Thursday, May 29, 2008

Random Details

Mary and I leave in exactly two weeks. She has check lists. I don't. I keep mental lists. I think her method is better. I probably should adopt it. It takes an hour to drive from Pella to the Des Moines Clinic. This morning I spent the time generating a random list of details that I need to address in the next 14 days.

  • Have I thought of all the bills that need to be put on automatic funds withdrawal?

  • Don't forget the Dr's appointment tomorrow for your mild tennis elbow. The new bike has helped greatly, but it still should be examined.

  • The Des Moines Register needs to be cancelled.

  • I still need the to two guys from Newton to return my phone call and schedule an expert bike fitting.

  • The temperature was 27 degrees in Yellowstone National Park this morning! 27 degrees! I wonder what it will be in early July when I bike through. I hope the new fleece I ordered arrives tomorrow so I know it fits.

  • Don't forget to write Thank You notes for the three donations that came in yesterday.

  • Don't forget to get extra camper keys made.

  • Don't forget to confirm that the minivan hitch has the correct ball on it.

  • Remember to ask Mary to pick up a couple of your favorite Eugene Peterson devotionals from Gosselinks Christian Book Store.

  • I think I want to take a couple novels with me. What do I want to read?

Now what was it I remembered a while ago, thought I wouldn't forget and didn't write down?

Monday, May 26, 2008

Training Update

Like I've said before, I'm not a fitness fanatic. I probably should be more self disciplined, especially in my diet. I know on the tour I'll be burning an extra 3,000 calories a day. The problem is that I eat as though this is already true. Even so, I think my training has progressed very nicely. I've followed the training protocol fairly closely and used the heart monitor. I've increased strength and endurance steadily by the week, including a four week build up followed by a rest week and building again.

The biggest stressor has been the rain, wind and cold. Yes I know there will be bad weather on the tour, but training in this stuff day after day is getting tiresome. We've just completed the Memorial Day weekend. I had planned an 80 mile ride on Saturday, but it rained in the morning, followed by 20-30 mph winds with gusts up to 40 mph. In frustration, I decided to ride into the wind on Highway 163, a divided four lane highway. What a mistake. Even though I was on the right side of the white line, there was too much traffic, often side by side passing at me 70 mph. I made it 7 miles out and raced back. I won't do that again.

Sunday was spent presenting at the First Christian Reformed Church as part of the fundraising for Pine Rest. Then I went to a graduation party, so there was only time for a 25 mile ride.

Monday began with the usual rain and wind. Finally it cleared. The day became sunny and artic high bright. I went for an 80 mile ride. It was great. The tour daily mileage goal on the tour will be 80 - 100 miles a day. Completing 80 miles and feeling decent afterward was very gratifying. I think I'm ready.

New Bicycle

I have a new road bike for the ride. It's a Trek Madone 5.2 Performance Fit with a triple crank. It's the most comfortable road bike I've ever ridden. Bike technology has improved considerably sinceI purchased my first single speed bike when I was 11 years old. I didn't have enough money, so my brother Phil paid the balance. It wasn't a name brand bike. The fork was a different color from the rest of the bike. It had wide chrome handle bars that would swing around in an accident, hitting your ribs leaving long red and purple bruises and sometimes a red circle from the end of the handle where the rubber hand guards had worn off and the rough steel was exposed. I loved that bike.

Since then, I've had three additional road bikes. As a college freshman I purchased an off brand Italian 10 speed, a Doniselli, with low end Campy parts and tubular tires. It was very high maintenance. In the 80's I purchased a Team Fugi. That's when I learned I sweat too much for a steel frame bike. Thirteen years ago I purchased a Merlin, which I've been riding until this week. This has been a very good bike, but quite stiff, which makes me quite stiff.

The Madone however, is just incredible. My first single speed was the only bike that absorbed road shock better. But that bike also weighed over 30 pounds. The Trek provides a very comfortable ride, yet the bike is light and responsive. The higher stem means a more relaxed, slightly upright riding position. My palms don't go numb and my neck doesn't get stiff. I've got enough gears to climb the mountains and go fast on the plains. I look forward to riding this bike because it just feels good.

Here's another unsolicited endorsement. For all your bicycling needs, contact Marty Doane at Iowa Bike & Fitness in Pella, Iowa. His phone is 641-628-1373. Marty recommended this particular bike and I purchased it sight unseen based on his recommendation. Marty graciously supplied the Trek Madone and some additional gear at cost. Thank you Marty!


We have lodging! Here's an unsolicited very appreciative endorsement. Midway RV in Grand Rapids, Michigan sold this 2007 Coleman for a very fair price. For all your camping and RV needs, check them out at;
Mary and I are very familiar with Coleman campers and camping. Camping at the local Red Rock Dam with our good friends and their children was a family tradition. We'd go camping two and often three times a year. Some of our fondest memories and stories came from those days. I think we may have another set of memories and stories to add after this adventure.
Mary's been busy equipping the camper with utensils, water containers, etc. We'll pull the camper with our mini van and we're all set.