Sunday, April 19, 2009


I got up early on Saturday and drove south 180 miles to Neosho, Missouri to ride in the Tour de Tick. In the past this ride has offered 3 routes, including a century route. This year's routes were 27 and 63 miles. Now, 63 miles is about 100 kilometers, but the Bike Lemming has taught me that you can't just ride 100 of ANYTHING and call it a century. So, I rode 63 miles.

With the strange spring we've had to date, leading to less riding than I'd like, 63 miles through the foothills of the Ozark Mountains was plenty. Then, after showering at the YMCA in Neosho and grabbing lunch, I had a 3 hour drive to get home. I was exhausted and a nap was in order.

It was a scenic ride in the country around Neosho on the "Old Scenic Route" built in the 1930s by the WPA, then north towards Joplin, and west towards the state line. This plaque shows the exact point where Kansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri meet.

This is where they used to meet. Okay, actually this was built by the Work Projects Administration as well, in 1938. Without GPS satellites I guess we can forgive them for being off by about 20 feet.

Having been in 3 states makes me feel better about how sore I was by the end. And, speaking of Oklahoma, another rider said he was riding alone because his buddies couldn't make it. One had laid sod all day Friday and probably couldn't walk, much less ride. The other raised race horses, and one of them was ready to give birth. He wanted to get her to OK for the birth because race horsed born in OK sell for more than those born in MO. Did you know that? I sure didn't.

It was a gray day, but the temperatures were in the 60s by the time we finished, and it only rained lightly for a short while. We saw a lot of streams and cliffs, and of course, the hills. But this time of year the thing that stuck out more than anything were the dogwoods. Pink and white, they were everywhere. Out in the country, in trailer parks, and in the yards of stately, old mansions.

I rode most of the way with a guy I met there named Norman. He was 72 and had absolutely no trouble keeping up with me. He had been dropped from a group of riders that included his friend who is 74. He mentioned that he appreciated riding with someone because on previous rides he had missed turns and gotten lost. On one of the last long hills I couldn't keep up with the group, including the seventy-somethings, and came in several minutes behind. Sure enough, Norman had fallen back, missed a turn, and his buddies were heading out to track him down. Don't worry. He had a cell phone and GPS unit with him.

Monday, April 13, 2009


I've been trying to find anything I can on Mt. Evans and the Echo Lake Campground on-line. For locations as awesome as these sound, there's surprisingly little out there. I mean, this is a campsite at 10,600 feet, at the head of Mt. Evans Road, the highest paved road in the country. From the fee station at Echo Lake to the parking lot at the summit, you gain over 3500 feet in just under 15 miles. Another short hike the last 134 feet and you're at the top, 14,264 feet.

Mt. Evans is popular with hikers because you can drive as far as Summit Lake at 12,830 feet and have a reasonable scramble to the summit. It's an easy way to bag one of Colorado's fifty-four "14ers", summits at more than 14,000 feet. People run, bike, hike, and drive up Evans for the photo opportunitites and spectacular views. It's home to big horn sheep, mountain goats, marmots, and several other species of wildlife. You pass through alpine forests, past the tree line and bristlecone pines over 1600 years old.

I am hoping to get an early start up the mountain, stopping to take lots of pictures. After coasting back to the campground, if the weather is clear, I'll drive back up to get some more shots. (If you're on a bike, you don't want to stop too often on the climb up, and on the way down you don't want to give up the speed you paid for on the way up.) The rest of the day will be filled with hiking around Echo Lake, and maybe enjoying dinner at the lodge.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


I don't have GPS on my bike. My wife has one in her car, but my Trek computer gives me all the information I need: time & temperature, speed, trip & accumulative odometer. I know it would ne good at times to know where my heart rate is, and it would be kind of cool to know how much of a climb you have in front of you, but I like to ride somewhat hard, rest when I'm tired, and keep climbing until I get to the top. Anyway, the town that I've called home for about 20 years is also home to the world headquarters of Garmin.

The weather's good today and I was able to squeeze a couple hours out of my day to ride. I got 26 miles in heading south into the country and back again. There is a growing trail system around here, and while it does get a little busy on weekends with walkers and joggers, it's a nice way to get closer to the edge of town without fighting traffic.

Happy Egg Day to everyone!

Friday, April 3, 2009


OK, today was a little breezy, but not too bad, and temps in the mid 50s. Tomorrow it's supposed to get up near 70, but with really strong winds. I don't want to fall over, so I rode today. About 40 miles on a nice route; bike path for a couple miles, bike lane for about 6 more. Then you're to the edge of town and you can get out on some country roads and ride.

A couple shots of Lake Olathe on the edge of town, some local history, a curious cow, and an oil well.


Just when I was feeling exceptionally manly about my plan to ride up Mt. Evans prior to the Bicycle Tour of Colorado, I run across this guy: Norman Ford has ridden to the top of Evans 33 times! Check him out at

Thursday, April 2, 2009


This is a list of the things I want to remember to pack and take with me when I go to Colorado in June and August. It is a compilation of my own lists, lists from The Sherpa Packer, and the BAK packing list. It could be modified for any length supported bike tour, or be a jumping off point for a self-supported ride.

Things you need during the day:

-water bottle
-camelbak hydration/backpack
-bike shoes
-sunglasses/assorted lenses
-skullcap/halo headband
-spare tube, tire levers, pump
-patch kit, CO2 cartridges, inflator
-GU gel, powerbars
-sunblock, lip balm
-bike shorts
-arm warmers
-leg warmers
-long-fingered gloves
-rain pants
-rain coat
-cell phone
-credit card, ATM card, cash
-small bags to keep camera & cash dry
-toe covers & helmet cover

Things you need in the evening:

-tent, poles, stakes, ground cloth
-sleeping pad
-sleeping bag
-extra batteries
-first aid kit; muscle rub, moleskin, bandages
-medications; prescriptions, vitamins, ibuprofen
-bug protection
-wash cloth/pouf, soap, shampoo
-long pants
-swim trunks
-fleece jacket
-long underwear
-fleece pants, shirt
-stocking cap
-moist wipes
-hand sanitizer
-facial tissue
-duffel bags
-Ziploc bags
-trash bags
-pen & notebook
-reading material
-phone & camera battery re-chargers

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


I'm starting to play with my toys. Part of the fun of a multi-day tour is deciding what to bring with you, packing and re-packing so you can have everything you'll possibly need in 2 of the smallest lightest bags you can manage. (At least they have to be under the 40lb. limit most tours give you to transport your bags.) If you discover there's something you need, but don't yet have, you have time to shop for it, and explain to your wife why you can't live without it.

I've seen some great lists with what to bring backpacking, rafting, on a self-supported bike tour and on an organized tour. I've put together lists for myself for camping, canoeing, touring, and I think it's not only fun, but as I get older, very helpful. At various times I've forgotten a towel and a pillow. Luckily, these were only weekend outings with buddies and I was able to work around my stupidity. On one Tour de Kota I forgot my thermarest pad. The first day was a loop from Yankton, SD to Vermillion and back, before heading in a northerly direction the second day. My brother-in-law, Bruce had points to use so we spent the first night in a Holiday Inn Express. The second night after riding all day I put up my tent and threw my sleeping bag inside, but realized I had no pad. One night on the ground was enough. The next night I found a cheap air mattress in the small town we were visiting, and the night after that I found a roll-up compressed foam pad. Not as good as my thermarest, but better than the ground.

So I'm gathering lists from various places to come up with a great list for myself. I'll publish it here when I'm done. Any suggestions? Any lists you've used that were extremely helpful?