Isang's Blog/ www.Isangsbikeride.com











{July 30, 2010}   Where Are We?!!

Man, everything is a blur these days. I wake up to beautiful sunlight, and bed down exhausted and satisfied. Here in Burton, OH, I’m sitting in a slow going diner eating a cheeseburger and trying to reflect on every detail and town we’ve been through since last I posted. I spoke with a past big rider today admitting my inspiration to write has slowly gone away since I found it got in the way of the actual experience. I want to share every moment and detail with myself and others, but truthfully my energy has gone other places. Like playing Ucher (our new team card game), or just sitting down and reading. I don’t see myself doing things at this pace anytime soon. For better or worse 🙂

So to highlight the most recent events, I was posing in front of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland when a friend got stuck in his pedal and over he went, taking me down with him. A few gashes, a trip to the ER to hang out with another Big Rider who was sick, and a good ol’ brush scrub down made that fall unforgettable. Following that incident we ran into a few more bumps today with sick riders, and a geographically scattered group . We as a group had been experiencing a few bumps over the ride, but that’s to be expected. You sign up for 48 days and you should prepare for moments of inconsistency. My hope is that we all can reunite before the finish line healthy and accounted for.

To date, I have no words but to say thank you to everyone who provided the tools and strength for my journey. I was talking on the phone last night with Jay, telling him the one thing that always makes this journey worthwhile is inspiring people. I love hanging out in a local shop, sharing the journey with others, watching them go bug eyed and telling us they wanted to always do something like that. I smile and share the encouraging words passed on by past Big Riders. You Can Do It!! Oh yeah, big or small, experienced or not, you can take on an epic journey such as this. If not riding a bike, I mean, something can be done to get you doing something you never thought you could do before. Even if it’s jumping off a diving board when you’re scared to death of doing such a thing. That deserves as much credit as this. Ultimately, the journey asks of us to overcome our own obstacles, to challenge ourselves.

I have a huge gash on my leg but I remember my first reaction when I saw it. I started laughing and telling my friend I’ll never forget that it happened. In fact I started adding up the drinks he had to buy me now. Score!!

So glad I have a sense of humor for mostly anything on this ride. That’s really what you need. Not so much the physical as it is the mental. I admit to feeling homesick sometimes, ready to get off the bike and take a flight home to see friends and family. But with 7 days left, this is our homestretch. That’s what keeps me in the game, as I hope it does for the rest of us. Only 7 days left. We started out from Seattle. We can take care of the rest. Here are some pictures to follow! Sorry for lack of detail of the locations. If you’re a past Big Rider you’ll understand. Everything blurs after awhile. The towns just pass by through our minds, and we usually don’t know what day it is of the week. But to sum it up, it’s all freaking incredible!!

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{July 19, 2010}   Day 29

Well, it was inevitable. I fell behind on capturing my thoughts and pictures for everyone every day. I think I’ll just accept blogs will come when I’m sitting comfortably with plenty of time to reflect on the computer :). We’re in Winona, MN today! About to cross over to Wisconsin. After a 90 mile trek today, we’re situated in Winona State University. Ambushed by corn all day, it’s a nice change to see trees and hills. I tried to get into the Forest Gump mode to pass the time with the corn. “Corn cake, corn pie, corn juice, corn bread, corn fudge…” In time you finally run out of options for the corn.

Passing the 2000 mile mark I took into account how much stronger I’ve become over the course of this journey. I remember when 90 miles would seem…hard. Now it’s really just 20 miles past an easy day. Not to say hardships are absent now. But I can’t help but feel that I can pedal far more efficiently than when I started, and can stay on the saddle for longer periods of time. Just the way I would have wanted it!

Perhaps a memorable day to bring up before I escape to other errands was our stay in New Ulm. On our rest day we had the pleasure of having a local tour us around the nearby cemetery. In case you don’t know some of the history of New Ulm, they were targeted by an Indian uprising back in 1862, known as the siege of New Ulm. It became the largest in US history. Of course, why that conflict escalated is understandable. The tribes were being forced off their land and told to adapt to the white mans way of life. Retaliating, they killed an estimated 800 civilians in total for what is now known as the Dakota War. As we walked through the cemetery, I was shocked to see “Killed by Indians” inscribed on many graves. What a different perspective we had back then. Passing through these historic towns reveals far more then any history book can. We finished up our cemetery tour and stayed downtown escaping the heat with root beer floats and a movie. By the way, go see Inception! Great way to escape the summer heat.

18 more days left!! Time flew!! With 18 more days left I plan to see more star filled nights in my tent, grab old fashioned root beer floats, talk with locals, moo to cows and appreciate all this ride has to offer.



{July 14, 2010}   Day 24

Nothing like a good ol’ tail wind to bring you in to De Smet, SD for a treat to WiFi, chocolate milk and a good core session. I woke up in Miller, SD after a 3 day stretch of headwinds, rolling hills and too close for comfort dehydration situations. Yesterday was set on keeping your head down and grinding through it. The 2 days before that involved grasshopper mayhem, strong cross winds and the beautiful rolling hills of South Dakota.

Have you ever splattered a bug on your car windshield? Pretty gruesome right? You have this icky goo like substance on your car complete with flailing legs. Now imagine riding into the same situation on bike. They don’t splatter and they stick on you and make you cringe. I thought hailstones were the only thing to be concerned about if they hit you. Grasshoppers are a pretty big concern. Most of us fared pretty well riding through what is known as the largest outbreak the midwest has seen of grasshoppers. The occasional hit on the face, or near the mouth kept me riding with my head down. I couldn’t tell what was worse, the crosswind or the insects that came with them. Getting pelted on the shoulder left a nice stinging sensation and me screaming in my head “oh my god is it in my shirt?!!” Maybe the truckers behind me thought I was having seizures or something and that’s why we had a good day of no close encounters with big rigs. Of course after all was said and done it was a nice laugh. A rider loves to eat them and so he relished the opportunity to ride through grasshopper hell :).

So…looks like I fell behind in sharing all the details :). Like I said blogging is a luxury, but to think of all the stuff I get to share in person sometime soon! We’re in De Smet  tonight being catered to by their chamber of commerce. A few pictures to share from the ride and hopefully some words down the road! I had such a great time in Gillette, Wyoming hanging out with my older sister Carolyn. Driving 5 hours from Denver, we were able to spend a night catching up! So great to see loved ones on the road. Oh did I mention I got to be near a herd of buffalo and met a finalist from American Idol season 4?! Some highlights to leave with you all. My spirits are high, my tan lines are set for the next two years, and we’re a rocking and a rollin after getting through the halfway point today! Who would have thought it’d come up so quick!



{July 13, 2010}   DAY 16-22

Hi! So far I’ve learned blogging on the road is a luxury, as is internet. I can’t wait to catch you all up to speed. We’re in Pierre, SD right now enjoying some lovely park next to a river (which we got the chance to swim in!) for the night. I have so much to catch up on so hope to do it by next rest day :). Plenty of pictures coming your way! Oh and yes, the Ice Cream intake is correlated to the rising temperature.



{July 9, 2010}   Day 15

So a fun Day 14 was spent with Fourth of July activities in Billings. That included getting fitted by Chris, an awesome guy who founded Fit Kit. If you ever want to have someone trustworthy handle your bike, Chris is the man. He’s set up in Billings, MT so don’t hesitate! Aside from getting bike details taken care of, we also managed to fit Suzanne in a duffel bag. Observe:

We're sneaking her to DC!

So setting off from Billings towards Hardin, I took a detour with Suzanne to find her a bike seat. Since the shop was closed and Suzanne needed to wait it out for awhile for a seat, I took off by myself towards Hardin. Biking by yourself can be a treat sometimes. Gives you a chance to just take it all in and think away about your priorities/projects/ice cream. Today I thought about how much I love Ice Cream. Oh and how gorgeous Montana still is :). But yes, from what I’ve learned Ice cream has a huge presence on Big Ride trips. Indeed, if there is an ice cream stop anywhere out there, we’re there! Well it’s a guarantee for me and Jeremy at least. But apparently the Carb and protein ratio is perfect for recovery in milk, and with the frozen touch its every cyclists dream come true! I joke around that if I know there is a Dairy Queen in the area I’m guaranteed to go faster.

For some reason it never got closer no matter how long I cycled!

Fun times ahead!

Where's Muk Muk?

We settled into a KOA which was right next to a cornfield. I have to admit, I think I was traumatized by Children of the Corn movie back when I was a foolish child watching horror movies right before bed. So that probably explains why I woke up at 2 in the morning in my little tent, startled by the smallest of sounds and thinking the worst of things. Not the best sleep but I woke up beating myself up for the small fears I carry. That includes spiders, the dark and clowns that pop out of nowhere. Least being out on the road like this exposes me to the first two every day so I have a fighting chance to get over it. The third one…that’s a toughie. On to Sheridan we go!



{July 9, 2010}   Day 13

Well I had a slumber party last night in Kristins tent because I failed to set up mine correctly. A few of us took to the morning playing around with the smart black lab that hung around our campground for the morning. Wish I got a picture of it, cutest dog I’ve yet to meet. With a promising tail wind at our backs, we were flying! Rest day here we come! Starting out early, we had the treat of seeing the Testicle Festival 😉 As Chacko put it, let’s “have a Ball at the Testicle Festival”!

Let's have Rocky Mountain Oysters!

Our usual greeting at rest stops

Along the way I’ve been studying the languages of sheep, cow, horse and raven. You try cycling for a long time with no human interaction and tell me you can resist talking with the road side animals!

So we’re cycling along and I couldn’t help but notice that signs are crooked out in this part of Montana. Not sure if the wind is just to strong or they’re trying to wake you up in your car with something out of the ordinary.

Apparently they were going too fast near this sign

Stopping by at a gas station, Chacko and I learned that when people write bad checks out here in Montana, they make it known to the public who wrote the bad check. They go so far as to post their names up on public signs on the road. Note to self, never try to scam people in Montana. Unfortunately I’m way behind in the days so can’t say much for getting up to Billings except tail winds are incredible, Chacko will laugh at anything (not kidding, anything), and chocolate milk is a cyclists best friend!



{July 6, 2010}   Day 12

We woke up in Townsends High School from an eventful night. After trying forever to lock down the school, Timmy slept outside in the hall to watch over our bikes. The team got up and readied for another day on the road. Rode in car with Frank for part of the trip to save the leg on the big hill on this route. During our time I learned a great deal about Missoula and the relationships between lobbyists and bars. I’d go into it, but have very little time to divulge on the issues of corporations and politics during this ride. Of course having that conversation made me reflect that once the trip is over, back to the reality of the world we go. Not that this trip is for escapism, least for me. Yet I couldn’t help but notice I’ve had no news for sometime until today with the Montana newspaper. Less distraction I suppose. For now there are more important matters at hand, like how to get a laugh out of everyone. Frank and I created the Cat Noose effect:

Captive to Muk Muk

Glacier!!

Frank Break

The leg was amazing at that time and I took advantage of the great descent before us. I made it to 41 today, and I stretched my arms out to fly! I love flying on the bike! Just stretch out like a bird, look up, left and right, and you forget you’re on the bike. Things are just zipping by and you haven’t a care in the world save for the wonderful feeling you are in an amazing place right now.

A cyclists best friend

We made it to a nice picnic area for cold cut sandwiches. Then we set out into the vast farmlands of Montana. Beautiful rolling hills and random, small creeks with the occasional cow on the hill. We got to stop at Checkers bar, whose ceiling was decorated with signed dollar bills.

Sing it now: "Money Money Money Money!!"

It was a gorgeous, fast ride with nice tailwinds. I made it to mile 83, taking out and eating an amazing cheesy cracker package when the wind knocked one out of my hand. Uh oh head winds. Made it up to a riding group, and we all attempted to draft each other. Unfortunately with a side wind drafting in a straight line is not the best but least it encourages everyone to stick together. Then again, not sure how friendly we are as a team if I get a jacket thrown in my face. Kristin!! Timmy played the gentleman and lent me a jacket, handing it over to Kristin to pass to me. With the wind as strong as it was, Kristins toss was like a fastball to my face. Time to get moving!!

Made it to campsite after putting a massive load of huckleberry ice cream in my stomach. I scrambled to set up my tent. Of course I was unsuccessful in my rush mode since the fly was put on wrong. I shrugged it off, planning to change it later. Stretching away while the storm was still neutral, Bridgett came up to us to let us know about the weather. She predicted it would miss us by 5 miles, and reassured us it would be ok. However, she added, if the wind dies down and everything becomes eerily calm, run for it! Never had that warning before. Oh boy! Shortly after I was putting my bike under the bleachers, about to ask Deidre where she put her bike. Right as I turned up my head, a golf ball flew near hers. My heart stopped. Ok ok I was traumatized from yesterdays hail storm, so seeing something fall into the grass that size and not break was enough to turn on the flight mechanism. I dropped the bike and ran like hell for my tent! Holy S@#t!! It’s raining baseballs! We escaped with just a few people getting hit. One had a goose egg on her head next morning, the other a nice bruise on the leg. Wow Montana, you’re tough!

Small one! Pssssh

We all need to end the day in a tent having a slumber party!! My failed tent set up was evident what with the water inside of it. So Izzy, Timmy, Kristin and I had a sleepover in the Taj Mahal of tents! Thanks Kristin!

Family Love!



{July 6, 2010}   Day 11

– I woke up ready to be driven up an 11 mile uphill climb. I tend to forget listing the locations we’re staying in. Sorry, last night we stayed in Avon. Avon was great. We played volleyball, threw horseshoes, and watched a sunset lightning storm. Awesome! Now we’re onto Townsend, a 60 mile ride with a 12 mile climb up to the Continental divide. In case you don’t know, the Continental Divide divides the flow of water between the Pacific Ocean and Atlantic Ocean, stretching from Canada down to New Mexico. It’s the highest point of our ride.

At the top I ran around and stretched while reading the road side sign with a story of Frenchwomans Road. Apparently a woman from France ran a lodging house and became famous for her hospitality and cheerfulness. After being murdered by her husband, it was taken over by a man named Macdonald, hence Macdonald pass. Along the way through Montana there are many historical sights and stories for several regions. Being there atop the Divide, I tried to picture what it would have looked like without the city or power-lines in the distance. What a breathtaking sight. Time for a photo op!

Left to Right: Timmy, Kristin, Izzy, Brad, and Little Me 🙂

Gorgeous!

Muk Muk at the Top!

Timmy attempting to lift me like the bike

Ok being at the Top means you get to go Down!! I went flying down, reaching my fastest speed yet of 39 mph! The wide curves and open lane gave me plenty of room to just coast and admire the view coming down. All that hard work making it down hill got me hungry and I treated myself to a fresh salad with the crew. Who would have thought veggies become so desirable this far into the country. Something about Iceberg Lettuce just doesn’t cut it for me. Mixed mesclun salad, yes please! God I miss Whole Foods.

When we reached Helena we had the opportunity to explore the capitol building. Thanks to the interviewing skills of Andy, we met Lt. Governor Bohlinger and his awesome dog sophie. You know the guy is a chill guy when he has his dog in his office with him. As graceful and eloquent as a gentleman politician could be, he explained the meaning behind the bull moose on his wall. A professed man of the people, he explained his political agenda was heavily influenced by Theodore Roosevelt, who created the Bull Moose party in 1912 after being denied the Republican party platform for presidential election. I’ve never really been face to face with a politician explaining how he felt for the common man. On a humorous note he explained how Montanees have a sense of humor for even the grimiest of situations. We learned during our photo op how the state once donated small pox infected blankets to charity. What would have caused an uproar really was a “ha, man that’s pretty funny” mentality by many. We met Governor Brian Schweitzer and his dog while walking out. Very kind, friendly simple people.

What a pose

Capitol Craziness

Hanging with Sophie

Gentleman Lt. Governor Bohlinger

Group Love!

We took time to tour the nearby museum, full of Native American historical artifacts and the pioneers that came out to this wonderful state and turned it into what it is today. There was something that saddened me seeing native American historical artifacts. Seeing such colorful garments, pottery and bags as part of the past, it’s a bit haunting. These tribes saw the beauty around them and carried respect for the land. One can only hope such respect is not completely lost. We took the time to enjoy good old fashioned fun and catch up on our history while out here. Montana is amazing.

Muk Muk and I strike a pose

Beating Izzy for once

We made it out of museum to see a storm brewing above. Preparing for the worst, we started riding out to make it to camp 30 miles away. There was a considerable amount of  great teamwork by everyone. A few of us had injuries, mine included, so we were going a bit slower than the rest. Yet that didn’t stop the others from helping us get there. We worked on drafting each other, keeping the injured in the middle, and going as fast as we could go without making it too fast. I was a bit conscious of slowing down the group, yet even when I pulled out Sue just brought me right back in, saying we’re all sticking together. Great motivator. My bike is not the lightest, but I’ve been learning how to get the most out of it.

We were racing through when I looked to my right and saw the storm come over a mountain top. Yelling behind me, I asked Andy, “Hey, is that rain coming towards us”. He yelled back “ Yup!”. Not one second later a clunking sound on the top of my helmet. He yelled again, “that would suck  if that was a hail storm”. Oh great, another one. From this distance it looked like a bright white torrential mess. Incredulous, I kept thinking we’d make it past the fast moving mass of hail. Of course, within a minute things got pretty chaotic.

From pea size to ¾ inch rock size, we were getting pelted. Soon the silent humming of our bikes was harmonized by “Ow, S$#t, F@#k and damn”. Started panicking thinking it was a freak storm I heard people dying in, hail stones the size of golf balls or worse. I was hit hard in my right hip and had to stop for a second since my eyes started smarting from the pain. God that’ll leave a nice bruise. It was like being in a paintballing arena!

We saw a house ahead and made a dash for it. Being in the middle of nowhere, with few trees in sight left us little options. Of course the one option we had with a porch had a a big german shepherd running for us at the fence. We hightailed it, and I hid under tree with Timmy as the rest of the riders determined their own fate out near the road (I think under a bush). Storm passed and we came out laughing. Man, Montana is crazy weather.

Small but painful

We made it to Townsend, where I learned a good lesson on dehydration. One of our riders got sick not drinking enough during the ride so it was a reminder to always get that bottle up at least every 15 minutes. I think all of us forgot what with the weather circumstances being cold and windy. More and more I find our ride is the ultimate experience because not every cross -country group does nearly as much mileage as us.

Little things I took from today: learning what wind clouds vs. rain clouds look like. Learning what to do if lightning is near you. Learning to just be in tune with your body more, listen more, just be. Had a great moment riding in line with everyone today, really felt like a powerful unit moving cross country, making a huge impression on the people we passed as we rode into stormy weather. They probably were like “wow, those guys are going to get slammed bad”, or even “props to them, they’re crazy enough to ride in weather like this”. In the end we all laughed and found it was just another great way to have a story. Like paintballing except you can’t really shoot at the clouds to make them back off.



{July 5, 2010}   Day 10

I woke up this morning, nervous but excited. The leg was amazingly pain free. Bending it in bed, I was incredulous how so suddenly the pain was gone. A few pins, acupressure and all of a sudden I’m brand new? This is why I’m excited to explore oriental medicine. I relate to the practice of acupuncture, the theory behind energy flow, and the preventative medicine aspect. I set off stretching, self-massaging and jogging a bit before getting into the car to be sagged up to the 38 mile mark. The acupuncturist gave me a warm up routine, and advised to start slow. Out of the 100 mile day I chose to do 62. That’s a good start up.

The idea is to keep the Chi flowing. Keep the leg warm, massage it, and keep the blood moving. The day started off stormy, but it was calm by the time we got our gear ready to go. I rode with Bridgett to the 38 mark, and lo and behold there’s a giant steer waiting there for us! Muk Muk and I started off the riding again with a great photo op:

Steered in the right direction!!

Here’s was my once chance being in front actually ;). We have some amazing riders on this trip. They fly by you like it’s nothing for them to average 20 mph during a century ride (depending on wind that is). I’m never one to be in the front what with my lack of experience riding long distances and a heavier bike. The feeling was good while it lasted lol.  I sang my way through the first 20 miles, trying to stay away from being nervous about the leg. Bridgett recommended I try and focus on every 20 miles to keep me mentally there. I was cycling at a cadence of 90+ to keep the knee from feeling resistance. Of course being new at that cadence I sort of went a bit too fast as I found out at the end of the day Brad figured I was going 100+. Either way, high cadence makes you feel like you’re doing so much yet moving very slow. Slow enough you can have a whole conversation with a local as you passed by. I was pedaling so fast and moving so slow near a house that the local got enough info on the ride, how old I was, and what I liked about Montana….yeah that’s slow. But you know, the knee appreciated it.

Another good reason to go slow at times is to hear better. I was biking near rolling hills when I heard a horse whinny to my left which made me turn my head. Well it wasn’t just one horse, but a dozen galloping over the top of one rolling hill. They moved like a flock of birds, galloping fast and strong until they settled near the bottom of the hill. I stopped and started laughing. Aww man just like the movies. They were all beautiful, magnificent creatures. Its no wonder many cultures revere them.

Made it to a rest stop with Frank and scouted out a bathroom break. All past Big Riders probably nod their heads at how they lost all sense of modesty on this trip. Most of us just drop it and go. I’m still laughing how when Justin was with us I was concerned finding a bathroom along the way the first few days. He probably would be proud now that if I see a bush, and there’s scarcely any cover behind it, I’ll just say not my problem if someone sees me. My how I changed.

Making my way across I was passed by several riders who made me feel all the more better with their encouraging words. It really is something to cheer on someone. It was so tempting to try and push my limits, but I know I have to be patient with the injury. So hearing that I’m doing good gets me through alright. I of course had to have at least one wacky moment on this day trip. So I’m taking pictures of hay bales (pictured below), when all of a sudden I hear a crack on my helmet. Was it a bird throwing a stick, seeking revenge for the time Bridgett hit one? Perhaps a bee doing a nose dive? No…it was HAIL!! Sure enough I saw little pebbles falling left and right of me. Camera thrown in, head down, I started pedaling as fast yet cautiously as I could to seek refuge. Oh great, this cadence wasn’t doing it for me. I got slammed by rain and hail. Screaming and cursing at the Hail Gods I made my way fast down the road. Of course it’s not enough to get slammed by weather. You have to have three big rigs catch you off guard on your side, spinning the water up and back into your face as you try to avoid getting too near them.

The bale before the hail

So here I was screaming away pedaling when I saw ahead of me a cemetery! Ok, hang out under a tree amongst the tombstones? As Timmy would later remark I should have hung around there since “people are dying to get in”. Waaah waaah waaaah. No, I decided against it. There was a house on the left coming up and I shot for living company. Then of course, Hail Gods thought they got enough fun out of the day and flicked the switch off. Soaking and frazzled I gritted my teeth, passed up the house, and made my way to camp. Of course, as everyone would remark later on, “what hail storm?”. Thanks Montana weather, you’re way to spontaneous and random for anyone to catch on to you. I ended the day watching a sunset with a lightning storm taking place in front of it. Just think orange setting sun with electric bolt crossing over it. Alan the mechanic simulated the bolt for Jeremys camera with his tazer giving a charge in front of the sun. Jeremy missed out getting a cool picture of the real deal and Alan was ready to impress. Such great teamwork! Day one back in the saddle. Wish me luck!



{July 4, 2010}   Day 9!

We had our rest day in Missoula. I was fidgety with the hours in the early morning. Will the acupuncturist be good? Can I get back on the bike tomorrow? Such big matters for so small an injury. God imagine how much of a beating our bodies take in doing this. From what I learned, many charity rides do not go the distance we do in a day. For example, a tour group that stayed at Gonzaga University with us was doing more mileage over the course of 9 weeks to get to Boston from Seattle. Yet they did 60 miles a day. I’m not saying 60 miles is easy, but something about passing that number really pushes the body, at least for me. It’s when we’re around 70 miles and my butt is going “whoa, that’s enough sitting for one day”, and we get this big hill on the road, then the butt goes “ok, maybe if I cause you excruciating pain you’ll get the message”. yeah, more then 60 miles is pretty intense back to back.

We really have to stay on top of our health to do this ride the right way. Thus, rest days are crucial. We were staying at the University of Montana for the break. Missoula is a small quaint town with a downtown area full of bars and a few cool restaurants. Next to the University is a river. Taking a stroll over the bridge a few of us riders were able to witness the impulsive, blind summersaulting by several teenagers into the fast moving currents. Yeah, try doing that with a log coming at you. Apparently even the locals avoid rafting in the river due to the debris moving fast through the snow water. I second guessed my ability to swim in there. I may be young, but I’m no 17 year old adrenaline junkie guy trying to impress the ladies. Besides the leg was still screaming out from bending it.

I made it over to the acupuncturist later in the day after a 2 mile walk. Along the way, I splurged on ice cream. For all the past Big Riders out there, you know the Ice Cream situation. So many of us are splurging on it every time we get in the saddle. It put me in an optimistic mood arriving to the acupuncturist office. There I met Douglas, a licensed acupuncturist with 7 years experience and 2 years international practice. He pretty much solidified why I believe in oriental medicine. During the session he informed me he was opening the energy channels, letting the Chi flow through my legs better. Right away I could feel the blood flowing more on the outside of my right leg. He suggested I avoid ice, as that constricts and stops the Chi from flowing. I was given to options, Western or Eastern. Ice or self-massage and stretch more. After walking down the stairs from the office, I had my answer. There was no more pain walking up and down the stairs. Eastern it is! I snagged a ride back to campus on a motorbike with a friendly Missoulan. Rushing through town, wind whipping all around,  I felt on top of the world!

I readied for the next day with a great dinner at Iron Horse, courtesy of Timmy’s friend Debbie. Thanks Debbie! The leg was pain free, and I was packing with haste and excitement. Great news is we had a few team members join us for the ride tomorrow. Suzanne Bay will be going with us from Missoula to DC. Patty will be with us for a week. So excited for the next few weeks!

Little things I learned on the way to Missoula. When road changes texture near a state boundary you know you’re crossing a state line. The quaint, white washed houses built out in the middle of nowhere were once owned by mill owners. The way the wind suddenly shifts means one should be ready for a storm. We’ve had few wild life sightings, reason being animals are usually out very early in the day near road.



et cetera