how amazing some people can be if you just take the time to talk to them.  He also talked about how football was a HUGE part of the town and how some of the high school football game can draw in thousands of spectators from around the town.  It’s really interesting to travel to all of these small towns and realize how life is so much different for them than it is for myself.  I wish I could have talked to him more, but he had to go home and it was time for me to go to bed.

Day 33: Sugar Daddies lead the way

In order to mix things up a little bit, it was decided that the teams would be picked by grouping people together based on their favorite cookie.  So I got grouped with the sugar cookie clan with Matt and Kirk and of course named our group the Sugar Daddies.  The ride was pretty uneventful, but I had a great time hanging out with Kirk and Matt as we were able to cruise to each of the water stops with no problems.  We were able to bike the 65 miles to La Grange by 1:15 pm and had lunch waiting for us at the host.  It’s really nice to just have lunch at the host because it saves so much time on the road.  Also it’s really nice to have plenty of free time at the host to do all the miscellaneous tasks (napping mostly) that needs to be done.  Unfortunately our host couldn’t provide dinner for us, but our wonderful food van crew was able to get some monetary donations from local businesses and we made our own dinner of chicken and vegetables! Needless to say, it was quite delicious and filling as we able to relax in the church before heading out to Sonic and Wal-Mart for some snacks and goodies for the Fourth of July the next day.

Day 34: An All-American kind of Fourth

Photo: Pants on the ground. Pants on the ground.

Enjoying the early morning Fourth with Dan and Matt

Early morning days are pretty tough.  Especially when you have to wake up at 4 am on the Fourth of July.  I guess it was appropriate because of the day, but it still doesn’t make it any easier to wake up.  We wanted to get on the road early to beat the heat and get to our host as soon as possible because we wanted to take full advantage of the holiday.  Almost everybody dressed up, and it was a fun ride seeing everyone in their ridiculous outfits.  I decided to go simple and wear a red, white, and blue headband (shout out to Jazzy Jacks for supplying me with them) however some people really got into it with American flag capes, decorations on their bikes, and much much more.  Since we were able to pick our own ride groups, I rode with Heather, Brad, Dan, and Haley and we set off at 6:30 am for our 74 mile ride into Austin, TX.  We took the highway into the city, so the roads were nice and it didn’t cause any problems as we were able to cruise most of the day.  Sadly, in the middle of our ride, Heather got herself into a little accident and had to be shuttled to the host, so we lost her in our group halfway through the day.  Besides that little incident, everything else went well, although it did get a little hot as we finally hit the city limits and we had to get off the highway on the way to our host.  It was crazy how hilly it was when we finally hit Austin, as we we were used to flat roads coming in. These hills put us to the test as it was like riding a roller coaster on this one downhill right before the host because as we were cresting the hill, we couldn’t even see the bottom and I was able to ride down it at 44 mph without even pedaling! It was crazy to go that fast, but a lot of fun as well.  I wish I could say that was the only crazy hill that we faced, but sadly it wasn’t because with every downhill, is an uphill twice as tall.  It seems as if our host are always in the most difficult locations to reach and this one was no different.  At the entrance of the neighborhood was this ENORMOUS hill.  This isn’t your typical hill where you can just power through to the top, but one that was straight up for half a mile.  I even had to go into my lowest gear on my bike and it was still difficult to climb.  Fortunately our goal was right over the hill and we were able to be the first ones at the host to claim our spots in the shower first.  Our host were really nice and were a Hindu family with a very nice home that they graciously offered for us to stay in as they hosted last year’s team there as well.  After dinner was served, the team decided to head down to Sixth Street which is a famous street in Austin where a lot of college students like to hang out.  It wasn’t as crowded as it usually was because school was out, but it was really fun because they closed down the street to traffic and you could walk into different bars to hang out and enjoy the different types of music each one played.  We were all exhausted though, so we called it an early evening and headed back to the host around midnight because we had to get up early to take a tour of the LIVESTRONG office.

Day 35: “It’s one thing to live, it’s another to LIVESTRONG”

Casual picture in front of the office

Today we had a rest day, and we were offered to take a tour of the LIVESTRONG office by the founder of the Ulman Cancer Fund and CEO of LIVESTRONG, Doug Ulman.  Sadly, he couldn’t join us for the tour, but we had a lovely staff member there to show us around office after we had breakfast that they graciously provided for us.  It was an amazing office and incredible to understand what they do and how they do it.  From the pictures, you can tell that the office was very open and inviting.  It even had it’s own gym and one of the employees even gives yoga lessons twice a week!  It would definitely be cool to work there with it being so friendly to bike commuters and it’s goal to help it’s employees and those who come to them for help.


Having fun at Zilker Park!


After the tour, we headed back to the host to relax a little before heading back out to Austin to Zilker Park which is right outside the city.  That park was so much fun because there was river that ran right through the park where people could wade in or use a paddle boat to check out the whole river.  We found a local hot spot on the creek where there was a rope swing to jump into the river!  It was so much fun, I did it about 3 times before the adrenline got to me and I had to take a break from it.  After everyone had their fill of the swing, we walked down the river where you could wade in and enjoy the water.  It was getting late in the afternoon when we had to part ways with this wonderful park in order to hunt for some local cuisine.  After some lovely tacos and homemade ice cream, it was time to head back to the host to get ready for riding the next day.  Even though we weren’t able to spend that much time in Austin, I will have to say that it has been my favorite city to be in this far, and I even see myself living there for a bit.

Getting ready for the descent

Getting ready for the release

Attempting a back-flip…felt bad for those people behind me though

Day 36: Nothing like a freshwater swim after a ride…And some haircuts

It was a sad day to leave Austin, but it was time to move forward 57 miles west to Lampasa, TX.  I rode today with Michelle, Dan, and Taylor as it time to take on the rolling hills that Texas had to offer.  It was amazing to see how many cyclist were on the road with us as we were cruising along the highway to the first water stop.  Unfortunately, Taylor blew her tube as soon as we were leaving the first water stop, so we had to take a quick break to find out that she had the wrong wheel size on her bike which resulted in me wrestling match between her wheel and myself and whether I could actually put the tire back on (I won of course).  That took some time out of our day unfortunately, but we were a strong team so we were able to make some time when we hit the next water stop.  After that we started cruising because it was such a short day, we could really push the pace.  Misfortune took us because Taylor had her jersey tied to the front of her bike and it came undone and got caught in her front tire resulting in her flowing over.  She wasn’t hurt badly and her bike was fine, the damage was done to Dan who was following behind her and fell into her gears.  He had cuts along his elbow, but I was able to help him clean him up with some help of some fellow church-goers in front of a church we happened to stop in front of.  We called the water van back to us and had them shuttle Taylor to the host because she was shaken up.  Dan was a champion though because after wrapping him up, he jumped back on bike and we trekked the rest of the way to the host, going even faster then before.  When we arrived, Dan went to an emergency care center and got 9 stitches for his arm with some painkillers to go.

Laying out for a frisbee

Little did we know that Lampasa is actually famous for their freshwater spring pool that is open in the summer.  Since we arrived so early to the host, we had plenty of free time to kill so we decided to head over and check it out.  We arrived and were able to get the admission waived for us and immediately jumped into the pool (after during a few push-ups of course).  The water was freezing, but it felt utterly amazing.  It was almost like taking a ice bath in a big pool.  It was just what our team and muscles needed as I have never felt so good afterwards.  One of my teammates, Aaron, has a really cool camera called a GoPro that can take really clear pictures and videos underwater, so naturally we had to get some really cool shots that you can see below.

Water was super clear at this pool

Poolside relaxing

Before and after shoot

After our pool therapy, we headed back to the host for dinner and relaxation.  The thing is though, when you have a bunch of guys together and we all have long hair, a haircut is much needed.  So myself and a couple other guys decided that we should have a team bonding experience by doing this…and getting mohawks.  It was a lot of fun seeing all the transformations of people, plus it was fun cutting other people’s hair.  I decided there probably wasn’t going to be another chance for me to have this opportunity, so of course I got one as well.  Overall it was a great day and I can’t believe we are only halfway through this trip.

Day 30 – 31: Can’t Call It the Lone Star State Anymore With All of Us There

Day 30: Can’t call it the Lone Star State anymore with all of us there

Enjoying the sun underneath the big blue sky

Today was the day that we could finally leave the awful past behind us in Louisiana.  After more flats, broken spokes, and other miscellaneous problems then I could count, we could finally cross another state line off our list and enter into a new land for more adventures.  Today I rode with Michelle, Simon, and Max as we started our 95 mile ride into Beaumont, TX.  Unfortunately, about 10 miles into our ride, Max got a flat so we had to change that quickly and get back on the road to play catch up because we were the last group.  Afterward the first water stop, we kept a pretty good pace throughout the rest of the day until we reached our lunch stop and found out that two of the groups missed a turn and went 12 miles the wrong way!  Unfortunately that holds everyone up as we had to wait for some of the team to be shuttled to our current location while 3 of the boys decided to stay on their bikes and play catch up.  That delay cost us about 2 hours, but I was able to use that time to take a quick cat nap underneath our canopy.  By that time we got back on the road, Jackie joined our group and the heat and the headwinds started to get worse but our group was able to push through as we took turns facing the headwinds.

This is what the locals call Rainbow bridge…and what we had to bike up

After our fourth water stop, the roads started to get a little more interesting as we had to start taking bridges over to get to our destination.  One of which I would never forget, because the town was called Bridge City and we had to cross this one bridge called Rainbow bridge.  As you can imagine, this bridge was ENORMOUS as we had never seen anything like it as a team.  As you might have expected though, we were able to conquer and prevail over this bridge and enjoy our victory on the other side with our last water stop as we were only about 20 miles away from the host.  After our final water stop, we pushed the pace all the way to street right outside the host because there was news station crew there to film our team rolling into the host!  We felt like celebrities as members of the church were cheering us on as we entered as the camera was rolling for our arrival.  The host was absolutely amazing as we had a delicious dinner, free massages, and we even had our laundry done for us! I am always so amazed and thankful that people would do something like this us as I won’t forgot about this host anytime soon.


Day 31: I had the most amazing shower…

The boys doing some push-ups at a water stop

But I will have to tell you that later after telling you about my ride.  It all started off to eating some of the most amazing bacon I will ever have.  I wish I could bring the person who cooked that meat wherever I went, but I know it was sadly impossible.  Although I wasn’t able to take any bacon to-go, I was ready to go the 87 miles to Houston, TX with Brad, Heather, Eric, and Kevin.  About 10 miles in our ride, Kevin popped a tube and we had to pull off to the side of the road for him to change it.  He had some bad tires though so after trying to install a new tube, he got another flat after putting some pressure on it and called it a day and had the van pick him up because he didn’t want to spend anymore money on tubes.  This caused a considerable delay on our travels and we had to pick up the pace a little bit so we didn’t hold up the team anymore.  Kirstin joined our group at the first water stop because she had to see a doctor about some discomfort in her eye and Max joined as well as he was having some mechanical problems earlier.  The rest of the day went by pretty smoothly until after the third water stop and Heather got a flat and her spoke nipple broke as well.  Heather decided to go into the van as well because she also didn’t want to spend anymore money on tubes that she would have to take from other people.  Although it caused a considerable delay, I was able to watch the demise of the U.S. soccer team lose in overtime during the world cup.  By this time, we were we pretty far behind so we pushed the pace a little to make up some time.  As soon as we got off the highway, we began taking some back roads in the city and one had a crazy mess of train tracks and Brad got a flat while going over them.  Fortunately, he is an expert mechanic and was able to change it quickly as we looked at a map to find out we went a little out of our way, but nothing that a quick detour couldn’t fix.  As soon as we got back on track, we were able to make it our host in Houston with no other problems and were immediately shuttled to different church members houses for showers.  The house that I went to had the most AMAZING shower I will ever experience (until I get one into my house).  This shower had 4 different shower heads so that water would spray you from to toe.  I could write a whole blog post on this one shower I experienced, but I don’t have time for it.  After this amazing shower, I we were then shuttled back to the host for some amazing Tex-Mex food (because apparently we had to have some) and that was glorious as well as I filled my stomach with 2 plates of it.  By that time my team and I were exhausted and we called it a night.

Days 28 – 29:

I know I’ve fallen behind again, but the past few days have been exhausting with the late time we have been arriving at the host.  It’s a rough life, but we are going to pull through this together so I can get everyone all caught up on my shenanigans.

Day 28: Driving all day is exhausting 

Today I had the opportunity to drive the food van again with my partner-in-crime Heather and we were in charge of gathering food for lunch for our riders who were travelling 90 miles to Lafayette, LA.  Being in the food van isn’t too exciting so I’m sorry ahead of time that this day won’t be as exciting as the previous days’.  Some of the responsibilities that the food van includes cleaning/walking through the host after everyone has left, find food donations and deliver them to the riders, and drop off all the luggage at the next host.  It may not seem like a lot, but it takes all day to accomplish.  After cleaning up at the host, Heather and I undertook the most important duty, which is to find some food.  We went to Lafayette looking for food and unfortunately were met with a lot of “Sorry, but you have to go through corporate.”  It’s pretty frustrating, because the paperwork won’t go through for several weeks and by that time we will be long gone from the town we were just at.  Anyways, we had some very generous patrons at several locations were turned down from to donate money to us and were able to buy lunch of pizza and fruits to our riders.  After dropping off the lunch for our courageous riders, we headed off to the host and finish our duties for the day (or so we thought).  The host was very nice when we arrived and we quickly dropped off everyone’s gear.  The host was not able to provide dinner for us, so Heather was able to get in contact with her relatives who own a local grocery store and were able to get us a wonderful meal.  Also, one of the riders were able to contact a local friend who was able to give us even more food for dinner!  It was quite the feast, but before we could drop off the food, we had to pick up some bike tube donations for bike shops around the area.  Fortunate we were able to do that because two of the riders had flats and we were able to drop off some donated tubes to them.  After all that was said and done, we were finally able to drop off all the food just when the first ride group was pulling up.  After all the teams arrived, we had an amazing feast from all the food we picked up and took some hose showers in order to get ready for the next day.

Day 29: Time to go fast

10378542_10152939553748332_820047771473510248_nAfter a rest day in the van, I was feeling the need to go fast again to go the 88 miles to Lake Charles, LA.  We were able to pick our ride groups for the day and the Quad Squad (Dan, Matt, Brad, and myself for those that need to be reminded) decided we wanted to get to the host as soon as we can so we can have some time to relax when we arrive.  Tyler wanted to join us for the day, and we welcomed his company for the day’s ride.  We rolled out at about 7 am from the host and headed off at a pretty good pace to the first water stop.  We arrived first to the stop and found out the last group had a broken spoke and had to wait for them to catch up after they fixed it.  After a long water stop, we were able to head off once again to the next water stop.  On the way there, we rode up to a small bridge that had closed down for some construction.  Since it was Sunday there was no crew there and the bridge only had some minor damage, so we decided to just pass our bikes over the barrier and save some time instead of going on the detour (good thing we did because the detour contained a 2 mile long gravel road).  After taking some quick pictures, it was time to get back on the road and head off the next water stop.  By the time we arrived, the food van informed us that they had some food and were going to drop it off!  It was a pretty long break for lunch because we had to wait up for the last group again, but nothing to de-motivate us from our goal.  After a nutritious lunch, we left and IMG_20140629_083317_426decided to go unsupported the rest of the way in order to make it there as soon as we can.  It was good group because we were able to ride in a pace line again and able to cruise most of the way to the host and stopping off at local gas stations to fill up our water bottles when they were running low.  We were about 15 miles away from the host when we realized that Tyler was having trouble keeping up with us so we had to slow down a little so we wouldn’t drop him.  He was fine, and we took a little break about 12 miles away from the host so we could all catch our breath.  We took the last few miles pretty easy and made it to the host with plenty of time to relax, shower, and nap a little.  It always feels good getting to the host early, because it gives you so much free time to do other things besides the necessary items such as showering and eating.  The host was wonderful, but the trip is really tiring and it always great going to bed before 10 pm.


Unfortunately, it’s time for me to go to bed now here in Navasota, Texas, but no worries loyal readers, I’ll catch you all up as soon as I can!

Day 27: Louisiana Must Hate Us

Ah I have fallen behind again and I’m so sorry! The past few hosts did not have Wi-Fi so I haven’t been able to update you all on my journeys but I will catch up soon enough!

Day 27: How many flats can Team San Diego get in one day?

Just this enormous bridge we had to cross to get to the other side of the Mississippi River

The answer: One too many.  We were on the road at 7 am to leave New Orleans, LA to head 103 miles to Baton Rouge, LA.  When we left, there was a steady drizzle and we had to be extra careful right from the start.  I was riding with Eric, Taylor, Matt, and Haley and our host was on the outskirts of New Orleans so leaving the city was not too difficult.  I wish our  day could have been just as easy as leaving the city, but it was not the case.  About 10 miles out on our trip, Eric took a a little tumble off of his bike after we crossed some train tracks.  There was no serious injury except for a little scrap on his elbow so we were able to get back on the road again after making sure everything was OK.  By the time we reached the first water stop, it was still raining, but had let up a little bit so riding wasn’t as difficult as before.  Also we were able to hop onto a really nice bike trail that ran right along the Mississippi River!  It was pretty cool seeing the industry that relies on the River for their needs, although I can say the smell that accompanied them wasn’t too appeasing.  Since the bike trail was off of the roads, it was nice to relax and not have to worry about vehicles trying to pass us.  The trail lasted until the second water stop, and by that time it had stopped raining and the sun was shinning for us.  It was a pretty uneventful day until we reached our third water stop for lunch.  It was right underneath of a huge bridge we had to go over to cross the Mississippi River and reach our destination.  After lunch, we jumped up on our bikes to conquer this mighty foe.

The massive hold-up by everyone changing their flats

Unfortunately for us, the bridge may have won the battle against us.  You see, there are metal grates on the bridge to allow the water to escape when it rains, however, these grates had large gaps between the interlocking teeth so you had to go over it at the right angle.  If you don’t hit it at the right angle, then your tire will hit the bridge hard and cause a flat.  Myself and 7 other people couldn’t accomplish this, which meant that 8 people got flats going up it and only 1 whole team was able to safely traverse the bridge.  It was a little funny because we have this huge group of cyclist on the shoulder trying to repair these flats as quick as we can, while traffic is going by wondering what on earth could cause such a hold-up.  Needless to say, we walked over the those grates on our way down the bridge after repairing those flats.  After the bridge, it was essentially a straight-shot to Baton Rouge on a local highway, so we were praying nothing else would happen.  This again wasn’t the case as we had gone about 18 miles when Matt got a flat.  It caused a little delay, but we were able to get back on the road and head to the next water stop.   As I have said before in previous posts, everyday is a race against the weather, and today we lost.  After travelling a few miles down the road, we see storm clouds rolling in and knew it spelled trouble.  The wind was picking up and the rain had started when we saw lightening and heard thunder and were forced to find some shelter to wait out the storm.  We had been on the road for about 10 hours at this point and daylight was going to be running out.  The storm passed over us and we set out for a faster pace in order to make it before nightfall. Tragedy struck me though as we were 9 miles away from the host when I broke a spoke in my front tire.  It’s not a repair that can be done quickly, so I was forced to be picked up by the van.  The whole team made it to the host safe and in good mood too because someone had generously donated $500 to a local restaurant near the LSU campus!

Had to deal with this crazy storm rolling through

Although I had made it really far this day, it was very disheartening to make it so close to the host, but only be stopped short by a problem like this.  I had only gone 92 miles, however I knew the next day would bring more adventure and excitement, as this wasn’t my last ride ever.  I wasn’t the only one with bad luck, because the roads caused 27 flats in total for the whole team in one day!  That causes some major delays and major money that people have to put into buying new tubes.  I’ve been fortunate and only have to go through 3 tubes on this entire trip, but others have gone through about 10 so far.  The key, I think, to this trip is properly maintaining your body and your bike, because lets be honest, we are biking ACROSS THE COUNTRY (AHHH!!).  I can’t believe I have made it this far and it isn’t without all of your love and support.  With that little note, I have some good news for you all, we added 2 mail drops!  So if you want to send any goodies or what not, here are the addresses:

Austin Texas: July 4th and 5th

Rider Jeremy Palmer
4k For Cancer
10312 Dianella Ln
Austin, TX 78759

Clovis New Mexico: July 12th

Rider Jeremy Palmer
4k for Cancer
Living Water Community Church
2801 E Llano Estacado Blvd
Clovis, New Mexico 88101

Thanks everyone who decided to read this whole post as I’m sure it was quite the novel.

Days 25 – 26: NOLA Here We Come!

Day 25: And they said this trip wasn’t a race…

Got the whole team in this picture!

But it is.  Not the typical race though where you are competing against other humans, but against Mother Nature.  Last year’s team took a little more northern route and did not have the opportunity to travel all the way down to the Gulf, and suggested to us that we should to make it all the way down this year.  The problem with traveling all the way down here is that there is ALWAYS a chance of thunderstorms on a daily basis in the afternoons and early evening.  Waiting for a thunderstorm to pass is never fun though, so it’s always good to make it to the host as soon as possible (at least that’s my opinion of course).  Today was especially evident on the need to hurry, as we unfortunately got caught in a little storm at the end of the day.  We all started off from our host around 7 am and made my way across another state line as I was with “Team Keeping the Fun in Dysfunctional” (Tyler, Kenny, Lisa, Allison, Jackie, and myself).  We didn’t initially come up with that name, as most team names come with a story attached to it.

4 states in 4 days!

Our story was quite the crazy one as we keep getting ourselves into unfortunate situations throughout the day.  It all started off with Lisa accidentally swerving into my bike and bending a spoke in my front tire around mile 30 causing a small delayed in our travels after checking to make sure everything was OK with my bike.  After replacing my spoke at the next water stop, we were able to hit the roads again, only to find out that Lisa had a flat tire.  It was a quick change, but still caused a small delay again.

Repairing another flat on the road

About 5 miles after the first change Lisa got a flat another flat tire which we had to change again.  It’s funny to because she bought some expensive tires for her bike that is SUPPOSE to help prevent flats when she is one of few that has the highest flat counts (no judgement though, I still like riding with her) on our team.  Anyways, we continued along our route until we finally crossed into Louisiana!  We had officially crossed 4 states in 4 days and we felt pretty accomplished with that fact.  We had a lunch stop at the state line too so it was good place to relax before getting back on the road again.  About 5 miles down the road, Lisa got ANOTHER flat (That’s 3 flats in day) and we had to stop again to help her figure out the problem was a small metal wire being stuck her tire.   She changed the flat again and we were able to get back on the road for a little while until Kenny crashed us bike after running into a grove in the middle of the road.  He was fine and there wasn’t any serious damage to be found, so after a quick breather, we were able to once more get back on the road.  It was (almost) smooth-sailing from there, and we still had high spirits cruising along the Louisiana roads and crazy tall bridges.  Unfortunately when we were about 6 miles away from the host, we saw lightening in the distance and had to pull over until the storm passed, delaying our arrival once again.  It was a good time waiting out the storm after we started giving each other riddles and killed the time that way.  As soon as the storm cleared, we were able to head off once again to NOLA and hopefully to our final destination.  We even took a ferry across the Mississippi River which was a lot of fun too!  It wouldn’t be a complete day though unless we got one more flat, and Kenny was the man to do it.  As soon as we got off the ferry, Kenny got a flat and we had to change it, and we were less than 2 miles away from the host too.  We finally made it to host after 2 small crashes, 4 flat tires, and 1 huge thunderstorm, but all in all it was a fun day and night as well as we all went out to see Bourbon Street!

Day 26: Rest days are the best days

Had to get a proof that I went here

Woke up at 9:30 am and it was the best.  Never thought I could sleep in this late after waking up so early all the time, but I did it.  It feels great to be rejuvenated and ready for the day without having to get on a bike later.  The gang decided to explore The French Quarter in NOLA, so we all got ready and headed over to try and catch the US soccer game playing at 11 am our time.  As soon as we got there, we all split up to see different things, so I went with the Quad Squad to the Market Cafe to catch the second half of the soccer game.  After a tough loss (but we still made it to the Round of 16!) we headed over to the famous Cafe Du Monde to grab a coffee (not really worth the $4.75 in my opinion) and explore the town some more.  It was a pretty relaxing day as we didn’t do much and just hang out with each other.  It’s going to be needed too because we have another century tomorrow taking us to Baton Rouge, LA.

Found this funny picture in a local bike shop

Day 22-24: 3 States in 3 Days (Soon to be 4)

Today is the day! I have finally caught up on my blog (round of applause please).  Anyways, I am going to try make this quick because we are going to New Orleans tomorrow!  I can’t believe that after tomorrow we would have gone through Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana all within 4 days!  Of course I have to enjoy this while I can because we are going to be in Texas for 13 days (It’s a pretty big state apparently).  So let me stop distracting myself and start telling you about the past 3 days.

Day 22: The beauty of the Gulf

Sums up our day pretty well

We had a scheduled rest day in Pensacola, FL (and a much needed one after the previous day) so we had to jump on the opportunity of seeing the Gulf of Mexico.  The beach was gorgeous and nothing that can be compared to on the east coast because the water was so calm and much warmer than the Atlantic, plus the water was clear enough so you can see all the schools of fish swim around you!  It was an awesome experience and I hope to visit again soon.  All day we just lounged around on the beach and enjoyed a few drinks with a few cheers to our success of making it all the way to the Gulf.  It was not an eventful day, but it gave us just enough rest for us to continue our mission and make it to San Diego.

Day 23: Back to ‘Bama

Photo: Since we wake up at unnatural hours everyday we have "late night" bike maintenance.

Helping out some fellow teammates with their bikes

After a much needed rest day, it was time to hit the roads again for a 77 mile ride to Mobile, AL.  Team Overlords (Stoney, Erika, and Michelle being the Supreme Overlord) set off on relatively flat grounds and and back-country roads.  The problem with the back roads is that sometimes Google does not realize they don’t exist anymore, plus some of the roads are just dirt or clay and riding through it causes a terrible mess on the bike that you have to clean later (and nobody likes the extra work).  Anyways, everything was going smooth until Michelle got a flat in her back tire around mile 20.  Fortunately, we were near a gas station and were able to pull into it while we waited for her to change her flat.  It was a good thing that we pulled into a gas station, because somebody asked what we were doing and donated $20 to our trip!  It’s awesome to see how our influence affects other people to help the cause we support, just by riding our bikes!  The rest of the day was pretty smooth except for when we reached the city, and the directions once again got a little confusing.  No fear for the Overloads though as we were able to safely navigate to the YMCA to enjoy our stay there.

Day 24: Mississippi here we come (and there we go)

The line never ends to take pictures at state lines…


It’s crazy to think about how we show up in one state late in the day, and then leave it by the morning.  I definitely wish I could sight-see more on this trip, but I guess I will just have to do it again.  We woke up bright and early today at 5 am (waking up for school is going to be no problem now) and left the Y around 7 for a short (short for us at least) 66 mile ride into Biloxi, MI.  The beauty of the coast is how flat it is, however, the problem is the headwinds we face as I previously mentioned.  It was really funny that as soon as we crossed into Mississippi, we faced these terrible headwinds that forced us to travel only 12-15 mph for the majority of the trip.  I was in good hands though with Michelle, Bri, and our latest

Had to go over this bridge today while battling the wind


newcomer Lisa as we trekked through some nasty winds and an enormous bridge safely to our destination to a huge Baptist church in town.  All in all it was a good day except for riding through some wet clay and getting my bike all dirty again after thoroughly cleaning it the previous day.  It’s tough trying to upkeep everything, but I think I would rather have a working bike and less sleep than one that constantly breaks (as some people on my team experience).  Anyways I have to finish up this blog, fold some clean clothes (finally), and get ready for bed all in preparation for our 4:30 am wake up call in the morning.

Day 20 – 21: Hello Sunshine State (And Sunburn)

Ugh sorry again folks.  The past 2 days I did not have Wi-Fi so I could not catch up on this blog.  No fear though! I will catch up (eventually) and we can both reminiscence these days when I get back. Until then you will just have to deal with my past antics a few days ago.  Now, onto Florida.

Day 20: If only Florida was flat…

Just hanging around down south

Ok so here is the thing with cycling folks: Get rid of one element of nature, and another jumps in its place.  It was especially evident this day when we finally left Alabama and rode 87 miles to DeFuniak Springs, FL.  I left with Brad, Bri, and Erika to experience another adventure of a lifetime as we would finally make it to Florida after travelling 20 days.  Initially our ride was a bit hilly, but nothing that surprised us as we were still in ‘Bama and we had been dealing with the hills the past few days.  After only about 20 miles though, we started experiencing some really flat roads, however with flat lands come some terrible headwinds.  It’s like a back and forth, have hills and little wind, or no hills and it be windy.   It’s pretty tough doing either, but hey, this is what we signed up for and

This guy came out to visit us at our second water stop!


I love the challenge of both elements.  We actually experienced really flat roads until we hit Florida.  I always thought Florida was flat, but apparently it is not.  These are not normal hills that we had experienced earlier in the ride either, but tall, rolling, long hills with a nasty headwind to accompany it.  This happened within the last 17 miles and it was tough because you think you are going to get to the easiest part of the ride, but it was just the toughest.   It’s rough dealing with one challenging element, but pushing yourself to conquer two feels nearly impossible.  Nearly is the key word because we fought through the hills and headwinds like champions and made it to our host in a grand fashion.  It was a fun day overall and I am so happy that we can stop heading south and finally start making our trek out west.


Day 21: The boys are back in town

Photo: The boys are back in town #QuadSquad

Just a candidly posed photo of the Quad Squad

Ouch again.  We woke up early because we had to cycle 103 miles to Pensacola, FL it was going to be rough.  Like I mentioned early, you take away one element, and you get another just as worse.  Fortunately for the Quad Squad (From left to right in the picture above: Dan, Myself, Matt, and Brad), we have a great dynamic where we form pace line and switch off leading in the front for 2 miles then fall to the back so we equally share the work of pushing through the headwinds so those behind can rest a little following close behind.   Florida finally delivered its promise of flat lands for us so we were able to cruise along the roads pretty quickly.  Because we were able to go so quickly, we decided to go unsupported for the day so that we would not have to worry about waiting for the other groups to catch up to us.  The highway we were on is

Enjoying these lovely victory beers after a hard day of riding

pretty touristy and had plenty of places for us to refill our water bottles and take short breaks along our route.  It was a crazy day though because the whole time we basically stayed on 2 highways, and one of the them for about 70 miles.  It is hard to explain over writing, but nothing is worse then being on the same stretch of a road feeling like you are not going anywhere.  For the Quad Squad though, we were able to crush the route even with terrible headwinds (read: Absolutely awful where you are pedaling as hard as you can but can’t move any faster and it hurts so much trying to push through it).  We averaged about 18 mph the whole time with some peak speeds of around 21 mph which is really fast and allowed us to ride for 5.5 hours of ride time with a total time from start to finish of 7 hours.  Essentially, we crushed it and enjoyed the victory of riding another century with a round of beers and relaxing at the host.

Day 18 – 19: Sweet home Alabama

Day 18: Nothing like adding an extra 10 miles to your route

Photo: Pretty sweet place for a water stop in backwoods Georgia #4Ksanclan

The crew hanging out at a great water stop location

Ouch.  I feel like I’m going to be saying that word a lot this blog.  Today was especially one of those days as it was a very humid out as we started off in Carrollton, GA on our way to our next host all the way in Auburn, AL!  We started off the day thinking it would be around a 77 mile day so I hit road with my amazing team: Jackie, Dayna, Erika, and Kirstin. It was a difficult ride because of the climate and resulted in Erika having some chest pains putting her into the van early because there is no reason to push oneself to injury.  After we took care of her, we started off once again on our journey to Auburn.  About halfway through the day, we reached a huge milestone of crossing into Alabama and into a new time zone!  Even though it was only a hour, I still feel like it affected my ride performance because I was getting hungrier much sooner and couldn’t exert as much energy as I was used too.  It was also very hilly ride, but it was still a great day and my group had a great time.  It was prettyPhoto: Team Jer & His Gals made it to Auburn, Alabama!!!!!!! Glad we picked each other and miss Erika Oertle like crazy. #4kforcancer #day18 now #92miles difficult though because on our direction list, some of the roads we were suppose to ride on were just dirt roads for miles, so our plans were thwarted because of it.  To compensate for the lack of paved roads on our planned route, we had to make a detour of 15 miles.  15 miles is a ridiculous number for cycling because it adds about 1.5 hours or more on the road and we already had a time change this day so we were going to be pushing 10 hours on the road.  However, we were so motivated, we sang for the last 20 miles some of the most ridiculous songs that you probably don’t ever want to hear.  We arrived at our host around 6 pm that day and were completely exhausted but relieved and full of endorphins.  I crashed early because the room had A/C, and nothing feels better than curling up in your sleeping bag and feeling extra cozy after a hard day of cycling.

Day 19: Nothing like massive hills to make you feel alive

People in Troy have the strangest pets…

Wake up. Pack. Eat. Bike maintenance. Chores. Thank yous. Leave.  Seems like it is the same routine every morning, which is nice because I like to time myself to see how fast I can get done everything.  I headed out this morning with Michele, Dan, and Shawna, all of which are strong riders so it was going to be a good day to ride the 80 miles to Troy, AL.  The first 20 miles or so were actually pretty hilly and I was wondering if it was ever going to end.  Fortunately for me, the roads actually became relatively flat which is great for cycling.  We were able to cruise around 17 MPH through those flat lands which is really fast and just means we can all get to the host sooner to relax and take some showers.  What we were not prepared for is some (relatively, because I know the Rockies are coming sooner then later…) MASSIVE hills around mile 60 that stretched for several miles.  It was amazing to get up to the peaks of these hills, but also a little disheartening to see in the distance a bigger hill that you must climb.  We were able to crush those hills though, and it was smooth sailing all the way into Troy where we set up our temporary home in a local church.  After some quick showers at Troy University, we headed to a church member’s house where it was absolutely gorgeous.  It almost felt like we were on a Hollywood set of some multimillionaire with their amazing pool, ranch, and food.  We felt like celebrities and didn’t want to leave except for the fact we HAD to get ice cream from Milky Moo’s Homemade Ice Cream Shop which was featured on the Food Network.  It was utterly delicious and they even gave us a discount on the ice cream!  It was an amazing time, but I was exhausted and crashed as soon as we went back to church happy with a stomach full of yummy ice cream.

Photo: Regram from @leesajay of tonight's amazing host for dinner. Loving Alabama. Leave me here, please! #4ksanclan

This sums up the host location perfectly