Friday, August 13, 2010

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Things They Carried- Obi Wan

Pannier #1
-clothes bag:
-spandex long underwear
-arm warmers (I wore these almost every day)
-2 pair bike shorts/bib (medium quality gotten cheap from Ebay. perfectly adequate for my needs).
-cycling jersey (pockets are nice but you are guaranteed to look somewhat foolish in a jersey. Just my opinion).
-synthetic running shirt
-cotton button down (for camp)
-synthetic Royal Robin brand shorts (for camp)
-cheap stocking cap (essential for the mountain region and the Olympic peninsula)
-bike gloves (really reduce ware on your wrists and hands. I noticed a big difference between when I wore them and when I didn't).
-full-hand gloves (made with both leather and synthetic fabric. Used to keep my hands functional on rainy days. Makes a world of difference)
- 1 pair wool socks (for camp, warmth, and anything else you can think of)
-North Face Gor-Tex wind/waterproof pants (not waterproof, don't buy gor-tex for rain gear. These pants were useful against hordes of mosquitos and for looking stupid in... not essential).
-O2 cycling rain jacket (way more waterproof than the pants. It was thoroughly shredded by the end of the trip but it did it's job. A good purchase. David had one too).
-Sunglasses with rear-view mirror and different lenses (all were lost by the end of the trip, still useful though).
-Steri-pen water filter (we only needed it once so I sent it home halfway through the trip)
-Toiletries bag:
-travel toothbrush
-tooth paste
-mole skin (not often used but definitely comforting to have in case a blister ever gets unbearable).
-vaseline (for lubin' up)
-sun screen
-nail clippers
-Zip pocket:
-cell phone charger and electronic hook ups
Pannier #2
-Mountain Hardware 15 degree 800 Fill Down sleeping bag (I upgraded to this bag after the first week in the Olympics suffering through cold nights in a 45 degree bag. It was awesome to know that, no matter how bad the weather got, I would be warm at night. This bag was very light but took up a lot of space. I'd recommend a bag like it for people who need some extra insulation at night).
-Thermarest pad
-Cards (never used)
-That's it. Like I said, the bag took up a lot of room. My panniers also were pretty uneven in weight which led to a few minor issues for my back rack. Just switching the panniers back and forth every couple of days will keep the rack from wearing out too fast on one side.

Back Rack
-Sea to Summit Waterproof bag (exceptionally waterproof, a great buy):
-Mountain Hardware Lightpath 2 tent and rain fly (a 3ish pound 2 person tent that I found was very adequate. Only problem was not a lot of room to sit up in and things could get real crowded with two people in it. Honestly for tent selection I would highly recommend the Six Moons design Lunar 2 Duo that Dan carried. That thing rocked.
-Tent stakes
-Spare tubes
-Tent Poles
-Keen close-toed sandals (these things were awesome to just slip on when I got out of my bike shoes. They were strapped to my back rack the whole ride and would get wet but would still be fine to wear. Great durable shoes. Still like new after all they have been through).

Front Sack
-Noxzema (Dan has already praised this wonderful little cream. None of us would have unscarred rears today if it weren't for Noxzema. Get some. Nuf said).
-Tea bags
-Tri-tool (good and handy for quick fixes but not nearly enough to fix the numerous bike issues we had. Make sure you or somebody in your group has some sufficient tools. Thanks to Goody for being that guy).
-Patch kits for tubes
-miscellaneous stuff (front sacks are nice to throw trash in while you are riding. I recommend getting one. You can buy a handlebar bag if you don't have aerobars or you can buy a saddle bag and it hooks onto aerobars real nicely. Works great. Will and I both used that trick).

Hope this inventory is helpful for anybody planning a tour. Good luck with your planning and remember that you can always send stuff back. Happy riding!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

White Hill

I thought I would share the beautiful bike I have been riding since I arrived in Potsdam. This is my Dad's Pinarello Maxim(1994?). Its a masterpiece. Its like driving a classic Ferrari after touring all summer with a weighed down truck. I have had loads of fun flying around the roads of St. Lawerence County. For my last day in town I did a 50 mile time trial on the notorious white hill loop. Its a steady climb for the first 15 miles, then 20 miles in the forest until you bomb down the last 15. I really wanted to see what I could do so I checked the time before I left and started riding hard. I hoped that I might be able to average 20 miles per hour, two and a half hour ride. I maintained a solid effort on the climb keeping in mind to save enough to hammer back later. I remembered all the moments this summer where I wanted to give up, wanted to slow down, and pushed through. The mind will tell you to stop long before you have to. I knew that I needed to keep the effort up early. After the climb I tried to recover and still hold a solid pace through the forest. I was cramping and my muscles were crying out. Just as I was slacking I sighted a young black bear crossing the road. This unexpected wildlife experience gave me a mental boost and I started pushing just that extra bit harder. As I was flying over the rollers on the raquette river road it started pouring. But the rain just cooled me down and gave me something to fight against. When I got back to route 56 I knew I had to give it all I had. I got in a high gear and tried to let my body do work. It was intermittently pouring and my back was killing me. I flew through Colton and Hannawa Falls and as I climbed the last couple rises going into Potsdam I knew I had gauged my effort well as I was starting to fall apart just a little. I was excited to see my ride time and while I tried to enjoy my last ride in Potsdam this summer, I knew I needed to keep the push in case the clock was close. As I pulled into my driveway I checked the time and smiled with delight. Two hours and twenty nine minutes. What a way to cap off a great stay in Potsdam.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Things They Carried-Dan

With the hope that our blog can become a useful resource for those who would like to embark on similar adventures, I present to you all the stuff that I carried on my bike and body

The essentials: Sierra Designs Arrow Rock 15 Degree 600 Fill Bag - Long with stuff sack, Thermarest Neoair Sleeping Pad-Long, Six Moon Designs-Lunar Duo 2 person tent with stakes and poles (I recommend all of these products)

Bodywear: longsleeve cycling jersey, short sleeve cycling jersey, dri fit running top, rain jacket, 2 cycling bibs, compression shorts, running shorts, quick dri pocketed shorts, 2 pair of dri-fit socks (not really used), bandanna, helmet, cycling shoes, and Teva Protons (amazing). Earlier in the trip I had a pair of wool socks, waterproof pants and two more tops, which were essential in the cold and rain but not for the hot summer days.
Other: Two rear panniers, bungee chords (essential), toiletry bag (toothbrush, contact stuff, etc), Orange Container with herbs and spices, tape (electrical is very useful), Noxema (more about that later), spare tubes, plastic bags of all shapes and sizes, zip ties, the stick muscle massager, frisbee, ukulele and case, map, books, writing pad, post cards and squirt gun
Noxema! so essential. We all used it as a chamois cream and for sunburn relief. Can't say enough about Noxema.

The front sack: body lube, chain lube, tennis ball (for rubbing out sore spots especially your butt), golf ball (for rolling out sore feet), allergy meds, headlamp, front light for bike, back light for bike, antibiotic cream, lip balm (so essential), a knife, 10 speed chain master link, patch kit, spoke wrench, tire levers, sunglasses

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Photo Update

Atlantic Ocean! Rockaway Beach.

Only Brooklyn would have bicycle part vending machines.

Getting into Manhattan after the G.W.

Manhattan Skyline.

G.W. Bridge

Ending our very short segment through Jersey.

Some epic steep hills on the Hudson near West Point.

Lots of flat tires. Maintaining the best we can.

Early morn on top of the gunks.

Near the top of the road running over the Shawangunks.

Cannonsville Reservoir

Rolling into town via Vestal Rd, from the Rt. 26 bridge, Endicott.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Music Sweet Music

Music comes from the soul and uplifts the spirit. During our voyage across America Team Werk was so inspired by the landscape that we would often break out in song. The melodies were new and old, sad and strong, everything in between. We would often experience a delay effect in which songs we would here on the radio or in passing would be the singing material a few days later. But mostly the songs would come from our memories. The mind works in mysterious ways. These are some of the melodies that we bounced along with most frequently. Often the lyrics drastically altered to express an emotion or feeling of the time. I think I got most of our big hitters in here, but if anything was omitted, I will gladly add it.

The Flaming Lips- Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Part 1

I just came of a Flaming Lips binge before the trip began and this song endured from day 1 to the end.

James Brown - Living In America

Watch the scene in Rocky IV where this song is showcased. That should explain a lot.

Anything from Offspring-Americana

Many songs from this album would make their way onto the shoulders of America's highways. This was the first album that both Will and I bought in ~sixth grade.

David Bowie - Young Americans

I heard this song on the radio driving back from my last night out in Portland (80's night at the Crystal Ballroom). It has been looping in some part of my brain ever since. David Bowie has to be one of the most American artists not born in America.

Anything from the Beatles

Team Werk would loves the classics and we would often break into a bit of Beatles mania. This song was one of our loved ones and if I had to choose a favorite, this would probably be it.

Divinyls- I Touch Myself

This infectious chorus can be easily altered, and often was.

Carl Douglas - Kung Fu Fighting

It's easy to see how this song would get stuck in your head.

Blink 182- Adam's Song

Blink 182 was the alternative pop punk band of our generation and however much of it it might seem silly now, this stuff got to me in middle school. Some say it's a sad song but if there was one song this was THE song of Team Werk. It might not make a lot of sense, but most things in life don't.

Honorable mentions: The Eagles, Bob Seger, Aerosmith, Lady Gaga, "I'm proud to be an American" song, etc

And for me...
Wilco- Sky Blue Sky

Wilco has become one of my favorite artists over the last couple of years and I definitely jammed on them hard during the trip. Whenever Will's Ipod was charged and available I would hit up their album Sky Blue Sky. This is the title track from the album that stayed with my since the first time I heard it charging out of Palouse Falls. Wilco's songs set a wonderful scene for our American adventure and as the miles kept rolling their songs kept playing in my head.

Oh, I didn’t die
I should be satisfied
I survived
That's good enough for now

Friday, July 30, 2010

I am in Potsdam! I stayed in Burlington last night and took the ferry this morning to Port Kent and then mostly followed the Port Kent and Hopkinton Turnpike to 11B then cruised into Potsdam. It was a a tough ride as my legs were sore and I faced a stiff headwind for much of the day. But as I got closer to home my excitement kept my legs spinning. Time for some rest and home cooking.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Treehouse

Dan and I just finished our journey to my camp in Vermont. Just under
170 miles in 10 hours of riding culminating in an epic sunset during a
thunderstorm. Just enjoyed a great meal cooked by my cousin Jess and
looking forward to a much needed rest day.

NYC -> Home

Home after the last day of biking in the tour.

As the city was driving me a bit crazy, I decided to take a short day of riding on Monday up to my Aunt and Uncle's (Jane and Ralph) in Irvington, NY. Without a map, I took off riding from lower Manhattan up along the westside bike path. After following the Harlem river east, I crossed a bridge, and began wandering north, eventually ending up in the Bronx. Riding through the bronx was some of the most extreme city riding I've ever undertaken. I did not see one person on a bicycle, and I could see why. Almost got hit several times by people opening doors, pulling quickly out of side streets, and others trying to frantically make it through yellow lights.

Relieved that I was finally out of the bronx, I began my roundabout journey through eastern Westchester county. I'd never been here before, but I soon learned that the county is essentially one town in itself with no distinct border between yonkers, new rochelle, pelham, or eastchester. Making it even better, no county or state roads ever had route number signs, so I was left in the dark. Eventually I stopped at a pharmacy to look at a map, and found out I was much further east than I had intended. I finally found Yonkers Rd, which was a busy, winding 6 ln rd, terrible for biking, but cut over to 9, so I got through it as fast as I could, found 9 only after asking for directions as there were no route signs, and the rest of the ride for the day was relatively much better. Made it to Irvington after 50 miles (should have been 20), where Jane and Ralph made me a delicious dinner and gave me a very comfortable place to crash for the night. I planned out my route back home, and slept relatively early for a long day back home.

The next day I woke up around 4:30am, and was on the road by 5. The first 50 miles were somewhat slow as I was still waking up, and after 60 I was out of the 2 most difficult part of the ride, Poughkeepsie and Peekskill, where 9 turned into highway with no shoulder. For the whole ride, I took 9 and varients of 9. 9 and 9a in the morning, then eventually 9d which was very scenic right along the Hudson, then back onto 9 with a bike lane north of Poughkeepsie, and eventually 9h, which took me back to a very unfriendly 9 just south of Albany. I crossed the Hudson on a bridge sidewalk and began heading Northwest on Madison ave. I cut through SUNY Albany Campus to Fuller road which I took to central ave, (RT 5). I hit this just around the beginning of Rush hour and killed it to keep up with traffic (22 - 23 mph) all the way to scotia. Eventually I made it home at 4:30 after 153 miles for the day thus far. I laid down and ate alot and drank alot of water and realized I still had plenty of daylight left. I wasn't feeling too tired so around 5:30I decided to go for a 47 mile ride through charlton and ballston lake for the double century. The evening was perfect for cycling and I ran into several people I knew on the way. I made it back home with 3 miles to go so I did a few loops around the neighborhood for the complete 200. The ride today was just what I needed to destress, and helped me relax after a few hectic days in the city.

As a closing note, I'd like to add what an incredibly inciteful experience the past 8 weeks have been. We've all seen many parts of the country we'd never seen before, and even so we've biked the sections we may have seen in a car. Tour cycling is an incredible way to really learn about the places and people you're passing through. We've stopped at most little towns on the way, and just in the process of grabbing a quick meal or even filling our water bottles, learned about the history, geography or even natural history of the immediate area. Being in these places firsthand really shattered most of the stereotypic ideas I had about many of the places and people of the regions we passed through. The tour also restored much of my faith in humanity, as we hardly met a single person who didn't want to help us out in some way or another. So many people offering us a place to sleep, food, or even just simple directions, local knowledge, and good luck. We were always greeted with a smile.

A special thanks goes out to all the people who provided us with places to stay all throughout the trip. Also thanks to family and friends of everyone who rode for giving us so much support, including my parents who made it possible for me to get out to seattle and eat food during the trip. Most of all, to Will, Dan, Peter, Aidan, David, Carrie, and Ashley all who made the trip worthwhile and added to the dynamics of a tremendous group do be with for 8 weeks. As Peter mentioned in the previous post, this has been an experience I'll never forget.

Happy Cycling!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Ahoy from Westchester

Although our cross continental excursion is done and the crew has split up, Will and I are still on the road riding from NYC up to North Ferrisburg, VT and Potsdam, NY respectively. We have so many more stories to tell on the blog including the epic last few days into the city and our epic visit to the Atlantic at Rockaway Beach. For now I will give you a quick recap of Will and I's journey out of the city today and save the description of our journey from Bing to NYC for when I have more time and energy. Our day began with a delicious breakfast at Andrew Carmellini’s Laconda Verde. Will interned with Carmellini and his staff a few summers ago so we knew we were going to get hooked up with some dank meal. Afterwords we packed up our stuff and Carrie's old apartment in the east village that we stayed in for the last two nights we headed over to Continuum Cycles. We met the owner, Jeff, the day before on our ride to Rockaway. He told us to come over the shop the next morning for some bike maintenance. While we waited for their expert staff to help heal our broken bikes, we talked with the knowledgeable staff, admired their selection of vintage bikes, and observed the interesting patrons and their bikes that flowed through the shop. Our destination for the day was Mohegan Lake, where Will has family. Although we had the gusto to cross the continent, Will and I met our match today when we tried to navigate through the suburban jungle of Westchester County. We took the Westside bike path and then navigated ourselves to Van Cortlandt Park, where I used to race xc in high school. From there we thought we could take a bike path almost all the way up to Mohegan Lake. At first the bike path was a dirt trail that was manageable but sketchy in sections. We got excited when it turned into a newly paved path up through Yonkers through the Forest, but then it turned into single track and we forced to walk our bikes and change a flat. We got of the bike path and figured out where we were and then found another bike path up along the Bronx river. This curvy path was enjoyable but got sketchy again and just as it ended we were forced to change another flat. At this point we were left with little daylight and still 30 miles to ride. We booked it through White Plains and Greenburgh and thought we had found our jam with route 100 but as the sky turned dark the road turned sketchy. We did some super sketchy riding on a 60 mile an hour divided highway with no shoulder at night, but thankfully we had some sense and put safety first and called will's family from Pleasantville and asked for a ride. We chilled at a 7-11 and did work on some slurpees, and then got driven to Mohegan Lake from Will's Dad's cousins Reb's wife Cathy. Reb is an experienced bike racer, and Reb and Cathy treated us to some fine meal as we talked about the Tour and some of Bike racing career. I sit hear now awaiting tomorrow, when Reb will guide us to Route 22, which we will take to Will's camp in North Ferrisburg. If this post is spaint, its because I am really tired, as the last couple days have been exhilarating but draining. But my spirits are high and I am excited to ride again in a more rural setting instead of Westchester, which from what I can tell is not very easy to navigate on bikes. Hey Westchester County, how about some shoulders?

Adios from Obi and Aidan (with photos from our last short day)

the Jersey Shore, and the beginning of Aidan and I's last 20 miles of riding

Part of a big bridge was being pushed on a barge up the East River today. Some of you may have heard about this. It went right by our ferry!

The Manhattan bridge. We crossed this last night and went under it this morning. Shout out to Brooklyn!

The famous Brooklyn Bridge. We never got to cross it but we went under it this morning and got this sweet view.

Aidan and I got up early this morning to catch a ferry from Manhattan to Atlantic Highlands, NJ. We met my brother at Asbury Park where we got to do the last few hundred miles home in a car for a change. We made it safe and sound to good ol' Virginia. Looking forward to kicking it in the relative peace and comfort of home. Just wanted to say thank you to everybody who followed us, helped us, or even talked with us. This whole experience wouldn't be the same without you.

I hope we have inspired others to have similar adventures in this awesome country (or anywhere). Stay tuned on this site for useful information about what roads are good, where to camp, and maybe what to pack. We are planning on posting this info for the good of anybody who is inspired to do some touring.

With that, we bid you farewell for now. Peace and Love.

P.S. Thanks to DP, Goody, Wiley, David, Kruse, and Atiyeh for countless adventures and good times. I'll never forget it.

The end of team werk

This morning marked the end.
We all pedal our own paths now.
We have grown ourselves and those we encountered.
Thanks to all who supported our adventure in the biggest or smallest
Hopefully the blog will continue to get updates and maybe even be
helpful for tourists in years to come.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Photo Update - Fergus, ON - Ithaca, NY

Dam at 6 mile creek. Highest jumping point.

Sheep and Trellis reunion. Hiking to the dam from sheep's apartment.

Hangin' out at 6 mile creek, Ithaca, NY

El Casa de Sheep-A-Deep

Sheep and Trevor in one day!? Plus two cyclists from belgium biking from NYC to Argentina. Incredible.

rThe pack rides on the Canal path. David rides his last leg of the trip with us to Seneca Falls, NY. We had a great time riding the past 700 miles with David.

More bikepath.

Erie Canal Bikepath somewhere between Lockport and Rochester.

Cinder surface was great for cycling.

Switching back and front tires after the dollar bill I had used to remedy my torn tire bead had bulged out too far. Put this tire in the front where there is less weight and put 6 bills in instead of one to hold the pressure. Got me to Rochester where I bought new tires.

Dollar bills work surprisingly well.

Hiking along the Niagara Escarpment the morning before we depart for Rochester.

Bikepath on Lake Ontario brought us to the falls.

Crossing the Canal via drawbridge.

Stopping for some local delicious apricots and peaches near Niagara Falls in Ontario.

Back to the USA! Customs did not particularly have a sense of humor.

Bittersweet Niagara Falls.

First glimpses of Lake Ontario in Burlington, ON. Campsite for the night was right here on the beach.

Hangin' out in Steve's Casa, Fergus, ON. We thoroughly enjoyed his place.

Epic lighting = Epic disc throwing. Durham, ON.

Beautiful sunset in Durham after thunderstorms.

Again. Durham was a beautiful place after the storm.

Photos are in reverse chronological order.

From far and wide

After Serpent River we found a roadside (illegal) campsite in an First Nation (Native American Reservation) just north of Little Current. From there we crossed a small bridge which separates the island from the mainland.

Days earlier on one of the first days biking with my father my mom bumped into a family friend from Potsdam who happened to have a sister with a camp on the island. A quick phone call to Judy and Chuck, and we were set up with a place to stay and a terrific guide. On the island we found a terrific hike with the help our newly made friends, Judy and Chuck. The hike traveled along and over the middle of the Niagara Escarpment which also is the geological structure responsible for Niagara Falls.
The MS Chi-Cheemaun delivered us to the tip of the Bruce Peninsula in just under 2 hours. We traded stories with a fellow traveler from the Isle of Man who was just over half-way through his solo journey across Canada. Excessive linkage!!!
Bike maintenance was greatly needed for Dan's Back wheel as posted earlier. One of the spokes pulled through the frame completely and others were very close. The bike persevered however and was ridden all the way to a great bike store in Owen Sound.

I'm signing out for now, many more posts are scheduled for tonight.