Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Monday, June 29, 2009
sunday was a mini reunion of sorts, with some of our BRAN group meeting up again. lis, gina and i pedaled out to platte river state park to meet up with melissa and ashlee who rode down from omaha. the breakfast buffet at the park makes for a perfect sag stop. thanks for the company ladies.
Friday, June 26, 2009
almost done posting all the BRAN pics from a few weeks back (june 7-13th). after a great stay in humbolt, i hit the road (last out of town again) around 9am for the 77.9 miles to syracuse. 13 miles in i passed through the little community of stella. they had free cookies! i was happy they still had anything left so i stuffed my jersey pockets full and thanked them. you can't be that nebraska small town hospitality now can you? another 12 miles on i passed through nemaha where i caught up to some of our group. the quad was also there. deanna, one of the quad stokers, had been daring me to drink shots of tequila with her all week and she was tempting me again, so i relented. it was good stuff too. those air national guard peeps sure know how to have a good time at a rest stop.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
tuesday night i went for a spin with gina. we rode out to havelock via the john dietrich trail to check out this relatively new place i had been hearing about but hadn't tried yet. pepe's bistro is a small mexican vegetarian cafe located above the against the wall gallery on havelock. he used to be open just for breakfast and lunch but now he's open tuesdays through saturdays 11-8pm. the menu is small but he changes it every few days depending on the local fresh produce. pepe loves to bike and gives a discount if you rode your bike there, plus the first tuesday of every month he has free breakfast for cyclists from 7-9am. the space is pretty cool with a bike collection in one part, and the dining area has a nice decor... with a mix of bike art, flamenco portraits, some records (including a few old school mexican ranchera albums), and last but not least... a velvet elvis. i ordered the vidalia cactus enchiladas, and gina went with the sweet potato quesadillas. all i can say is wow, it was damn good. i'm definitely going to ride out there more often.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
at the second or third sag i caught up to melissa and gina, and eventually we regrouped with everyone else in our posse in fairbury for lunch at a mexican place called jalisco. then with melissa giving a thumbs up, we hit the road for the last 30 miles to wymore.
as usual, i was one of the last to leave the town (i sleep in late). but before hitting the road i had some delicious pancakes provided by the local american legion. some of the locals were fascinated by some of the bikes ridden on BRAN. one old timer happily held the quad tandem, which was being ridden by a group of air national guard members, as they devoured some pancakes. i then rolled out of town to start the 84 miles to wymore.
often times you have to stray off the beaten path and when you do you'd be surprised at what you learn. one great thing about a tour like BRAN is that you get to see parts of the state that most don't get to see. in each place you stay you get a chance to explore what these little towns have to offer and on day three in superior we hit the jackpot. when we went into town for dinner that evening we settled on a spaghetti feed at a local church. there we met a local lady named bev, who is a teacher and also a portrayer of superior's most famous former resident: evelene brodstone, aka lady vestey. it was fascinating to learn about the life of this lady, who not only was an avid cyclist in her teens, but also came to be one of the highest paid female executives in the world by the 1920's. they have converted an old hotel downtown into a senior residence center in her honor and they have a victorian festival every memorial day weekend to celebrate her life. bev took us on a tour of the wonderful victorian homes that remain, one of which had it's own private chapel. after thanking bev for showing us around and promising to return, we headed to a local tavern for some tasty tanqueray & tonics. an hour or two later, happy and a bit tipsy, we slowly made our way back to our tents.
Monday, June 22, 2009
i've been lazy getting all my BRAN pics up, i'm still in vacation mode it seems. anyways... after having an absolutely perfect weather the day before when we rode to alma, we awoke to cold grey skies for the 74.2 mile jaunt from alma to superior. i started off my day with some coffee at joe camera in downtown alma. not only did they have delicious coffee there, they also had an interesting collection of old cameras and bicycles! the rest of the day wasn't easy. along with a really strong headwind it began to rain and it made the going tuff for most of BRAN'ers. the sag stop in riverton was pretty chaotic with riders scrambling for rain jackets and warm food. i had already put on my rain jacket many miles before and just kept going at a fast pace (which kept me warm) and sang to myself as the rain poured down. eventually the rain let up just as i pulled into red cloud for lunch. red cloud was the home of willa cather, and the willa cather foundation is located in a really cool old building downtown. after having a few grilled cheese sandwiches at a local bar, i hit the road again for the remaining 30 miles to superior.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
just before arriving to alma, the route took us across the huge harlan county reservoir. i pulled into the alma highschool football field and quickly scoped out spot for my tent, and the rest of the group who were not too far behind me. after showers and some down time, we all headed out to a local organic farm for a delicious meal.
on my way south i came upon al and his daughter shannon. i call him 'father BRAN' (or he's known as the BRAN man to most) because he's ridden in every edition since BRAN started in '81. i met them both in '06. she's ridden on BRAN with her dad since she was 9.
i also ran into sue from bend oregon at the sag stop in orleans. sue is 75, and has traveled all over the world on solo and group bike tours. in '06 she rode a bit with sydney and i one day, and i remember her sharing a few good stories in a bar later that night in maywood as a thunderstorm blew through. she's a firecracker, and i hope i can ride as strong as she does when i'm 75.
day 2 was probably the best of the whole week. absolutely a perfect day for the 64 mile jaunt down to alma. i started out with breakfast (oatmeal) at shirley K's cafe in downtown cambridge. this was my second visit, as BRAN passed through here in '06.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
ok, so more about BRAN last week. it started in trenton this year, and being a ways out west the only difficult part about BRAN is getting to the start. there is a shuttle available but usually you can just bribe some friends to drive you, your camping gear, and bike(s) out to the start town. i was lucky because i was hitching a ride with my friend brent and his parents volunteered for the job. after a stop in brent's home town of aurora for a delicious lunch, connie & greg drove us to trenton and helped us unload. on the drive there i asked connie to help me name my corsa. being a native of bogota, she suggested cochise (but pronounced in spanish... 'co chee say'), which was the nickname of the colombian cyclist martin emilio rodriguez. we even share the same birthdate, april 14th, so cochise it is.
on the way there we stopped in lexington because connie and greg (and myself included) insisted that brent have a tent. he didn't want one, as he was just going to use a rain fly held up with twine between two trees and use twigs or whatever he could find for tent stakes. he likes to rough it, in the spirit of george nellis (of an american cycling odyssey, 1887, which i plan to read soon) he said. i admire anyone who goes the minimal route, but there was a good chance we were going to get a lot of rain that week so connie bought him a kid pup tent at wal-mart. it's not a bad little tent for $20. after setting up camp we headed over to the grandstand for the opening meeting. it was a good crowd, i had heard there were around 635 participants this year. i was rider #614.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Sunday, June 07, 2009
Saturday, June 06, 2009
Friday, June 05, 2009
Wednesday, June 03, 2009
i put some miles on the corsa for the first time today. i even rode it on a mile or two of gravel, just to see what it felt like and to make sure everything was tight. she probably weighs 2-3 lbs more than my carbon bianchi, but it's way more comfy that's for sure. it felt like an old friend... and took me back to the late 80's when i raced on a similar frame (which i still own). i'm leaving saturday for BRAN along with a group of friends. though some rain is forcasted, it still should be a good time.