Wind

This week we have seen tailwinds and crosswinds, but also plenty of headwinds. At first, the wind destroyed our spirits and felt insurmountable. But just like the rain, we have become accustomed to the conditions and grown stronger. Passing through the plains of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, I have seen countless acres of soy and corn as I battle the relentless wind. Tomorrow is a short day, so we will use it to recover.

The only hitch in tomorrow’s activities is that we have to exterminate the bed bugs that have infested our vans and trailer. Thy will have to be cooked at some extermination facility for six hours while we ride. We will be unsupported, but, again, it is a short 53 miles (94 miles yesterday was long).

Here’s some more pictures you may enjoy.

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Posted in BIKEtheUSforMS, Road | 1 Comment

First trip update!

Okay everybody. I apologize if you were counting on this site for updates on my trip from Maine to Seattle for MS. Until last night (after the purchase of this lovely iPhone) I was unable to access the Internet to tell you all how it is going.

We have already covered 1,000 miles. But the larger feat is that BIKEtheUSforMS has raised over $213,000 for multiple sclerosis this year. Thank you to all that have contributes!

On to the trip itself, which will have more detailed coverage following this hopefully brief update.

The trip started out strong. The first day went off without a hitch and we all had a good time getting to know one another in Bar Harbor.

Then we quickly met the worst of our hardships with both heavy rains and tall mountain passes in the first week. But we are all stronger for it and it has been no comparison to the struggles of MS. So we are proud to help the cause.
After the mountains went in the rear view, the weather has shaped up and so has our fitness.

I’ll share some stories later, but for now, here are some pictures.

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Posted in BIKEtheUSforMS, Road | 1 Comment

One Week To Go

We depart from Bar Harbor, ME in 6 days and about 10 hours. That seems all too close. But I am prepared. 6 of my last 9 rides have all been between 50-100 miles. The first couple were really hard, as the first long rides of the season always are. But I’ve reached the point where I am actually awake at the end of the day. No longer do I eat everything in sight following a 70+ mile ride.

I still eat a lot during training, but I am becoming more efficient.

More important in my preparation, I have reached my fundraising goal! Over $4,295 now–well once everything is processed. Thank you to everyone at Mt. Zion United Methodist Church and my family who have helped with my final push of fundraising! You all have already helped the lives of so many affected by MS.

On Friday morning, I’ll get on the Bike the US for MS van when it passes through Hagerstown, MD on its way to Maine. This is just 4 days away. It is both coming too fast and cannot come fast enough.

I often forget that I go on incredible trips every summer. But this one tops them all, having yet to commence. I will miss all of my friends and family this summer. But I will come back with great stories to tell.

Thank you all for your support. I cannot wait to get on the road and tell you all of my adventures.

–Jason

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100 Miles of Nowhere, Tour de Donut edition

Note:

I am now up to $3,373 of my $4,295 goal of one dollar per mile. Thank you to everyone who has donated so far. I could not do any of this without your kind support! Let’s end MS!

This weekend, three friends (the Ironman, Twin, Roomie) and I will do FatCyclist.com’s 100 Miles of Nowhere (100MON) with a “Tour de Donut” twist.

To be clear…

100MON is a race formed to raise money for cancer. This year, Fatty (the FatCyclist) is putting all the money towards Camp Kesem, which offers a free summer camp to children affected or whose family is affected by cancer. Fatty’s first wife passed due to breast cancer about 4 years ago. He has been Livestrong’s biggest contributer ever since thanks to events like 100MON. This year’s 100MON could open an entirely new Camp Kesem campus. So we race for that.

100MON races are meant to be on painfully small courses. We are using the Western Maryland Rail Trail. It is flat, straight, and downright monotonous. But a simple place to rack up 100 miles. The race takes place where ever people happen to be racing, normally within a month either side of the “official” date of June 2.

Our Tour de Donut will be a competition between the 4 of us. All donuts eaten will subtract two minutes from our overall time. So if we finish as a pack, which we easily will, donut consumption will be the deciding factor.

We all like donuts and the ride will be a little over five hours long. The main limit will be how many dozen donuts we buy. Also, on such a lengthy day and given the fact that my friends have, more or less, not trained one bit this spring, we will all need to eat more than just donuts this Saturday.

–Jason

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Train Hard, Rest Harder

I am well over the suggested 500 miles of training for the trip (703 as of April 23rd). So with some 35 days to go, every mile is more than enough.

I did 86 miles on Saturday the 14th and have been resting hard ever since. It may sound lazy, but they say you must train hard and rest harder. Also, there are five weeks to go and I am much ahead of schedule. On the bill are still the 100 Miles of Nowhere and an overnight trip to Western Maryland and back. Those alone will bring me up to 950 miles.

As for fundraising, I have reached 67%, with recent contributions coming from my church and extended family members. Thank you all that have contributed! I will have to keep reaching out to more groups and start visiting a few local businesses to keep fundraising going.

Today I stopped by the bike shop for all the essentials to get my bike ready for the road. On the agenda are a new chain, a new and bigger cassette (lower gear for bigger mountains), and a shiny new seat. It’ll be a Fi’zi:k Arione, which looks like a tiny blade. Surprisingly, it is super comfortable. I ordered a white one with a black stripe down the middle. But I may be able to get a blue one with a white stripe that was lying around the shop. Reduced pricing and I’m there!

Evelyn (aka the best bike ever (and the bike one has is always the best bike)) will be ready for some serious miles! I cannot wait for this trip to begin!

Gorgeous, right?

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Spring Training

My training is going incredibly well, as is my fundraising. Once I mail in some checks I’ve been given, I should be up around $2700 and 62% of the way to my goal of $4,295. Thank you to all who have donated. I like to say that 400,000 Americans and their families thank you!

This past week I got to ride in the Shenandoah Valley and it was beautiful riding. 65-80 degrees the entire week and it was important to change my scenery while trying to rack up the miles.

Always take the business route.

I’m up to 350 miles of the suggested 500 miles before crossing the country. My goal has been to hit 1,000 miles. In three weeks I’ll ride the entirety of Skyline Drive down in the Blue Ridge. And then my roommate and I will do the 100 Miles of Nowhere that Fatcyclist.com puts on. On top of that, I have the best class schedule for putting in some serious mileage. So training is going well and shows no signs of slowing down. My final test will be to ride out to some family friends’ house 75 miles west. I’ll stay there the night and come back home. After that, I’ll be more than ready for Memorial Day to come.

Our departure is just two months away and I could not be more excited. I am proud to join the fight against MS.

–Jason

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Fundraising Push

30 letters, or so, are about ready to be mailed out. Hopefully this will get the ball rolling for my fundraising efforts. It is time to start making a difference for all those affected by Multiple Sclerosis.

Hopefully my friends and family will be inspired to contribute and really help bring a bright future to over 400,000 Americans and their families.

Also it looks like I will be able to make a bike holiday of my spring break and get some serious training in the Blue Ridge Mountains. This is going to be a busy, yet fun spring.

Don’t forget to donate!

–Jason

http://www.biketheusforms.org

Enter my name, a dollar amount, and click donate.

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Big Winter

Winter has not been too cold, but it has been good to me. I went to Vermont to ski just after the New Year and got a bit more skiing time in before the spring semester started back up.

Warm weather last week peaked around seventy degrees provided two fine afternoons of cycling. It was windy, but arm warmers were unnecessary. My legs felt good from my skiing cross-training, but my fitness is understandably low. Serves me right for taking nearly two months off.

Twin Six, a cycling apparel company from Minneapolis, donated a full kit for the trip this summer. Nothing beats a new pair of bib shorts and a pretty new jersey with the high quality of Twin Six. Those folks are really awesome!

I am hoping for a good blizzard to come through, but also pulling for some spring weather again. It is about time to start working towards my 1,000 mile goal before the BIKEtheUSforMS Northern Tier begins on Memorial Day.

Plans for the upcoming weeks:

Get some riding in

Get a big push for fundraising going

Buy a new cassette

Spread awareness for Multiple Sclerosis

-Jason

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Warm December

I spent most of November on my mountain bike exploring new trails and happening upon more deer than I can count. If it rained, I went trail running or hiking.

So far, December is off to a strange start. It is too warm for snow, but just cold and windy enough to take the fun out of road cycling. The forecast in the coming week doesn’t look so good either.

But because it is December, I have cold weather and snow on my mind. So, I am about done with cycling for the year. I have final papers to write, exams to study for, and some further research to continue. Then, before I know it, it will be Christmas Eve.

After Christmas, the ski resorts will all be open for the season! That is when my winter fun will begin.

On the agenda so far are New Year’s at Whitetail, the following week at Mount Snow, Vermont, many more nights and days at Whitetail, and topping it all off with a weekend in Deep Creek.

Cycling can wait till late February/early March.

I hope everyone can get out on the slopes this year.

-Jason

P.S. Snow is in the forecast for the 10th of December!

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Patapsco Cross

Yesterday I raced in my first cyclocross race and first bike race of any kind for that matter. It was incredible!

Here’s my race number.

The race was held at Watkins Park in Mt. Airy, MD. There were maybe 150 of us who raced. 25 competed with me in the Cat 4 Men’s race. The course was 2.9km, hilly, and grassy. Obstacles consisted of two regular wood barriers found in most cross races, two logs laid across one of the many hills, and shortly before the finishing line, a beach volleyball court of deep and loose sand to cross.

Go!

I heard a screech and some general panic. Thirty-feet down the course, three guys went down, hard. Registering late, I was at the back of the pack and luckily avoided the crash.

The hard-core guys got out quick, leaving my sights almost immediately. I was near the back, but still ahead of a few guys (most of which were still untangling their handlebars from one another’s spokes).

The course stretched us out into a line and I struggled to pass, only overtaking a few in the first lap. Then we hit some hills, which were my only strong point.

After that came the section where we went up and down a hill, zigzagging across the ridge. Coming down and overcooking the turn, I went down hard on my right side, tearing my race numbers from my jersey.

After two laps, I was dog-tired. I forgot how much racing hurts more than training (my experience comes from running track races). I struggled through the last lap and felt especially lame.

Here’s my uninterested cheering section…

Great fans, eh? From left to right: Dad, Chels, Roomie, and Twin.

Good news about the race: It was really fun. I didn’t get lapped. After failing 4 times through warm-up and the first two laps of traversing the sand pit while riding my bike, I crushed the sand-pit on the final two laps.

Moral of the story: Cyclocross is extremely hard and feels like a sprint the entire time, but it is awesome. Everyone should sign up for a race nearby before the season is over!

I’ll end with some more pictures.

-Jason

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