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Preparation


The Hugens didnt have any regular candles, so we used a house candle and ken held it in place. THIS is an ice cream potato!

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Ed took some photos of us before we left, and he’s gonna meet us in Chicago to take some photos of us half way done. Then when we’re home, he’s coming full circle to see how we’ve changed. This is what he’s got on us so far.
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There have been a bunch of people who have immensely helped us out in preparation for this trip, and we’d like to offer our sincere thanks before we load up & leave tomorrow. Bike Works and Trackstar have both been our “go-to” shops for getting our bikes in working condition. Everyone should shop there and at no other bike shops, ever. You should also check out Trackstar’s courier page. It’s rad, and I designed it.

Next, thanks to Neighburrito and Boneshakers for supporting us on the trip. You guys are great friends and you make the best burritos on the lower east side and vegetarian sandwiches in Williamsburg (respectively). There’s no excuse for anyone to eat anything anywhere else.

We had a couple of photographers take some sweet shots of us, too, which we’ll put up soon. Edwin Jimenez and Halston Bruce, you’re the best photographers in New York City, and you both can do anything better than anyone else.

Thanks guys. I’m posting this from Boneshakers right now, eating a delicious Seitan”Rebel Cruiser”, and we’re probably going to swing by Trackstar tomorrow around 2pm on our way to Penn Station. We’ll be back soon!

I know I don’t just speak for myself when I say that the gravity of this trip has not yet truly sunk in. It’s not just another weekend trip to Ottawa or a sweet vacation to Thailand. Not like I go to Thailand often, but I do go to Ottawa once a year. People there are awesome. And they call their money “loonies” and “toonies”! That’s so adorable!

Anyway, we’re having a sendoff party! Maybe even two or three or four! Here are the ways you can come to see us before our leg muscles are so huge we could squeeze coal into diamonds between our thighs:

TONIGHT, Friday April 10: KARAOKE. At Hope & Anchor in Red Hook. It’s at the corner of Van Brunt & Wolcott and is one of my favorite places in the city to go, after the Natural History Museum.

TOMORROW, Saturday April 11: Some bar somewhere. We really don’t actually have anything planned, but maybe we’ll be at Franklin Park on St. Johns & Franklin in Crown Heights/Little Los Marcostan.

SUNDAY April 12: Come hang out with us at Bike Polo or even better, come to BIKE SHORTS and watch a bunch of bike movies, some of which I may be in.

MONDAY April 13: Be jealous that Ninja Zak from Clinton St. Bakery is cooking us lamb shank.

TUESDAY April 14 3:30pm: Wave your handkerchiefs at us as we depart on the train from Penn Station bound to Portland, Oregon!

PS: Thanks Eric the Red for calling me out on Loonies & Toonies

Our rainy ride out to Bear Mountain started yesterday at noon on 1st and 1st – our usual meeting place. We were all ready for the rain, sort of ready anyway…

We made it all the way to the NJ/NY Bridge, just a few minutes away from Nyack, where Andy had mechanical breakdown #2 – a flat tire. We had allll day to get up to that mountain, so we were in no rush. We took some photos of Andy replacing his tire and headed to The Runcible Spoon (the café in nyack geared mainly towards cyclists) where I hoped to show all the roadies how badass we are with our many pounds of gear…then I remembered that most other bikers wouldn’t CHOOSE to go out on a day of 90% rain showers all-day-long.

We were the only ones there…and the staff was awesome. They shut the door and put a heater next to our table so we could warm up and try to dry some of our now-soaked clothes. We stayed there for about 2 hours and then got back on the road.

We went over the many steep hills toward bear mountain and at the top of the steepest (so far), Andy and Ken waited (again) for me to arrive and then explained that Andy’s crank arm was loose – mechanical problem #3 – and he needed to go back and find a bike shop. Ken and I decided to move on and meet him up the road a ways at the Stop & Shop where we’d get food to cook for dinner.

Poor Andy road right by the bike shop and all the way back to Nyack to find that he didn’t need to go back so far. Ken and I reached the Stop & Shop and sat on the bench outside watching the road, making sure Andy didn’t pass by.

I learned many things on this 2-day Bear Mountain ride..
The first (you might know this already) – I’m definitely not as strong as ken and Andy. The second – they are really awesome, supportive, patient and in it for a good adventure.

When we got to the Stop & Shop, Ken was barely winded and I was beat… needed to eat something and couldn’t quite see straight. Ken asked the other person on the bench how far Bear Mountain was and she said something like bearwha? So THEN this megahandsome lumberjacktype guy walks up and says…you guys trying to get to Bear Mountain? I’m just sitting there munching on a cliff bar, trying to sit up straight and Ken talks to him, getting directions. I’m staring, drooling probably, but not really listening. Ken later tells me that he was trying to act indifferent so the guy would talk directly to me, which he was, but I was too tired to really respond other than smile, I think. Anyway, he said that he works up at the mountain and then I’m pretty sure whispered something under his breath like – damn, girl – hotttttttt. But I couldn’t quite hear.

Anyway. Andy shows up, ken and I run in the store and get dinner/breakfast/instant coffee and we hop back on our bikes to get to the campsite before dark. I don’t know how far up it is to the campsite but something like 5-10 miles from the Stop & Shop. Lots of hills and then one really big hill that seems to go on forever… This is where me being much less strong than Ken and Andy comes in – it took me forever. ..but it smelled and looked so good up there that as tired as I was, I was in such good spirits and so happy to be there. Finally I made it to the camp grounds sign, met up with the guys that were waiting for me and went in to find a place to set up the tent. The grounds were closed for the season, but the handsomelumberjackdude said that we should go anyway and no one would bother us…so we did. It was right on a lake, cold but gorgeous. We found a fairly flat, rock free spot in the woods and set up camp.

Getting out of wet spandex was AWESOME! Andy cooked dinner and it was amazing – maybe wouldn’t have tasted as good if I was home cooking it and not so tired, but really – so good. Couscous with green peppers, onions and chicken bouillon! With dried fruit as an appetizer. Perfect.

There was lots of tossing and turning and I don’t think any of us slept very well and Andy and I both froze, but still a success I think. However, waking up at 6 am to get Andy to work on time with wet clothes, high winds and really cold air suuuucks. Awesome in many ways, but more things I learned: don’t bother trying to dry clothes over night when its cold and wet outside – put your dry warm clothes in the tent so you don’t have to go out and get them in the morning! OH… and pee before I put my bib tights on. Cus taking off all my top layers when its that cold out is no fun.

We packed up our stuff, got back on the road – miles of downhill – and had some morning coffee at the café in Nyack. The instant coffee that we bought was disgusting.

Andy took off shortly after and ken and I sat a bit longer as we had no place to be. Even so, we made it back to the city in just a couple hours – amazing how much faster it is to get home than it is to get out there.

I’m not very good at the blog entry thing, might all just be rambling. They’ll get shorter and sweeter.

closed

lakefront

 

unpacking

unpacking

drizzling..

drizzling..

dinner

dinner

dinner cooking... shoes and clothes on newspaper to dry.

dinner cooking... shoes and clothes on newspaper to dry.

doesn't this look good!?!

doesn't this look good!?!

in the tent.  nice and cozy.

in the tent. nice and cozy.

Holy crap I feel like my eyes are going to pop out of my skull and these mild hallucinations might take form and attack me. My muscles ache and whine even when I lie down. My knees make weird sounds, like closing an old, rusty door. I don’t think I’m only speaking for myself. Look at all of us:

so tired

so tired

This was us after our trip to Bear Mountain, where we rode to camp the night & test out all of our camping gear. Now, we are well aware that it’s going to rain all day tomorrow. Sure, we could’ve postponed our ride to avoid the weather, but when we’re in the middle of Idaho and it’s hailing on us and bears are waking up from hibernation, hungry, it’s not like we can be all “oh, let’s just ride tomorrow”. It’s do-or-die every day. And we need to get used to shit-tastic weather as soon as we can. We also need to find out if all of our gear works properly. That’s why this picture was taken at Sid’s Bike Shop on 34th St. & 2nd Avenue in Manhattan. Because we found out about a mile and a half into our trip that Andy’s bike needed some fine tuning.

For a little bit of perspective, here’s how far we got today:

sids. pretty close to home...

sids. pretty close to home...

What happened is that Andy’s rack slipped off. And in so doing, it bent all sorts of shit that needs to be not bent if you want your bike to work right. That’s EXACTLY the way they explained it to us at the shop. So we spent the next hour or so hanging out on 34th street as the day got increasingly more awesome for riding, while the mechanic’s worked on Andy’s bike.

d'oh!

d'oh!


As a side note, I’d like to say that I had only gotten an hour and a half’s sleep last night. In fact, til now, I’ve only gotten another half hour’s worth. What gives? Why the hell would I be all “let me stay out allllllll night long then go riding 60 miles to go camping” the next day? It’s because I was utterly committed to winning Trackstar’s “Midnight Madness 2″ race – a 24 hour scavenger hunt based on an early 80′s movie that was Michael J. Fox’s first movie appearance. Look it up! Last year, team “Angry Neighbors” (Chombo, Doug, Johnny Midwest, Amadeo, and myself) took a controversial 2nd place, and we were adamant about redeeming our shame this year.

This year, it turns out that only two goddamn teams raced. But the other damned team was adamant about winning too, and did stuff like “go to Atlantic City” and “go to Philadelphia”. Us, we started out by riding to Laguardia, the Jersey Side of the George Washington Bridge, down to the Jersey entrance of the Holland Tunnel, then into the Lower East Side. This was all by 2am. It was 8am by the time I ducked out to ride to Bear Mountain. At that point, i was so delirious trying to pick up bizarre items from my apartment (a marionette, Mad Magazine, porn, plastic poop) that I almost forgot to pack for the camping trip and maybe, like, sleep.

But I did sleep. For an hour and a half. Then met Quinn & Andy, wherefore we promptly abandoned our trip for the day. It wasn’t a total loss. In the time being, I managed to find Billthy!2
He was worth 5 points in the scavenger hunt. I KNOW the other team didn’t get a photo of him.
As of this post, however, points are still being tallied. I’ll keep you updated on how this race turns out. We’re going to be seriously pissed if we end up 2nd place (out of TWO) again.

As far as the trip goes…we’re riding to Bear Mountain on Monday. The same Monday that’s going to be nothing but rain rain rain thunderstorms and rain. It will be a test of our willpower to see if we can drag ourselves from our comfortable beds in our roofed apartments and intentionally put ourselves out on the road for 5 hours, then pitch a tent in the mirk. But hell, we’re going to have to do a lot of that in the next few months.

I gotta get myself some sleep.

We had a fabulous dinner at my place on Monday night for friends of ours who have done touring like this in the past. Doug, Stache, Tito and Johnny Midwest (who clearly doesn’t have his own website, but helped me do the dishes, so I can’t snarkily insult him about his lack of web-presence) were all there. Andy’s got some photos somewhere. I went a bit overboard and cooked a whole chicken with veggies, baked up some asparagus with parmesan, stir fried some leeks and made chocolate chip cookies. I kinda love cooking for people. Plus, I usually stare at a computer all day long, so this was a good way for me to distract myself from that atrophy-inducing lethargy. I didn’t even cook up the spinach or quinoa, so now I have plenty of food to cook for my sister tonight when we watch LOST.

Anyway. Bike Stuff. Those guys were awesome with their advice & stories & things. The three of us seemed to be getting a bit nervous about our trip, but the general attitude of our more-experienced friends indicated that we really had nothing to worry about. Doug pored over our route, analyzing mountain passes as passable, while we laughed over Stache’s recollections & photos from the trip he did on a fixed gear bike with one pair of bike shorts. What an idiot. He didn’t advise us to do anything like that, but he got back in one piece anyway. Johnny sat there and called my chicken “rare”. Which was true..but again, he helped me do the mound of dishes, so I really can’t complain.

Next stop: Bear Mountain on Sunday night after Trackstar’s 24-hour Midnight Madness 2 race. Sounds like a stupid idea, right? Yeah, well a lot of people have told me they think this whole trip is a stupid idea, so…

last night was B-Rad’s birthday party. Happy Birthday Brad! There were vegan chicken wings, collards, cake, and of course a plethora of whiskey. Here is ken indulging himself. We’re gonna hit the ground runnin’.kentraining2kentraining

If you live along this route or know anyone who does, it would be amazing if you could let us sleep at your place for a night. We’re gonna be doing all sorts of camping and not-showering, so some civilization & running water might be spectacular.


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us_nyackHey, here’s what we look like as of March 21. This is us on the way back from Nyack. I found out that I don’t have any good cycling gloves! Tore my damn apartment apart looking for them, too. Maybe they’re under the christmas decorations I stole from other Andy’s grandma or something. Maybe I’ll look there next.

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